For other English-language translations of this work, see Satanella.

For full translation see Satanella (1932).

3725011The Soul Of A Century — Satanella1943Jaroslav Vrchlický



As within a castle’s ruins
Steals a full moon’s shining ray;
As within a forest’s shadows
Colored butterfly has strayed,
As within a rusty goblet
Falls a drop of golden wine;
Thus within my saddened bosom
And within my orphand heart
Gleamed a ray of love eternal,
Strayed a butterfly of dreams,
Fell a droplet of my musing;
Tell me, is there aught yet needed
To complete this song of mine? . . .


Roderigo Gonvazales,
Knight of the Johannite order,
Wandered on his morning vigil
As had been his daily custom;
For the Isle of Rhodes was a
Bulwark of the Christian nations
Against the Godless Turkish heathen.

As he left the castle portals
He beheld a barefoot child there
Leaning ’gainst the massive entrance.
Tender body as if breathed
In a gaily colored bodice,
And her black hair hast’ly gathered
Underneath a snow-white kerchief.

Soon as Roderigo reached her,
Smilingly she lifted towards him
Eyes that burned as sparks of fire,
And she handed him a flow’ret,
Mountain flowers strangely scented,
Tied together with white ribbons.

Roderigo smiled in greeting,
Kissed the gaily colored blossoms,
Leaning over till his curls
Lightly touched upon her forehead,
From his lips escaped a question
As the scent escapes from flowers:

“Pretty child, what do they call you?”
“Sir, they call me Satanella!”
“Satanella? . . . What a strange name.”
Gallantly the knight retorted,
“But full worthy that an angel
Bow before your Godly beauty!”


For a long while, all was quiet,
Distant waters barely rippled,
Darkened forests barely whispered.
Just the thicket faintly trembled
With the earth’s sweet heavy breathing,
Just two lips that faintly trembled
’neath a cataract of kisses
As a lotus flower trembles
’neath the faithful moon’s caressing,
As the rolling ocean trembles
’neath the rays of golden sunshine.


“Tell me, do you still remember,”
—softly asks the happy lover—
“Years ago when shyly, coyly,
I dared kiss the blooms you offered?
And today, see what a difference,
Now I kiss your tan-hued forehead,
Supple cheeks and two lips smiling,
Full-formed breasts and two bare ankles,
Your moist eyes and raven tresses;
All of you now is a flower
And a lip now, all my being,
Satanella! Satanella!”
“Tell me, do you still remember,”
—answers she her knightly lover—
“Years ago, when shyly, coyly
I dared rest one eye upon you?
And today, see what a difference,
Both my eyes I dare submerse now
And with them my soul is sinking,
Everlastingly submersing
In your eyes, blue as an ocean,
In your eyes your soul I see now,
As it beckons me and calls me,
All the earthly bliss I see there,
And I swoon with joy’s abundance.
Burning, longing lips repeating:
‘Roderigo, Roderigo.’”

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) between 1929 and 1977 (inclusive) without a copyright notice.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1987, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 36 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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