The Vampyre (Strigoiul)

Near the cliff's sharp edge, on high
Standing out against the sky.
Dost thou see a ruined crass
Weatherstained, o'ergrown by moss.
Not a blade of grass grows nigh it,
Not a peasant lingers by it
Shuns it in her darksome flight,
Startled by the piteous groan
All around, on starless nights,
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;
To the utmost of his speed;-
Lies a Vampyre's corpse obscene!
Though the night is black and cold
Love's fond 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?
Haughtily the sward he spurns
'Leave me not, beloved, tonight!
Weeping, thus besought the maid;
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.
Who rides across the dusky plain
Tearing along with might and main
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
The causeway, 'long the river-side
A thousand flutt'ring flamelets glide!
Now they approach, and now recede
He nears the ruined cross! A crash,
A piteous cry, a heavy splash.
And in the rocky river-bed
Rider and horse he crushed and dead.
Blaspheming yells and strident cries
Re-echoing through the murky air.
Brandishing high a blood-stained glaive
The Vampyre rises from his grave!

Author: Vasile Alecsandri
Source: Horror Masters


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