«In those days, when life’s displays
moved me with their freshness still –
a young girl’s glance, the rustling glades,
the nightingale’s sweet midnight trill –
when elevated feelings shone,
freedom, glory, purest love,
and the Muse’s inspiration,
stirred profoundly in my blood –
my years of hope grew darker,
my joys were dimmed by longing,
for then some evil spirit started
to come to me in secret meeting.
The hours we spent were mournful:
his smile mysterious, and his gaze,
while his cold poison chilled my soul,
his caustic speech, his bitter ways.
With slander’s endless stream,
he tempted Providence;
called all beauty but a dream;
inspiration: mind robbed of sense;
he scorned both love and liberty;
the whole of life he ridiculed –
found not a single thing that he
might praise in all that Nature ruled.»

Alexander Pushkin, “The Demon”

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