Jan Kochanowski Anthem (What do you want from us, Lord…)

Jan Kochanowski Anthem (What do you want from us, Lord…)

This is one of Kochanowski's earlier songs (due to the sublime content, pathos often called the Hymn) was written during the author's stay in Paris. It is believed, that it was the first one written in Polish, at the same time amazingly mature, artistically excellent, poet's piece. It is closely related to the new, already a renaissance model of religiosity, the right epoch of understanding man's relationship to God, in which the Church played a much smaller role than before. At the same time, it is a work very typical of the Renaissance style, world view.

The song of What do you want from us. Lord… it is a kind of manifesto of humanistic religiosity, humility towards God does not follow from the uncritical acceptance of dogmas, fear, but understanding his place in the world as a result intellectual, logical analysis of reality.

The concept of God in this poem goes far beyond church doctrine. At the same time, Kochanowski clearly points out, that he would not get involved in contemporary religious disputes, although a little earlier he had shown some sympathies with the Reformation. In the Hymn, God is outside the Church, I don't need gifts, because he distributes them himself, he is the creator of everything, the efficient cause. Such concepts were very popular during the Renaissance, often repeated and they are not the essence of the poem. The latter is contained in belief, that God can be glorified by praising the real world (after all, being his creation) – because man remains part of nature, is subject to its laws, that God has specified. The latter also established moral laws, basic principles of ethics, justice: good will be rewarded, evil punished.

The hymn is also a piece about art, artist, his work. God is the artist (not only omnipotent, but also ubiquitous, manifested in even the tiniest manifestations of life), which one out of nothing, he created a world-work of art from scratch (but the author also has a strong sense of his own creative abilities, gives his poetry a high position):

You are the master of all the world, You have built heaven
And you embroidered beautifully with golden stars;
Thou hast laid the foundation of the land that is not traveled
And you covered her nakedness with herbs.

The beauty of the world in the Hymn is manifested above all in its harmony, okay, consistent arrangement of the whole (it is also a manifestation of God's grace, whose goodness will never cease, his kindness to the world), once and for all the order of the cosmos determined by the Creator, nature:

At your command, the sea stands on the shores,
And he is afraid to jump over the intended boundaries;
The rivers of inexhaustible waters are very generous.
The white day and the dark night know their time.

The poem is of a prayer nature, which is emphasized by direct phrases to God. It is a classical syllabic thirteen syllable, clear form, four-verse stanzas. The structure of the verses is consistent with the distribution of the sentence or its part (melic poem), some lines diversify interjected sentences.

According to tradition, The anthem was to reach Poland during Kochanowski's stay in France and evoke the words of Mikołaj Rej himself, full of homage: Temu thanks (that is, priority) I give in front of me.