Abraham "Bram" Stoker (November 8, 1847 – April 20, 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Mihail Eminescu: Strigoii ( Vampires )

Mihai Eminescu


... for it fades away like smoke above the earth.
They bloomed like flowers, were cut like grass,
Wrapped up in a linen and buried in the ground

Within an ancient church with lofty soaring dome,
Between tall waxen candles, does in her coffin lie,
Her face towards the altar, wrapped in white drapery,
The bride of brave King Harold, the King of Avari,
While softly chanted dirges do from the darkness come.

Upon the dead girl's breast a wreath of jewels glows,
Her golden hair hangs loosely over the coffin side,
Her eyes are sunken deep; a sad smile sanctified
Rest on her parched lips, that death to mauve has dyed,
While is her lovely face as pale as winter snows.

Beside her on his knees is Harold, mighty King,
And from his bloodshot eyes does shine untold despair,
His mouth with pain is drawn, dishevelled is his hair.
Though like a lion he would roar, grief holds him silent there;
Three days he thinks upon his life in nameless sorrowing.

"I was still but a child. Within the pine-tree glade
My greedy eyes already had conquered many a land,
I dreamed an empire grow beneath my fancy's wand,
I dreamed the world entire was under my command,
The foaming Volga's ford I fathomed with my blade.

Countless mighty hosts my youthful zeal led forth
By whom as of some God my name was worshipped.
I felt the very earth tremble beneath my tread;
Before my marching hosts the wandering nations fled,
Crowding in their terror the empty frozen North.

For Odin had deserted his frosty ancient home,
Down long and tortuous ways his wandering people went;
Priests with snowy locks and backs that time had bent
Roused and led through forests where peace an age had spent
Thousand diverse tongues along the way to Rome.



One eve my troops I camped upon the Nistru's side,
Intending on the morrow your battle host to quell;
But there amidst your councillors I came beneath your spell;
Before your marble loveliness my eyes in wonder fell,
So fearless you stood, in all your childish pride.

Before your soft reproach my words dried on my tongue.
I strove to make an answer, but could no answer find.
Would earth have swallowed me, and left no trace behind,
My hands before my face I put my shame to blind,
And tears came to the eyes where tears had never sprung.

Your councillors did smile and soon departed then
To leave us quite alone. I asked you, after a space,
Though scarcely did I dare to look upon your face;
Why have you come, o Queen, into this desert place?
What do you seek so far away from courts and men?

In a murmur filled with tears, gentle and sad you spake
Holding me with your eyes in which the sky shone clear,
You said: "I beg of you, o King and cavalier,
To give to me as prisoner the one I hold most dear,
Harold, that untamed youth, him would I captive take."

Turning my head away, I handed you my sword.
My people ceased their march along the Danube side;
Harold no longer dreamed the universe to ride,
His ears for tender tones and poetry did abide,
The conqueror from that hour was vanquished by your word.

From then sweet maid with hair of gold as ripened grain
Each night you came to me when nobody should know,
And your white, slender arms around my neck did throw,
And raising coaxing lips to mine you said in whispers low:
"O, King, it is for Harold I come to beg again."

If you would ask for Rome, if you would ask the earth,
Or all the crowns that rest on mortal monarch's head,
The wandering stars that beam across the heavens shed,
There heaped about your feet would I bestow instead,
But do not ask for Harold for he is nothing worth.

Ah, where are gone the days when brave I probed the ford
To stride into the world. Far better had it been
If so much loveliness my eyes had never seen...
To ride through ruined towns, to lead the battle keen
And thus fulfil those dreams the pine-tree forest stored l"

The torches are raised up. The train moves slowly on.
The Danube Queen is carried down to her narrow bed,
Councillor and monarch with heavy drooping head,
Priests with snowy beards and eyes that tears shed,
Mumbling their dirge in mournful unison.

Beneath the arching vault the slow procession goes,
A mystery religion, a strange and sombre lore,
They lower down the coffin beneath the gaping floor,
Then close it with a cross, a seal for evermore,
Beneath the holy lamp that in the corner glows.

II
Be silent, in God's name,
To hear the bay
Of the earth-hound
Under the stone cross.

Harold on his charger sweeps far o'er hill and dale,
Like a dream he goes within the moon's pale zone;
Across his breast in folds his black cloak he has thrown,
Behind him drifts of leaves high in the air are blown,
While never straight before him the Polar Star does sail.

Reaching at last the forest that clothes the rising hills,
Where does a sweet spring murmur, well out from 'neath a stone,
Where grey with scattered ashes an old hearth stands alone,
Where far off in the forest the earth-hound sounds his tone
And with his distant barking he midnight silence fills.

Upon a rocky ledge, quite stiff and ashen faced,
There sits, with crutch in hand, a priest of pagan creed
For ages sits he thus, by death forgot indeed,
Moss growing on his forehead and on his breast long weed,
His beard reaching to the ground, his eyebrows to his waist.

Blindly thus for ages he sits both day and night,
Until his feet have grown one with the stone at last,
Numbering the days that numberless have passed,
While over him are circling in endless circles vast
Two crows on weary wings, one black, the other white.

And now upon his arm the youth doth sudden lay
His eager hand, and wakes the old priest terrified;
"To you, o timeless Seer, across the world I ride
To give me back the one that envious death does hide,
And all my days for you I will unceasing pray."

Now with his crutch the Seer his heavy eyebrows parts
And gazes on the King, but not an utterance makes.
Then out o'the stone's grey substance his feet with trouble
And turning towards the forest his battered crutch he shakes,
And lastly up the narrow path with heavy paces starts.

Upon the oaken doorway that guards the mountain keep
With crutch on high uplifted loud three times does he knock;
With thunderous commotion the gates slow backwards rock,
The priest kneels down... while through the young king's spirit flock
A thousand dreadful fears, and thousand terrors leap.

Into the lofty vault of shining marble black
They go. The door swings shut again with rumbling sound;
The Seer now lights a candle that spreads its glow around
And throws away behind them their shadows on the ground
And lights the sombre walls that shine like iron back.

There in the dreadful darkness they know not what will come...
The old magician makes a sign that he should bide,
And Harold crouches down, his sword clasped at his side,
While nameless, awful dread does through his spirit ride,
Blank gazing at the walls of that uncanny tomb.

Till soon the Seer did seem immeasurably to grow;
He waved kiss magic crutch above his ancient head,
And through the chilly vault a wind in wailing sped
And thousand whispering voices into the silence shed
A song the filled the dome with gentle cadence low.

And now the singing gradually increases like a breeze
Until with sudden swelling it to a tempest grows,
As though a gale that madly across the ocean blows,
As though the tortured soul of deepest earth arose
And all that lives and feels with horrid fright must freeze.

The mighty vault now trembles from ceiling to the floor,
The marble walls are rocking and crack right to their base
While through the darkness curses do sobs in panic chase,
And cries and moans and lightning amidst the tumult race
Till thunderous indeed has grown the wild uproar...

"Out of the heart of earth let man the dead awake,
And let the stars her eyes their pristine spark ignite,
Her golden hair the moon, like it was once, make bright,
While you, o Zamolxis, eternal seed of light,
With breath of fire and frost let her of life partake.

Search wide throughout the kingdom where Harold is the king
Search deep the very entrails of this revolving earth,
Out of ice make vapour, from stone make gold of worth,
Blood make out of water, and fire from rock give birth,
While in her maiden heart again let hot blood spring."

At that the walls enclosing withdraw before his eyes,
He sees the snow and lightning and ice as one conspire,
The sky, the wind, the water, the elements entire,
He sees a mighty city beneath a bridge of fire,
And over all a thunderstorm of wailing and of sighs.

He sees the Christian church bow 'neath the tempest's host,
He sees the falling lightning its bulwarks shatter through,
The secret tomb within wide open laid to view,
The covering stone of marble divided now in two
And out of that uncovered grave does rise... a ghost.

A thing of snow she is. Upon her bosom frail
A wreath of rubies glows, her hair to earth arrayed,
Her eyes sunk in her head, her lips of violet shade,
Her hands as though of wax upon her temples laid,
Her tender childish face as new slaked lime is pale.

The tumult of her coming does all the clouds dispel,
The lightning and the thunder out of the heavens fly,
The moon turns pitchy-black within a drooping sky,
The waters sink to nowhere and leave the oceans dry;
An angel in her sleep, it seems, who walks through hell.

The vision fades away. Before those gleaming walls,
A form does now approach, with smooth and silent stride;
'Tis she. Harold stares, amazed with joy, wide eyed,
Then reaches out his arms to clasp her to his side,
But in a sudden trance to earth unconscious falls.

He feels two icy hands clasp gently round his heart,
A long and freezing kiss is set upon his breast,
As though from him in sleeping his very life would wrest...
Then feels the life returning to her against him pressed
And knows that from that hour they nevermore will part.

'Tis verily the maid who in her coffin lay?
He feels in her the life yet ever warmer glow,
Till she around his neck her snowy arms does throw,
And raising coaxing lips she says in murmurs low;
"'O King, behold Maria for Harold comes to pray !

Come, Harold, your sweet brow against my bosom lean;
Thou god with eyes of darkness... how wonderful they shine!
But let me round your neck my golden hair entwine...
My life and youth your presence does in the sky enshrine.
O let me gaze into your eyes of sweet and fatal sheen."

And now a sound of voices does gradually awake,
A song that ancient sweetness upon the ear bestows,
As when a spring at autumn among the dead leaves flows,
A harmony of love, voluptuous repose,
As when in silver cadence the breeze enfolds the lake.

III
"... as often when people die, many of those
dead, they say, wake up to become ghosts..."

In high and empty halls the torches redly burn
Wounding like glowing coals the darkness they intrude;
Harold is striding there in madman's frenzied mood,
Harold, the youthful King; a King in solitude,
While all his palace seems to wait the dead return.

Upon the marble mirrors a heavy shadow rears
Through which the torches' glimmer shines as on silken net,
A twilight doubly mournful with sorrowing beset;
The empty palace chambers house naught but dark regret,
While out of every corner it seems a dead man peers.

Since when the dome was shattered by dreadful lightning stroke
The whole day long he passes in cold and leaden sleep,
Upon his heart was branded a symbol black and deep.
But in the night he rises and does his council keep,
And then the pallid king does don his gloomy cloak.

It seems that now a mask of wax King Harold wears,
So paled and so still the face his grief's conceal;
Yet burn his eyes like fires, his lips the blood reveal,
Upon his heart he carries a black and deadly seal,
While on his noble forehead an iron crown he bears.

Since then in death's dark garments he wraps his life forlorn,
He cares but for sad chants as does the tempest play;
Often 'neath the moon at midnight rides away,
And when he does return his eyes are bright and gay
Until death's shuddering voice will grasp him at the dawn.

Harold, what can mean this sombre funeral guise,
This face your wear like wax, so pale and motionless?
What is this seal, this scar that does your heart oppress,
Why do you light the funeral torch, love dirges of distress?
Harold, you are dead if I believe my eyes !

Today once more he mounts his fiery Arab horse
And o'er the wilderness he speeds with arrow's flight
While does the moon shine down her soft and silver light.
Now over the horizon Maria comes in sight,
And through the whispering forest the wind flies on its course.

Set in her golden hair a wreath of rubies gleams,
The light of many saints does in her large eyes sleep.
On towards the meeting place their chargers swiftly sweep.
They meet and each in greeting bows to the other deep
But on their scarlet lips are stains of blood it seems.

They gallop like the tempest with thousand wings, they fly
Speeding o'er the country their chargers side by side,
Speaking of their love that naught can more divide,
She rests upon his arm that is around her plied
And on his ready shoulder her golden head does lie.

"Come Harold, your sweet brow upon my bosom lean
Thou God with eyes of darkness... how beautiful they shine !
But let me round your neck my golden hair entwine...
My life and youth your presence does in the sky enshrine.
O let me gaze into your eyes of sweet and fatal sheen."

A soft and soothing scent is in the air dispersed,
A shower of lime-tree blossoms the wind in passing throws
Upon the way by which the Queen of Danube goes,
A murmuring of breezes among the petals blows,
While do in tender kiss unite their lips athirst.

Thus flying like the wind they each of love inquire,
Nor see beyond the night the dawn already glowing;
Yet in their souls they feel an icy shiver growing
And o'er their pallid faces a mask of death is showing
While slowly on their lips their whispered words expire.

"O Harold, on your breast allow my face to hide,
Do you not hear far off the cock's hoarse morning cry?
A spear of light that sprang athwart the eastern sky
To wound his fleeting life within my heart does pry;
Within my soul is born the ruddy fire of day."

Harold bolt upright was stricken like an oak,
His eyes forever veiled with death's eternal shade.
Their steeds fled on untended with panic dread afraid,
Like to a demon's shadow straight out of Hades strayed
They went... Among the trees a plaintive wind awoke.

They speed on like a whirlwind, cross rivers no bridge spanned.
Before their flying course the dawn-lit mountains gleam,
They traverse hill and valley, and many a fordless stream,
Upon their waxen foreheads their crowns like lightning beam,
While far away before them the pine-tree forests stand.

Now from his rocky throne the old magician spies
Their coming, and he calls above the tempest fray
The sun to check its course, the night its moon delay,
The gale to fly abroad, the earth its movement stay,
Too late... The rising sun is mounting up the skies.

The hurricane let loose a tale of pain relates
And sweeps along besides them to fill their steeds with dread;
Their eyes are dimmed and downcast, the fire in them is shed,
Beautiful their dying, in death forever wed.
Now, widely swinging, open the temple's double gates.

They ride into the temple, the gates behind them swing.
Lost for all eternity within the tomb's constraint;
Around them in the darkness there sounds a sad complaint
For that fair mortal maid whose face was of a saint,
For Harold, youthful monarch, the pine-tree forest's king.

The Seer now lowers his eyebrows, the world fades from
His feet into the granite again enrooted grow,
Numbering the days that numberless did flow,
Harold in his failing mind a tale of long ago,
While soaring o'er his head two crows: one black, one white.

Upon his rocky ledge, upright and ashen faced,
There sits with crutch in hand the priest of pagan creed.
For ages sits he thus, by death forgot indeed,
Moss growing on his forehead and on his breast long weed,
His beard reaching to the ground, his eyebrows to his waist.mine?

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