The Consolation Of The Hair

Meet Antun Gustav Matos (1873-1914) – another one of the Croatian poets, who left a special impact on me during my youth.
His first, probbably the best (according to me),  and the most widely interpreted sonnet, was written in february, 1906
/The translation is my own, so please, have in mind that English is my third language/

Antun Gustav Matos
Antun Gustav Matos

*The Consolation Of The Hair*

I have watched you last night. Sad. In dreaming. Dead.
In the hall of doom, in idyll of flowers,
On a high catafalque, in agony of candles,
Ready to sacrifice my life for yours instead.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t. Astounded, I stood numb
In the hall of doom, filled with gorgeous death,
Wondering why are they dark  now, those eyes once so bright
Those eyes, my rays of better life.

All, oh all is dead: your eyes, your breath, your arms,
All I wanted  to revive vainly in despair
In blindness of horror, in torture of fright.

In the hall of doom, while my thoughts were grey
Only your hair was there still living.
And it told me: Be calm! In death we are just dreaming.


Here follows the original version:

*Utjeha kose*

Gledo sam te sinoć. U snu. Tužan. Mrtvu.
U dvorani kobnoj, u idili cvijeća,
Na visokom odru, u agoniji svijeća,
Gotov da ti predam život kao žrtvu.

Nisam plako. Nisam. Zapanjen sam stao
U dvorani kobnoj, punoj smrti krasne,
Sumnjajući da su tamne oči jasne
Odakle mi nekad bolji život sjao.

Sve baš, sve je mrtvo: oči, dah i ruke,
Sve što očajanjem htjedoh da oživim
U slijepoj stravi i u strasti muke,

U dvorani kobnoj, mislima u sivim.
Samo kosa tvoja još je bila živa
Pa mi reče: Miruj! U smrti se sniva.

ag matos

A G Matos – monument in my hometown, Strossmayer Promenade, Zagreb, Croatia

Matos was born in Tovarnik in the region of Syrmia, Croatia.  When he was two years old, his parents moved to Zagreb, the capital of the country, where he went to primary and secondary school. His attempt to study at the Military Veterinary College in Vienna ended in failure. He was conscripted in 1893, but he deserted in 1894, fleeing from Croatia to Belgrade, Serbia. He spent the next three years in Belgrade, living in his own words as a “cello player, journalist, and man of letters”. In January 1898 he traveled to Vienna and Munich, stayed for a while in Geneva, and then moved to Paris in 1899, where he would stay for five years. In 1904 he returned to Belgrade, visiting Zagreb in secret (as he was still a deserter) in 1905, 1906 and 1907. Finally, in 1908, after thirteen years abroad, he was pardoned. He finally settled in Zagreb, where he died of throat cancer. He wrote about two dozen published or unpublished works: poems, short stories, articles, travelogues, criticisms and disputes.


Image by

Facts by Wikipedia

~ by Eclipse on December 22, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Consolation Of The Hair”

  1. Odlična pjesma, nažalost teško prevodiva u svoj dubini. Slike su fantastične.

  2. Sorry, it should there was … not is.

  3. What a beautiful man … those eyes.
    There is some sorrow and sadness in that soul of his.

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