Today we celebrate the Romanian National Culture Day, which is linked to the birthday of Eminescu, the last Romantic poet of Europe & the world.
“O Mother …” is one of his outstanding masterpieces.
by Mihai Eminescu
O mother, darling mother, lost in time’s formless haze
Amidst the leaves’ sweet rustle you call my name always;
Amidst their fluttering murmur above your sacred grave
I hear you softly whisper whene’er the branches wave;
While o’er your tomb the willows their autumn raiment heap…
For ever wave the branches, and you for ever sleep.
When l shall die, beloved, do not beside me mourn,
But break a branch of blossom that does the lime adorn,
And take it very softly, and plant it at my head;
I’ll feel its shadow growing as on the soil it’s shed;
And watered by the tears that you for sorrow weep…
For ever grow that shadow, and l for ever sleep.
And should it be together that we shall die one day,
They shall not in some cemet’ry our separate bodies lay,
But let them dig a grave near where the river flows
And in a single coffin them both together close;
That l to time eternal my love beside me keep…
For ever wail the water, and we for ever sleep.
English version by Corneliu M. Popescu
Eminescu, the icon of the Romanian culture and the last romantic poet of Europe, is today celebrated in all corners of the world.
I came across his masterpieces as a child before entering school. My mother helped me memorise one of his famous, delicate and simple poems, “Sleepy Little Songsters” (Somnoroase păsărele). This English version by Sylvia Pankhurst and I. O. Stefanovici was published in 1930, when the two translators gave voice in English to Eminescu’s masterpieces, for the first time. Their volume was prefaced by Nicolae Iorga and George Bernard Shaw, two world’s famous figures.
Year by year I discovered many poems as well as a number of prose pieces. Year by year my abilities to understand Eminescu developed, but I could never say that I have discovered him entirely. Each time I re-read some of his works, I discover new meanings and metaphors, which I could…
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