Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

about the text
Download PDF
List of Texts
Main Page
bg_stamp.jpg - 3098 Bytes
Motiejus Kazimieras Sarbievijus
(Mathias Casimirus Sarbievius)

(1595 - 1640)


Variant forms of name: Sarbiewski, Sarbijewski, Sarbievii, Sarbievius.

    M.K.Sarbievijus is a poet of European scale who was born in the so called Mazowsze (Poland), but most of his life spent in Lithuania where he wrote his works in Latin. Because of his admiration of Horatius, whose works he imitated, he was nicknamed "Sarmatian Horatius" (Horatius Sarmaticus), and for his efforts to christianize it - "Christian Horatius" (Horatius Christianus).
    M.K.Sarbievijus was born on February 24, 1595, in a village of Sarbiewo near P¨onsk. At the age of seventeen he joined Jesuit order and for two years (1612-1614) studied at the Vilnius Novitium at St.Ignace church. Later M.K.Sarbievijus studied philosophy at Braunsberg, taught poetics at Kra■iai College, and in the year 1620 began studies of theology at Vilnius University. After two years he was sent to continue his theology studies at Rome, and returned in the summer of 1625. After taking the compulsory practicals at Nesvy■ius and Polock he began to work at Vilnius University where he taught rhetoric (1627-1628), philosophy (1628-1631) and scholastic theology (1631-1635). Besides being professor, M.K.Sarbievijus had occupied various administrative posts: he was the University Rector's assistant, head of St. Mary's Congregation, dean of Philosophy and Theology Faculties. In the year 1635 he was appointed to be the preacher at St. Johns' Church, but at the same year had departed to Warsaw, where for five years he was a preacher at the court of the king Vladislaus IV Vaza. He visited Vilnius again in the summer of 1634 when he was conferred a Doctor of Theology degree. He died in Warsaw on April 2 in the year 1640.
    Just like Horatius, M.K.Sarbievijus is a "one book author" (homo unus libri). All the time he amended and expanded a selection of his poetry "The Book of Lyrics" (Lyricorum libri), first edition of which was printed in Cologne in 1625. In the 17th century only, as much as 30 editions of this book were published. The most famous of them is the edition of 1632, the title page of which was designed by Paul Rubens. Poems of M.K.Sarbievijus are translated into English, German, French, Italian, Polish, and Lithuanian languages.