"In English mythology, Lucifer holds a place almost identical to that which Luceafarul holds in the Romanian one: namely that of the prince of the light, visibly symbolised by a star. To translate Luceafarul by the simple designation of evening-star would be to deprive it of all personality." 
C.M.Popescu
 
           LUCIFER 

Once on a time, as poets sing  
High tales with fancy laden,  
Born of a very noble king  
There lived a wondrous maiden.  

An only child, her kinsfolk boon,  
So fair, imagination faints ;  
As though amidst the stars the moon,  
Or Mary amidst the saints.  

From 'neath the castle's dark retreat,  
Her silent way she wended  
Each evening to the window-seat  
Where Lucifer attended.  

And secretly, with never fail,  
She watched his double race,  
Where vessels drew their pathless trail  
Across the ocean's face.  

And as intent she drank his light,  
Desire was quickly there ;  
While he who saw her every night  
Soon fell in love with her.  

And sitting thus with rested head,  
Her elbows on the sill,  
Her heart by youthful fancy led  
Did with deep longing fill.  

While he, a brilliant shining spark,  
Glowed always yet more clear  
Towards the castle tall and dark  
Where she would soon appear.  

 

Until one night with shower of rays  
He slips into her room,  
As though a strange and silver haze  
Did round about her loom.  

And when at last the child to rest  
Upon her sofa lies,  
He iays her arms across her breast  
And closes her soft eyes.  

While where his ray on mirror lands  
And is upon her couch redrifted,  
It falls upon her throat and hands  
And on her face uplifted.  

A smile is on her lips it seems ;  
He in the mirror trembles,  
For smooth his ray glides midst her dreams  
And round her soul assembles.  

And while she is in slumber gone  
She murmurs through her sighs :  
"Come down to me beloved one,  
Fair prince of the clear skies.  

Come down, good Lucifer and kind ,  
O lord of my aspire,  
And flood my chamber and my mind  
With your sweetest fire !"  

And Lucifer beams still more bright  
To hear her word's emotion ;  
Then like a comet in its flight  
Dives down into the ocean.  

And where his bolt is lost to view  
The sea in whirlpool surges,  
Till out of the unfathomed blue  
A handsome youth emerges,  

Who, leaping off the fretful wave,  
Lightly through her casement passes ;  
And in his hand he holds a stave  
Crowned with a wreath of grasses.  

A prince indeed of royal stock,  
With heavy hanging golden hair ;  
A purple winding-sheet his smock,  
Hung round his shoulders bare.  

A starry glow shines from his eyes,  
His cheeks are deathly white ;  
A lifeless thing in living guise,  
A youth born of the night.  

"Down from the spheres do I come  
Though dreadful the commotion,  
My father is the vaulted dome,  
My mother is the ocean.  

For I have left my realm to keep  
Obedience to your command ;  
Born of the zenith and the deep  
Before you here I stand.  

O come, fair child of royal birth,  
Cast this your world aside,  
For Lucifer has flown to earth  
To claim you as his bride.  

And you will live till time is done  
In castles built of sky,  
And all the fish will be your own,  
And all the birds that fly."  

"O, beautiful you are, good Sire,  
As but an angel prince could be,  
But to the course that you desire  
I never shall agree.  

Strange, as your voice and vesture show,  
I live while you are dead;  
Your eyes gleam with an icy glow  
Which fills my soul with dread."  

 

One day went past, and went past two,  
Then o'er the castle dark,  
Fair Lucifer again to view  
Shone forth his lustrous spark.  

And scarce his beam waved bright above,  
Her dreams to him were borne,  
Her heart again by aching love  
And cruel longing torn.  

"Come down, good Lucifer and kind,  
O lord of my aspire,  
And flood my chamber and my mind  
With your sweetest fire !"  

Now, as he heard her tender cry  
With pain he fadet out,  
And lighthing flew about the sky,  
Which wheeled and rocked about;  

Around the earth a lurid glow  
Poured like a torrent race,  
Till out of its chaotic flow  
There grew a human face;  

About the head dark wisps of hair  
Girt with a crown of flame,  
And through the sun-illumined air  
Borne up by truth he came.  

His arms of rounded marble sheen  
Did 'neath a cloak of raven show,  
And sad and thoughtful was his mien  
And pallid was his brow.  

Bright eyes he had that seem'd to tell  
Of strange chimeric bonds;  
And deep they were as passion's spell,  
And dark as moonlit ponds.  

"Down from the spheres have I flown,  
Though terrible my flight;  
My father wears Apollo's crown,  
My mother is the night.  

O come, fair child of royal birth,  
Cast this your world aside,  
For Lucifer has flown to earth  
To claim you as his bride.  

A starry halo from the skies  
About your hair will fall,  
And you among the spheres will rise  
The proudest of them all."  

"O, beautiful you are, good Sire,  
As but a demon prince could be,  
But to the course of your desire  
I never shall agree.  

You wound me with your crude behest;  
I dread what you extole;  
Your heavy eyes, as though possessed,  
Gleam down into my soul."  

"But why should I descend to thee ?  
Far better what I give;  
My days are all eternity,  
While you but one hour live."  

"I would not chosen phrases seek,  
Nor carefully my world arrange,  
But though with human mouth you speak,  
Your speech to me is strange.  

Yet if you wish to prove your worth,  
That I betroth myself to you,  
Well, then come down to me on earth  
And be a mortal too."  

"You ask my endless life above  
To barter for a kiss.  
Aye, I will show how my love,  
How deep my longing is.  

My birthright I will fling aside  
To be reborn of sin, and I  
Who to all rolling time am tied,  
Will that great knot untie."  

At which he turned and went away,  
'Midst a cloud of sombre pearl,  
To renounce his birthright from that day  
For the love of a mortal girl.  

 

About this time, young Cãtãlin  
Was a page boy of that house,  
Who filled the festive cups with wine  
At feast and royal carouse,  

And carried high the regal train;  
A foundling, brought by chance,  
Born of a humble unknow strain,  
Though roguish in his glance,  

Round-cheeked, like rose-apples red,  
Mischievous, bright-eyed,  
He slipped with quick yet stealthy tread  
To Cãtãlina's side.  

Upon my soul, Queen of romance !  
Was such a darling ever ?  
Come Cãtãlin, quick try your chance,  
For now's your time or never.  

At which he round her waist did twine  
His arm in sudden wooing.  
"Behave, you rascal Cãtãlin,  
Whatever are you doing ?"  

"By sorrow brooding all the while  
You would your heart assuage,  
But better you would turn and smile  
And kiss just once your page."  

"I know not what your wishes are,  
Leave me alone, you knave.  
Ah me ! The longing for that star  
Will drive me to the grave."  

"If you don't know, and you would learn  
How love is set about,  
Don't recklessly my teaching spurn,  
First fairly hear me out.  

As trappers deftly birds pursue  
With nets among the tree,  
When I stretch out my arm to you,  
Slip your arm thus round me.  

Your eyes into my eyes must glow,  
Nor turn away, nor close;  
And when I lift you softly, so,  
Rise gently on your toes.  

And when my face is downwards bent  
Your face turned up will stay,  
That we may gaze with sweet intent  
For ever and a day.  

While should you wish at last to learn  
The measure of love's bliss,  
When hot my lips on yours do burn  
Give back again my kiss."  

Amused, yet with a girl's surprise  
At what the youth acclaimed,  
She blushed and turned away her eyes,  
Half willing, half ashamed.  

"A chatterbox you were since small  
With overmuch to tell,  
Yet I had felt, in spite of all,  
We'd suit each other well."  

But Lucifer's slow sailing spark  
Crept up out of the sea  
Over the horizon's arc,  
Prince of eternity.  

And now my wretched heart does bleed,  
With tears my eyes grow dim,  
Whene'er I watch the waves that speed  
Across the sea to him.  

While he looms with adoring ray  
My grief to overthrow,  
Yet ever climbs to heights away  
Where mortals cannot go.  

His silver beams that space defy  
Sadly my watchers are  
And I shall love him till I die,  
Yet he be ever far.  

And thus it is the days to me  
Are drear as desert sand,  
The nights filled with a mystery  
I dare not understand..."  

"How childish is the way you speak.  
Come on! Come, lets us run away,  
That all the world for us shall seek  
Though no one finds the way.  

And we shall nothing of this life regret  
But joyous live and sprightly,  
Till soon your parents you'll forget,  
Nor dream your longings nightly."  

 

Lucifer set out and o'er  
The sky his wings extended,  
And milion years flew past before  
As many moments ended.  

A sky of stars above his way,  
A sky of stars below;  
As lightning flash midst them astray  
In one continuous flow.  

Till round his primal chaos hurled  
When out of causeless night  
The first, uplaming dawn unfurled  
Its miracle of light.  

Still further flew he ere the start  
Of things of form devoid,  
Spurred by the yearning of his heart,  
Far back into the void.  

Yet where he reach's is not the bourn  
Nor yet where eye can see;  
Beyond where struggling time was torn  
Out of eternity.  

Around him there was naught.. And still,  
Strange yearning there was yet,  
A yearning that all space did fill,  
As when the blind forget.  

"O, Father God, this knot untie  
Of my celestial birth,  
And praised you will be on high  
And on the rolling earth.  

The price you ask is little count,  
Give fate another course,  
For you are of fair life the fount  
And of calm death the source.  

Take back this halo from my head,  
Take back my starry lour,  
And give to me, o God, instead  
Of human love one hour.  

Out of the chaos was I wrought,  
In chaos would I be dispersed,  
Out of the empty darkness brought,  
For darkness do I thirst..."  

"Hyperion, o child divine,  
Don't thus your state disclaim,  
Nor ask for miracle, nor sign  
That has nor sense nor name.  

You wish to be of man a son,  
To be a star you scorn;  
But men quick perish every one,  
And men each day are born.  

Yet stars burn on with even glow,  
And it is fate's intending  
That they nor time, nor place shall know,  
Unfettered and unending.  

Out of eternal yesterday  
Into tomorrow's grave,  
Even the sun will pass way  
That other sun's shall lave;  

The sun that every morn does rise  
At last it's spirit gives;  
For each thing lives because it dies,  
And dies because it lives.  

But you, Hyperion, never wane,  
Night's miracle sublime,  
But in the sky your place retain,  
The wonder of all time.  

So what strange fancy holds your mind ?  
What dreaming thus belates you ?  
Return to earth and there you'll find  
The awakening that awaits you."  

 

Hyperyon did straightway go  
To where through ages gone  
His gleam upon the earth below  
Nightly he had shone.  

And it was evening when he came,  
Night's darkness slow assembled,  
And rose the moon a frozen flame  
That in the water trembled,  

And filled the forest's twilight clime  
With a silver starry mist,  
Where 'neath a tall and spreading lime  
Two fair-haired children kissed.  

"O, let me lay in lover's wise  
My head upon your breast,  
Beneath the wonder of your eyes,  
In soft and fragrant rest.  

In mystery's enchanted light  
Pervade me with your charm,  
And flood my soul through passion's night  
With time's eternal calm.  

O, quench my longing's eager thirst,  
My aching doubts o'ercast,  
For you to me are love the first  
And of my dreams the last."  

Hyperion gazed down and knew  
The fire their souls possessed;  
For scarce the boy her nearer drew,  
She clasped him to her breast.  

A rain of petals in the air  
That softly did enfold  
Two fervent children strangely fair,  
With locks of plated gold.  

She, lost in love's enraptured flight  
To heaven turned her eyes,  
Saw Lucifer's down shining light  
And whispered through her sighs:  

"Come down, good Lucifer and kind,  
O lord of my aspire,  
And fill the forest and my mind  
With your sweetest fire!"  

And Lucifer, alone in space,  
Her tender summons heard,  
A planet o'er the ocean's face  
That trembled at her word,  

But did not plunge as'n former day,  
And in his heart did cry:  
"O, what care you, fair face of clay,  
If it be he or I?  

Still earth shall only earth remain,  
Let luck its course unfold,  
And I in my own kingdom reign  
Immutable and cold."  

English version by Corneliu M. Popescu

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Transcribed by Raluca Antonache
School No.10, Focsani, Romania
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