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Angel i demon, 'Angel and Demon' (1898)

Angel i demon, 'Angel and Demon'

Pod"emljut spor za cheloveka
Dva dukha moshchnye: odin -
`Edemskoj dveri vlastelin
I vechnyj strazh jejo ot veka;
Drugoj -- vo vsem velich'i zla,
Vladyka sumrachnogo mira:
Nad ognennoj jego porfiroj
Gorjat dva ognennykh kryla.
No torzhestvo komu zh ustupit
V pyli rozhdennyj chelovek?
Venec li vechnykh pal'm on kupit
Il' chashu vremennuju neg?
Gospoden' angel tikh i jasen:
Jego zhivit smiren'ja luch;
No gordyj demon tak prekrasen,
Tak luchezaren i moguch!

Angel i demon, 'Angel and Demon'

Two powerful spirits argue
O’er the fate of man:
One watches over Eden’s door,
Eternal guardian across the ages;
The other – the lord of the underworld
In all its evil grandeur:
Two fiery wings burn
Above its fiery porphyry robes.
To which of these will man, born in dust,
Grant ascendancy?
Will he purchase the crown of eternal palms,
Or the fleeting cup of sensuous pleasure?
Quiet and limpid is the Angel of the Lord,
Burning with the light of humility;
But the proud demon is so beautiful,
So radiant and powerful!

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Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer, best know for his orchestral compositions and his symphonic suite Scheherazade. He believed in developing a nationalistic style of classical music, and was influenced by Russian folk song and lore.

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