“Vampire (Strigoiul)” By Vasile Alecsandri (Narrated By Jeffrey LeBlanc)

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Children of horror, while digging through a Transylvania cemetery we stumbled onto the tortured, vampire corpse of Vasile Alecsandri. This Romanian Nationalist was a Moldavian poet, playwright, politician, and diplomat. He was known as the Victor Hugo of Eastern Europe. He collected Romanian folk songs and was one of the principal animators of the 19th-century movement for Romanian cultural identity and union of Wallachia and Moldavia.

Many of his poems and stories focus on love, political turmoil, great loss, and death. The latter no doubt was from Alecsandri’s tragic experience of losing his beloved Elena. Sadly, Vasile lost her on a trip back from Paris when he was just twenty-four year’s old. His great love died in his arms.

Vampire (Strigoiul) was written in 1886 by Vasile Alecsandri. It’s a poetic tale of an encounter between a knight and a vampire who rises on a particular dreary evening. The knight refuses to heed his lover’s warnings to not go out into the darkness of that fateful night. The knight faces the creature to a tragic outcome.

What is the secret of the vampire? Will our brave knight survive his encounter with the obscene corpse of unholy evil?

Vampire (Strigoiul)

By Vasile Alecsandri             

Near the cliff’s sharp edge, on high

Standing out against the sky,

Dost thou see a ruined cross

Weatherstained, o’ergrown by moss,

Gloomy, desolate, forsaken,

By unnumbered tempests shaken?

Not a blade of grass grows nigh it,

Not a peasant lingers by it.

E’en the sombre bird of night

Shuns it in her darksome flight,

Startled by the piteous groan

That arises from the stone.

All around, on starless nights,

Myriad hosts of livid lights

Flicker fretfully, revealing

At its foot a phantom, kneeling

Whilst it jabbers dismal plaints,

Cursing God and all the saints.

Tardy traveller, beware

Of that spectre gibbering there;

Close your eyes, and urge your steed

To the utmost of his speed;–

For beneath that cross, I ween,

Lies a Vampyre’s corpse obscene!

Though the night is black and cold

Love’s found story, often told,

Floats in whispers through the air,

Stalwart youth and maiden fair

Seal sweet vows of ardent passion

With their lips, in lovers’ fashion.

“Restless, pale, a shape I see

Hov’ring nigh; what may it be?

‘Tis a charger, white as snow,

Pacing slowly to and fro

Like a sentry. As he turns

Haughtily the sward he spurns.

“Leave me not, beloved, tonight!

Stay with me till morning’s light!’

Weeping, thus besought the maid;

‘Love, my soul is sore afraid!

Brave not the dread Vampyre’s power,

Mightiest at this mystic hour!’

Not a word he spake, but prest

The sobbing maiden to his breast;

Kissed her lips and cheeks and eyes

Heedless of her tears and sighs;

Waved his hand, with gesture gay,

Mounted–smiled–and rode away.

We rides across the dusky plain

Tearing along with might and main

Like some wild storm-fiend, in his flight

Nursed on the ebony breast of Night?

‘Tis he, who left her in her need–

Her lover, on his milk-white steed!

The blast in all its savage force

Strives to o’erthrow the gallant horse

That snorts defiance to his foe

And struggles onward. See! below

The causeway, ‘long the river-side

A thousand flutt’ring flamelets glide!

Now they approach, and now recede,

Still followed by the panting steed;

He nears the ruined cross! A crash,

A piteous cry, a heavy splash,

And in the rocky river-bed

Rider and horse lie crushed and dead.

Then from those dismal depths arise

Blaspheming yells and strident cries

Re-echoing through the murky air

And, like a serpent from its lair,

Brandishing high a blood-stained glaive

The Vampyre rises from his grave!

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