On Jan Latalski, a Bishop from Cracow
Before the altar of Church – which he entered by bribes –
Desired Latalski to thank the bountiful Heaven.
Adorned was the altar with the bishop Stanislaus'
Silver statue, king Sigismunds' gift generous.
And – a wondrous truth it is – at that very moment
Did the doors shut which sheltered the said statue.
As if it was not enough, they knocked a candle over,
Which fell down on Latalski, hurting his head.
To this event people different explanations give,
But I make the sense quite simple and clear:
The sober was afraid of the drunkard – he dreaded
Lest the drunkard forced him to drink pitchers of wine. A Poem upon Sigismund's Chapel of the Wawel Castle
Do not wonder, my guest, at the greatness of this chapel
And the sculptures equalling the art of Phidias.
King Sigismund, who founded the castle too, brought it into being.
The chapel is far more beautiful though, and the reason is just:
Let no one think that when the king built his earthly palace,
He disregarded his future dwelling eternal.
English translation: Kornelia Wicherek
(1482–1537) came from Wielkopolska but spent a number of years in Krakow. Studies in Italy gave him a humanist education, which won Krzycki the post of Secretary to Queen Barbara, and later King Sigismund the Old and his second wife – Bona Sforza. Before being anointed a bishop and later the Primate of Poland and Archbishop of Gniezno, at Wawel Castle, Krzycki had led the merry life of a courtier. Together with his friends from the royal court, he set up the Society of Gluttons and Drunkards.
Yet besides feasting he was also involved in literature. His Latin poetry reflects the life of the Renaissance court of King Sigismund. It includes love poems, verses of four feasts, eulogies of Queen Bona and praise for the feats of King Sigismund. To this day, one of his works adorns the Sigismund Chapel in Wawel Cathedral. In other poems, Krzycki mocked his enemies, notably Jan Latalski, whom the poet hated for his nomination for the Bishop of Krakow, a post Krzycki coveted. (jn)