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A Translation And Two Imitations (Donna Clara, Don Pedrillo, Fra Pedro)
by [?]



(From the German of Heine)

In the evening through her garden
Wanders the Alcalde’s daughter,
Festal sounds of drum and trumpet
Ring out hither from the Castle.

“I am weary of the dances,
Honeyed words of adulation
From the knights who still compare me
To the sun with dainty phrases.

“Yes, of all things I am weary,
Since I first beheld by moonlight
Him, my cavalier, whose zither
Nightly draws me to my casement.

“As he stands so slim and daring,
With his flaming eyes that sparkle,
And with nobly pallid features,
Truly, he St. George resembles.”

Thus went Donna Clara dreaming,
On the ground her eyes were fastened.
When she raised them, lo! before her
Stood the handsome knightly stranger.

Pressing hands and whispering passion,
These twain wander in the moonlight,
Gently doth the breeze caress them,
The enchanted roses greet them.

The enchanted roses greet them,
And they glow like Love’s own heralds.
“Tell me, tell me, my beloved,
Wherefore all at once thou blushest?”

“Gnats were stinging me, my darling,
And I hate these gnats in summer
E’en as though they were a rabble
Of vile Jews with long, hooked noses.”

“Heed not gnats nor Jews, beloved,”
Spake the knight with fond endearments.
From the almond-trees dropped downward
Myriad snowy flakes of blossoms.

Myriad snowy flakes of blossoms
Shed around them fragrant odors.
“Tell me, tell me, my beloved,
Looks thy heart on me with favor?”

“Yes, I love thee, O my darling,
And I swear it by our Saviour,
Whom the accursed Jews did murder,
Long ago with wicked malice.”

“Heed thou neither Jews nor Saviour,”
Spake the knight with fond endearments.
Far off waved, as in a vision,
Gleaming lilies bathed in moonlight.

Gleaming lilies bathed in moonlight
Seemed to watch the stars above them.
“Tell me, tell me, my beloved,
Didst thou not erewhile swear falsely?”

“Naught is false in me, my darling,
E’en as in my veins there floweth
Not a drop of blood that’s Moorish,
Neither of foul Jewish current.”

“Heed not Moors nor Jews, beloved,”
Spake the knight with fond endearments.
Then towards a grove of myrtles

Leads he the Alcalde’s daughter.

And with Love’s slight subtile meshes,
He has trapped her and entangled.
Brief their words, but long their kisses,
For their hearts are overflowing.

What a melting bridal carol
Sings the nightingale, the pure one.
How the fire-flies in the grasses
Trip their sparkling torchlight dances!

In the grove the silence deepens,
Naught is heard save furtive rustling
Of the swaying myrtle branches,
And the breathing of the flowers.

But the sound of drum and trumpet
Burst forth sudden from the castle.
Rudely they awaken Clara,
Pillowed on her lover’s bosom.

“Hark! they summon me, my darling!
But before we part, oh tell me,
Tell me what thy precious name is,
Which so closely thou hast hidden.”

Then the knight with gentle laughter,
Kissed the fingers of his Donna,
Kissed her lips and kissed her forehead,
And at last these words he uttered:

“I, Senora, your beloved,
Am the son of the respected,
Worthy, erudite Grand Rabbi,
Israel of Saragossa.”

“The ensemble of the romance is a scene of my own life–only the Park of Berlin has become the Alcalde’s garden, the Baroness a Senora, and myself a St. George, or even an Apollo. This was only to be the first part of a trilogy, the second of which shows the hero jeered at by his own child, who does not know him, whilst the third discovers this child, who has become a Dominican, and is torturing to the death his Jewish brethren. The refrain of these two pieces corresponds with that of the first. Indeed this little poem was not intended to excite laughter, still less to denote a mocking spirit. I merely wished, without any definite purpose, to render with epic impartiality in this poem an individual circumstance, and, at the same time, something general and universal–a moment in the world’s history which was distinctly reflected in my experience, and I had conceived the whole idea in a spirit which was anything rather than smiling but serious and painful, so much so, that it was to form the first part of a tragic trilogy.”– Heine’s Correspondence.