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Romania's Most Famous Poet: Mihai Eminescu

Updated on August 17, 2017
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Indie author via Amazon Publishing of historical romance and paranormal novellas.

Mihai Eminescu

Portrait of Mihai Eminescu - photograph taken by Jan Tomas (1841-1912) in Prague, 1869
Portrait of Mihai Eminescu - photograph taken by Jan Tomas (1841-1912) in Prague, 1869 | Source

Romanticism

A late 18th century movement, which expressed intellectualism through means of literature, music, and the visual arts. Associated with liberalism and radicalism, many engrossed in the movement were considered noble for their free expression and elevation of society.

Early Years

Born Mihail Eminovici on January 15th, 1850, but more commonly known as "Mihai", spent his childhood years, growing up in Botoșani and Ipotești, Moldavia.

By the 4th grade, he attended Cernăuţi "Gymnasium" in Romanian meaning "high school" and graduated in 1866.

After graduating from gymnasium, Mihai published his very first poem in the Familia literary magazine: "If I were to have", the first of many in which gave rise to his nom de plume Mihai Eminescu, in an attempt to rid himself of his Slavic origin in preference to a Romanian facade.

As an active member of the Romanian literary society known as Junimea, he also worked as an editor and journalist for the Time newspaper, a director of Central University Library of Iași, a substitute teacher and school inspector. In that time, he juggled these positions along with his writing career until he fell seriously ill in 1883.

Graduates of Cernăuţi

1864 graduates of Cernăuţi gymnasium. The young boy encircled could be Mihai Eminescu.
1864 graduates of Cernăuţi gymnasium. The young boy encircled could be Mihai Eminescu. | Source

Famous Works

Romanian historian, Nicolae Lorga considered Mihai Eminescu as one of the greatest literary figures in Romanian history, dubbing him 'the Godfather of the Romanian language', given this one can easily see the revered homage fits considering his long list of literary feats.

Most Noted Poems

  • Mai am un singur dor (I Have Yet One Desire) 1883
  • Odă (în metru antic) (Ode (in Ancient Meter) 1883
  • Și dacă (And if...) 1883
  • Doina (Romanian song) 1884
  • Dorința (Desire) 1884
  • Epigonii (Epigones) 1884
  • Floare albastră (Blue Flower)
  • rămii (Oh, Linger On) 1884
  • Sara pe deal (Evening on the Hill) 1885
  • Lacul (The Lake) 1876
  • La Steaua (At Star) 1886
  • Scrisori (Letters or "Epistles-Satires")

Prose

  • Cezara (Caesara)
  • Făt-Frumos din lacrimă (The Teardrop Prince)
  • Geniu pustiu (Empty Genius)
  • Sărmanul Dionis (Wretched Dionis)


First Book Of Poems

Poesii, first book of poems of Mihai Eminescu (1850 - 1889)
Poesii, first book of poems of Mihai Eminescu (1850 - 1889) | Source

Poetry of Eminescu

THE LONGING by Mihai Eminescu

Come to the forest spring where wavelets
Trembling o'er the pebbles glide
And the drooping willow branches
Its secluded threshold hide.

Eagerly your arms outstreching,
Hurry dear to my embrace, That the breeze your hair will gather And uplift it from your face.

On my knees you will be seated
Just we two alone, alone While upon your curls disordered Are the lime-tree's blossoms strown.

Forehead pale and tresses golden
On my shoulder you incline, And your lip's delicious plunder Raise up willingly to mine.

We will dream a dream of fairies
Rocked by secret lullaby, Which the lovely spring is chanting And the winds that wander by.

Midst that harmony thus sleeping
Woodland tales our thoughts enthrall,
And upon our bodies softly Do the lime-trees petal fall.


Sheet Music Cover

Sheet music cover for "Dorinţa" (en. "The Longing"), written by N., a composer from Romania who refused to disclose his identity. Lyrics by Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu.
Sheet music cover for "Dorinţa" (en. "The Longing"), written by N., a composer from Romania who refused to disclose his identity. Lyrics by Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu. | Source

"That's how I knew him back then, and that is how he remained until his last moments of well-being: cheerful and sad; sociable and crabbed; gentle and abrupt; he was thankful for everything and unhappy about some things; here he was as abstemious as a hermit, there he was ambitious to the pleasures of life; sometimes he ran away from people and then he looked for them; he was carefree as a Stoic and choleric as an edgy girl. Strange medley! – happy for an artist, unhappy for a man!" ~ Titu Maior

Later Years in Life

In his later years, Mihai suffered from a mental ailment.

When considering the words of literary critic Titu Maiorescu, the description of erratic mood swings seems to confirm a medical diagnosis of a bi-polar disorder, not uncommon among famous artists, musicians, poets and writers throughout history.

Though his chaos crippled his personal life, as with any inspired artist, his emotional senses seem to have helped his writing career.

Romanian writer Ion Luca Caragiale described these mood swings as a string of cycles that lasted for hours, days, weeks, and even months, and often triggered anxiety due to political affiliation, or his obsession with fellow poet, Veronic Micle who remained trapped in an oppressed marriage.

A Love/Hate Relationship

"You must know, Veronica, that as much as I love you, I sometimes hate you; I hate you without a reason, without a word, only because I imagine you laughing with someone else, and your laughter doesn't mean to him what it means to me and I feel I grow mad at the thought of somebody else touching you, when your body is exclusively and without impartasion to anyone. I sometimes hate you because I know you own all these allures that you charmed me with, I hate you when I suspect you might give away my fortune, my only fortune. I could only be happy beside you if we were far away from all the other people, somewhere, so that I didn't have to show you to anybody and I could be relaxed only if I could keep you locked up in a bird house in which only I could enter." ~ Mihai Eminescu

Mihai's Soul Mate

Veronica Micle
Veronica Micle | Source

As Fate Would Have It

Aside from his diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, the poet also suffered from an ever-prevalent disease of the day, namely syphilis. The disease overtook him in 1883, and he was interned to a hospital.

Syphilis slowly took its toll, and sadly, six years later, Eminescu died in a sanitorium.

Doctors who inspected his body, suggested the famed poet died from long term use of mercury, and not at all uncommon for those who tried to cure themselves of the effects of syphilis in that time.

Eminescu's Obituary

The cover of "Curierul Român", Issue no. 21, June 20, 1889; Founder and Director: Ioniţă Scipione Bădescu (1847-1904).  Obiturary and memorial five days after his death.
The cover of "Curierul Român", Issue no. 21, June 20, 1889; Founder and Director: Ioniţă Scipione Bădescu (1847-1904). Obiturary and memorial five days after his death. | Source

Love Turns Tragic

Upon the death of Mihai Eminescu in 1889, two months later, Veronica Micle took her own life by consuming a lethal dose of arsenic poisoning.

A Hubber's Reflection

After reading a few of Eminescu's translated poems, I found his verse amazingly poetic, rich with words of melancholy. Given his mental condition, perhaps at times his unbalance made him feel more of any given emotion in that moment of conception. Though he was flawed with human delicacy, it does not surprise me in the least that the Romanian people hailed Eminescu as a genius in his day. His effort to embrace the Romantic movement without repentance made him immortal in their eyes, and to this day he remains a relevant piece of Romanian history.

Final Resting Place

The grave of Mihai Eminescu, Romania's national poet. Belu Cemetery, Bucharest, Romania
The grave of Mihai Eminescu, Romania's national poet. Belu Cemetery, Bucharest, Romania | Source

Belu Cemetery: Calea Şerban Vodă nr. 249, sector 4, Bucharest

Greatest Poet of all Time?

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© 2013 ziyena

Comments

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  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 4 months ago from ... Somewhere Out There ...

    He is quite an interesting character ... in some ways, he reminds me of the English Pre-Raphaelite Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti ... very tortured soul when it came to his passion. Thank You

  • Coffeequeeen profile image

    Louise Powles 4 months ago from Norfolk, England

    I've never heard of this poet before, but sounds fascinating. I love poetry.

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from ... Somewhere Out There ...

    Brave

    It's one of those hub articles where I had to totally absorb myself. Of course, I knew nothing of this feelow or his lover, and also, I know very little of Romania. So, I guess you could say this was a double whammy full of knowledge for me. Thanks for reading because I truly put my best effort in this one! Hugs

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    I've never heard of this poet. You're right - he had a face that could launch a thousand ships. He seems to have been a tortured soul, especially with regard to Veronica Micle. It's fortunate for her that she wasn't available or he would have imprisoned her with his obsessive jealousy.

    Very interesting article, Ziyena.

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from ... Somewhere Out There ...

    I had no idea who Eminescu was until just yesterday. It's amazing what we don't know, and once we do, how much our lives can be enriched. A little bit of poetry, a little bit of culture, a little bit of compassion ... yes, I think you're right, defintely a first for HP. Kind of makes me feel like a trailblazer lol Thanks Bill

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    It's not often you read a piece about a Romanian poet. :) In fact, I will be this is a first for HubPages, which makes it interesting for me. Thank you for the introduction and education. I hope you are well and I'm glad to see you writing more.

    bill