Gregorčič Simon (1844- 1925)

28/02/2020

"Gorizia's nightingale": with this name is known the poet Simon Gregorčič, who lived in Gorizia only in the period of his studies and in the last years of his life, but called "Goriziano" in the widest sense of the term, as he belonged to the territory that belonged to our town. He was born in Ursina (now Vrsno), near Kobarid, on October 15, 1844. He was the cantor of Slovenian nationalism. Some of his verses are dark, harsh, furious, with very little of the sweetness one would expect in a poet called "nightingale". This takes nothing away from his poetry, and the influence it had on the Slovenian people. Not from Gorizia, but a son of our land, Gregorčič expressed the national feelings that the intellectuals of his time felt. Italians and Slovenians were equally inflamed in their patriotic love, which led them both more than once to despise the opposing nationality, although those who know the love of a distant or lost homeland should understand the no different love felt by others. Like many young people from poor families, Simon Gregorčič had the opportunity to study by entering the seminary. He began to study theology and chose the priesthood without a real vocation, in order to realize his parents' aspirations. He also renounced the love of a young woman, which he continued to remember even years later. This situation must be kept in mind when judging his poems.

He was a parish priest in Caporetto and in the Vipava Valley, and in his ministry he worked on behalf of his people, the Slovenian farmers, who he described in his verses as the poor, the humble, the exploited, as opposed to the rich and the powerful. But he did not find the desired freedom in his poems either: he was severely blamed by the Slovenian ecclesiastical hierarchy for some of them, and was affected in morals and health. On the other hand, it was unacceptable for a priest to reveal his soul in verses entitled Lament of a bird in a cage, or to beg God not to create "one, who like me should / down here suffer and torture himself, / always suspended between uncertainty and doubt... / this man, O God, / no longer create him! ". The verses in which he invited the Isonzo to leave his course once he reached the plain, to exterminate "the stranger, of our greedy soil" coming "from the scorching south", prophesizing a future of war ("on your shores hail of lead, / rain of blood and tears in streams") are well known. Perhaps also for this reason Gorizia, where he died on November 24th 1906, does not remember his name in the toponymy. The Gregorčič who gives his name to a street in the district of St. Andrew is in fact another: Anton Gregorčič, a priest, also born in Ursina, in 1852, who unlike Simon Gregorčič lived in Gorizia, where he died in 1925. He was the director of the newspaper "Soca" and a member of the parliament in Vienna. A character from Gorizia, but certainly less known than the almost homonymous Simon, the Gregorčič street was named after him in 1974, not the poet who hoped that the rivers would drown those he considered enemies of his people.