Şcoala Solomonară - Meşterul Manole

Le Maitre Manole / Master Manole / Meşterul Manole

Master Manole - by Vasile Alecsandri


Down the Arges lea,
Beautiful to see,
Prince Negru he wended
By ten mates attended:
Nine worthy craftsmen:
Masons, journeymen,
With Manole ten,
The highest in fame.
Forth they strode apace
There to find a place
Where to build a shrine,
A cloister divine.
And, lo, down the lea
A shepherd they see,
In years so unripe,
Playing on his pipe.
To him the prince sped
And thus spoke and said
"Handsome little swain
on thy sweet pipe playing !
Up the Arges stream
Thy flock thou hast te’en;
Down the Arges green
With thy flock thous’t been;
Didst thou hap to see
Somewhere down the lea
An old wall all rotten,
Unfinished, forgotten,
On a green slope lush,
Near a hayel brush ?"
"That, good sire, I did;
in hayel brush hid,
there’s a wall all rotten,
unfinished, forgotten.
My dogs when they spy it
Make a rush to bite it,
And howl hollowly,
And growl ghoulishly."
As the prince did hear,
Greatly did he cheer,
And walked to that wall,
With nine masons all,
Nine worthy craftsmen,
With Manole ten,
The highest in fame.
"Here’s my wall !" quoth he.
"Here I choose that ye
Build for me a shrine,
A cloister divine.
Therefore, great craftsmen,
Masons, journeymen,
Start ye busily
To build on this lea
A tall monastery;
Make it with your worth
Peerless on this earth;
Then ye shall have gold,
Each shall be a lord.
Oh, but should you fail,
Then you’ll moan and wail,
For I’ll have you all
Built up in the wall;
I will –so I thrive-
Build you up alive !"


Those craftsmen amain
Stretched out rope and chain,
Measured out the place,
Dug out the deep base,
Toiled day in, day out,
Raising walls about.
But whate’er they wrought,
At night came to nought,
Crumbled down like rot !
The next day again,
The third day again,
The fourth day again,
All their toil in vain !
Sore amayed the lord
His men did he scold,
And he cowed them down
With many a frown
And many a threat:
And his mind he set
To have one and all
Built up in the wall;
He would –so he trinve-
Build them up alive !
Those nine great craftsmen,
Masons, jouneysman,
Shook with fear walls making,
Walls they raised while shaking,
A long summer’s day
Till the skies turned gray.
But Manole shirked,
He no longer worked,
To his bed he went
And a dream he dreamt.
Ere the night was spent,
For his men he sent,
Told them his intent:
"Ye nine great craftsmen,
Masons, journeymen,
What a dream I dreamed:
In my sleep meseemed
A whisper from high,
A voice from the sky,
Told me verily
That whatever we
In daytime have wrought
Shall nights come to nought,
Crumble down like rot;
Till we, ane and all,
Make an oath to wall
Whose bonny wife erst,
Whose dear sister first,
Haps to come this way
At the break of day,
Bringing meat and drink
To husband or kin.
Therefore if we will
Our high task fulfill
And build here a shrine,
A cloister divine,
Let’s swear and be bound
By dread oath and sound
Not a word to speak,
Our counsel to keep:
Whose bonny wife erst,
Whose dearest sister first,
Haps to come this way
At the break of day,
Her we’ll offer up,
Her we shall build up !"


When day from night parted
Up manole started,
Climbed a trellis fence,
Climbed the planks, and thence
The field he looked over,
The path throught wild clover,
And what did he see ?
Alas, woe is me !
Who came down the lea ?
His young bride so sweet,
Flower of the mead !
How he looked aghast
As his Ann came fast,
Bringing his day’s food
And wine sweet and good
When he saw her yonder
His heart burst asunder;
He knelt down like dead
And weeping he prayed,
"Send, o Lord, the rain,
Let it fall amain,
Make it drown beneath
Stream and bank and heath,
Make it swell in the tide
And arrest my bride,
Flood all path and track
And make my bride turn back !"
The Lord heard his sigh,
Hearkened to his cry,
Clouds he spread on high
And darkened the sky;
And he sent a rain,
Made it fall amain,
Made it drown beneath
Stream and bank and heath
Yet, fall as it may
Her it could not stay.
Onward she did hie,
Nigh she drew and nigh
As he watched from high,
Sorely did he cry,
And again he wailed,
And again he prayed,
"Blow oh, Lord, a gaqle,
Overhill and dale,
The fir-tress to bend
The maples to bend,
The hills to o’erturn,
Make my bride return,
Stop her path and track,
Make her, Lord, turn back !"
The lord heard his sigh
Hearkened to his cry,
And he blew a gale
Over hill and dale
That the firs did rend
The maples did bend,
The hills did o’erturn,
Nor whould she return.
Ann came up the dale
Struggling ‘gainst the gale,
Reeling on her way;
Nothing could her stay.
Poor soul ! Through the blast,
There she was at last !


Those worthy craftsmen,
Masons and journeymen,
Greatly did they cheer
To see her appear.
While Manole smarted,
With all hope he parted,
His sweet bride he kissed,
Saw her thru a mist,
In his arms he clasped her,
Up the steps he helped her,
Pressed her to his chest
And thus spoke in jest,
"Now, my own sweet bride,
Have no fear abide;
We’ll make thee a nest,
Build thee up in jest !"
Ann laughed merrily,
She laughed trustfully,
And Manole sighed,
His trowel he plied,
Raised the wall as due,
Made the dream come true.
Up he raised the wall
To gird her withal;
Up the wall did rise
To her ankles nice,
To her bonny thighs.
While she, wellaway
Ceased her laugh so gay,
And would pray and say,
"Manole, Manole,
Good master Manole !
Have done with your jest,
‘tis not for the best.
Manole, Manole,
Good master Manole !
The wall squeezes hard,
My frail flesh is marred."
Not a word spoke he,
But worked busily;
Up he raised the wall
To gird he withal.
And the wall did rise
To her ankles nice
To her bonny thighs,
To her shapely waist,
To her fair, young breasts.
While she, wellaway
She whould cry and say
She whould weep and pray
Manole, Manole,
Good master Manole !
The wall weighs like lead,
Tears my teats teats now shed,
My babe is crushed dead."
Manole did smart,
Sick he was at the heart ;
And the wall did he rise,
Pressed her in it vice
Pressed her shapely waist,
Crushed her fair, young breasts,
Reached her lips now white,
Reached her eyes so bright,
Till she sank in night
And was lost to sight !
Her sweet voice alone
Came through in a moan,
Manole, Manole,
Good master Manole !
The wall squezzes hard,
Crushed is now my heart,
With my life I part !"


Down de Arges lea,
Beautiful to see,
Prince Negru in astate
Came to consecrate
And to kneel in prayer
To that shrine so fair,
That cloister of worth,
Peerless on this Earth.
There it stood so bright
To his eyes’ delight.
And the prince spoke then
"Ye good team of men,
Ye worthy craftsmen
Tell me now in sooth,
Cross your hearts in thruth,
Can you build for me
With your mastery,
Yet another shrine,
A cloister divine,
Even far more bright
Of greater delight ?"
Then those great craftsmen,
Masons, journeyman
Boasting cheerfully,
Cheering Boastfully,
From the roof on high,
Up against the sky,
Thus they made reply,
"Like us craftsmen,
Masons, journeymen
In skill and in worth
There are none on Earth
Marry, it thou wilt,
We can always build
Yet another shrine,
A cloister divine,
Even far more bright
Of greater delight !"
This the Prince did hark,
And his face grew dark;
Long, long he stood
To ponder and brood.
Then the prince anon
Ordered with a frown
All scaffolds pulled down,
To leave those ten men,
Those worthy craftsmen
On the roof on high
There to rot and die.
Long they stayed there thinking
Then they started linking
Shingles thin and light
Into wings for flight.
And those wings they spread,
And jumped far ahead
And dropped down like lead.
Where the ground they hit
There their bodies split
Then poor Manole
Good master Manole
As he brought himself
To jump from a shelf,
Hark, a voice low
From the wall below
A voice dear and life,
Muffled, sunk in grief,
Mournful, woebegone,
Moaning on and on,
"Manole, Manole,
Good Master Manole,
The wall weighs like lead,
Tears my teats still shed,
My babe is crushed dead,
Away my life’s fled !"
As Manole heard
His life-blood did curd,
And his eyesight blurred
And the high clouds whirled
And the whole earth swirled;
And from near the sky
From the roof on high
Down he fell to die !
And, lo, where he fell
There sprang up a well
A fountain so tiny
Of scant water, briny
So gentle to hear
Wet with many a tear.

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