Link to the whole text (romanian original)
"Scrisoarea 3" means "Letter 3" (and not "The third Letter")
There are five letters written by Eminescu and this is the most renowned one, although "Scrisoarea 1" has to be studied in the school ("Scrisoarea 1" is the story of a genius").
The poem consists of three parts:
(I've numbered empty lines also and the definitions of parts are my own).
- Part one: lines 1 to 66
- Part two: lines 67 to 205
- Part three: lines 206 to 297
Even more orientation help:
There are lots of empty lines. So:
Now it comes to the second part.
- First block (line 1-20): A sultan sleeps and dreams. He dreams the the moon comes down to him in form of a virgin. The poet decribes her beauty and how impressed nature by her beauty is. In the last 4 lines of this block she speaks. She tells teh sultan that she wants to bind her life to his one.
- Second block (line 21-39): As the sultan looks to the moon, she disappears. Then, a tree begins to grow out of his heart. And it grows and grows, and his branches are over the whole world. Actually his shadow flattens over the world (and the mountains and rivers named in the poem. Everything gets to a huge empire under the shadow of a tree.
- Third block (lines 40 to 48): The whole paragraph is a metapher: about the fights which cannot reach the branches of the tree.
- Fourth block (lines 49 to 59): The sultan trembles. Wakes up. And sees the moon still flowing on the sky. Then, he turns around and looks at the neighbour house of a sheic and sees his beautiful daughter. And then he understands his dream: that out of his worldy love an empire will be born, whose frontiers only the sky knows.
- Fifth block (lines 60 to 66): His dream begins to be truth, and to get greater. Glory after glory. And once Baiazid gets to the Danube.
And now to the last part:
- First block (lines 67 to 73) describes the turk army as quering the Danube and coming to Rovine (were a fight between romanians and turks took place in 1395). The army is impressive, but, in te background, one can hear the sound of the oak forest.
- Second block (lines 74 to 141): This is the most renowned part of the poem. It is a dialog between Baiazid and Mircea, the romanian prince at that time. Mircea is described as simple old man. Baiazid first askes him to recognise himself as is vasal, what Mircea denies. So: line 81 first Mircea, then line 81 and 82 Baiazid, then line 83 to 90 Mircea again. He sais that for the begining he wishes welcome and that he would like to see a sign of emperal greatness in the elaving of Baiazid. As for himself and his people, they will carry both war and peace with plaeasure. In the lines 91 to 116 Baiazid speaks again. He's now angry and tells about all his victories and that nobody from the west managed to fight the turks, and therefore why should he go back in front of an old man who doesn't even seem to have proper arms. Mircea replies to this in the lines 117 to 140. He admits, that he's an old man, but meanwhile is he the lord of that country. He also tells from the history that lots of emperors, for who there wasn't enough place on the world, came to that tiny romanian county and wanted earth and water. But, without meaning to praise himself, that all these get int earth and water. His statement to the knights which failed in the front of the turks is that their scope in the battle was wrong: they wanted glory while Mircea and his people only want to defend themselves. And that's why everything in the country is only friend from Mircea but not of Baiazid. And the love to the country is a stronger wall agianst Baiazid than a army were.
- Third block (lines 142 to 174): After the old man leaves, the fight begins. Lots of metaphers, most of them focusing on spead. Baiazid doesn't manage to rescue his army and within an hour the romanians won.
- Fourth block (lines 175 to 204): The army has a rest after the fight. The sun is about goind down, and the moon comes up. It's the time when one of the sons of the prince writes a letter to his loved one. The letter is in the lines 185 to 202 (the shortes ones).
- First block (lines 206 to 220): The poet thinks about that times like the ones he has just described are worth to be sing by "Apolo". But the heroes are not even sung properly in his time: no poetry but prose. He wishes that the heroes remain in the dust of the old books.
- Second block (lines 221 to 259): Here begins the satire about how "great" are the contemporary people: they are all like liers: they use great words but don't mean them. And like to stay in cafes. And lot of governors are foreigners.
- Third block (lines 260 to 266): This is a rethoric adress to his contemporaries who pretend to be the descents of Rome. They shouldn't dare to use the name of the country and there are bad out of lots of viewpoints.
- Fourth block (lines 267 to 271): They spent their youth in Paris but as lazy people with losen women. As they were nothing worth before, so they are nothing worth after.
- Fifth block (lines 272 to 291): And now the contemporaries wonder over the scepticism with which they are welcomed. In fact, they were looking only to make profit without work, and money, and used glance words for this. But the've gone too far and now it doesn't work any more.
- Sixth block (lines 292 to 297): The poet ask them to let the ancestors sleep in peace, becaude their efforts would be in best case saw irronically by these. Then, hemakes a call to Vlad Tepes (i.e. Dracula) to come, to sort the contemporaries into two teams: fool and rotten and then set fire to the prison and to the foolshome.