by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
(Mureshan is alone in the woods. An old church with a stone tower is on the back of a hill. It is night and moonlight. The clock tolls the midnight.)
Midnight strikes in the old stone tower with a bell heart.
Through the world’s checkpoint no souls enter and no souls depart.
And the sleep, death’s brother, with an eye full of dissent
Goes through the realm of the resting thought
And it dips its cold wing in a lake of dreams,
And with sleepy thought, it touches people’s heads.
Unhappiness stifles the joy in their minds.
When, everything sleeps at the sound, which comes from the-source-of-peace,
An eye is vigilant in the night. A soul doesn’t keep quiet.
And today I direct the same harsh questions to my fate.
And I draw a parallel between life and death …
And nothing changes inside the balance of my mind.
Since between the two, my tongue is unmoved.
For a long time I don’t listen any more, to what people say.
There is nothing for me, while for them there is plenty.
The future seems to me a past which revisits.
The same string of passions were spun and spun
By the dried hands of the old time…
And the twisted mysteries are clear to me…
I don’t ask why destiny didn’t provide for us
Good luck without pain, and life without end.
I put aside for a long time those chewed books,
Which, say a life-file has always two pages.
And even the most cheerful eye, it is not without passion.
My mind shall leave this enormity to others,
Since, nothing shall change in this world with it.
Let children work out unusual findings, in their own words.
I ask a query: not new but right, not open, but on a larger scale.
We hold in our hands our life and our death:
We feel in charge in the same way over both.
A cup of poison, a bullet, a knife,
Set us free in the same way, from the long sorrow of our life.
I don’t ask to get happiness in this world,
Since the world-delight is a vain flight of fancy.
But does our life on this world, no matter how gloomy,
Fulfil a mission in some way?
Is there a meaning to our life, some gist for salvation?
Do we slaughter our beings on the altar of this world?
Does the shine of our mind, or our heartbeat,
Lift a grain of the heavy weight of our shared dissatisfaction?
Living with desire, does someone else feel less pain?
If you sacrifice your life for a nation,
Shall you carry with much ease your life burden?
Do your awful tears and your awful effort,
Somehow change in secret your given fate?
Do you have a certain purpose on this planet?
Shall your poor breath make your nation if not happy, at least well known?
Oh, I don’t ask for good fortune. I ask you to teach me.
How my life shall have a price… How my death shall have a price too…
So, I won’t say about myself what was said about man most of the time,
That he is the dream of a shadow, and shadow of a dream…
I’m with my heart sick, and I’m sick in my heart.
I dig the lava of my inspiration in my mind.
I dedicate my life to loathing and to sadness,
And I drag along my ill-fated ghost through my existence…
I’m too good to be great, and too proud to be insignificant.
My life is that of a man not worth mentioning.
And unlike any other, I’m put through torment.
The knowledge that I’m nobody also joins with it.
Oh, lever of this world, you which spin the thread of time,
I call you to my heart, in despair, with delirium.
Answer to me, who is the soul of this world? God?
Is it the blindness? Is it the lack of sympathy? Is it the good or the bad?
And the stone doesn’t say a thing. And you are a stone too.
OK, I shall taunt my mind, so I answer for You.
The blindness? The carelessness? The naïve-blindness?
How lovely and deliberately was created its framework.
He created wild wolfs for the gentle lambs.
He created flesh with eyes for the hungry.
The natural world is bliss, and it is in eternal balance.
For a long time, the lion and the wilder beast are about to make peace.
But the man, who is a select being,
He has a brain and a soul mainly for the purpose to feel pains in this world.
What simple carelessness and naïve-blindness,
And endless harmony… he is a paradise of joy.
But no! What do I say? You are cursing, poet you… look thoroughly.
The world was created only for the good.
Don’t the priests and their old books say it?
Doesn’t the legend sound in our ears for thousands of years?
Don’t you see that virtue finds its own reward?
A reward, which is envied by men and by heaven?
A shroud and four planks is a very attractive reward.
It’s easy for you to get rid of many thoughts inside it.
For example thoughts, which don’t make sense…
You go by, thirsty for such riches alongside life’s stores…
And then? … Then the priests were right.
All are vain things, when death is in your chest.
But let’s see now, throughout your long centuries,
What cruel pay back have you kept for the bad ones?
Kill the joy of a nation, and chase from them
The centuries’ peace for a long time,
And you are a hero… Be proud, be a stuck-up man,
But, demand that no one shall touch your proud person.
And then you have a feeling of honour. Despise this life.
Bow from dusk to dawn, man you, proud and unknown…
Think that you are a saint and a chosen one
— A man born from distinctive flesh —
And people shall pray sacrilegiously at your actual bones.
Praise and give your life to the feelings of hate.
Name envy and hate as virtues…
Name the astute men gifted, and the executioner courageous.
Make a stairway for fame from people passions.
And they all shall follow you in lasting blindness.
Praise their pride with a phrase,
And you shall build a nation from scattered mobs.
Be sure from the onset that they shall follow you only to bad things.
And they shall sprinkle the land with blood and ashes.
Guard yourself of one thing… Heaven forbids
That you shall tell them the truth in a moment of forgetfulness…
They shall nail you on the cross. They shall boo at you and throw stones.
They shall scatter the ashes from your beloved native place.
And you shall end in squalor… mourned by no one…
Don’t you see how right this way is, and how good was the globe carved?
Silly guys on one side, and sly guys are on the other side.
And they value the bad passions.
Don’t the silly guys deserve to be ruled?
Shouldn’t they be sacrificed for an idea?
What better fate could they have in this world?
Other than being carried to battles by a great, saintly name.
A name… What could be greater than a name?
Nations butcher one another for this kind of things.
If you put your hand on the history’s book,
You shall see in it a real artwork.
You shall see how it unravels fully in front of your eyes
— In spite of everything — an obsession for praise.
And time is measured by the evil’s step… Hate and evil,
If these two are not there, the history is not there at all.
Perjurer, blood thirsty, envious and unkind,
The whole human race is a cursed breed,
Created just right to rule the world…
It owes its drive to its meanness.
This had moved man to the top rank of nature’s living things.
This is the secret in the heart of human beings…
What a meaningful plan… What mind you have, and what an eye up there.
How in the sweet seed of desire,
Was placed the power of life… And so this fine plan…
If one year munches through it, it is recharged next year again.
It does so forever… And in my ear this is clearly audible:
“The seed of the world is the endless evil! ”
So, sing it nations you. In the pulpit’s profound reverberation
I shall mix the old legend of Satan.
Oh Satan you, the proud and timeless spirit of lost hope,
With your rough grunt, like the murmur of the sea…
Now I understand your sad smile, your sad word,
“That all there is in this world must end…”
You have ruptured the hell to throw it into the stars.
Rebel you! You rose up with vast factions of angels.
You pulled out the sea from its bed, so you can splash it on the sun.
You sought to unhinge entire solar systems…
You knew that the timeless injustice, rules in heaven,
And that awkward centuries, crown it with apprehension!
Oh, if I could see the storm how it unhinges stars
And stretches waves of darkness on the skies
And that through the darkness demons fly in assemblies.
And from the deep, they thrash the floating world like chaff…
And how the sky caves in with its suns
It pulls with it the time, with its thousands of decades.
It buries itself in the chasm that is stretched without limit.
The worn out black and dim lights, plummet.
The void widens over the deserted space, on the dying worlds.
Seized by a mad desire, seeing you I shall shed tears:
Praise to you Satan, you won three times!
Then, receive me among the angels of perdition.
Teach me as well: the deep, demonic cold, word of total destruction.
I swear to you that I would make the details known
To the world with an awful ease…
Then, get black, sun you… Then, be afraid, Heaven you…
Then, I shall greet the eternal truth…
And being free, being great, being pleased by blaming Heaven,
I shall climb up, flying, the sky stairways…
So I can cry with vengeance on my lips, into imagined worlds:
I do curse you, because I had life in this world!
Oh just strike me, oh, play you, funny side,
Old comedian you, with a voice of a gust;
Don’t you see, that you can’t do some other better good deed
Other than killing me for good?
Oh, you think that I tremble, but you see, I still believe there is death.
You would be too merciful, if you had this fate on your hand.
Then I would laugh at life, making fun of it.
And I would end hundreds of lives inside me.
I would work any nerve of my body from inside,
So, I could assist the eternal death inside my chest…
But, oh my, I shall never die. You know this too well.
My soul shall be subjected to new destinies in the sky’s worlds, again.
A non-stop Akashic link shall be my awful pain.
So I shall come back with the same soul yet again,
Being a tool of shame to the eternal migration.
Powerful You, Old You, Giant You… You are a midget
Since You aren’t able to wipe out anything.
(He falls down tired on an old tree trunk, and covers his eyes with his hand.
A sweet music can be heard.)
Master of all nights!
Give us days
— Through the thoughts haze.
We are always young and alert.
We build a world
— In a second.
On which waves launch in song,
With a sweet and harmonious
— How to widen the desert under your eyes.
Is there some other skilled hand like ours?
And tell me gently your instructions.
We shall follow up fantastic plans
— Through tree branches.
Wind you! Pierce the silence through dried leaves.
Moon you! Orbit over the treetops
Dark water-spring you,
Unfold your swish into a song.
Moon you, my sister,
Be there over his head and enchant his reflection.
He shall live to an old age.
And he shall forget his entire nature.
Take him to the old seashores.
Make him a sad and slim monk.
Slowly, offer him to oblivion.
Give a new fate to his life.
I break up dry tree branches.
I go by.
I push down tree branches,
I hit in windows
With my enchanted hand;
I browse through the windows
How people surround the table.
And with skilful hand
I scare their entire abode,
When I howl distressingly like a wolf,
When I miaow softly like a cat,
And I wake up the tomcat,
Which sleeps under a seat.
I am wind.
I tear down uneasily some dry tree branches.
THE WATER SPRING
I am the water spring.
I flow down the mountain.
I make noise like a crunch,
When the wind breaks a tree branch.
(The sky seems to come down. It is harmony. A change takes place.)
(He is alone)
How the clouds roar awfully, and the sea washes on stones,
And old thunders hit on the sky expanse with their hammers,
Like old men, and like proud ironsmiths.
They make a gold crown for the storms…
The grey sea stirs with no end in sight.
It hits wildly on the edge of the old, bare stones, which are exposed.
There, the long and icy castle raises its grey and huge walls.
Broken domes are seen in the lightning flashes.
These are lit gaps, ruined long time ago…
Oh, now and then appears in the old window,
An angel — a woman with such a fine profile!
But who is she? Why does she come? What is she doing in the castle?
At this time, the sea turns upside down its rebel bits and pieces.
And it shakes off its fizz between stone-boulders,
And it moves with craze the world of its waves…
(A ghost shows up in the castle.)
And into this night which has deaf ears and it roars,
Does she gaze like a moon, from the old walls?
It is like she rises with dark around her, from the walls’ height
—Through which she comes to light —
Showing softly their gloomy and grey immensity, too.
Come down from the ruins, because I want to adore you!
A flower splinters from the branches of dark thoughts.
Accept it. My heart offers it to you. It is my love.
Come down from heights. I adore you. I invoke you, please.
A fire star is on your head. Your hair is full of blue flowers.
(The ghost fades away.)
Oh, come dear, so I can caress you head. Oh, stay
So I can lose my being in your big, blue eye…
You’ve left! You’ve left! Oh sea, swallow me up, break me to bits.
With you waves clamour, lure my wits.
(He climbs up in a boat and sails on the sea. The sky clears up.
A horn sound can be heard.)
A golden horn sounds, and it fills the clear night
With lost shadows from the lonely world of the forest…
Chitchat spirits you! Come here in groups!
You, who fill the place right now with sad sounds;
Now you hide under a leaf or you hide in the dark.
You sting the white legs of a blond young woman.
And Dokeah’s buffalos you, with large crowns on your heads,
And white horses that live near the sea, you — with white manes…
Restore to life forest you! Sprites you, with makeup of flowers,
Flow through dark branches, like fine scents.
And the sound of the footstep shall bring the footstep only.
Wear coats of brown diamond on white bodies,
Which shall glitter in the shade, and shall dangle awesomely
And slowly through the air, and moving in the dark shall go by.
(He looks towards the sea.)
From rich islands, a boat comes into sight
It cuts the waters in two. It has its sails fully raised.
The dreamy Cypress trees move up and down,
And they mirror their dark leaves into the ocean.
And through branches of a depressing dark-green,
Golden oranges reflect into the blue ocean.
It seems that the sound of a bell startles the evening.
The sunset comes down on the cliffs long edges.
They stay coloured golden, in the sun… The nightfall redness
Arches in, and it colours in red the swell of the seas.
And the beautiful islands, which are full of meadows,
Look like tall sarcophagi, drifting on clear waves,
Covered only with flowers and some giant kind of forest-clearings.
Now the eyelids of the evening are getting closed.
The waters become grey… and in its gentle song,
The islands fade away into the sea, like sarcophagi.
What a place! Old sea cliffs raise their rocky skeletons.
Those are cracked by the wind and by the waves.
A temple is half drowned by the water, and is in ruins…
Its walls are broken and its pillars,
Which are about to fall… and in these ruins,
Inside a black den through holes in the walls,
Lives this monk… Moon you! Come up on the sky,
And make life from dreams, and from shadows make reality.
(The moon comes in sight)
We the wavy swell,
We come; we come well.
We whack, we whack.
In a face of a huge rock;
And our breath
It’s wind! It’s wind!
We generate out to sea
A song, a cry!
(A handsome guy shows up from the sea.)
Water nymph you, who swim,
Your eyes have a blue gleam.
And you have your long tresses,
Which are gold treasures.
My target you!
You have sweet white bosoms.
I shall catch you one day on the seas.
You shall feel my gentle efforts,
With which my ardent heart
THE WATER NYMPH
Messenger of the Queen Sea,
If you were faithful, loving,
And a groom,
I’d follow gladly
Your sweet gaze,
I’d give you my white snowy bosoms
—As a trophy.
Water sprite, you sweet babe, oh, come to me.
Don’t you see that your dolphin dies in the sea?
THE WATER NYMPH
We shall check!
We shall ask the mermaid to sing.
If you won’t love her,
Nab a kiss from me!
A wave may well throw me in your flippers,
I know too well to make love,
I imagined in my mind for such a long time
— That I hugged you at my bosoms.
You are twin with the gods
— With regard to your leisurely steps.
No one that sings songs
Has a voice akin to yours.
Tell us the song, which on crazy nights,
You sing at times
When the moon wobbles
Through feeble mist,
Through the sacred forest…
Come my love! With my flippers,
I shall hold your neck close.
And my face I shall stick
— On your hot cheek.
Come my love!
I keep many cuddling names for you.
The dream of my life is, that
You’d be happy in your heart.
Why scared away of my say
You turn your eye the wrong way?
You can’t even see
How happy you could be.
My unrelenting thought
Is about you, day and night.
My entire heart asks for you.
And I call for you slowly, in my thought.
Come, come my dearly beloved,
So I cuddle you at my chest.
And I shall loose my gaze
— Into your dark eyes.
I shall put my mouth next to your ear
And I shall tell you I love you, dear.
Lad you, since you are so dear to me,
I ravage you with my eye.
(The water nymph dreamily lets her head back,
on the Dolphin's shoulder. He kisses her.)
The sea blue fizzy waves rise and fall.
And lightning bolts strike steadily…
Oh, sweet lust of this intense night, you. From afar I see the vessel,
Which with its prow splits in, the waves’ swell.
It is the monk. He dreams wrapped in his mantle.
The sound of spraying waves, greet him well.
And silver swans tug to the shores his boat,
Sailing quickly under the moon’s pale light
— On the clear waves’ thousandfold swells.
He has a beech-wreath, weaved on his curls.
That he is the Chief-God-Of-The-Seas it seems.
Swans gently lull him in his fulfilled dreams.
From blessed islands cheerful songs echo not far from him.
The luck and despair are seen here at the same time…
Now he steps down from his boat on a boulder.
His white beard unfolds on his chest to his shoulder
And it’s stirred by the wind after being split in two…
There is heard the voice of
Raise from your night, dearly beloved babe you.
(He comes into view.)
There is a stranger here. His white face is like a pearl.
And he wears a silver girdle.
White wings open on his marble-like shoulders.
There on his head and in his hair are red poppy flowers…
Who are you stranger, with dark eyes beneath your eyelashes?
I? I am the joy of this worldly life.
Your place isn’t here. I don’t search for luck.
I don’t hear the world’s many voices, and how you speak…
Can’t you see my eyes, and my white beard?
My mouth can hardly follow the speed of my thought.
I don’t believe in anything. I don’t believe my gentle mouth,
Which tells lies to my happiness… Go! Take any road.
You say… Look around you… the world is a fairy site.
I take you through joy, and your heart doesn’t know it.
But you see… don’t you see there? A shape like snow appears.
She softly calls you… much softer, with her voice…
Listen to the wind blowing in ruins, and to the grumble of the waves.
Don’t you see how white hands carry lights through the skies?
Lights made of red rosin torches,
Which stain the night, to look-like a sad vault?
It cuts the deep darkness. It thins it.
Lightning bolts strike the columns and redden the skies.
Now, at this time again, amid flickering torches,
She climbs down the stone-steps, into the giant tomb.
I see her shape glowing in the dark. She is white
— Like a silver shadow on a blackboard.
(King Sleep vanishes.)
You’re the secret of my night, blond babe you, from the skies.
You have a voice like the sound of gentle mysteries.
Oh come, so I can hug you at my chest. Revisit me.
Lass you, with hair of gold and with your wise eyes…
Oh, you! You are pretty the way you come down from the stars.
And you try to find my sorrows, and the yearning of my days.
Are you an angel or a soul, which for a long time was lost?
And at whose night-voice, I listen to at night?
Oh, who are you? Tell me why do you hug me?
Why your gentle smile is tenderness and honey?
Why the best of honey is the word from your lips?
Why you offer me your lips, when my heart asks for you?
Why you let you white bosoms to be the trophy for my mouth?
And your wavy hair, so I can play with it…
Oh, come my love! I surrender to you on my knees.
I adore you with desperation in my heart…
I come! I come!
My soul in its eternity is attracted forever by your request.
It comes up thrilled from the nothingness’ night…
It kept going for hundreds of years, being greeted by angels
— A light legend — crowned with stars.
But it heard a plea, a sweet plea; it was yours.
The light flickered at your upsetting say.
God Himself, Who, breezes in His blossoming sky
Listens to the gentle plea, which goes by slowly
Trough the starry nights as a wonderful melody
— That overflows His old face, with tender smiles.
And once more His old heart it inspires.
So He can think of new worlds, how a lyre plays eternal harmonies…
And you directed towards me those songs, full of love, full of muse.
And I followed the song… My being emerges
And it casts too little shadows on your large forehead.
I embrace your high-flying thoughts in my thought.
I fire up my heart towards your tender heart.
Because I love you… What do you want?
And your clear tear turns my night into a gentle summer day.
And your voice in mourning that goes through to the sky,
It gives me life… It is fleeting in its sweet sadness.
Oh, just increase in length your blessed tenderness.
I count with your nights, my days on this earth…
Your thoughts, your dreams and desires, are my world,
And it is an echo of your song — a tiny one.
Oh, I ask you with my all being to love me
— The way a dying star prays to a Galaxy.
I shiver when you smile. I’m quiet when you talk.
You are the voice of my thoughts…
My thoughts annoy me if they are not yours.
And I curse my mind because it’s not like you — bright and wise.
Oh, come! Come even now… Oh, smile at me.
I cannot grasp at once your beauty…
If I hear… I can’t search for your face gentle beam.
If I see your celestial, friendly-phantom,
My ear is deaf and my mouth has no voice… Oh you, cherub,
Star from the sky — you have not dreamed of — my babe…
Oh, my heart would like to break off from my chest.
But, who are you? Oh, open your mouth
Are you my guardian angel? Are you a muse? Are you God?
Wretched you, don’t test me out. You have little hope…
The beauty of my life is secret. It is the smooth finish of my heart.
Your love is secret. My being shall remain in eternal obscurity
— For your deceptive eye.
Follow me in your boat tugged by the swans.
On the stormy and fast currents of the sea, it shall take us far…
Don't you hear a sad shout?
It echoes for a long time, from the night of the old Egypt.
(The phantom gets on the boat. The swans tug it. The monk is seated, and he holds with his hand the Shape, which stands up.)
Don’t you know who she is? She’s an edge of a thread
— From the essence of the nature which, gives life to us.
It is in any being, even if you don’t know — abstinent you.
You cannot wipe out the life with the sponge of your thought…
Reject your life. Despise it in your chest…
It crops up from rays and it comes back to you.
Do you renounce joy? Joy is only an eternal dream.
It runs away at daytime. It will come back when one closes his or her eye.
No matter how long you shudder, you can’t come out of your skin, dear guy.
Since you become the toy of my prank.
Cover up your day with the haze of your thoughts. I am forever awake.
I shall make a life from your dream.
(The curtains drop. From far away, singing can be heard.)
— With your eye of a gentle light.
Your long curls,
A gold treasure is.
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