It seemed that midst the clouds a gate was opened wide
Through which the pallid empress of waning night did ride.
O sleep, o sleep in silence, where thousand torches loom,
Wrapped in your silver garments, high in your crystal tomb,
Your sepulchre of heaven, of sky’s arc opaline,
O you beloved, and worshipped, fair moon of night the queen!
Unbounded is the kingdom that dreams beneath your haze,
What villages and valleys are lighted by your rays;
The sky is all a sparkle, and ‘neath your pallid gleam
The lonely ruined castle has walls of chalk it seem.
The empty graveyard crouches beside the time-old church,
Its crosses leaning all ways, on one an owl a perch.
The belfry creaks, the toaca against it upright swings
As though some flying demon with dark transparent wings
Had touched it unexpectedly while lighting on the ground,
That it begins to tremble, and gives a wailing sound.
The church, a ruin lorn,
Is bowed and sad and empty, a place of shadows mourn;
And through it’s gaping windows a moaning breeze is heard,
As though grey witches whispered and one could hear their word.
On pillars and on altar, and painted walls remain
Naught but the gloomy contours on which time spreads its stain.
For priest a cricket chirps a sermon fine, obscure;
For sexton digs a wood worm eternal sepulchre.
Faith sets up in its churches fair icons to the saints,
And in my soul sweet fancy a fairy legend paints;
But of time tossing billows, and wild tumultuous strain,
Naught but the gloomy contours and shadows now remain.
In vain I seek what happened in my exhausted mind.
A hoarsely prating cricket is all that I can find.
In vain my hand despairing upon my heart I clench,
Its stir is but a woodworm within the coffin bench.
When I look back on living, the past seems to unfold
As though it were a story by foreign lips retold.
As though I had not lived it, nor made of life a part.
Who is it then so softly this tale recites by heart
That I should pause to listen… And laugh at what is
As though it never happened?… Maybe since long, I’m dead!
Translated by Corneliu M. Popescu