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                                          SCRISOAREA I                                                              LETTER  I

Cind cu genele ostenite sara suflu-n luminare            When at night with weary eyelids, I blow off the candle light,

Doar ceasornicul urmeaza lunga timpului carare        Just the clock pursues relentless, long time's path into the night,

Caci perdelele-ntro parte cind le dai si in odaie          When you pull aside the curtains and the moon sends in its flow ,

Luna varsa peste toate voluptuoasa ei vapaie            She suffuses all your bower in her lush voluptuous glow.
Ea din noaptea vesniciei o vecie-ntreaga scoate        Of eternity's dark shadows she brings back eternal pains,

De dureri pe care insa le simtim ca-n vis pe toate        Of whose dreamlike reenactment but a passing shade remains.

Luna tu stapina marii peste a lumii bolta luneci            Sliding high upon the heavens, Moon you mistress of the seas,
Si gindirilor dind viata suferintele intuneci                    You enlighten our reason and you put our pains at ease.
Mii pustiuri scinteiaza sub lumina ta fecioara                You turn thousand deserts blazing, lofty maiden of the night,
Si citi codri ascund in umbra stralucire de izvoara!        And how many forests' shadows hide a spring that's sparkling bright!
Peste cite mii de valuri stapinirea ta strabate                Myriad waves in your dominion, reaching over multitude,
Cind plutesti pe miscatoarea marilor singuratate!          When you float over the tides of moving oceans' solitude!
Cite tarmuri inflorite, ce palate si cetati,                        Many shores of verdant splendor laying spellbound on the shelf,
Strabatute de-al tau farmec tie singura-ti arati!              Palaces and towns enchanted, which you’re showing to yourself!
Si in cite mii de case lin patruns-ai prin feresti              And in myriad of dwellings, sliding past the window's latch,
Cite frunti pline de ginduri ginditoare le privesti!            Many brows immersed in thinking, thoughtful from the heavens watch!
Vezi pe-un rege ce-mpinzeste globu-n planuri              See a king who's scheming how to draw the globe into his lure
                                                  pe un veac                                                           
Cind la ziua cea de miine deabia cuget-un sarac...      When the troubles of tomorrow hardly matter to the poor...
Desi trepte osebite le-au iesit din urna sortii                  Although fate assigned them surely, distinct lots on their first breath,

Deopotriva-i stapineste raza ta si geniul mortii              They're both ruled by your enchantment and the genie of the death
La acelasi sir de patimi deopotriva fiind robi,                  To the same array of passions, in the same degree enslaved,
Fie slabi fie puternici, fie genii ori neghiobi !                  Be they weak or be they mighty, be they genies or depraved
Unul cauta-n oglinda de-si bucleaza al sau par,            One is looking in the mirror to set up his curly hair,
Altul cauta in lume si in vreme adevar,                          Other searches worlds and seasons looking for the truth in there.
De pe galbenele file el aduna mii de coji,                        From the volumes' yellowed pages he picks up a myriad shells,
A lor nume trecatoare le inseamna pe raboj,                  And  writes down in his old record their ephemeral names,

Iara altu-mparte lumea de pe scindura tarabii,            Yet another from his counter is partitioning the realm,
Socotind cit aur poarta marea-n negrele-i corabii,        Counting all the gold the sea bears, black ships sailing under helm,
Iar colo batrinul dascal cu-a sa haina roasa-n              Over there, the old magister, in his shabby, tattered coat,
Intr-un calcul fara capat tot socoate si socoate,            Draws an endless calculation whose result remains remote,
Si de frig la piept-si incheie tremurind halatul              And he buttons up his old gown trembling in the winter freeze,
Isi infunda gitu-n guler si bumbacul in urechi;              Stuffs his neck into the collar, plugs the cotton in his ears;
Uscativ asa cum este, girbovit si de nimic,                  There he is, gaunt, bent and hunched, but for better or for worse,
Universul fara margini e in degetul lui mic,                  He's the undisputed master of the boundless universe
Caci sub frunte-I viitorul si trecutul se incheaga,          For the past merges the future right below his thinking brows,
Noaptea-adinc-a vesniciei el in siruri o desleaga;        Night’s eternal dark enigmas he unravels in his rows,                                                                                                                       
Precum Atlas in vechime sprijinea cerul pe umar,        Same as Atlas on his shoulder held the sky's immensity,                                                                                                                       
Asa sprijina el lumea si vecia intr-un numar.                  Such he poises on one number both world and eternity.
Pe cind luna straluceste peste-a tomurilor bracuri,        As the moon shines in his chamber over heaps of books aglow,                                                                                                                   
Intr-o clipa-l poarta gindul indarat cu mii de veacuri,      In a flash his mind is wandering thousand centuries ago,                                                                                                                 
La-nceput pe cind fiinta nu era nici nefiinta,                    At the root was neither being or non-being in existence,                                                                                                                   
Pe cind totul era lipsa de viata si vointa,                          All was lifeless, without willing or intention and persistence,                                                                                                                     
Cind nu se-ascundea nimica desi tot era ascuns,            When no entity was hiding, though in hiding all was done,                                                                                                                         
Cind patruns de sine insusi, odihnea cel nepatruns          In Himself immersed, was resting the Impenetrable One.
         Fu prapastie, genune, fu noian intins de apa?                  Was there an abyss, a chasm; was there spreading water motion?

         Na fost lume priceputa si nici minte s-o priceapa,            There were there no savvy people, and no mind to grasp the notion,       

Caci era un intuneric ca o mare fara o raza,                      For there was a sea of darkness lacking any ray of light,

Dar nici de vazut nu fuse si nici ochi care s-o vaza,          Neither was it ever seen nor an eye had pierced the night,

Umbra celor nefacute nu-ncepuse a se desface,              Shadows of things uncreated hadn't started to unfold,

Si in sine impacata stapinea eterna pace,                        And itself serenely ruling, an eternal peace took hold.

Dar deodat-un punct se misca..cel dintii si singur.            Suddenly a dot is moving, first and single in attire,                                                                                                 Iata-l
Cum din chaos face muma, iara el devine tatal,                It makes mother out of chaos and itself becomes the sire.

Punctu-acela de miscare mult mai slab ca boaba              Tiny spot in constant motion, weaker than a drop of foam,
            E stapinul fara margini peste marginile lumii,                    Is the master without limits over all world’s borders home,                                                                                                                 

De atunci negura eterna se desface in fisii,                    Since that time, the endless darkness opens up in flowing strips,

De atunci rasare lumea, luna soare si stihii,                  Since that time arose the cosmos, moon and sun and stormy rips,
De atunci si pina astazi colonii de lumi pierdute,            Since that time until the present, clusters of forgotten worlds,

Vin din sure vai de chaos pe carari necunoscute,          From the foggy chaos' valleys, fare along obscure course,

Si in roiuri luminoase izvorind din infinit                          And in shining flocks of sparkles, springing in an endless waving,
Sunt atrase in viata de un dor nemarginit                        Come attracted into being by immeasurable craving.

Iar in lumea asta mare, noi copii ai lumii mici,                  And in this enormous cosmos, we the kids of puny Earth,

Facem pe pamintul nostru musuroaie de furnici,              Mounds of anthills raising in the world from that time forth,
Microscopice popoare, regi, osteni si invatati                  Kings and warriors and scholars, minute nations, grow prolific

Ne succedem generatii si ne credem minunati                Generations in succession, we believe we are terrific

Musti de-o zi pe-o lume mica de se masura cu cotul,        Ephemeral flies inhabit a small world measured in cubits,

In acea nemarginire ne-nvirtim uitind cu totul,                  Spinning wild within the boundless, carelessly losing our wits,

Cum ca lumea asta-ntreaga e o clipa suspendata,            That the universe is merely a suspended bit of time,

Ca-ndaratu-i si nainte-i intuneric se arata,                        That behind it and ahead it, nothing is but the darkness' grime.
Precum pulberea se joaca in imperiul unei raze,                Like the grains of dust are whirling in a shiny beam of light,
Mii de fire viorie ce cu raza inceteaza,                                Casting thousand threads of purple, that will vanish in the night,

Astfel intr-a vesniciei noapte pururea adinca                      Likewise, within the abysmal darkness of eternity,

Avem clipa, avem raza care tot mai tine inca,                      Just for now we have the beaming light's enduring entity,

Cum s-o stinge, totul piere ca o umbra-n intuneric,              Is it sniffed out, all will perish like a shadow in the dark,

Caci e vis al nefiintii universul cel himeric....                        For a dream of inexistence is the universe's mark..

         In prezent cugetatorul nu-si opreste a sa minte,                  In the present doesn't tarry the researcher's mind; instead,

Ci-ntr-o clipa gindu-l duce mii de veacuri inainte;                  In a flash his thought is carried thousand centuries ahead;

Soarele ce azi e mindru el il vede trist si ros,                        Our sun presently beaming, now appears reddish, sad,

Cum se-nchide ca o rana printre nori-ntunecosi,                    Like an open wound, obscured by an ominous dark cloud,

Cum planetii toti ingheata si se-azvirl rebeli in spat,              He perceives the frozen planets breaking loose away in space,

Ei din frinele luminii si ai soarelui scapati;                              Out of light and sun's attraction they escape without a trace,
Iar catapeteasma lumii in adinc s-au innegrit,                        Deep into the world's foundation utter blackness found its hold,

Ca si frunzele de toamna toate stelele-au pierit                      Like the falling leaves of autumn, perished all the stars of old,

Timpul mort si-intinde trupul si devine vecinicie,                    Time's dead body is forever stretched into eternity,
Caci nimic nu se intimpla in intinderea pustie,                          Nothing happens in the wasteland's barren space infinity,

Si in noaptea nefiintii totul cade, totul tace,                              In the night of inexistence all is fallen dark and cold,                                                                                               
Caci in sine impacata reincepe eterna pace...                          And once more serenely ruling the eternal peace takes hold...

Incepind la talpa insasi a multimii omenesti,                              Starting out low in the masses where the human race was bred,

Si suind in susul scarii pin' la fruntile craiesti,                              And ascending up the ladder leading to the royal head,

De a vietii lor enigma ii vedem pe toti munciti,                            We see all the people brooding on the riddle of their life,

Far-a sti sa spunem care ar fi mai nenorociti...                            Cannot say of them who's gotten the most miserable strife.
Unul e in toti tot astfel precum una e in toate                              One there is in all the people and in every people one,

De asupra tuturora se ridica cine poate,                                      Up above the crowd are raising, barely, only those who can,

Pe cind altii stind in umbra si cu inima smerita                            While the others dwell in shadows, meekly with a humble heart,

Nestiuti se pierd in taina ca si umbra nezarita.                              In anonymous oblivion like a grey shade they depart.

Ce-o sa-i pese soartei oarbe ce vor ei sau ce gindesc?...            Will the blind fate ever care what they want or what they think ?...

Ca si vintu-n valuri trece peste traiul omenesc.                            When it rolls over their lifetime, like a wave storm in a blink?.
Fericeasca-l scriitorii, toata lumea recunoasca-l...                        May the writers gratulate him, may the public give him praise...
Ce-o sa aiba din acestea pentru el batrinul  dascal?                    What will get the old magister for himself out of this craze?

Nemurire se va zice. Este drept ca viata-ntreaga,                        Immortality's the answer. Rightly so; his life was bound,

Ca si iedera de-un arbor, de-o idee i se leaga,                              Like the ivy to the arbor, an idea's wrapped around,

"De-oi muri-isi zice-n sine-al meu nume o sa-l poarte,                " If  I die, my name- he muses, word of mouth will carry on,

Secolii din gura-n gura si l-or duce mai departe,                            Centuries' oral tradition will preserve it when I'm gone,

De a pururi, pretutindeni, in ungherul unor crieri,                            And forever and whenever, deep into some people's mind,

Si-or gasi, cu al meu nume, adapost a mele scrieri!"                      To my name bound, will my writings always sanctuary find!"

O, sarmane! Tii tu minte cite-n lume-ai auzit,                Oh, poor soul! Can you remember what on earth you've heard around?
Ce-ti trecu pe dinainte, cite singur ai vorbit?                What you saw and what you witnessed, how your solo speeches sound?

         Prea putin. De ici, de colo de imagine-o fisie,                            All too little. Hither, thither comes a shred of  fancy scene,

Vre-o umbra de gindire, ori un petec de hirtie                              Shades of reasoning or tatters of some paper left unseen;

Si cind propria ta viata singur n-o stii pe de rost,                        And when you are quite unable your own life's course to recall,
O sa-si bata altii capul s-o patrunza cum a fost?                        Will some others strive to study, to perceive what was its call?

Poate vre-un pedant cu ochii cei verzui peste un veac,              Some pedantic green-eyed scholar in the century ahead,

Printre tomuri bracuite asezat si el, un brac,                                In his own critical treatise, piled on others overhead,

Atticismul limbii tale o sa-l puna la cintar,                                    Judge will be without a jury if your atticism is just,

Colbul ridicat din carte ti l-o sufla din ochelari,                            Blowing off the dust that settled on his glasses in disgust,
Si te-o stringe-n doua siruri, asezindu-te la coada,                      He will summarize your lifework in a mere two line phrase,

In vre-o nota prizarita in vre-o pagina neroada...                          In a puny footnote added to some page of witless praise...

Poti zidi o lume-ntreaga, poti s-o sfarami...                                  You can build a world or wreck it...There is nothing more to say,
                                        orice ai spune,                                                                                                                   
Peste toate o lopata de tarina se depune.                                    Over all that once existed, falls a shovelful of clay.

Mina care-a dorit sceptrul universului si ginduri,                          Hand that craved the scepter of the universe and thoughts,

Ce-au cuprins tot universul incap bine-n patru scinduri...            Covering the whole existence roughly fit within four boards...

Or sa vie pe-a ta urma in convoi de-nmormintare,                        They will follow there behind you in the funeral procession,

Splendid ca o ironie, cu priviri nepasatoare,                                Splendid sarcasm in their faces, looking on without compassion,

Iar deasupra tuturora va vorbi vre-un mititel,                                And above the gathered people will address a little runt,

Nu slavindu-te pe tine, lustruindu-se pe el.                                    Not to compliment your passing, but his own conceit to flaunt

         Sub a numelui tau umbra. Iata tot ce te asteapta,                          Under yours name reputation. This is all that lays in wait,
Ba sa vezi... posteritatea este inca si mai dreapta,                        Wait and see... you'll get more justice from posterity's debate,
Neputind sa te ajunga, crezi c-or vrea sa te admire?                    Not being able to equate you, think they'll want to worship thee?
Ei vor aplauda desigur biografia subtire                                        They will certainly admire your thin biography

Care s-o-ncerca s-arate, ca n-ai fost vre-un lucru mare,                Which is trying to portray you, just an undistinguished chap,
C-ai fost om cum sunt si dinsii...Magulit e fiecare,                          You were human like the others...Everybody's pride will flap,
Ca n-ai fost mai mult ca dinsul. Si prostatecele nari                      For you were no more than himself. And their foolish nostrils
Si le umfla orisicine in savante adunari,                                          Puffing up to show importance in the meetings of the learned,
Cind de tine se vorbeste. S-a-nteles de mai-nainte,                      When they talk of you. Conjured to employ a little spin,

C-o ironica grimasa sa te laude-n cuvinte,                                      To extol you in their speeches, putting on a scornful grin,

Astfel incaput pe mina a oricarui, te va drege,                    Handed up to any no-one who'll fix up what's wrong with you,
Rele-or zice ca sint toate cite nu vor intelege...                  What they can't grasp they'll call evil if they cannot follow through.

Dar afara de acestea vor cata vietii tale                            But above this, they'll inquire, looking everywhere to find
Sa-i gaseasca pete multe,rautati si mici scandale,            Flaws and sins and little scandals which were to your life entwined-

Astea toate te apropie de dinsii... Nu lumina                      All of these unite you to them... It is really not the light                                                                                         
Ce in lume-ai revarsat-o, ci pacatele si vina,                      Spread by you out to the people, but the sins and guilt are trite,

Oboseala, slabiciunea, toate relele ce sunt                        Tiredness, fatigue and weakness, evils plaguing man since birth,

Intr-un mod fatal legate de o mina de pamint;                    Fatally conjoined, united to this feeble lump of earth;

Toate micile mizerii unui suflet chinuit                                Petty troubles and vexations of this poor  tormented soul
Mult mai mult ii vor atrage decit tot ce ai gindit.                  Will appeal to them so much more than your thinking as a whole.

...Intre ziduri, printre arbori ce se scutura de floare,          Among walls, between the arbors shedding off their fragrant blossom,

Cum revarsa luna plina linistita ei splendoare!                  See the full moon's splendor glowing, beaming down serenely awesome!

Si din noaptea amintirii mii de doruri ea ne scoate,          She recalls a thousand yearnings from the memory's dark loss,

Amortita li-i durerea, le simtim ca-n vis pe toate,              Numbed their pain, we feel them barely, vaguely, in a dreamy gloss,

Caci in propria-ne lume ea deschide poarta-ntrarii,          For to our own world she opens access to an entry gate,

Si ridica mii de umbre dupa stinsul luminarii...                  And arouses thousand shadows when the candle is abate...

Mii pustiuri scinteiaza sub lumina ta fecioara,                    You keep thousand deserts gleaming, lofty maiden of the night,

Si citi codri-ascund in umbra stralucire de izvoara!            And how many forests' shadows hide a spring that's sparkling bright!

Peste cite mii de valuri stapinirea ta strabate,                    Myriad waves in your dominion, stretching out in multitude,

Cind plutesti pe miscatoarea marilor singuratate,              When you float over the tides of moving oceans' solitude,

Si pe toti ce-n asta lume sint supusi puterii sortii,                And on all who are subjected to the power of the fates,

Deopotriva-i stapineste raza ta si geniul mortii.                    Equally your ray is ruling as the genie of the Death.                                                                                                                             

        MIHAI EMINESCU, 1881, 1 februarie                    Translation: STEFAN ICHIM,
                                                                                          Mobile, March 24, 2006

© Copyright 2008 IKE329Translator (UN: ike329 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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© Copyright 2008 IKE329Translator (ike329 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1384805-EMINESCU-IN-AMERICA---SCRISOAREA-I