Geoffroy Rudèl and Melisande of Tripoli

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 

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At Blay castle one can see
On the walls the tapestry
Stitched by the skillful hands
Of the Countess of Tripoli.

She stitched into it her whole soul,
And tears of love have cast a spell
On the silken picture,
As the following scene will tell:

How the Countess found Rudèl,
As he laid on the shore, dying,
And at once recognized in his features
The original object of her longing.

Rudèl too saw in her,
For the first and last times, it seems,
In real life the lady
Who so often enchanted his dreams.

The Countess bends over him,
She holds him in a loving embrace,
The kisses his mouth, deathly pale
Which so beautifully has sang her praise!

Alas! The welcome kiss became,
At the same time, the kiss of parting,
And thus they drained to the brim the cup
Of highest joy, of deepest suffering.

At the Blay castle every night,
There is a swishing, a rustling, a quivering,
The pictures on the tapestry
Suddenly start living.

The troubadour and the lady
Suddenly slip out of the wall,
After shaking their sleepy limbs;
They walk up and down the hall.

Intimate whispering, gentle flirt,
Posthumous gallantry,
And secrets, sad and sweet
From the time of the minstrelsy.

“ Geoffroy! Your voice
Has warmed my dead heart;
In the long-extinguished fire,
I can feel a new start. “

“ Melisande! Joy and flower!
Staring into your eyes, I live again.
The only things that have died
Are my earthly suffering and my pain. “

“Geoffroy! We once loved each other
In a dream, and now even in death.
We owe it to the god Amor
Who brought this wonder upon us!” 

“ Melisande! What is a dream?
What is death? Sounds that are empty.
In love alone, there is truth,
And I love you, eternal beauty. “

“ Geoffroy! How pleasant it is here,
In the silent hall, when the moon is bright;
I no longer desire to walk,
Outside, in the broad daylight. “

“Melisande! Dear fool, yourself
Are like the sun, the light of the day,
Wherever you go Spring blossoms,
So does love and the joys of May. “

Thus do those gentle ghosts 
Walk up and down and flirt,
As  long as the arched windows
Are caressed by moonlight.

The morning glow comes at last
Chasing the gentle ghosts, who shyly
Slip back into the wall,
Back into the tapestry.