Geoffry Rudel and Melisanda of Tripoll

Heinrich Heine

In the Chateau Blay still see we
Tapestry the walls adorning,
Worked by Tripoli's fair countess'
Own fair hands, no labor scorning.

Her whole soul was woven in it,
And with loving tears and tender
Hallowed is the silken picture,
Which the following scene dotli render:

How the Countess saw Rudel
Dying on the strand of ocean,
And the ideal in his features
Traced of all lier heart's emotion.

For the first and last time also
Living saw Rudel and breathing
Her who in his every vision
Intertwining was and wreathing.

Over him the Countess bends her,
Lovingly his form she raises,
And his deadly-pale mouth kisses,
That so sweetly sang her praises.

Ah! the kiss of welcome likewise
Was the kiss of separation,
And they dramed the cup of wildest
Joy and deepest desolation.

In the Chateau Blay at night-time
Comes a rushing, crackling, shaking;
On the tapestry the figures
Suddenly to life are waking.

Troubadour and lady stretch their
Drowsy, ghostlike members yonder,
And from out the wall advancing,
Up and down the hall they wander.

"Whispers fond and gentle toying,
Sad-sweet secrets, heart-enthralling,
Posthumous, gallant, soft speeches.
Minnesingers' times recalling:

"Geoffry! at thy voice's music
Warmth is in my dead heart glowing,
And I feel once more a glimmer
In the long-quenched embers growing!
"Melisanda! I awaken
Unto happiness and gladness,
When I see thine eyes; dead only
Is my earthly pain and sadness."

"Geoffry! once we loved each other
In our dreams; now, cut asunder
By the hand of death, still love we,—
Amor't is that wrought this wonder!"

" Melisanda! what are dreams?
What is death? Mere words to scare one!
Truth in love alone e'er find we,
And I love thee, ever fair one!"

" Geoffry! O, how sweet our meetings
In this moonlit chamber nightly,
Now that in the day's bright sunbeams
I no more shall wander lightly."

"Melisanda! Foolish dear one !
Thou art light and sun, thou knowest!
Love and joys of May are budding,
Spring is blooming, where thou goest!"

Thus those tender spectres wander
Up and down, and sweet caresses
Interchange, whilst peeps the moonlight
Through the window's arched recesses.

But at length the rays of morning
Scare away the fond illusion;
To the tapestry retreat they.
On the wall, in shy confusion.

Melisende of Tripoli was the sister of the Crusader Count Raymond III of Tripoli. In the year 1160, she was engaged to be married to the great Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenos. The engagement fell through and the jilted Melisende faded away, dying not long afterwards in a convent. Most versions of her story have Rudel as her mother's lover.

Main Location:

33390 Blaye, France