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Andrew Krzycki

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Date of birth uncertain; d. in 1535. — A typical humanistic poet, a most supple courtier for whom poetry was to be a source of renown and profit, Krzycki was well-read in Latin poetry and knew the language to perfection. He wrote numerous epigrams, pointed and spirited in style and diction. His individuality was conspicuous; his talent, though not creative, and confined to imitations of the ancients, was by no means insignificant; his wit, mordant and at times coarse. His verses, whether laudatory or satirical, were mostly written to commemorate notable occasions. In 1512, for instance, he celebrated in verse the marriage of King Sigismund I with Barbara Zapolya; Krzycki subsequently became chancellor to the youthful queen. When the king won the victory of Orsza, he again wrote a poem, and sent verses purporting to be from the queen to her absent husband after the model of Ovid's "Epistolae Heroidum"; these, in a letter to Krzycki, Erasmus praised enthusiastically. After Barbara's death he continued to be chancellor in the household of Bona Sforza, Sigismund's second wife. He took orders and managed to obtain rich benefices, and even a bishopric ; a flatterer in his verse when he hoped to get anything, he was malicious and biting when his suit was refused, and amongst his verses indecent and even obscene passages are to be found. Krzycki was plainly uneasy at times in the anticipation of impending danger. The Reformation, then rapidly spreading, filled him with dismay, and was the occasion of the most serious, and perhaps the best, work that he produced, "Religions et Reipublicae quaerimonia" (1522). When the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights became a Lutheran, and Sigismund I (very wrongly) recognized him as his vassal and Duke of East Prussia, this act astonished the whole Catholic world, especially at Rome and in the Court of the emperor. Krzycki in a letter written to Baron Pulleon, very cleverly tried to explain and justify this action of his sovereign. He finally rose to the very highest dignity in his country, that of Primate Archbishop of Gnesen. His great talent and sense distinguished him amongst the Polish-Latin poets; he possessed all the characteristics of a humanist and a worldly-minded priest of his epoch. It is true that Krzycki loved his country and that he feared for its future. He readily patronized youthful talent, as in the case of Janicki. His last work, "De Asiana Dieta," was a criticism of those turbulent and fruitless Polish diets common in his time.

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