Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Dionizas Poška

MUŽIKAS ŽEMAIČIŲ IR LIETUVOS
The Peasant of Samogitia and Lithuania

D.Poska

    The most significant in social and artistic aspects of D. Poška's works is a poem "The Peasant of Samogitia and Lithuania" written following a poem of unknown Polish author "The Peasant of Poland" (Chłop polski), although, because of significant additions to content and changes of form, it should be considered as an original author's work. It is guessed that the work was written in the years 1815-1825. The poem was published for the first time in 1886, with some editorial changes, in the first volume of periodical "Aušra". In 1947 an authentic text of the poem was published.
    In his poem Poška wanted to show the role of a serf peasant in social life and to disclose prevailing social injustice.
    Praising the peasant, Poška at the same time shows his condition without any rights, his interminable exploitation, depicts the hard and endless toil of a serf as well as grim scenes of his miserable life.
    "The Peasant"... shows the personal dependence of the peasant to the noble, his near slavery condition without any rights. While truthfully showing the life of the serf of his epoch and thus posing the problem of peasantry, Poška could not solve this problem. He did not urge peasants to fight against serfdom. Nevertheless for the profound sympathy to the peasants, vivid exposure of their exploitation, protest against injustice towards peasants, for irony on how the gentry show "compassion" to serfs, "The Peasant of Samogitia and Lithuania" is one of most significant works in Lithuanian literature of the beginning of 19th century.
    "The Peasant of Samogitia and Lithuania" is also significant in the history of Lithuanian literature for its artistic expression that shows in the vividness of images and similes, the colourful popular language, and fluency of verses.