Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont

A free peasant means free Poland, for he is the foundation of her greatness and independence.

A strict prehuman voice was talking inside him as if it were the voice of the land and the villages.

An irresistible fascination with terrifying death killed me ahead of time.

At sunset the weather cleared up completely, a slight frost began to set in; cold, gray, thin fog began to settle on the fields, and after the sunset the sky was covered with purple scales and with gulfs filled with blood; the mud set quickly and strained under feet like leather straps. The sharp smell of frost mixed with raw smell of oak-leaves decaying in the woods, and sometimes the smell of smoke bourne by the fog.

Being twenty years old, I naturally had a wild imagination and a tender heart.

By the age of nine I had a thorough knowledge of contemporary Polish literature as well as of foreign literature in Polish translation, and I began to write poems in honour of a lady of thirty years. Naturally, she knew nothing about them.

Every lord's mansion stands on the foundation of your bones, soldier, every field has been saturated with your sweat, and you, peasant, even if you worked your arms down to the stub, if you won a hundred battles, and faithfully gave the last drop of your blood for your country, you would always be a slave. There is no land for you, no heaven, no shelter, not even a doghouse where you could rest your poor head. You are the last before God and before people, the last one.

Everything has achieved the contours of hallucination, everything seems to be drowned at the bottom of a dream populated by terrible nightmares and phantoms of incomprehensible things.

Everything must go its own way. One has to plow in order to sow, one has to sow in order to harvest, and what is disturbing has to be weeded out, like a bad weed.

I dreamed of great actions, of voyages--rovings across the oceans of a free and independent life.

I have gambled away my own happiness. Now I can only create it for others.

I was intoxicated by the romantic poetry of our great writers. I arranged the world according to my private use, looking at it through the poems I had devoured.

I went to Warsaw to conquer the world. I began a new Odyssey of misery, roving and struggling with destiny.

It is only our exactions of life that are terrible. It is only our impossible conceptions of beauty and good and justice that are terrible--because they never are realized, and at the same time they prevent us taking life as it is. That is the real source of all our sorrow and suffering.

Misery was my inseparable companion.

Our duty is to rise in the bright daylight, openly, beating the drums. The cause for which we are ready to give our necks does not fear the light, and to attack the enemy by guile would not suit it. A Pole has always despised ambushes, and God forbid that he should change. We shall not fail to have enough strength to defeat our enemies if we do not fail to have the spirit of sacrifice and love.

Reading became a passion with me. I carried books hidden under my clothes and read wherever I could.

The first shrill whistle of a factory pierced the silence of the early morning, and in all parts of the city the others began to rise, following it more and more noisily, and they screamed with their hoarse, unruly voices like a choir of monstrous roosters with their metal throats a signal to work.

The more profound my faith became, the more violent my fascination with annihilation, and then incessant hunger pushed me toward the abyss.

The nights I spent in a room so cold that I wrote wrapped in a fur, keeping the inkwell under the lamp lest the ink should freeze.

They killed in the name of freedom. They killed in the name of equality. They killed in the name of brotherhood.

Within myself I felt vague enchantments, dull restlessness, and uncertain desires. I had hallucinations when I was awake. What wings carried me to unknown worlds!


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