0 lamp with silver burner, companion of the cathedral dome, my eyes catch sight of you in mid-air, and seek the reason for this suspension. They say that during the night your rays illumine the rabble -those who come to worship the Almighty-and that you show the repentant the path to the altar. - but . . . need you render such services to those to whom you owe nothing? Leave the columns of the basilicas plunged in darkness, and whenever a tempest blast upon which, borne in space, the devil whirls, bursts with him into the holy place - spreading terror - instead of your struggling bravely against the prince of evil's foul squall, extinguish yourself suddenly beneath his feverish breath so that, unseen, he can select his victims from the kneeling believers. If you do this, you know I shall owe all my happiness to you. While you are shining thus, shedding your blurred but adequate beams, I dare not respond to the promptings of my nature, and stay staring through the half-open portals at those in the Lord's bosom, who escape my vengeance.

0 poetic lamp! you could be my friend if you could understand me why do you begin gleaming in a way which seems to me unwonted? Your beams take on the white hues of electricity, the eye cannot look at you, you light up the most trifling details of the Creator's kennel. Maldoror does not leave the temple. He thinks he sees a kind of provocation in the lamp's attitude, which by its presence causes him the utmost annoyance. He tells himself that if any spirit is enclosed inside this lamp. It Is cowardly not replying sincerely to a straightforward attack. With wiry arms he flails the air and wishes the lamp would turn into a man; he'd give it a hard time. But the means by which a lamp changes into a man are unnatural. He is not resigned to this, and goes looking for a flat, sharp-edged pebble. This he throws powerfully through the air. . . He seizes the lamp to carry it outside but it resists. He seems to see wings at its sides, and the upper part assumes the form of an angel's torso. The whole thing tries to take flight, but with firm hand he holds it back. A lamp and an angel forming one and the same body he cannot separate them in his mind.

In reality they merge one with the other, he believes some cloud has veiled his eyes. Nevertheless, he readies himself courageously for the fight, for his adversary feels no fear. The cloaked man, while meeting with grievous wounds from an invisible sword, strove to pull the angel's face close to his mouth. All his struggles were to that end. The other loses strength and seems to foresee its fate. It wrestles only feebly. Now the moment has come. His muscles throttle the throat of the angel, which can no longer breathe, he tilts its face, forcing it against his odious breast. For one instant he Is moved by the fate awaiting this heavenly being, which he would gladly have made his friend. But he tells himself this Is the Lord's envoy, and can no longer curb his wrath. The worst has happened: something- horrible is going to rejoin the cage of time! He leans over and applies his saliva - steeped tongue to an angelic cheek. Oh! Look! Look there! . . . Tainted miasmas it exhales. This is gangrene.

The gnawing sickness spreads across the whole face and from there wreaks havoc on the lower regions: soon the entire body is only an enormous loathsome wound. Maldoror, appalled (for he did not think his tongue contained so virulent a poison), snatches up the lamp and flees from the church. Once outside, he sees in the air a shape with singed wings, which painfully wends its way heavenward. They both look at one another as the angel ascends towards the serene heights of good and Maldoror, on the contrary, sinks down Into the vertiginous abysses of evil. . . . What a look! So many things did they say in that farewell! This look binds them in an eternal friendship. For a moment Maldoror believes himself mistaken and wonders whether he should have followed the path of evil as he has. The unease has gone. He keeps to his resolve, and according to him, it will be glorious to conquer the Most High - to reign in his place over the entire universe and legions of angels as beautiful as that one. Which, without speaking, gives Maldoror to understand that It will ¤resume its pristine form.

The Angel lets fall a tear which refreshes the brow of him who has given the angel gangrene; and gradually disappears like a vulture, amid the clouds. The culprit looks at the lamp, the cause of the foregoing. He runs through the streets like a madman, makes for the river. For a few moments It whirls round, then finally sinks into the muddy waters. Since that day, about nightfall a bright lamp may be seen floating gracefully upon the river's surface. Its beams, white as electric light. When a human being who has something on their conscience is crossing a bridge, take care : they are sure to see the lamp shine here or there... The passer-by, scared, peers vainly at the surface, she knows -what this means, and, sunk in sad reflections, hastens her step homeward. Then the lamp with silver burner reappears upon the surface and continues its progress in capricious and elegant arabesques.