by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
A dramatic one-act play
Characters: Mureshan, Mors: light’s spirit
The scene depicts a setting of a wild romanticism, in the mountains. On one side, there are rocks torn apart. Some still stand, and some are upturned. Fir trees hang on top of rocks on the other side.
Some are upside-down and broken by storms and torrents. The ruins of a village are still seen smoking at the back. Huts are scattered behind the rocks, like big nests. In the forestage is the village’s old and dark church tower. The wooden church has large windows, with iron bars, with its walls in part ruined, with a roof of black and mouldy wood tiles. The yellow moonlight glows on the top of the whole scene. Built-in across the forestage is a fallen over, rotten tree trunk. Mors sits on it and he dreams.
Forests and mountains are on the most ends. The bell with a broken sound heralds twelve midnight. Mors stands up at this time.
In the copper-heart of the clock on the stone-tower, it strikes midnight.
Slowly the stars embark to pull the blond moon’s cart.
Not even the time, with dreams of pride, could leave eternity’s checkpoint.
No souls enter. And no souls depart.
Few rays of the hidden moon pass through the strong-air of the precious night.
Bitter thoughts wake up in the confinement of my chest,
When the sleep, death’s brother, rests on mankind, who is without worry,
With closed eyelids, with its dreams of overwhelming tranquillity;
And when the faint thought passes through death’s realm,
And it dips its cold wing into a precious dream,
And it caresses people’s heads with pure holy water.
And it sends their sins to sleep. And it stifles their grudges.
What eye keeps a moist vigil? What soul is uneasy?
What soul shouts in mourning? What harp plays with melancholy? …
I am! I look at the past, and at its awful picture.
It is painted by our dire fate in a cruel manner.
And my thought cannot tear apart that drape
That hides behind it the mighty times yet to come.
Be it the highest and boldest song of acclaim,
It is only an echo of the grandiose thunder
Of the high, loud and intense waves — of the river that you can’t see;
These are time’s waves being brought by the future,
So it can send them into the past.
Even if I peep ahead of me at the complete shattered night
And I see that a new world comes out of it,
That lever that loosens the night, and it raises the yet to come,
That one is new to me. It is the power that spins the thread of time.
Wow! The history gives an account of things that ensued.
And these yet to come, throw a hint to the present day’s slow mood.
I wonder, who can tell me
Why everything turns out the way it does?
Is it a design or a plan in the world’s troubles, and in the blind time’s flow?
Or time’s guide is the blind chance, which has no gist or purpose?
All there is — could it have been different that it is?
Or is it a must, cold and set? And if everything is as it must be,
What laws does the time obey?
With what right it hinders a nation so at its cost it moves ahead another.
Is there any justice in this? Or the fate without law, tells the outcome blindly.
And if you don’t have any source but the details told in the old texts only,
And it is confirmed that these do not clarify,
Who can tell me if my nation’s future will be better off than it’s past?
If it would’ve been good only once, and bad most of the time,
I would’ve thought that the blind chance, innocent on its part, though unwittingly
It has piled up so much grief on my sad country.
But no! Too much purpose, much planning for bad things there is.
So strongly it amassed on my nation’ days.
So, I come to believe, that the essence of the world is wicked.
The world’s book of bad like mad, it is in print and heralded.
If you have the will the power to crush the one weaker than you
It is called bravery.
And if you are a proud guy
And do not allow others to offend that illusion with what they say
It is called honour.
If you want to surpass others and impose to the world
Your infamous self, it is called a desire for fame, the spur for good deeds.
If you are so vain to believe that even heaven listens to your word
And cares that you torture your body and overwhelm your mind,
It is said that you are devout or even a saint.
And there are not only people that like your deed and your vain thought,
But whole nations think highly of you. How silly is the crowd.
They think that they carry the fate of the world in their hand,
And they are misled by a handful of sly ones.
If nature endowed you with only a bit of insight,
So you can see the folly and the cruel spite the crowd has,
If you look upon it, as if it has no worth,
Out of these flaws you can build a stairway
So, you can climb up to wealth and glory.
Now, just pretend that you treasure those great and distinguished traits,
(Name them how you want) and with a phrase, praise people’s pride and rights.
They will carry you on their shoulders
And they’ll give up their means and their life for you.
But tell them the truth, and they shall nail you on the cross.
They shall throw stones at you, and they shall boo at you.
And mourned by no one you shall perish sadly.
It can be seen that the sly ones couldn’t find in this life.
To attach greater importance to other things
Besides the ones that fulfil their appetites at the expense of others;
The naive shall bear the burden, and the shrewd shall reign.
It is smart and right. Why are there guys with no brains?
And again, why are there sly men? Don’t the slow guys need to be governed?
Don’t you see that by leading them you achieve their wishes?
Other than being carried in herds at the sound of a name,
What better fate than this can they have in this world?
There is no other scope for them, but to live and die fulfilling their pride.
And then, don’t you all see, how they admire everything that brings them ruin?
You kill the joy of an entire nation, the peace of a century, and you are named a hero.
The crowd meets you, drunk with joy, and it crowns you with laurels.
A nation is mighty when it rises at another nation’s expense.
And how much longer it can preserve itself in place,
By atrocity by rough treatment, with that much it is mightier.
The human rights are loathed by the wicked rule.
No one is in control over the sheer might.
You cannot bring together two people towards good.
The bad is followed by entire nations.
Since the bad is life’s cornerstone.
In any intention, in any great exploit, the bad plays forever the first role.
It is the source of daily thought.
Take the envy as such. It is the mother of all fairness.
And the obstacle against reciprocal malice is called justice.
The nastier is the community with that much the justice is more precise.
Be tough, and to a goal, no matter how high it may be,
You shall just move across craftily.
Be tough and follow the ethics that rule this world.
Let those sillier than you believe in good.
Why aren’t you smart? Open your eye
And know that virtue and no blame are only for the slow guy.
Was it ever a fair go for you since you were in this world?
For the reason that only you endured the weight.
You have supplied your foe. You have shielded him with your blood.
Instead of crushing the viper’s head under your feet,
You brought it up, and now it is chocking you.
Of an eternity, the priests express
Where guilt gets punished and good gets its recompense.
And thousands, frightened, with vain faith, and cautious,
Being coned, they close their eye to life’s warehouse.
But if a shroud and nails in a coffin, are the rewards for virtue in all
He, who has the patience and feels thirst, he shall crawl.
You sip the bit of time that you’ve got.
Here you be mighty and tough. Here you be jubilant.
Here skill, guts, and fists have value.
If you put your hand on a history-book
And if of fright, or maybe of shame, you shall stumble upon its bad deeds,
You shall see the evil and the evil all over again,
How it fully works loose in front of you. So time is reckoned by evil’s thrust.
If evil and hate are not there, the story is not there.
The whole human race is a wicked kind.
It is perjurer, envious, avaricious, and bloodthirsty.
It was created just right to rule the world.
Only thanks to wickedness, it has leaped on the pyramid of world’s life forms.
Who has ever seen a nation of good people being great?
If it is tough and self-centred, wants all for itself, and nothing for others.
If it lives a good life, but doesn’t let others so they can live too, it is famous.
When a nation begins to be noble and generous in its belief,
Then its fall and defeat are near.
Because only the mean men have the strength to live.
Since the best deeds lead always towards bad.
It is the soil that gives sustenance to the evil’s seed.
Have pity on someone, and with the hand into which you have put bread
Tomorrow he shall raise a stone, and shall be the first to throw it at you.
Give anybody honour and prominence
And he will be the last to look at you if you have fallen.
What a perfect sly plan, that life’s force has been placed in the evil’s first seed.
And of course you still trust in good and in children’s fairy-tales.
Oh, stir in your heart giant storms
And smash with a cry of delight the sly and out of hell wrong order.
The silly guys and sly guys: ones swindled and swindlers on the other side
They advocate that God had ordained this tenet.
Oh Satan, spirit of lost hope, now I know your strategy.
Since the sea’s tossing about, now it lives in me.
I know your rebellious attitude,
When you pulled the hell out to throw it into the stars.
You ruptured the sea, so you can splash it on the Sun.
You wished to throw into chaos all stars-systems.
Yes! You knew that too much injustice rules in the sky.
Those awkward ancient times crown and worship it.
Yes, you knew that as it was, it couldn’t be good.
And the eternal wrong cannot rule.
Oh, if I could see the storm, how it tears down the stars,
How it opens bright waves and rises on the sky
And the clouds are thrown away like floating ice,
And smash the dome’s castles full of stars.
The sky that rise from its bottom weakens,
And it drags along the time with its thousands of decades in a domino effect.
And it lay to rest in the infinite chasm.
Brief lights fade, grow fainter, and fall apart.
I see the chasm being the galaxies’ last resting place.
How stars flare giant red beacons and then vanish with the blaze.
The void’s shroud will rest on the deserts of space, on the dying worlds.
Seeing the scattering, Satan, I shall think that you’ve come first.
Because if you are the archangel of the ancient death, then you are just,
Because only he, and the ones that serve him, are just in this world.
Because wrong wins against everything in the world: but not against death.
The reason why the fabric of the world is bad
It is because we’ve got the whole cosmos made of mud and dust.
Proud spirit, you fell stubbornly and not guilty
Into infinite space, in the past centuries’ eternity;
Wow, cursed fate, you blindly throw the dice.
You give to anyone in the world what he or she doesn’t need.
Please fate, save me not from others, but from myself.
So much venom is in my heart, and so much bitterness is on my mind,
That if I would take it with a deep breath,
I would poison the time in which I’m sentenced to live.
Oh spirit, you who know time without end,
Forgive me that my anger has overwhelmed me.
You know how to think logically.
And you know that grief often dislocates the string of thoughts
And makes it go against the right path that it would normally take.
A clock that instead of moving its hand clockwise
It will make it go the other way.
Oh, crimes don’t exist, because all bad actions,
All belong to an inside out mind, and to a perverse consciousness.
Hush, hush, proud soul you! Don’t kindle with such tremendous ease
The huge rage that smashes my mind into brilliant chips.
God Almighty, efface the annihilation’s guise
That lives deep, demonically cold, into my soul.
Fill down through me Your energy.
Make me confess that I’m Your weak being.
Don’t let me foresee that being free, powerful and proud by blaming You,
I will be greeted by demons, as the one who is meant to be their master.
I shall find myself being sent down in hell.
So I shall be the master over the spirits of perdition. What a great thought.
Oh, my heart — worn out by a drunk thought —
Don’t stir with your beat, the shattered ruins of the world within.
I see the sky a blue field sown with the stars’ seed.
It shows me the draft of the full project that moves its stars by.
In a kernel of an acorn is an oak tree.
With its genetic makeup hidden in an obscure spot
It grows its own roots and its trunk in its own way.
So my people, your power is in you: your rising and your downfall.
I believe that everything that is meant to be strong and lasting,
It has to harden its perfect core in raging storms, in scorching heat and in frost.
The rock that stood firm through many storms is tougher.
The barbarians that conquered the Romans are an imposing storm.
It went on mightily and severely like any other storm.
But like any storm, it was also brief.
Even now the oak-tree of my strong nation, raises its new leaf and its green top.
I see peaceful and happy nations in the world. And I ask myself:
What destiny shall I wish for my nation?
And one idea comes to my mind.
It is definite, meaningful, bright, and it is ahead of its time.
No! No! I wouldn’t like other countries to be like my country.
They don’t have to look like it. My people are meant to be differently than others.
I don’t ask for bliss in my people’s life.
Oh lovely nation, will you understand my hope?
Will you understand how to cherish it?
My dearest, I want to see you not joyful, but great.
Instead of a dull life — a dark and sad dream —
Oh Lord, better let my nation die.
Instead, of a cruel fate that would take it from sorrow to sorrow,
Better, the breath of awful death should touch its head tomorrow.
Comments about this poem (Andrei Mureshan by Peter Mamara )
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