Heinrich Heine: Romancero

“The Poems of Heine, Complete. Translated in the Original Meters, With a Sketch of Heine’s Life” by Edgar Alfred Bowring. London: Henry G. Bohn: 1861.

Geoffry Rùdel and Melisanda of Tripoli

In the Chateau Blay still see we

Tapestry the walls adorning,

Work’d by Tripoli’s fair countess’

Own fair hands, no labor scorning.

Her whole soul was woven in it,

And with loving tears and tender

Hallow’d is the silken picture,

Which the following scene doth render:

How the Countess saw Rùdel

Dying on the strand of ocean,

And the ideal in his features

Traced of all her heart’s emotion.

For the first and last time also

Living saw Rùdel and breathing

Her who in his every vision

Intertwining was and wreathing.

Over him the Countess bends her,

Lovingly his form she raises,

And his deadly pale mouth kisses,

That so sweetly sung her praises.

Ah, the kiss of welcome likewise

Was the kiss of separation,

And they drain’d the cup of wildest

Joy, and deepest desolation.

In the Chateau Blay at night-time

Comes a rushing, crackling, shaking;

On the tapestry the figures

Suddenly to life are waking.

Troubadour and lady stretch their

Drowsy ghostlike members yonder,

And from out the wall advancing

Up and down the hall they wander.

Whispers fond and gentle toying,

Sad-sweet secrets, heart-enthralling,

Posthumous gallant soft speeches,

Minnesingers’ times recalling:

“Geoffry! At thy voice’s music

Warmth is in my dead heart glowing,

And I feel once more a glimmer

In the long-quench’d embers growing!”

“Melisanda! I awaken

Unto happiness and gladness,

When I see thine eyes; dead only

Is my earthly pain and sadness.”

“Geoffry! Once we loved each other

In our dreams; now, cut asunder

By the hand of death, still love we, -

“Amor ‘tis that wrought this wonder!”

“Melisanda! What are dreams?

What is death? Mere words to scare one!

Truth in love alone e’er find we,

And I love thee, ever fair one!”

“Geoffry! Oh love sweet our meetings

In this moonlit chamber night,

Now that in the day’s bright sunbeams

I no more shall wander lightly.”

“Melisanda! Foolish dear one!

Thou art light and sun, thou knowest!

Love and joys of May are building,

Spring is blooming, where thou goest!” –

Thus those tender spectres wander

Up and down, and sweet caresses

Interchange, while peeps the moonlight

Through the window’s arch’d recesses.

But at length the rays of morning

Scare away the fond illusion;

To the tapestry retreat they

On the wall, in shy confusion.