January 20, 2011

The Shadow of Mircea. At Cozia.

"Writing is always a way to write another script more perfect, and I'll be first to applaud the one who will do better /  O scriere este intotdeauna un mijloc de a face alta mai desavarsita, si eu voi fi cel dintai a aplauda pe acela ce va face mai bine" Grigore Alexandrescu

 Mircea The Old and Michael the Brave on stained glass at Cozia Monastery
Mircea the Old and Michael the Brave - Stained Glass at Cozia Monastery

Cozia Monastery (1386-1388), named also "Nucet" or the "Nut Grove", is a a great example of Romanian - Wallachian architecture with  Byzantine Medieval influences,  being the resting place of Mircea the Old / Mircea the Great (Mircea cel Batran), the great Ruler of Wallachia who fought against Turks, father of Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul)  and  grandfather of Vlad the Impaler’s (Vlad Tepes, Dracula).

You can not go to Romania without seeing this amazing piece of historical art with valuable paintings, which was built by Mircea the Old  in a stunning scenery, below Cozia Mountains, along rushing torrents of Olt River. Nowadays, the monastery is situated on E81 road, on the right bank of the Olt River, in Vâlcea county, at 20 km of Râmnicu Vâlcea, in the vicinity of the Calimanesti-Caciulata resorts.

 Olt River near Cozia Monastery

Grigore Alexandrescu (22.02.1810 - 25.11.1885) was a famous romantic Romanian poet, renowned for his poems and fables with social and political undertones. He wrote emotional, touching poems on the heroic episodes from Romanian history, recalling greatness of Romanian invincible heroes, brave soldiers who fought and died for the country as: "An impression dedicated to the Romanian army / O impresie dedicata ostirii romane" "The Tombs. At Drăgăşani / Mormintele. La Dragasani", "The union of the Principalities / Unirea Principatelor", "The Shadow of Mircea. At Cozia / Umbra lui Mircea. La Cozia".  He was also considered the best Romanian fable-writer, his fables, letters and satires being influenced by French style.
He was at Cozia Monastery when wrote "The Shadow of Mircea. At Cozia", in the Cozia Medieval Cultural Center where monk and scholars translated and interpreted many books rendering them accessible to the Romanians.

 Cozia Monastery

" The Shadow of Mircea. At Cozia"

I tried to respect the integrity of the original poem (whose meaning is complicated enough to understand in Romanian, too) when I have translated it in English, keeping most of the words wrote initially by the poet. I hope it comply with the Romanian version of the poem, although is not exactly a literal translation.

Shadows of the towers which are lying over waves
Are extending to the river edges, elongating over water bowl,
And the proudly generations of the spumy waves
Are striking rhythmic, in cadence, the old monastery's walls.

From a cave, from a ravine, night is coming, surrounding me:
From the cliff ridge, blackened faces are descending;
Moss is moving on the wall ... among grass is straining he
Like a blower, passing like a shiver through the knees.

It is time for imagination, one tomb is unveiling,
A ghost-crowned goes out of it ... foresee her...
Leaving ... coming to the shore ... siting ...looking around her ...
The river withdraws... mountains rinse their lures.

Listen ...the Great Ghost beckons ... give a command ...
Armies, countless camps are raising around him...
His voice is heard, increases, being repeated from cliff to sand
Transylvania hears the message, Hungarians take their guns.

River-Olt, that have witnessed the bravery past
And have watched strong legions passing your river-banks,
Great virtues, terrible acts are known to you...,
Who is the man who has terrified your waves?

It is He,  as it shows his sword and armor,
The Knight of Faith, or Lord over the Tiber River,
Trajan, the Glory of Rome who struggle with nature,
Or the Giant of Dacia, or is Mircea the Old?

Mircea! Answered the Hill, Mircea! replied the Olt-River.
This sound, this name was taken by the waves,
They say it to each other, notifies the Danube River,
Whose sparkling waves were washed it away to the Black Sea.

I kiss your hand, Old Shadow! Please, receives worship
From Romania's sons which you have honored:
We arouse our astonishment to your grave;
Centuries, who swallow nations, your name fed.

Your zeal has been tirelessly, endless - this endeavor of yours:
All life, until you're old, you have encouraged the Romanian army
But, alas, fate was not forgiving to crown the desire of yours
And your name to be linked to the freedom's legacy.

But  with so fewer resources, your works were surprising:
The reason, not the result, brought your glory:
What you undertook was right, was noble and was glowing
Therefore, your name will be loved and spotless.

In that stone-temple, road that leads to eternal life,
Where did you think, maybe, about the people that you love
How much pleasure did you feel when Mike's wife  (Michael the Brave was his son)
Came to tell you his feats that made him shine above!

We read about your battles, as we look on the old armor
That once was held by a giant in wars fought;
Its weight is pressing us, passing over our poor bounds
We doubt if that's how people stayed into the truth.

Those times have passed, times of bravery acts
But the sad and bitter laws, habits have betrayed:
Using science and art, twin nations unites
In thought and in peace founding the glory way.

Because War is terrible scourge, that is loved by death
And for it's bloody laurels, nations are paying;
Is the anger of the Heaven, is the fire which is melting
Blooming pastures, and the forests which nurture it.

But the black veil of the Night widens over the hills,
At sunset the clouds gathered, and are spreading as a garment;
Darkness reigns over the waves and in the skies;
All is terror and silence ... shadow's falling in the grave.

The World is waiting ... the tall towers naves
As the ghosts of their great ages, mourn their heroes;

And the proudly generations of the spumy waves
Are striking rhythmic, in cadence, the old monastery's walls.

 Cozia Monastery - Valcea county

The original poem in Romanian published in "Propasirea" in 1844:

Umbra lui Mircea. La Cozia.

Ale turnurilor umbre peste unde stau culcate:
Catre tarmul dimpotriva se întind, se prelungesc,
S-ale valurilor mîndre generatii spumegate
Zidul vechi al manastirei în cadenta îl izbesc.

Dintr-o pestera, din rîpa, noaptea iese, ma-mpresoara:
De pe muche, de pe stînca, chipuri negre se cobor;
Muschiul zidului se misca… pîntre iarba sa strecoara
O suflare, care trece ca prin vine un fior.

Este ceasul nalucirei; un mormînt se desvaleste,
O fantoma-ncoronata din el iese… o zaresc…
Iese… vine catre tarmuri… sta… în preajma ei priveste…
Rîul înapoi se trage… muntii vîrful îsi clatesc.

Ascultati!… marea fantoma face semn… da o porunca…
Ostiri, taberi fara numar împrejuru-i înviez…
Glasul ei se-ntinde, creste, repetat din stînca-n stînca,
Transilvania l-aude, ungurii se înarmez.

Oltule, care-ai fost martur vitejiilor trecute,
Si puternici legioane p-a ta margine-ai privit,
Virtuti mari, fapte cumplite îti sînt tie cunoscute,
Cine oar’ poate sa fie omul care te-a-ngrozit?

Este el, cum îl arata sabia lui si armura,
Cavaler de ai credintei, sau al Tibrului stapîn,
Traian, cinste a Romei ce se lupta cu natura,
Urias e al Daciei, sau e Mircea cel Batrîn?

Mircea! îmi raspunde dealul; Mircea! Oltul repeteaza.
Acest sunet, acest nume valurile-l priimesc,
Unul altuia îl spune; Dunarea se-nstiinteaza,
S-ale ei spumate unde catre mare îl pornesc.

Sarutare, umbra veche! priimeste-nchinaciune
De la fiii României care tu o ai cinstit:
Noi venim mirare noastra la mormîntu-ti a depune;
Veacurile ce-nghit neamuri al tau nume l-au hranit.

Rîvna-ti fu neobosita, îndelung-a ta silinta:
Pîna l-adînci batrînete pe români îmbarbatasi;
Însa, vai! n-a iertat soarta sa-ncununi a ta dorinta,
S-al tau nume mostenire libertatii sa îl lasi.

Dar cu slabele-ti mijloace faptele-ti sînt de mirare:
Pricina, nu rezultatul, laude ti-a cîstigat:
Întreprinderea-ti fu dreapta, a fost nobila si mare,
De aceea al tau nume va fi scump si nepatat.

În acel locas de piatra, drum ce duce la vecie,
Unde tu te gîndesti poate la norodul ce-ai iubit,
Cîta ai simtit placere cînd a lui Mihai sotie
A venit sa-ti povesteasca fapte ce l-a stralucit!

Noi citim luptele voastre, cum privim vechea armura
Ce un urias odata în razboaie a purtat;
Greutatea ei ne-apasa, trece slaba-ne masura,
Ne-ndoim dac-asa oameni întru adevar au stat.

Au trecut vremile-acelea, vremi de fapte stralucite,
Însa triste si amare; legi, naravuri se-ndulcesc:
Prin stiinte si prin arte natiile înfratite
În gîndire si în pace drumul slavei îl gasesc.

Caci razboiul e bici groaznec, care moartea îl iubeste,
Si ai lui sîngerati dafini natiile îi platesc;
E a cerului urgie, este foc care topeste
Crîngurile înflorite, si padurile ce-l hranesc.

Dar a noaptei neagra manta peste dealuri se lateste,
La apus se adun norii, se întind ca un vesmînt;
Peste unde si-n tarie întunerecul domneste;
Tot e groaza si tacere… umbra intra în mormînt.

Lumea e în asteptare… turnurile cele-nalte
Ca fantome de mari veacuri pe eroii lor jalesc;
Si-ale valurilor mîndre generatii spumegate
Zidul vechi al manastirei în cadenta îl izbesc.

1 comment:

W.B. said...

Romania is such a beautiful country. I would like to visit it some day.