Mihai Eminescu - translations by Adrian G. Sahlean & al.

home / eve star-cuclin / eve star-hastie / eve star-levitki / eve star-walker / eve star-grimm / eve star-c.m.popescu
glossa / unto the star / over tree tops / wretched dionis / stars in the sky / store


Translators Side-By-Side - The 'Cosmic Flight'

On this page, you are invited to sample a fragment from 'Legenda Luceafarului' /' The Legend of the Evening Star' in my rendition, as well as versions of the same text by other well-known Eminescu translators. Also side-by-side you will find links to versions of 'Glossa' ('Glossa'), 'La Steaua' ('Unto The Star') and 'Peste vârfuri' ('Over Tree Tops'). This is a unique feature for poetry sites, meant to give the reader a better insight into the difficulties of translating Eminescu's content, musicality, style of language, etc. (more on this in the Translator's Note).The featured translators, listed alphabetically, are Andrei Bantas, Dimitrie Cuclin, Petre Grimm, Roy McGregor-Hastie, Leon Levitki, Sylvia Pankhurst, Corneliu M. Popescu and Brenda Walker. Their name will appear in the navigation bar only if applicable to the featured poem. The poem is listed under my English title, while the often divergent title translation by others will be mentioned before each author's text.

The Evening Star is included in the 'Eternal Longing, Impossible Love' cd/book project presented elsewhere on the site. You can listen to the 'Cosmic Flight' as narrated by American Repertory Theatre actor Jeremy Geidt by clicking here

home / eve star-cuclin / eve star-hastie / eve star-levitki / eve star-walker / eve star-grimm / eve star-c.m.popescu
glossa / unto the star / over tree tops / wretched dionis / stars in the sky / store
Mihai Eminescu

(Legenda Luceafarului)

Porni luceafarul. Cresteau
In cer a lui aripe,
Si cai de mii de ani treceau
In tot atitea clipe.

Un cer de stele dedesupt,
Deasupra-i cer de stele-
Parea un fulger nentrerupt
Ratacitor prin ele.

Si din a chaosului vai,
Jur imprejur de sine,
Vedea ca-n ziua cea dentii,
Cum izvorau lumine;

Cum izvorind il inconjor
Ca niste mari de-a-notul...
El zboara, gand purtat de dor,
Pan' piere totul, totul;

Caci unde-ajunge nu-i hotar,
Nici ochi spre a cunoaste,
Si vremea-ncearca in zadar
Din goluri a se naste.

Nu e nimic si totusi e
O sete care-l soarbe,
E un adinc asemene
Uitarii celei oarbe.

-De greul negrei vecinicii,
Parinte, ma dezleaga
Si laudat pe veci sa fii
Pe-a lumii scara-ntreaga;

O, cere-mi, Doamne, orice pret,
Dar da-mi o alta soarte,
Caci tu izvor esti de vieti
Si datator de moarte;

Reia-mi al nemuririi nimb
Si focul din privire,
Si pentru toate da-mi in schimb
O ora de iubire...

Din chaos, Doamne,-am aparut
Si m-as intoarce-n chaos...
Si din repaos m-am nascut'
Mi-e sete de repaos.

-Hyperion, ce din genuni
Rasai c-o-ntreaga lume,
Nu cere semne si minuni
Care n-au chip si nume;

Tu vrei un om sa te socoti,
Cu ei sa te asameni?
Dar piara oamenii cu toti,
S-ar naste iarasi oameni.

Ei numai doar dureaza-n vint
Desarte idealuri-
Cand valuri afla un mormint,
Rasar in urma valuri;

Ei doar au stele cu noroc
Si prigoniri de soarte,
Noi nu avem nici timp, nici loc,
Si nu cunoastem moarte.

Din sinul vecinicului ieri
Traieste azi ce moare,
Un soare de s-ar stinge-n cer
S-aprinde iarasi soare;

Parand in veci a rasari,
Din urma moartea-l paste,
Caci toti se nasc spre a muri
Si mor spre a se naste.

Iar tu, Hyperion, ramai
Oriunde ai apune...
Cere-mi cuvantul meu dentai-
Sa-ti dau intelepciune?

Vrei sa dau glas acelei guri,
Ca dup-a ei cantare
Sa se ia muntii cu paduri
Si insulele-n mare?

Vrei poate-n fapta sa arati
Dreptate si tarie?
Ti-as da pamantul in bucati
Sa-l faci imparatie.

Iti dau catarg linga catarg,
Ostiri spre a strabate
Pamantu-n lung si marea-n larg,
Dar moartea nu se poate...

Si pentru cine vrei sa mori?
Intoarce-te, te-ndreapta
Spre-acel pamant ratacitor
Si vezi ce te asteapta.

Adrian G. Sahlean

(The Legend of the Evening Star)

So left the Evening Star. His wings
Grew large across the sky
As thousand years of reach would spring
And at a wink go by;

A canopy of stars below,
Above, a starry dome:
An endless lightning seemed to flow
And through the heavens roam

And in the dark that streamed around,
As on the first day's morn,
He glimpsed the chaos vales unbound
From where the light is born.

He flies aswim through seas of light
With love on wings of thought ...
Until all perishes from sight,
Until all turns to naught;

He goes where there's no bound or bourn
Nor is there eye to know,
And time itself from voids uptorn
Struggles in vain to grow;

For there is naught, yet it is there
A thirst that draws him on,
A depth that lingers, like the snare
Of blind oblivion...

"Father, from dark eternity
My burden now reverse
And your name ever hallowed be
In all the universe!

Ask me, Lord, anything, but give
Me fate of different breath,
For you're the spring of lives to live,
And giver are of death;

Immortal nimbus overturn,
From eyes remove the fire,
But for all give me in return
One hour of desire ...

From chaos, Lord, I came alive,
My thirst to chaos goes
And, of repose once born, I strive
To go back to repose!"

"Hyperion, you out of chasm
Arise with worlds of grace!
Ask not for wonder or phantasm
That has no name or face;

To be a human is your call?
A man, is that your mind?
Oh, let the humans perish all,
Others would breed in kind.

Men only build to nothingness
Vain dreams in noble guise:
When waves to silent tomb quiesce
New waves again will rise;

Men merely live by stars of luck
And star-crossed fatefulness;
We have no death to prove our pluck
Nor place or time possess.

From the eternal yesterday
Today lives what will die,
Should sun from heavens once decay
New suns would light the sky

And seem to rise to endless morn
While death in wait would lie,
For all die only to be born
And all are born to die.

But you, Hyperion, shall live
Wherever you may set ...
So ask me now the Word to give:
That you can wisdom get?

Or, maybe, give you voice and bring
Sweet music to your song
So forests in the mountain sing
And oceans go along?

Perhaps you justice wish to make?
Your strength with deeds to prove?
The earth in pieces I could break
So you can kingdoms move!

I'll give you armies march their stride
To steal the world its breath,
Long ships upon seas far and wide ...
But I won't give you death!

And who to die for, now behold!
Of what awaits, beware!
Go back and watch that wand'ring mould
And heed to what lies there."



Lucifer set out and o'er
The sky his wings extended,
And million years flew past before
As many moments ended.

A sky of stars above his way,
A sky of stars below;
As lightning flash midst them astray
In one continuous flow.

Till round his primal chaos hurled
When from enwrapping night
The first, upflaming dawn unfurled
Its miracle of light.

Still further flew he ere the start
Of things of form devoid,
Spurred by the yearning of his heart,
Far back into the void.

Yet where he reach'd is not the bourn
Nor yet where eye can see;
Beyond where struggling time was torn
Out of eternity.

Around him there was naught. And still,
Strange yearning there was yet,
A yearning that the space did fill,
As when the blind forget.

'O, Father God, this knot untie
Of my celestial birth,
And praised you will be on high
And on the rolling earth.

The price you ask is little count,
Give fate another course,
For you are of fair life the fount,
And of calm death the source.

Take back this halo from my head,
Take back my starry lour,
And give to me, O God, instead
Of human love one hour.

Out of the chaos was I wrought,
In chaos would I be dispersed,
Out of the empty darkness brought,
For darkness do I thirst...'

'Hyperion. O child divine,
Don't thus your state disclaim,
Nor ask for miracle, nor sign
That has nor sense nor name.

You wish to be of man a son,
To be a star you scorn;
But men quick perish every one,
And men each day are born.

* * *
Yet stars burn on with even glow,
And it is fate's intending
That they nor time, nor place shall know,
Unfettered and unending.

(the two original stanzas were combined by translator into the one above)

* * *
Out of eternal yesterday
Into tomorrow's grave,
Even the sun will pass away
That other suns shall lave;

The sun that every morn does rise
At last its spirit gives;
For each thing lives because it dies,
And dies because it lives.

But you, Hyperion, never wane,
Night's miracle sublime,
But in the sky your place retain,
The wonder of all time.


x (three stanzas skipped
x by translator)


So what strange fancy holds your mind?
What dreaming thus belates you?
Return to earth and there you'll find
The awakening that awaits you'.

home / eve star-cuclin / eve star-hastie / eve star-levitki / eve star-walker / eve star-grimm / eve star-c.m.popescu
glossa / unto the star / over tree tops / wretched dionis / stars in the sky / store