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English language
GHOSTS
Limba Romana
STRIGOII
... for it fades away like smoke above the earth.
They bloomed like flowers, were cut like grass,
Wrapped up in a linen and buried in the ground

Within an ancient church with lofty soaring dome,
Between tall waxen candles, does in her coffin lie,
Her face towards the altar, wrapped in white drapery,
The bride of brave King Harold, the King of Avari,
While softly chanted dirges do from the darkness come.

Upon the dead girl's breast a wreath of jewels glows,
Her golden hair hangs loosely over the coffin side,
Her eyes are sunken deep; a sad smile sanctified
Rest on her parched lips, that death to mauve has dyed,
While is her lovely face as pale as winter snows.

Beside her on his knees is Harold, mighty King,
And from his bloodshot eyes does shine untold despair,
His mouth with pain is drawn, dishevelled is his hair.
Though like a lion he would roar, grief holds him silent there;
Three days he thinks upon his life in nameless sorrowing.

"I was still but a child. Within the pine-tree glade
My greedy eyes already had conquered many a land,
I dreamed an empire grow beneath my fancy's wand,
I dreamed the world entire was under my command,
The foaming Volga's ford I fathomed with my blade.

Countless mighty hosts my youthful zeal led forth
By whom as of some God my name was worshipped.
I felt the very earth tremble beneath my tread;
Before my marching hosts the wandering nations fled,
Crowding in their terror the empty frozen North.

For Odin had deserted his frosty ancient home,
Down long and tortuous ways his wandering people went;
Priests with snowy locks and backs that time had bent
Roused and led through forests where peace an age had spent
Thousand diverse tongues along the way to Rome.

One eve my troops I camped upon the Nistru's side,
Intending on the morrow your battle host to quell;
But there amidst your councillors I came beneath your spell;
Before your marble loveliness my eyes in wonder fell,
So fearless you stood, in all your childish pride.

Before your soft reproach my words dried on my tongue.
I strove to make an answer, but could no answer find.
Would earth have swallowed me, and left no trace behind,
My hands before my face I put my shame to blind,
And tears came to the eyes where tears had never sprung.

Your councillors did smile and soon departed then
To leave us quite alone. I asked you, after a space,
Though scarcely did I dare to look upon your face;
Why have you come, o Queen, into this desert place?
What do you seek so far away from courts and men?

In a murmur filled with tears, gentle and sad you spake
Holding me with your eyes in which the sky shone clear,
You said: "I beg of you, o King and cavalier,
To give to me as prisoner the one I hold most dear,
Harold, that untamed youth, him would I captive take."

Turning my head away, I handed you my sword.
My people ceased their march along the Danube side;
Harold no longer dreamed the universe to ride,
His ears for tender tones and poetry did abide,
The conqueror from that hour was vanquished by your word.

From then sweet maid with hair of gold as ripened grain
Each night you came to me when nobody should know,
And your white, slender arms around my neck did throw,
And raising coaxing lips to mine you said in whispers low:
"O, King, it is for Harold I come to beg again."

If you would ask for Rome, if you would ask the earth,
Or all the crowns that rest on mortal monarch's head,
The wandering stars that beam across the heavens shed,
There heaped about your feet would I bestow instead,
But do not ask for Harold for he is nothing worth.

Ah, where are gone the days when brave I probed the ford
To stride into the world. Far better had it been
If so much loveliness my eyes had never seen...
To ride through ruined towns, to lead the battle keen
And thus fulfil those dreams the pine-tree forest stored l"

The torches are raised up. The train moves slowly on.
The Danube Queen is carried down to her narrow bed,
Councillor and monarch with heavy drooping head,
Priests with snowy beards and eyes that tears shed,
Mumbling their dirge in mournful unison.

Beneath the arching vault the slow procession goes,
A mystery religion, a strange and sombre lore,
They lower down the coffin beneath the gaping floor,
Then close it with a cross, a seal for evermore,
Beneath the holy lamp that in the corner glows.

II
Be silent, in God's name,
To hear the bay
Of the earth-hound
Under the stone cross.

Harold on his charger sweeps far o'er hill and dale,
Like a dream he goes within the moon's pale zone;
Across his breast in folds his black cloak he has thrown,
Behind him drifts of leaves high in the air are blown,
While never straight before him the Polar Star does sail.

Reaching at last the forest that clothes the rising hills,
Where does a sweet spring murmur, well out from 'neath a stone,
Where grey with scattered ashes an old hearth stands alone,
Where far off in the forest the earth-hound sounds his tone
And with his distant barking he midnight silence fills.

Upon a rocky ledge, quite stiff and ashen faced,
There sits, with crutch in hand, a priest of pagan creed
For ages sits he thus, by death forgot indeed,
Moss growing on his forehead and on his breast long weed,
His beard reaching to the ground, his eyebrows to his waist.

Blindly thus for ages he sits both day and night,
Until his feet have grown one with the stone at last,
Numbering the days that numberless have passed,
While over him are circling in endless circles vast
Two crows on weary wings, one black, the other white.

And now upon his arm the youth doth sudden lay
His eager hand, and wakes the old priest terrified;
"To you, o timeless Seer, across the world I ride
To give me back the one that envious death does hide,
And all my days for you I will unceasing pray."

Now with his crutch the Seer his heavy eyebrows parts
And gazes on the King, but not an utterance makes.
Then out o'the stone's grey substance his feet with trouble
And turning towards the forest his battered crutch he shakes,
And lastly up the narrow path with heavy paces starts.

Upon the oaken doorway that guards the mountain keep
With crutch on high uplifted loud three times does he knock;
With thunderous commotion the gates slow backwards rock,
The priest kneels down... while through the young king's spirit flock
A thousand dreadful fears, and thousand terrors leap.

Into the lofty vault of shining marble black
They go. The door swings shut again with rumbling sound;
The Seer now lights a candle that spreads its glow around
And throws away behind them their shadows on the ground
And lights the sombre walls that shine like iron back.

There in the dreadful darkness they know not what will come...
The old magician makes a sign that he should bide,
And Harold crouches down, his sword clasped at his side,
While nameless, awful dread does through his spirit ride,
Blank gazing at the walls of that uncanny tomb.

Till soon the Seer did seem immeasurably to grow;
He waved kiss magic crutch above his ancient head,
And through the chilly vault a wind in wailing sped
And thousand whispering voices into the silence shed
A song the filled the dome with gentle cadence low.

And now the singing gradually increases like a breeze
Until with sudden swelling it to a tempest grows,
As though a gale that madly across the ocean blows,
As though the tortured soul of deepest earth arose
And all that lives and feels with horrid fright must freeze.

The mighty vault now trembles from ceiling to the floor,
The marble walls are rocking and crack right to their base
While through the darkness curses do sobs in panic chase,
And cries and moans and lightning amidst the tumult race
Till thunderous indeed has grown the wild uproar...

"Out of the heart of earth let man the dead awake,
And let the stars her eyes their pristine spark ignite,
Her golden hair the moon, like it was once, make bright,
While you, o Zamolxis, eternal seed of light,
With breath of fire and frost let her of life partake.

Search wide throughout the kingdom where Harold is the king
Search deep the very entrails of this revolving earth,
Out of ice make vapour, from stone make gold of worth,
Blood make out of water, and fire from rock give birth,
While in her maiden heart again let hot blood spring."

At that the walls enclosing withdraw before his eyes,
He sees the snow and lightning and ice as one conspire,
The sky, the wind, the water, the elements entire,
He sees a mighty city beneath a bridge of fire,
And over all a thunderstorm of wailing and of sighs.

He sees the Christian church bow 'neath the tempest's host,
He sees the falling lightning its bulwarks shatter through,
The secret tomb within wide open laid to view,
The covering stone of marble divided now in two
And out of that uncovered grave does rise... a ghost.

A thing of snow she is. Upon her bosom frail
A wreath of rubies glows, her hair to earth arrayed,
Her eyes sunk in her head, her lips of violet shade,
Her hands as though of wax upon her temples laid,
Her tender childish face as new slaked lime is pale.

The tumult of her coming does all the clouds dispel,
The lightning and the thunder out of the heavens fly,
The moon turns pitchy-black within a drooping sky,
The waters sink to nowhere and leave the oceans dry;
An angel in her sleep, it seems, who walks through hell.

The vision fades away. Before those gleaming walls,
A form does now approach, with smooth and silent stride;
'Tis she. Harold stares, amazed with joy, wide eyed,
Then reaches out his arms to clasp her to his side,
But in a sudden trance to earth unconscious falls.

He feels two icy hands clasp gently round his heart,
A long and freezing kiss is set upon his breast,
As though from him in sleeping his very life would wrest...
Then feels the life returning to her against him pressed
And knows that from that hour they nevermore will part.

'Tis verily the maid who in her coffin lay?
He feels in her the life yet ever warmer glow,
Till she around his neck her snowy arms does throw,
And raising coaxing lips she says in murmurs low;
"'O King, behold Maria for Harold comes to pray !

Come, Harold, your sweet brow against my bosom lean;
Thou god with eyes of darkness... how wonderful they shine!
But let me round your neck my golden hair entwine...
My life and youth your presence does in the sky enshrine.
O let me gaze into your eyes of sweet and fatal sheen."

And now a sound of voices does gradually awake,
A song that ancient sweetness upon the ear bestows,
As when a spring at autumn among the dead leaves flows,
A harmony of love, voluptuous repose,
As when in silver cadence the breeze enfolds the lake.

III
"... as often when people die, many of those
dead, they say, wake up to become ghosts..."

In high and empty halls the torches redly burn
Wounding like glowing coals the darkness they intrude;
Harold is striding there in madman's frenzied mood,
Harold, the youthful King; a King in solitude,
While all his palace seems to wait the dead return.

Upon the marble mirrors a heavy shadow rears
Through which the torches' glimmer shines as on silken net,
A twilight doubly mournful with sorrowing beset;
The empty palace chambers house naught but dark regret,
While out of every corner it seems a dead man peers.

Since when the dome was shattered by dreadful lightning stroke
The whole day long he passes in cold and leaden sleep,
Upon his heart was branded a symbol black and deep.
But in the night he rises and does his council keep,
And then the pallid king does don his gloomy cloak.

It seems that now a mask of wax King Harold wears,
So paled and so still the face his grief's conceal;
Yet burn his eyes like fires, his lips the blood reveal,
Upon his heart he carries a black and deadly seal,
While on his noble forehead an iron crown he bears.

Since then in death's dark garments he wraps his life forlorn,
He cares but for sad chants as does the tempest play;
Often 'neath the moon at midnight rides away,
And when he does return his eyes are bright and gay
Until death's shuddering voice will grasp him at the dawn.

Harold, what can mean this sombre funeral guise,
This face your wear like wax, so pale and motionless?
What is this seal, this scar that does your heart oppress,
Why do you light the funeral torch, love dirges of distress?
Harold, you are dead if I believe my eyes !

Today once more he mounts his fiery Arab horse
And o'er the wilderness he speeds with arrow's flight
While does the moon shine down her soft and silver light.
Now over the horizon Maria comes in sight,
And through the whispering forest the wind flies on its course.

Set in her golden hair a wreath of rubies gleams,
The light of many saints does in her large eyes sleep.
On towards the meeting place their chargers swiftly sweep.
They meet and each in greeting bows to the other deep
But on their scarlet lips are stains of blood it seems.

They gallop like the tempest with thousand wings, they fly
Speeding o'er the country their chargers side by side,
Speaking of their love that naught can more divide,
She rests upon his arm that is around her plied
And on his ready shoulder her golden head does lie.

"Come Harold, your sweet brow upon my bosom lean
Thou God with eyes of darkness... how beautiful they shine !
But let me round your neck my golden hair entwine...
My life and youth your presence does in the sky enshrine.
O let me gaze into your eyes of sweet and fatal sheen."

A soft and soothing scent is in the air dispersed,
A shower of lime-tree blossoms the wind in passing throws
Upon the way by which the Queen of Danube goes,
A murmuring of breezes among the petals blows,
While do in tender kiss unite their lips athirst.

Thus flying like the wind they each of love inquire,
Nor see beyond the night the dawn already glowing;
Yet in their souls they feel an icy shiver growing
And o'er their pallid faces a mask of death is showing
While slowly on their lips their whispered words expire.

"O Harold, on your breast allow my face to hide,
Do you not hear far off the cock's hoarse morning cry?
A spear of light that sprang athwart the eastern sky
To wound his fleeting life within my heart does pry;
Within my soul is born the ruddy fire of day."

Harold bolt upright was stricken like an oak,
His eyes forever veiled with death's eternal shade.
Their steeds fled on untended with panic dread afraid,
Like to a demon's shadow straight out of Hades strayed
They went... Among the trees a plaintive wind awoke.

They speed on like a whirlwind, cross rivers no bridge spanned.
Before their flying course the dawn-lit mountains gleam,
They traverse hill and valley, and many a fordless stream,
Upon their waxen foreheads their crowns like lightning beam,
While far away before them the pine-tree forests stand.

Now from his rocky throne the old magician spies
Their coming, and he calls above the tempest fray
The sun to check its course, the night its moon delay,
The gale to fly abroad, the earth its movement stay,
Too late... The rising sun is mounting up the skies.

The hurricane let loose a tale of pain relates
And sweeps along besides them to fill their steeds with dread;
Their eyes are dimmed and downcast, the fire in them is shed,
Beautiful their dying, in death forever wed.
Now, widely swinging, open the temple's double gates.

They ride into the temple, the gates behind them swing.
Lost for all eternity within the tomb's constraint;
Around them in the darkness there sounds a sad complaint
For that fair mortal maid whose face was of a saint,
For Harold, youthful monarch, the pine-tree forest's king.

The Seer now lowers his eyebrows, the world fades from
His feet into the granite again enrooted grow,
Numbering the days that numberless did flow, 
Harold in his failing mind a tale of long ago,
While soaring o'er his head two crows: one black, one white.

Upon his rocky ledge, upright and ashen faced,
There sits with crutch in hand the priest of pagan creed.
For ages sits he thus, by death forgot indeed,
Moss growing on his forehead and on his breast long weed,
His beard reaching to the ground, his eyebrows to his waist.
 

Translated by

Corneliu M. Popescu
... ca trece aceasta ca fumul de pre pamīnt.
Ca floarea au īnflorit, ca iarba s-au taiat,
cu pīnza se-nfasura, cu pamīnt se acopere.

Sub bolta cea īnalta a unei vechi biserici,
Īntre faclii de ceara, arzīnd īn sfesnici mari,
E-ntinsa-n haine albe, cu fata spre altar,
Logodnica lui Arald, stapīn peste avari;
Īncet, adīnc rasuna cīntarile de clerici.

Pe pieptul moartei luce de pietre scumpe salba
Si paru-i de-aur curge din racla la pamīnt,
Cazuti īn cap sunt ochii. C-un zīmbet trist si sfīnt
Pe buzele-i lipite, ce vinete īi sunt,
Iar fata ei frumoasa ca varul este alba.

Si līnga ea-n genunche a Arald, mīndrul rege,
Scīnteie desperarea īn ochii-i crunti de sīnge,
Si īncīlcit e parul lui negru... gura-si strīnge;
El ar racni ca leii, dar vai! nu poate plīnge.
De zile trei īsi spune povestea vietii-ntrege:

?Eram un copilandru. Din codri vechi de brad
Flamīnzii ochi rotindu-i, eu mistuiam pamīntul,
Eu razvrateam imperii, popoarele cu gīndul...
Visīnd ca toata lumea īmi asculta cuvīntul,
Īn valurile Volgai cercam cu spada vad.

Domnind semet si tīnar pe roinicele stoluri,
Caror a mea fiinta un semizeu parea,
Simteam ca universul la pasu-mi tresarea,
Si natii calatoare, īmpinse de a mea,
Īmplut-au sperioase pustiul pīn? la poluri.

Caci Odin parasise de gheata nalta-i doma,
Pe zodii sīngeroase porneau a lui popoara;
Cu crestetele albe, preoti cu pleata rara
Trezeau din codrii vecinici, din pace seculara
Mii roiuri vorbitoare, curgīnd spre vechea Roma.

Pe Nistru tabarīsem poporul tau sa-mpil;
Cu sfetnici vechi de zile ma-ntīmpinasi īn cale,
Ca marmura de alba, cu par de aur moale;
Īn jos plecat-am ochii-naintea fetei tale,
Statīnd un īndaratnic - un sfiicios copil.

La blīnda ta mustrare simt glasul cum īmi seaca...
Eu caut a raspunde, nu stiu ce sa raspund;
Mi-ar fi parut mai bine-n pamīnt sa ma cufund,
Cu mīnile-amīndoua eu fata īmi ascund
Si-ntīia data-n viata un plīns amar ma-neaca.

Zīmbira īntre dīnsii batrīnii tai prieteni
Si singuri ne lasara... Te-ntreb īntr-un tīrziu,
Uitīndu-ma la tine, privind fara sa stiu:
TLa ce-ai venit, regina, aicea īn pustiu ?
Ce cauti la barbarul sub streasina-i de cetini ? t

Cu glasul plin de lacrimi, de-nduiosare cald,
Privindu-ma cu ochii, īn care-aveai un cer,
Mi-ai zis: TAstept din parte-ti, o, rege cavaler,
Ca-mi vei da prins pe-acela ce umilit ti-l cer...
Eu vreau sa-mi dai copilul zburdalnic - pe Arald.

Si īntorcīndu-mi fata, eu spada ti-am īntins.
Pe plaiuri dunarene poporu-si opri mersul,
Arald, copilul rege, uitat-a Universul,
Urechea-i fu menita ca sa-ti asculte viersul,
De-atunci, īnvingatoareo, iubit-ai pe īnvins.

De-atunci, fecioara blonda ca spicul cel de grīu,
Veneai la mine noaptea ca nimeni sa te vada
Si-nlantuindu-mi gītul cu brate de zapada,
Īmi īntindeai o gura deschisa pentru sfada:
TEu vin la tine, rege, sa cer pe-Arald al meut.

De-ai fi cerut pamīntul cu Roma lui antica,
Coroanele ce regii pe frunte le aseaza
Si stelele ce vecinic pe ceruri colindeaza,
Cu toate la picioare-ti eu le puneam īn vaza,
Dar nu-l mai vrei pe Arald, caci nu mai vrei nimica.

Ah ! unde-i vremea ceea cīnd eu cercam un vad
Sa ies la lumea larga... si fost-ar fi mai bine
Ca niciodata-n viata sa nu te vad pe tine -
Sa fumege nainte-mi orasele-n ruine,
Sa se-mplineasca visu-mi din codrii cei de brad !"

Facliile ridica, se misc-īn line pasuri,
Ducīnd la groapa trupul reginei dunarene,
Monahi, cunoscatorii vietii pamīntene,
Cu barbele lor albe, cu ochii stinsi sub gene,
Preoti batrīni ca iarna, cu gīngavele glasuri.

O duc cīntīnd prin tainiti si pe sub negre bolti,
A misticei religii īntunecoase cete,
Pe funii lungi coboara sicriul sub parete,
Pe piatra pravalita pun crucea drept pecete
Sub candela ce arde īn umbra unui colt.

II
Īn numele sfīntului
Taci, s-auzi cum latra
Catelul pamīntului
Sub crucea de piatra.

Arald pe un cal negru zbura, si dealuri, vale
Īn juru-i fug ca visuri - prin nouri joaca luna -
La pieptu-i manta neagra īn falduri si-o aduna,
Movili de frunze-n drumu-i le spulbera de suna,
Iar steaua cea polara i-arata a lui cale.

Ajuns-a el la poala de codru-n muntii vechi,
Izvoara vii murmura si salta de sub piatra,
Colo cenusa sura īn parasita vatra,
Īn codri-adīnci catelul pamīntului tot latra,
Latrat cu glas de zimbru rasuna īn urechi.

Pe-un jilt taiat īn stīnca sta tapan, palid, drept,
Cu cīrja lui īn mīna, preotul cel pagīn;
De-un veac el sede astfel - de moarte-uitat, batrīn,
Īn plete-i creste muschiul si muschi pe al lui sīn,
Barba-n pamīnt i-ajunge si genele la piept...

Asa fel zi si noapte de veacuri el sta orb,
Picioarele lui vechie cu piatra-mpreunate,
El numara īn gīndu-i zile nenumarate,
Si fīlfīie deasupra-i, gonindu-se īn roate,
Cu-aripile-ostenite, un alb s-un negru corb.

Arald atunci coboara de pe-al lui cal. C-o mīna
El scutura din visu-i mosneagu-ncremenit:
- O, mag, de zile vecinic, la tine am venit,
Da-mi īnapoi pe-aceea ce moartea mi-a rapit,
Si de-astazi a mea viata la zeii tai se-nchina.

Batrīnul cu-a lui cīrja sus genele-si ridica,
Se uita lung la dīnsul, dar gura-nchisa-i tace;
Cu greu a lui picioare din piatra le desface,
Din tronu-i se coboara, cu mīna semn īi face
Ca-n sus sa īl urmeze pe-a codrilor potica.

Īn poarta prabusita ce duce-n fund de munte,
Cu cīrja lui cea vechie el bate de trei ori,
Cu zgomot sare poarta din vechii ei usori,
Batrīnul se īnchina... pe rege-l prind fiori,
Un stol de gīnduri aspre trecu peste-a lui frunte.

Īn dom de marmur negru ei intra linistiti
Si portile īn urma īn vechi tītīni s-arunca.
O candela batrīnul aprinde - para lunga
Se nalta-n sus albastra, de flacare o dunga,
Lucesc īn juru-i ziduri ca tuciul lustruiti.

Si īn tacere cruda ei nu stiu ce astept...
Cu mīna-ntinsa magul īi face semn sa sada,
Arald cu moarte-n suflet, a gīndurilor prada,
Pe jet tacut se lasa, cu dreapta pe-a lui spada,
Īn zid de marmur negru se uita crunt si drept.

Fantastic pare-a creste batrīnul alb si blīnd;
Īn aer īsi ridica a farmecelor varga
Si o suflare rece prin dom atunci alearga
Si mii de glasuri slabe īncep sub bolta larga
Un cīnt frumos si dulce - adormitor sunīnd.

Din ce īn ce cīntarea īn valuri ea tot creste,
Se pare ca furtuna ridica al ei glas,
Ca vīntul trece-n spaima pe-al marilor talaz,
Ca-n sufletu-i pamīntul se zbate cu necaz -
Ca orice-i viu īn lume acum īncremeneste.

Se zguduie tot domul, de pare-a fi de scīnduri,
Si stīnci īn temelie clatindu-se vedem,
Plīnsori sfīsietoare īmpinse de blestem
Se urmaresc prin bolte, se cheama, fulger, gem
Si cresc tumultuoase īn valuri, rīnduri, rīnduri...

- Din inima-i pamīntul la morti sa deie viata,
Īn ochii-i sa se scurga scīntei din steaua lina,
A parului lucire s-o deie luna plina,
Iar duh da-i tu, Zamolxe, samīnta de lumina,
Din duhul gurii tale ce arde si īngheata.

Stihii a lumei patru, supuse lui Arald,
Strabateti voi pamīntul si a lui maruntaie,
Faceti din piatra aur si din īnghet vapaie,
Sa-nchege apa-n sīnge, din pietre foc sa saie,
Dar inima-i fecioara hraniti cu sīnge cald.

Atuncea dinaintea lui Arald zidul piere;
El vede toata firea amestecat-afara -
Ninsoare, fulger, gheata, vīnt arzator de vara -
Departe vede-orasul pe sub un arc de para,
Si lumea nebunise gemīnd din rasputere;

Biserica crestina, a ei catapeteasma
De-un fulger drept īn doua e rupta si tresare;
Din tainita mormīntul atuncea īi apare,
Si piatra de pe groapa crapīnd īn doua sare;
Īncet plutind se-nalta mireasa-i, o fantasma...

O dulce īntrupare de-omat. Pe pieptu-i salba
De pietre scumpe... parul i-ajunge la calcīie,
Ochii cazuti īn capu-i si buze viorie;
Cu mīnile-i de ceara ea tīmpla si-o mīngīie -
Dar fata ei frumoasa ca varul este alba.

Prin vīnt, prin neguri vine - si nourii s-astern,
Fug fulgerele-n laturi, lasīnd-o ca sa treaca,
Si luna īnnegreste si ceru-ncet se pleaca
Si apele cu spaima fug īn pamīnt si seaca -
Parea ca-n somn un īnger ar trece prin infern.

Privelistea se stinge. Īn negrul zid s-arata,
Venind ca-n somn lunatec, īn pasuri line, ea;
Arald nebun se uita - cu ochii o-nghitea,
Puternicele brate spre dīnsa īntindea
Si-n nesimtire cade pe-a jiltului sau spata.

Īsi simte gītu-atuncea cuprins de brate reci,
Pe pieptul gol el simte un lung sarut de gheata,
Parea un junghi ca-i curma suflare si viata...
Din ce īn ce mai vie o simte-n a lui brate
Si stie ca de-acuma a lui ramīne-n veci.

Si sufletul ei dulce din ce īn ce-i mai cald...
Pe ea o tine-acuma, ce fu a mortii prada ?
Ea-nlantuieste gītu-i cu brate de zapada,
Īntinde a ei gura, deschisa pentru sfada:
- Rege,-a venit Maria si-ti cere pe Arald !

- Arald, nu vrei tu fruntea pe sīnul meu s-o culci ?
Tu zeu cu ochii negri... o, ce frumosi ochi ai !
Las? sa-ti īnlantui gītul cu parul meu balai,
Viata, tineretea mi-ai prefacut-o-n rai,
Las? sa ma uit īn ochii-ti ucizator de dulci.

Si blīnde, triste glasuri din vuiet se desfac,
Acusa la ureche-i un cīntec vechi strabate,
Ca murmur de izvoare prin frunzele uscate,
Acus o armonie de-amor si voluptate
Ca molcoma cadenta a undelor pe lac.

III
?... cum de multe ori cīnd mor oamenii,
multi deīntr-acei morti zic se scoala de se fac strigoi..."
Īndereptarea legii, 1652

Īn salele pustie lumine rosi de tortii
Ranesc īntunecimea ca pete de jeratic;
Arald se primbla singur, rīzīnd, vorbind salbatic
Arald, tīnarul rege, e-un rege singuratic -
Palatu-i parc-asteapta īn veci sa-i vie mortii.

Pe-oglinzi de marmuri negre un negru nimitez,
A faclelor lucire razbind prin pīnza fina
Rasfrīng o dureroasa lumina din lumina;
Zidirea cea pustie de jale pare plina
Si chipul mortii pare ca-n orice colt īl vezi.

De cīnd cazu un trasnet īn dom... de-atunci īn somn
Ca plumbul surd si rece el doarme ziua toata,
Pe inima-i de-atuncea s-a pus o neagra pata -
Dar noaptea se trezeste si tine judecata
Si-n negru-mbraca toate al noptii palid domn.

Un obrazar de ceara parea ca poarta el,
Atīt de alba fata-i s-atīt de nemiscata,
Dar ochii-i ard īn friguri si buza-i sīngerata,
Pe inima sa poarta de-atunci o neagra pata,
Iara pe frunte poarta coroana de otel.

De-atunci īn haina mortii el si-a-mbracat viata,
Īi plac adīnce cīnturi, ca glasuri de furtuna;
Ades calare pleaca īn mīndre nopti cu luna,
Si cīnd se-ntoarce, ochii lucesc de voie buna,
Pīn? ce-un fior de moarte īl prinde dimineata.

Arald, ce īnsemneaza pe tine negrul port
Si fata ta cea alba ca ceara, neschimbata ?
Ce ai, de cīnd pe sīnu-ti tu porti o neagra pata,
De-ti plac faclii de moarte, cīntare-ntunecata ?
Arald ! de nu ma-nsala privirea, tu esti mort !

Si azi el se avīnta pe calul sau arab,
Si drumul, ca sagetii, īi da peste pustie,
Care sub luna plina luceste argintie -
El vede de departe pe mīndra lui Marie,
Si vīntu-n codri suna cu glas duios si slab.

Īn parul ei de aur, rubine-nflacarate,
Si-n ochii ei s-aduna lumina sfintei mari -
S-ajung curīnd īn cale, s-alatura calari,
Si unul īnspre altul se pleaca-n desmierdari -
Dar buzele ei rosii pareau ca-s sīngerate.

Ei trec ca vijelia cu aripi fara numar,
Caci caii lor alearga alaturea-nspumati,
Vorbind de-a lor iubire - iubire fara sat -
Ea se lasase dulce si greu pe al lui brat
Si-si razimase capul balai de al lui umar.

- Arald, nu vrei pe sīnu-mi tu fruntea ta s-o culci ?
Tu zeu cu ochii negri... O ! ce frumosi ochi ai...
Las? sa-ti īnlantui gītul cu parul meu balai...
Viata, tineretea mi-ai prefacut-o-n rai -
Las? sa ma uit īn ochii-ti ucizatori de dulci !

Miroase-adormitoare vazduhul īl īngreun,
Caci vīntul adunat-a de flori de tei troiene,
Si le asterne-n calea reginei dunarene.
Prin frunze aiureaza soptirile-i alene,
Cīnd gurile-nsetate īn sarutari se-mpreun.

Cum ei mergīnd alaturi se cearta si se-ntreaba,
Nu vad īn fundul noptii o umbra de roseata,
Dar simt ca-n al lor suflet trecu fior de gheata,
De-a mortii galbeneala pieriti ei sunt la fata...
Ei simt c-a lor vorbire-i mai slaba, tot mai slaba.

- Arald ! striga craiasa - las? fata sa-mi ascund,
N-auzi tu de departe cucosul ragusit ?
O zare de lumina s-arata-n rasarit,
Viata trecatoare din pieptu-mi a ranit...
A zilei raze rosii īn inima-mi patrund.

Arald īncremenise pe calu-i - un stejar -
Painjenit e ochiu-i de-al mortii glas etern,
Fug caii dusi de spaima si vīntului s-astern,
Ca umbre stravezie iesite din infern
Ei zboara... Vīntul geme prin codri cu amar.

Ei zboar-o vijelie, trec ape far? de vad,
Naintea lor se nalta puternic vechii munti,
Ei trec īn rapejune de rīuri fara punti,
Coroanele īn fuga le fulgera pe frunti,
Naintea lor se misca padurile de brad.

Din tonul lui de piatra batrīnul preot vede
Si-n vīnturi el ridica adīncul glas de-arama,
Pe soare sa-l opreasca el noaptea o recheama,
Furtunelor da zborul, pamīntul de-l distrama...
Tīrziu ! caci faptul zilei īn slava se repede !

Porneste vijelia adīncu-i cīnt de jale,
Cīnd ei soseau alaturi pe cai īncremeniti,
Cu genele lasate pe ochi painjeniti -
Frumosi erau si astfel de moarte logoditi -
Si-n doua laturi templul deschise-a lui portale.

Calari ei intra-nuntru si portile recad;
Pe veci pierira-n noaptea maretului mormīnt.
Īn sunete din urma patrunde-n fire cīnt,
Jelind-o pe craiasa cu chip frumos si sfīnt,
Pe-Arald, copilul rege al codrilor de brad.

Batrīnu-si pleaca geana si iar ramīne orb,
Picioarele lui vechie cu piatra se-mpreuna,
El numara īn gīndu-i si anii īi aduna,
Ca o poveste-uitata Arald īn minte-i suna,
Si peste capu-i zboara un alb s-un negru corb.

Pe jiltul lui de piatra īntepeneste drept
Cu cīrja lui cea veche preotul cel pagīn,
Si veacuri īnainte el sede-uitat, batrīn,
Īn plete-i creste muschiul si muschi pe al lui sīn,
Barba-n pamīnt i-ajunge si genele īn piept

1876, 1 dec.

Mihail Eminescu
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