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Venus and Madonna

Vezi toate poeziile poetului

Oh, ideal lost in night-mists of a vanished universe:
People who would think in legends - all a world who spoke in verse;
I can see and think and hear you - youthful scout which gently nods
From a sky with different starlights, other Edens, other gods.

Venus made of blood-warm marble, stony eyes which often flash,
You embodied in a goddess woman s beauty, charm and dash:
Arms as soft as is the thinking of an emp ror born a poet;
Woman s own divine attraction, still enticing as I saw it.

Raphael enwrapped in dreaming as below a starry sky
- Just a spirit drunk with light-rays and with Springs that never die -
Saw you and thus dreamed of Eden - flowery and redolent, -
Saw you as a queen of heaven, mong the angels marriment,

And upon the empty canvas traced the God-Star of the Sea,
With a star-adorned tiara, with her bland smile, maidenly,
Pale complexion framed by gold rays - angel-like yet feminine:
After woman have been modelled angels in the vaults serene.

Thus myself, lost in the darkness of a life bent on the lyre,
Noticed you - a shallow woman, poor in soul and poor in fire -
And I wrought from you an angel, gentle as the magic day,
When, upon a life laid barren, blandly smiles a lucky ray.

Seeing that your face was pallid with a sickly drunkenness
And your lips turned purple, bitten by corruption and excess;
Cruel one, I cast upon you poetry s veil - white and dense
Covering your morbid pallour with the beams of innocence,

I had given you the pale rays which pour, magic and unreal,
On the brow of genius-angels, of angel turned ideal;
I changed demon into vestal, giggles into symphony,
And your leering sidelong glanced into the Aurora s glee.

But by now the veil has fallen! Tearing me from dreams of bliss
You are sobering my forehead with the frost-bite of your kiss
Now I m looking at you, demon, and my love - quenched, cold, forlorn,
Teaches me to look upon you with the icy eye of scorn.

You appear as a bacchante who has stolen by deceit
Martyrdom s green wreath of myrtle mingled with a maiden s pleat
Holy was the Virgin s spirit, prayer s very counterpart,
While a long spasmodic frenzy pictures the bacchante s heart.

Oh, as Raphael created our God-Star of the Sea,
With a star-adorned tiara, with her bland smile, maidenly,
I myself have rendered godly what was merely feminine,
Just a cold and leaden woman, barren-hearted, viperine!

Are you crying, child? - Your eyes which abjectly now supplicate -
Can they once more crush and crumble my heart of an apostate?
I have kissed your hand, I m kneeling, searching your dark, sea-deep eyes
Asking them if you can pardon - humbly I apologize.

Wipe your eyes, abandon crying! My reproach was out of season -
Cruel, unjust accusation, lacking grounding, lacking reason.
Heart of hearts! E en though a demon through our love you re sanctified
And I venerate this demon with fair hair, eyes opened wide.

(1870, Translated by Andrei Bantas)


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