Serce, the Polish for ‘heart’

The Polish for heart is the neuter noun serce. Serce appears numerous times in the Bible in its different declined forms. This entry will investigate a number of these instances.

Let us take first of all a few instances of serce which have already appeared in the readings:

  • From Rdz 20:5, the following: uczyniłem to w prostocie serca (I did this in simplicity of heart). Serca is in genitive position.
  • From Rdz 34:3, the following: i całym sercem pokochał Dinę (and with {his} whole heart did he take unto cherishing Dinah). Sercem is in instrumental position.
  • From Wj 14:4, the following: uczynię upartym serce faraona (I shall make obstinate the heart of the pharaoh). Serce is in accusative position.
  • From Kpł 26:36, the following: ześlę do ich serc lękliwość (I shall send down faintness into their hearts). Serc is in genitive plural position.

Before considering more instances of serce from the Bible, the reader may wish to study its entire declension.

sing. pl.
nom. serce serca
gen. serca serc
dat. sercu sercom
acc. serce serca
instr. sercem sercami
loc. sercu sercach
voc. serce serca

Given that serce is a neuter noun, all adjectives which modify it must also take the neuter. For instance, the adjective:

  • radosny means joyful; a joyful heart in Polish, then, is serce radosne (Prz 15:13);
  • kamienny means stonen; a stonen heart in Polish, then, is serce kamienne (Ez 11:19);
  • uparty means obstinate; an obstinate heart in Polish, then, is serce uparte;
  • twardy means hardened; a hardended heart in Polish, then, is serce twarde.

A few instances of the genitive singular include:

  • mądrość serca, wisdom of heart (Ps 90:12);
  • smutek serca, sadness of heart (Syr 38:18);
  • radość serca, joy of heart (Prz 17:22);
  • z całego mego serca, with all my heart (Ps 138:1).

In the last example above, z całego mego serca (or more commonly z całego mojego serca), the genitive is employed for this reason that the Polish reads literally from all my heart; the preposition z (from) is followed by the genitive. The English with all my heart may also be expressed in Polish by employing the instrumental: całym mym sercem (or more commonly całym moim sercem).

The locative sercu is especially important to retain, as it is used to express in {my, thy, his…} heart. For instance:

  • mówi głupi w swoim sercu: «nie ma Boga», the fool speaketh in his heart: ‘there is no God’ (Ps 53:2);
  • tak powiedziałem sobie w sercu, so did I say unto myself in {my} heart (Koh 1:16);
  • niech pozostaną w twym sercu te słowa, may these words remain in thy heart (Pwt 6:6);
  • w sercu morza są twoje granice, in the heart of the sea are thy borders (Ez 27:4).

To conclude, a number of general examples of use: atak serca (heart attack); bicie serca (heartbeat); mieć słabe serce (to have a weak heart); bez serca (heartless [without heart]); kamień mi spadł z serca (that is a weight off my shoulders; literally, the stone is fallen from my heart; kamień [stone] mi [unto me] spadł [is fallen] z serca [from heart]).

In the song Hej, Sokoły, the noun serce appears: tam me serce pozostało (there my heart is remained); and serce płacze (the heart crieth).