Charles Baudelaire


Both ardent lovers and austere scholars Love in their mature years The strong and gentle cats, pride of the house, Who like them are sedentary and sensitive to cold. Friends of learning and sensual pleasure, They seek the silence and the horror of darkness; Erebus would have used them as his gloomy steeds: If their pride could let them stoop to bondage. When they dream, they assume the noble attitudes Of the mighty sphinxes stretched out in solitude, Who seem to fall into a sleep of endless dreams; Their fertile loins are full of magic sparks, And particles of gold, like fine grains of sand, Spangle dimly their mystic eyes. Translated by - William Aggeler Cats The ardent lovers and the stern students in their maturity, love equally, the gentle, powerful cats, pride of the family, they too feel the cold and favour indolence. Companions of knowledge and desire they seek the silent horrors darkness breeds, Erebus would take them for his funeral steeds, were they able to soften their pride. They take as they dream the noble pose of the great sphinxes, reclined in desolate land, lost, it seems, in an endless doze Their fecund loins brim with enchanting glitter, whilst their haunting eyes at random flicker with particles of gold, like fine sand. Translated by - Claire Trevien The Cats The lover and the stern philosopher Both love, in their ripe time, the confident Soft cats, the house's chiefest ornament, Who like themselves are cold and seldom stir. Of knowledge and of pleasure amorous, Silence they seek and Darkness' fell domain; Had not their proud souls scorned to brook his rein, They would have made grim steeds for Erebus. Pensive they rest in noble attitudes Like great stretched sphinxes in vast solitudes Which seem to sleep wrapt in an endless dream; Their fruitful loins are full of sparks divine, And gleams of gold within their pupils shine As 'twere within the shadow of a stream. Translated by - Jack Collings Squire Cats All ardent lovers and all sages prize, - As ripening years incline upon their brows — The mild and mighty cats - pride of the house — That like unto them are indolent, stern and wise. The friends of Learning and of Ecstasy, They search for silence and the horrors of gloom; The devil had used them for his steeds of Doom, Could he alone have bent their pride to slavery. When musing, they display those outlines chaste, Of the great sphinxes - stretched o'er the sandy waste, That seem to slumber deep in a dream without end: From out their loins a fountainous furnace flies, And grains of sparkling gold, as fine as sand, Bestar the mystic pupils of their eyes. Translated by - Cyril Scott Cats No one but indefatigable lovers and old Chilly philosophers can understand the true Charm of these animals serene and potent, who Likewise are sedentary and suffer from the cold. They are the friends of learning and of sexual bliss; Silence they love, and darkness, where temptation breeds. Erebus would have made them his funereal steeds, Save that their proud free nature would not stoop to this. Like those great sphinxes lounging through eternity In noble attitudes upon the desert sand, They gaze incuriously at nothing, calm and wise. Their fecund loins give forth electric flashes, and Thousands of golden particles drift ceaselessly, Like galaxies of stars, in their mysterious eyes. Translated by - George Dillon Cats Sages austere and fervent lovers both, In their ripe season, cherish cats, the pride Of hearths, strong, mild, and to themselves allied In chilly stealth and sedentary sloth. Friends both to lust and learning, they frequent Silence, and love the horror darkness breeds. Erebus would have chosen them for steeds To hearses, could their pride to it have bent. Dreaming, the noble postures they assume Of sphinxes stretching out into the gloom That seems to swoon into an endless trance. Their fertile flanks are full of sparks that tingle, And particles of gold, like grains of shingle, Vaguely be-star their pupils as they glance. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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