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Trakai Castle

With lichen and mould overgrown all around

A time-honoured castle there looms!

Its true high-born rulers now sleep below ground,

Yet Trakai outlasted their tombs.

While centuries run, its grim ruins grow older,

Deserted and lonely, they gradually moulder.

When over the castle the wind bursts to moan

The lake lying round climbs its walls:

A wave rides a wave, and a mouldering stone

Works loose and submissively falls.

The towers keep crumbling and day after day

So many a heart fill with gloom and dismay.

Old castle! Long centuries echoed your name!

Great men rose to glory with you!

You saw the Great Vytautas' power and fame,

His regiments on a review.

Where is now your might that was dazzling with glory?

Where is your antiquity lauded in story?

You walls, dark and ruinous, covered with grime,

Defenceless, unpeopled and dumb!

I tenderly fancy your most precious time

You've had in the centuries' run!

Invaluable time! Shall we see your revival?

Or shall you like youth just in dreams find survival?

Each time when through Trakai I happen to go

With pain my heart bitterly cries.

A sorrowful tear down my cheek starts to flow

And suddenly clouds my blue eyes.

In vain my poor heart tries to seek consolation,

All round I see darkness and bleak desolation.

Professional translation from Lithuanian to English (by Lionginas Paž?sis)

The poem "Trakai Castle" by the great Lithuanian poet Maironis (the real name J. Ma?iulis, 1862 -1932) recalls the glorious past of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. The conflict between the presence and the past is the central theme in this particular poem. The title "Trakai Castle" gives the information that the poem is about the history of Lithuania- Trakai Castle is the historical monument in the city of Trakai which in the old times was the Capital of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, and this particular castle is the symbol of that glorious period of the country.

The speaker in the poem is anonymous although the reader can understand that he or she definitely is a Lithuanian person because of the sincere speech about the homeland Lithuania. In addition, every Lithuanian person by the reading this particular poem can imagine him/herself as the speaker. The addressee in the poem is the Castle of Trakai which symbolizes the glorious history of Lithuania. In the third stanza of the poem the speaker speaks directly to the castle (to the past of Lithuania) by using the rhetorical speech and the Past Tense, and expresses his sorrow for the great time of his homeland which belongs to the past: "Pilis! Tu tiek amži? praleidai garsiai! / Ir tiek mums davei milžin?!". Although "Trakai Castle" expresses the proud feelings about the glorious past of the beloved homeland, Lithuania, the main mood in the poem is sad and melancholic. That is because the glory and the majesty of the country passed. In the first four lines of the poem there are picturesque descriptions about the castle. By the reading these particular lines the reader can feel the greatness of the castle and the glory of the past of Lithuania also. Even if the castle is described as old and tumbledown, it definitely reminds its noble past.

By moving on to the second stanza, the mood changes into even more melancholic. The descriptions of the castle which is collapsing and the images of the stormy weather, symbolize the changes. The glorious past is destroyed by the gaunt presence and only the broken-down castle reminds about the great ages.

In the third stanza the speaker mentions

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