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Jan Kochanowski

Kochanowski was born at Sycyna, near Radom, Poland. Little is known of his early education. At fourteen, fluent in Latin, he was sent to the Kraków Academy. After graduation in 1547 at age seventeen, he attended the University of Königsberg (Królewiec), in Ducal Prussia, and Padua University in Italy. At Padua, Kochanowski came in contact with the great humanist scholar Francis Robortello. Kochanowski closed his fifteen-year period of studies and travels with a final visit to France, where he met the poet Pierre Ronsard.In 1559 Kochanowski returned to Poland for good, where he remained active as a humanist and Renaissance poet. He spent the next fifteen years close to the court of King Sigismund II Augustus, serving for a time as royal secretary. In 1574, following the decampment of Poland's recently elected King Henry of Valois (whose candidacy to the Polish throne Kochanowski had supported), Kochanowski settled on a family estate at Czarnolas ("Blackwood") to lead the life of a country squire. In 1575 he married Dorota Podlodowska, with whom he had seven children.Kochanowski is sometimes referred to in Polish as "Jan z Czarnolasu" ("John of Blackwood"). It was there that he wrote his most memorable works, including The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys and the Laments.Kochanowski died, probably of a heart attack, in Lublin on 22 August 1584.

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