Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Demon by Mikhail Lermontov

Demon Overthrown by Mikhail Vrubel, 1902

I am he to whom you barkened
In the stillness of the night,
He whose thought your mind has darkened,
He whose sadness you have felt,
Whose image haunts your waking sight,
Whose name the end of hope has spelt
To every soul with whom I treat.
I am he no man may love,
A scourge to all my mortal slaves,
The ill in nature. Enemy
To Heaven and all the powers above.
Lord of knowledge, liberty.
And, as you see, I'm at your feet.
Moved beyond all that I have known
I would speak softly in your ears
Quiet prayers of love. Tell of my pain,
My first on earth, and my first tears.
Ah hear me out, for pity's sake!
One word from you would quite restore me.
Robed in the love of your pure heart
I might again resume my part
In the angelic ranks and take
An aspect new and a new glory.
Ah, hear me, hear me I implore you,
I am your slave and I adore you!
No sooner did I see you than
I felt a sudden, veiled revulsion
For immortality and power;
And I was drawn by strange compulsion
To envy the frail joys of man;
Life without you became a torment
To be apart from you - a horror.
A living ray of warmth, a portent
Of fair renewal touched my heart
And set the cold blood coursing. Sorrow
Beneath the scar stirred like a serpent
Awakening an ancient pain.
For, tell me, without you what gain
Is there in my infinity?
Endless dominion, majesty?
Loud, empty words - a spacious fane
Devoid of all divinity!


The Demon by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Oleg Menshikov, Part 1

The Demon by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Oleg Menshikov, Part 2

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