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Poetry in Translation (LXIV): W.B. YEATS – In Memoria D-relor Eva Gore-Booth si Con Markiewicz

August 30th, 2009 · No Comments · Poetry, Translations

William B Yeats (1865-1939)

Constance Markiewicz pencil drawing by Yeats

Amurgul intra-n Lissadell

Prin geamuri de la miaza zi

Doua papusi cu ochii vii

Recita versuri de rondel.

Dar coasa Toamnei necrutate

Rapune floarea de pe camp;

Cea mare-n temnita zacand

Ani grei – o viata fara parte,

Urzind tot felul si de toate.

Mezinei nu-i cunosc ce gand

Utopic se destrama-n vant,

Caricatura tineretii incercate,

De serbede, desarte idealuri.

Adeseori evoc acel tumult

In mintea lor, de timpuri de demult,

De casa parinteasca dintre dealuri

Imagini frante din acel

Taram sfiintit al tineretii

Doua papusi cu ochii vii

Recita versuri de rondel.

Voi sfinte umbre de efemeride,

Ce lupte serbede v-au incercat

Cu binele sau raul ati luptat

Nevinovate si splendide.

Sa n-aveti alt dusman decat uitarea;

Sa inviati s-aprind o lumanare

Si inca una, poate si mai mare

Incendiul sa incinga aprig zarea,

In vecii vecilor, amin, traind

Noi inaltat-am, Doamne, un palat,

Invinuiti fiind de un pacat;

Dar eu aprind o candela si-o sting.

[Versiune in limba Romana de Constantin ROMAN

( Constantin Roman © 2009. All Rights Reserved)]


William B Yeats (1865-1939)

William Butler Yeats (by John Singer Sargent)

William Butler Yeats (by John Singer Sargent)

In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos,both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving Autumn shears
Blossom from the Summer’s wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
Conspiring among the ignorant.
I know not what the younger dreams-
Some vague Utopia-and she seems,
When withered old and skeleton-gaunt,
An image of such politics.
Many a time I think to seek
One or the other out and speak
Of that old Georgian mansion, mix
Pictures of the mind, recall
That table and the talk of youth,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

Dear shadows, now you know it all,
All the folly of a fight
With a common wrong or right.
The innocent and the beautiful
Have no enemy but time;
Arise and bid me strike a match
And strike another till time catch;
Should the conflagration climb,
Run till all the sages know.
We the great gazebo built,
They convicted us of guilt;
Bid me strike a match and blow.



“Con Markiewicz” is Constance Georgina Gore-Booth, Countess Markiewicz, (1868-1927), daughter of Arctic explorer  Henry Gore-Booth, ( 1843-1900) 5th Baronet of Lissadell House, Co Sligo. After many years of neglect the house is now a memorial museum. Although coming from a privileged Anglo-Irish landed family of the “ascendancy” Countess Markiewicz was a fierce militant for the Republican cause and a supporter of Sin Fein, activities for which she was tried and condemned to death, a sentence which was commuted to life imprisonment. After the declaration of Independence of the Republic of Ireland Constance Markiewicz served as a Minister for Labour. Her national funeral was attended by over 300,000 mourners.

William B Yeats (1865-1939) was a friend of the Gore-Booth family and a frequent visitor to Lissadell House. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, and served as its chief during its early years. In 1923, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as “inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation;” and he was the first Irishman so honored. His reply to the many of the letters of congratulations sent to him contained the words: “I consider that this honor has come to me less as an individual than as a representative of Irish literature, it is part of Europe’s welcome to the Free State.

He is buried in Co Sligo.

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