The theme of passing away in medieval and renaissance literature

The creators of many epochs eagerly used the theme of passing. In their works, they alluded to the passage of time in various ways, most often with a negative attitude to the topic. Particularly popular was the reference to death as a last resort and a longing for the bygone life.

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1. The theme of passing away in literature

Ancient philosophers have already written about the transience of man. They proclaimed that it was a permanent feature of our lives that could not be escaped. Such a reflection most often brought a sad mood, it was also the subject of many philosophical discussions.

The authors of many eras in their works referred to the passage of time. In this way, they also wanted to keep their name in the memory of their posterity.

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2. The theme of transience in the Bible

In the Old and New Testaments a lot of space is devoted to passing away. Man must remember that his life on earth is short and given for a moment, only after death comes eternal life. You can read about it, among others in Book of Ecclesiasteswhere do the words come from: Vanity of vanities, all vanity. It is there, in an apparently pessimistic text, that the earthly life is shown, from which one should derive pleasure, but in such a way as not to close the gate to eternal life.

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3. The Middle Ages and its cult of passing

Medieval writers were the masters of creativity in which we find the theme of passing. This has to do with the views that led to this era and the inherent connection between the passing of time and death.

In the Middle Ages, the awareness of the impermanence of life, but also of its goods and earthly values, was strongly emphasized. In almost every piece, the inevitable transience was emphasized.

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In the Renaissance, the theme of passing was present in the works of, among others Jan Kochanowski. In the Master of Black Forest it was taken from a slightly different side: we are approaching the end of our lives every day, but it depends on us how this road to eternity will look like. The poet trusts God and believes in eternal life, which helps him cope with the death of his beloved daughter, to whom he has consecrated a cycle of trains.

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4. The theme of passing in the baroque

Barka artists often undertake to write about death and passing away. A good example will be here Sonnet I. On the shortness and uncertainty in the world of human life Mikołaj Sęp-Szarzyński. The poet wonders what awaits him after death. He is not sure if there is anything after it, as Christian teaching says. And even if eternal life awaits him, what will it be? Punishment or reward? He tries to follow the right path in life, but he is mistaken. He is aware of his own sins, he feels weak.

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Daniel Naborowski also wrote about passing away, incl. in line Vanity. The poet is of the opinion that the problems and joys of the temporal world are only a fleeting moment, they are nothing in the face of eternity. However, if a man lives according to God's commandments, he will be rewarded. This does not mean eternal mortification, on the contrary: in life you have to love and joke. You can also make mistakes because God did not make man perfect.

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