From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
L’ordre règne à Varsovie
Order reigns in Warsaw

Warsaw, officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and the second largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the River Vistula in east-central Poland. Its population is officially estimated at 1.86 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.27 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 7th most-populous city in the European Union. The city area measures 517 km2 (200 sq mi) and comprises 18 districts, while the metropolitan area covers 6,100 km2 (2,355 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major cultural, political and economic hub, and the country's seat of government. It is also capital of the Masovian Voivodeship.


  • When the Jews finally staged the uprising in April 1943, the Polish underground refused them almost every form of assistance. Even though they were facing the same enemy, even though their country was occupied, the Poles could not overcome their anti-Semitism and join the Jews in the struggle for the freedom of both groups, and instead chose to stage a separate Polish uprising more than a year later.
    • Irena Klepfisz "Anti-Semitism in the Lesbian/Feminist Movement" (1981) in Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essays, Speeches and Diatribes (1990)
  • Cultivation, old civilization, beauty, history! Surprising turnings of streets, shapes of venerable cottages, lovely aged eaves, unexpected and gossamer turrets, steeples, the gloss, the antiquity! Gardens. Whoever speaks of Paris has never seen Warsaw. [...] Whoever yearns for an aristocratic sensibility, let him switch on the great light of Warsaw.
    • Cynthia Ozick, Jewish novelist and short story writer. Her character, Rosa Lublin, from Rosa (p. 21), Ozick, Cynthia (1989). The Shawl (A Novel and Novella). Alfred A. Knopf. 
  • Well, from here I will go to Bonn and then Berlin, where there stands a grim symbol of power untamed. The Berlin Wall, that dreadful gray gash across the city, is in its third decade. It is the fitting signature of the regime that built it. And a few hundred kilometers behind the Berlin Wall, there is another symbol. In the center of Warsaw, there is a sign that notes the distances to two capitals. In one direction it points toward Moscow. In the other it points toward Brussels, headquarters of Western Europe's tangible unity. The marker says that the distances from Warsaw to Moscow and Warsaw to Brussels are equal. The sign makes this point: Poland is not East or West. Poland is at the center of European civilization. It has contributed mightily to that civilization. It is doing so today by being magnificently unreconciled to oppression. Poland's struggle to be Poland and to secure the basic rights we often take for granted demonstrates why we dare not take those rights for granted. Gladstone, defending the Reform Bill of 1866, declared, ``You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side.'' It was easier to believe in the march of democracy in Gladstone's day -- in that high noon of Victorian optimism.
  • To my mind, imperialism is something very simple and clear and it exists as a fact when one country, a large country, seizes a certain strip of territory and subjects to its laws a certain number of men and women against their will. Soviet policy after the beginning of the second world war was precisely this. There is no difficulty in pointing this out, but the difficulty lies in the fact that when one quotes from memory one will forget one or other argument. Because the Russians, thanks to the second world war, have quite simply annexed the three Baltic States, taken a piece of Finland, a piece of Rumania, a piece of Poland, a piece of Germany and, thanks to a well thought-out policy composed of internal subversion and external pressure, have established Governments justifiably styled as Satellites, in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest, Tirana and East Berlin - I except Belgrade where the regime is unique thanks to the energy and courage of Marshal Tito. If all this does not constitute manifestations of imperialism, if all this is not the result of a policy consciously willed and consciously pursued, an imperialist aim, then indeed we shall have to start to go back to a new discussion and a new definition of words.
  • Mr. Chairman, you have invited me to speak on the subject of Britain and Europe. Perhaps I should congratulate you on your courage. If you believe some of the things said and written about my views on Europe, it must seem rather like inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence! ...The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity, but it is not the only one. We must never forget that east of the Iron Curtain, peoples who once enjoyed a full share of European culture, freedom and identity have been cut off from their roots. We shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities...To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve. Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality...it is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, there are some in the Community who seem to want to move in the opposite direction. We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.
  • But the will to not let history repeat itself, to do something radically new, was so strong that new words had to be found. For people Europe was a promise, Europe equalled hope. When Konrad Adenauer came to Paris to conclude the Coal and Steel Treaty, in 1951, one evening he found a gift waiting at his hotel. It was a war medal, une Croix de Guerre, that had belonged to a French soldier. His daughter, a young student, had left it with a little note for the Chancellor, as a gesture of reconciliation and hope. I can see many other stirring images before me. Leaders of six States assembled to open a new future, in Rome, città eternaWilly Brandt kneeling down in Warsaw. The dockers of Gdansk, at the gates of their shipyard. Mitterrand and Kohl hand in hand. Two million people linking Tallinn to Riga to Vilnius in a human chain, in 1989. These moments healed Europe.
  • L’ordre règne à Varsovie.
    • Order reigns at Warsaw.
      • On 7 and 8 September 1831, Poland made a determined struggle for freedom, which was crushed in a few days, with tremendous losses on the Polish side, by the Russian general Paskiewitch; and Sebastiani, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, was able to announce in the Chamber of Deputies, on 16 September, the occupation of Warsaw by the Tsar’s forces. In the Moniteur of 17 September (p. 1601, col. 2) he is reported to have said, Le gouvernement a communiqué tous les renseignements qui lui étaient parvenus sur les événements de la Pologne ... au moment où l’on écrivait, la tranquillité régnait à Varsovie. The word l’ordre (“order”), with which the saying is proverbially connected, is probably due to the Moniteur of the day before, which reported that L’ordre et la tranquillité sont entièrement rétablis dans la capitale. In the Caricature of the day a cartoon appeared (by Grandville and Eugene Forest), of a Russian soldier surrounded by a mound of Polish corpses, and entitled L’ordre règne a Varsovie, which accounted in no small measure for the perpetuation of the epigram. Reported in: W. F. H. King, ed., Classical and Foreign Quotations, 3rd ed. (1904), no 1439
  • Warschau wird glattrasiert.
    • Raze Warsaw completely.
    • Adolf Hitler, as quoted by General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski; other sources say the order was simply Zerstören Warschau—"Destroy Warsaw". Reported in: Andrew Borowiec, Destroy Warsaw! (2001), p. 99

Poems of Places

Reported in: Henry W. Longfellow, ed., Poems of Places, Vol. XX: Russia (Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1878), pp. 156–161
  • The yellow snow-fog curdled thick,
      Dark, brooding, dull, and brown,
    About the ramparts, hiding all
      The steeples of the town;
    The icicles, as thick as beams,
      Hung down from every roof,
    When all at once we heard a sound
      As of a muffled hoof.
    ’Twas nothing but a soldier’s horse,
      All riderless and torn
    With bullets: scarce his bleeding legs
      Could reach the gate. A morn
    Of horror broke upon us then;
      We listened, but no drum—
    Only a sullen, distant roar,
      Telling us that they come.
    Next, slowly staggering through the fog,
      A grenadier reeled past,
    A bloody turban round his head,
      His pallid face aghast.
    Behind him, with an arm bound up
      With half a Russian flag,
    Came one—then three—the last one sopped
      His breast with crimson rag.
    Quick all at once a sullen bell
      Upon the gateway tower
    Broke out, to warn our citizens
      Napoleon’s savage power
    Had gone to wreck, and these the waifs
      Were making fast to land.
    It bade us look to see the hulk
      Sucked hellward by the sand.
    All day the frozen, bleeding men
      Came pouring through the place;
    Drums broken, colours torn to shreds,
      Foul wounds on every face.
    Black powder-wagons, scorched and split,
      Broad wheels caked thick with snow,
    Red bayonets bent, and swords that still
      Were reeking from the blow.
    A drunken rabble, pale and wan,
      With cursing faces turned
    To where, still threatening in the rear,
      The port-fires lurid burned.
    The ground was strewn with epaulettes,
      Letters, and cards, and songs;
    The barrels, leaking drops of gold,
      Were trampled by the throngs.
    A brutal, selfish, goring mob,
      Yet here and there a trace
    Of the divine shone out, and lit
      A gashed and suffering face.
    Here came a youth, who on his back
      His dying father bore;
    With bandaged feet the brave youth limped,
      Slow, shuddering, dripping gore.
    And even ’mid the trampling crowd,
      Maimed, crippled by the frost,
    I found that every spark of good
      Was not extinct and lost.
    Deep in the ranks of savage men
      I saw two grenadiers
    Leading their corporal, his breast
      Stabbed by the Cossack spears.
    He saved that boy, whose tearful eyes
      Were fixed upon the three—
    Although too weak to beat his drum
      Still for his company.
    Half-stripped, or wrapped in furs and gowns,
      The broken ranks went on:
    They ran if any one called out
      “The Cossacks of the Don!”
    The whispered rumour, like a fire,
      Spreads fast from street to street;
    With boding look and shaking head
      The staring gossips meet:
    “Ten thousand horses every night
      Were smitten by the frost;
    Full thirty thousand rank and file
      In Beresina lost.
    “The Cossacks fill their caps with gold
      The Frenchmen fling away.
    Napoleon was shot the first,
      And only lived a day—
    They say that Caulaincourt is lost—
      The guns are left behind:
    GOD’s curse has fallen on these thieves—
      He sent the snow and wind.”
    Tired of the clatter and the noise,
      I sought an inner room,
    Where twenty wax lights, starry clear,
      Drove off the fog and gloom.
    I took my wanton Ovid down,
      And soon forgot the scene,
    As through my dreams I saw arise
      The rosy-bosomed queen.
    My wine stood mantling in the glass
      (The goblet of Voltaire),
    I sipped and dozed, and dozed and sipped,
      Slow rocking in my chair,
    When open flew the bursting door,
      And Coulaincourt stalked in—
    Tall, gaunt, and wrapped in frozen furs,
      Hard frozen to his skin.
    * * * *
    The wretched hag of the low inn
      Puffed at the sullen fire
    Of spitting wood, that hissed and smoked:
      There stood the Jove whose ire
    But lately set the world aflame,
      Wrapped in a green pelisse,
    Fur-lined, and stiff with half-burnt lace,
      Trying to seem at ease.
    “Bah! Du sublime au ridicule
      Il n’y a qu’un pas,”
    He said. “The rascals think they’ve made
      A comet of my star.
    The army broken—dangers?—pish!—
      I did not bring the frost.
    Levy ten thousand Poles, Duroc—
      Who tells me we have lost?
    “I beat them everywhere, Murat—
      It is a costly game;
    But nothing venture, nothing win—
      I’m sorry now we came.
    That burning Moscow was a deed
      Worthy of ancient Rome
    Mind that I gild the Invalides
      To match the Kremlin dome.
    “Well? well as Beelzebub himself!”
      He leaped into the sleigh
    Sent for to bear this Cæsar off
      Upon his ruthless way.
    A flash of fire!—the courtyard stones
      Snapped out—the landlord cheered—
    In a hell-gulf of pitchy dark
      The carriage disappeared.
    • Walter Thornbury, "The Retreat from Moscow (As it appeared to a Polish Abbe, at Warsaw, December 16th, 1812)", in Historical & Legendary Ballads & Songs (1875)
  • ’Twas a night to make the bravest
    Shrink from the tempest’s breath,
    For the winter snows were bitter,
    And the winds were cruel as death.
    All day on the roofs of Warsaw
    Had the white storm sifted down
    Till it almost hid the humble huts
    Of the poor outside the town.
    And it beat upon one low cottage
    With a sort of reckless spite,
    As if to add to their wretchedness
    Who sat by its hearth that night;
    Where Dorby, the Polish peasant,
    Took his pale wife by the hand,
    And told her that when the morrow came
    They would have no home in the land.
    No human hand would aid him
    With the rent that was due at morn;
    And his cold, hard-hearted landlord
    Had spurned his prayers with scorn.
    Then the poor man took his Bible,
    And read, while his eyes grew dim,
    To see if any comfort
    Were written there for him;
    When he suddenly heard a knocking
    On the casement, soft and light:
    It was n’t the storm; but what else could be
    Abroad in such a night?
    Then he went and opened the window,
    But for wonder scarce could speak,
    As a bird flew in with a jewelled ring
    Held flashing in his beak.
    “’Tis the bird I trained,” said Dorby,
    “And that is the precious ring
    That once I saw on the royal hand
    Of our good and gracious king.
    “And if birds, as our lesson tells us,
    Once came with food to men,
    Who knows,” said the foolish peasant,
    “But they might be sent again!”
    So he hopefully went with the morning,
    And knocked at the palace gate,
    And gave to the king the jewel
    They had searched for long and late.
    And when he had heard the story
    Which the peasant had to tell,
    He gave him a fruitful garden,
    And a home wherein to dwell.
    And Dorby wrote o’er the doorway
    These words that all might see:
    “Thou hast called on the Lord in trouble,
    And he hath delivered thee!”
    • Phœbe Cary, "The King’s Jewel", in Last Poems (1873)
  • A thousand soldiers knelt in Warsaw’s square,
    The solemn oath of battle sternly taking;
    They swore, without a shot, the foe to dare,
    With bayonets’ point their deadly pathway making.
    Beat drums! march on, and let our country tell
    That “Poland’s Fourth” will keep its promise well.
    So said, and bloody Praga saw it done.
    Right where the foe in thickest mass was rushing,
    We charged, and not a comrade fired his gun,
    But each with deadly bayonet on was pushing.
    Praga shall tell how, mid the blackened air,
    Poland’s “Fourth Regiment” was bleeding there.
    When, from a thousand throats of fire, the flame
    At Ostrolenka on our columns falling
    Mowed down our ranks, we broke our way, and came
    With the sharp bayonets’ point their heart appalling.
    Let Ostrolenka, joined with Praga, say
    That “Poland’s Fourth” has kept its vow to-day.
    Yes, many manly hearts then sank to rest,
    To the war-fiend a noble offering bringing;
    Yet to his oath each man was true, and prest
    On to the end, still to his weapon clinging;
    Yes, with unloaded gun and steady eye,
    Poland’s “Fourth Regiment” marched on to die.
    O, woe to us! woe to our land forlorn!
    O, ask not whence or how this misery came!
    Woe, woe to every child in Poland born!
    Our wounds break open when we hear her name.
    They bleed afresh, but most our hearts are wrung
    When “Poland’s Fourth” is named by any tongue.
    And ah! dear brothers, who to death have gone,
    But, dying, from our souls shall perish never;
    We, who still live, with broken hearts move on,
    Far from our homes, the homes now lost forever;
    And pray that God in heaven may quickly send
    The last of “Poland’s Fourth” a blessed end.
    From Poland’s confines, through the misty air,
    Ten soldiers come, and, crossing Prussia’s border,
    The sentry challenges with, “Who comes there?”
    They stand in silence. He repeats the order.
    At last one says, “Out of a thousand men
    In ‘Poland’s Fourth’ we are the only ten.”