Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Poem by Johannes Jussoila

Here is a poem by the Finnish Catholic priest, Johannes Jussoila, addressed to Duke Charles of Södermanland. It was composed around 1600, after the (Protestant) Duke had seized the Swedish throne from his (Catholic) nephew, King Sigismund III Vasa of Poland and Sweden. War between the rival branches of the royal family continued to rage in the Baltic. In the poem, Jussoila reproaches Charles for breaking his oath of allegiance to the King, for shedding innocent blood, and, generally, for behaving in a manner unworthy of his princely status. 

Beware, Duke Charles, for the good Lord knows
Of all thy crimes and perjurious woes!
Beware, thy guilt is as the deepest sea,
Thy conscience stings thee with misery!
The eagle white will bring thee sorrow,
Beware, his claws are long and narrow!
For thou art born a Prince withal
And not a robber who forfeits all.
With thy whole army thou canst protect
Thyself, Duke Charles. Stay, don't defect!
Or all the world will know for sure
The plots and murders at thy door.
Of crime no princely virtue is born,
How couldst thou to such deeds be drawn?

Men Carole wachte tigh, tij Gudh weet
Tijn meen eedh emot Cronan icke forgätenn
Wachta tigh tu hafuer eenn ondh saak see
Titt Samwette aggar medh Jemmer och wee
Then huite Örnen gör tidh bonngh
Wachte tigh han fhörer sine rammer longh 
Tij tu äst en Förste Födder
Icke en Röfuere som allt förlorer.
Tu kann medh tinn ganske häär
Beskerme tigh Carll Lööp icke, vthan wäär.
Ellies moste heele Werldenn fåå wetta
Tijn anslagh, röfuerij och mordh 
Huilken ingen Förste dygd ähro födde
Huru tu warder thenne sakh uthförenndes...

(Swedish original and English translation provided by Oskar Garstein, in Rome and the Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia: Volume II (1583-1622), 1980)


Matterhorn said...

Presumably, the eagle in the poem refers to Poland?

The Pious Spinster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matterhorn said...

Jussoila certainly did not mince words.

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