ANGEL AND DEMON
Blackness of the cathedral dome, saddened by
the yellow light
Of waxen candles shimmering, which burn before
the altars face;
While in the dark and spacious vault, unpenetrated
realms of space
Defy the tapers' tired eyes that strain to
probe unconquered night.
And empty is the twilight church, save where,
upon the marble stair,
A child who like an angel kneels with deeply
bowed and feruent head.
Upon the altar stands, amidst the rosy light
the tapers shed,
With calm, pale face and gentle mean an image
of the virgin fair.
Within a sconce upon the wall a guttering candle
burns and drips
And gleaming drops of molten pitch hiss as
they fall upon the ground,
While wreaths of dry and withered flowers
emit a gentle rustling sound,
And the maiden's secret prayer rests silently
upon her lips.
Sunk in the outer ring of dark, a marble cross
his form concealing,
Wrapped in the shadow's heavy cloak, "He"
like a demon silent stands,
His elbows resting on the cross and hanging
down his tapered hands,
His eyes deep sunken in his head, his furrowed
brow strange grief revealing.
Against the crosse's chilly neck his burning
cheek he thoughtfully lays;
About its snowy arms is looped his long and
The sad light of the candle glow scarce reaches
to the corner where;
Upon his draw and pallid face fall feebly
its yellow rays.
She ... an angel praying heaven-" He"... demon
wrapped in woes;
She ...the pure, the golden hearted-"He"...not
heeding heaven's loss.
He ...in deathly shadow leaning on the cold
arms of the cross-
While from the sad Madonna's feet "her" simple
prayer to heaven goes.
Upon the wall by which she kneels, the high
cool wall of marble fine
That shines as does the mountain snow, that
as calm water turns the light,
Clearly as on a mirror falls the shadow of
that maiden white,
Her bending shadow, like herself, kneeling
in prayer before the shrine.
O what can ail thee, maiden sweet ,with thy
so gentle noble mien ?
Pale is thy face as is the snow, and pale
as wax thy tapered hands.
As river mist shot through with stars that
on the hills at evening stands,
So shine thy innocent ,soft eyes ,beneath
their veiling lashes seen.
Angel thou art, yet something lacks; an angel's
tall, star-spattered wings.
But as I gaze I see take shape about your
shoulders flying lines;
What are they, trembling in the air? Whence
come these feathery designs?
An angel's pinion in the dusk towards the
gate of heaven springs.
O, but the shadow is not hers ;her guardian
angel hovers there;
Against the whiteness of the wall I see his
radiant figure tower.
Over the maiden's sinless life he watches
with celestial power,
And as she bows her head to pray, he too is
bowed in fervent prayer.
But if this be an angle's wing, then "She"
too angel is; for though
The air brightness of her wings is not revealed
to eyes of man,
These walls alone, where age-long prayer has
been poured out in worship, can
Proclaim to us her angelhood and of her wings
I love, I love thee fain would cry the demon
from the twilight shade,
But the winged shadow guarding her the utterance
of his spirit sealed.
The passion died upon his lips; in worship
not in love he kneeled
And heard across the hollow nave her timid
murmur as she prayed.
"She"? A princess fair as day, a crown of stars
upon her head,
An angle in a woman's guise, going her happy
way trough life.
"He" A rebel of mankind, blowing to flame
the sparks of strife
And sowing hate in hopeless breasts that to
revolt by him are led.
Their ways of life are worlds apart, deep oceans
lie between these twain,
Between them barricades of thought, the better
bloodshed of a race.
And yet at times their journeys cross, they
meet each other face to face,
Their eyes seek out each other's soul and
mingle with a curious pain.
With gentle yet absorbing gaze, her large and
starlike deep blue eyes
Rest thoughtfully on his that do the tempest
and the lightning show.
While on his pallid face there mount emotions
warm and tender glow.
They love ... and yet what worlds apart, what
universe between them lies.
A monarch pale has come from far, a time old,
crown he humbly brings;
The victor in a hundred wars, his conquests
would he make her own.
He begs to lead her as his bride along the
carpet to his throne
And place within her tiny hand the sceptre
of the king of kings.
But no, with parted lips she turns and does
not speak the fatal word;
Her heart is silent in her breast and from
the king she draws her hands,
Her virgin soul is filed with love, while
in her dreams there ever stands
The demon's image like a god, for every night
his voice she heard.
She seems to see him leading men with words
of fire, with winged ideas;
How brave, how powerful, how grand - she thought
in lovers' proud delight;
He leading on the rising age to conquer and
to claim its right
Against the lifeless piled up weight of wisdom
that experience rears.
She saw him standing on a rock, wrapt like
a garment with his wrath
As with his banner's scarlet folds; his beetling
forehead deeply scoured
As though a black tempestuous night when all
the host of hell's aboard.
Out of his eyes the lightning gleamed, intoxicating
words poured forth.
On a bed of boards the young man lies stretched
in the agony of death,
Beside his couch a dim lamp burns, its poor
thin wick and meagre flame
Struggle against the cold damp air. No man
has ever heard his name,
None comes to ease his bitter lot, or wet
his lips that choke for breath.
O past are the days when in the world the thunder
of his voice would roll
Against the written codes of law, against
the laws that bound and maimed,
And slew men in the name of God...today the
world's revenge is aimed
Upon the dying heretic, and stifles out his
To die bereft of every hope, what man is there
on earth who knows
The awful meaning of these words? To feel
enslaved and weak and small,
To fight and hope and see your plans shrivelled
to nothing after all,
To know that in the world is throned an evil
force none may oppose.
Your years were spent in strife with wrong,
and you a useless fight have fought,
And now you die and see your life was wrecked
in work without avail,
Such death is Hell. More bitter tears than
these ne'er coursed the visage pale
Of dying man. How cruel to know that you and
all the world are naught.
Such black thoughts rising in his breast delay
the death for which he yearns.
With what great gifts has he been born. What
passionate love of right and truth,
What sympathy for human kind, and all the
lofty flame of youth.
Behold his recompense at last, this agony
with which he burns.
But into that narrow tawdry room, breaking
the mist that veiled his eye,
A silver shadow softly creeps; behold, an
angel shape comes near,
Sits lightly on the wretched bed, kisses away
each blinding tear
From those dimmed eyes; and now the mist is
torn away in ecstasy.
Aye, it is She. And with what joy, joy fathomless,
He gazes in his angel's face and reads love's
tender pity there.
With long glance he is rapaid all his life's
anguish and despair.
He whispers with his dying breath : "My love
i know thee for my own.
I who have laboured all my life poor and helpless
souls to move,
Warring against the open skies with all my
A demon, yet not cursed by God, for in my
dying hour he sent
His angel here to give me peace, and of his
peace the name is love".
English version by Corneliu M. Popescu