Charles Baudelaire


You are a lovely autumn sky, clear and rosy! But sadness rises in me like the sea, And as it ebbs, leaves on my sullen lips The burning memory of its bitter slime. - In vain does your hand slip over my swooning breast; What it seeks, darling, is a place plundered By the claws and the ferocious teeth of woman. Seek my heart no longer; the beasts have eaten it. My heart is a palace polluted by the mob; They get drunk there, kill, tear each other's hair! - A perfume floats about your naked breast!... O Beauty, ruthless scourge of souls, you desire it! With the fire of your eyes, brilliant as festivals, Bum these tatters which the beasts spared! Translated by - William Aggeler Conversation You are the loveliness, the clearness, the red of autumn skies! But sadness climbs like a sea in me, Leaving, in reflux, upon my bitter lip The sharp memory of its biting slime. - In vain your hand slips on my fainting chest; What it seeks, my darling, is but a place pillaged By the fang and the fierce tooth of woman. Do not search for my heart anymore; the wild beasts have eaten it. My heart is a palace soiled by the mob; There they swill, and they brawl, and they kill! - A fragrance swims around your naked breasts. O Beauty, cruel scourge of souls, you long for it! With your eyes that flame, brilliant as festivals, Bum these tatters that the beasts have spared me! Translated by - Geoffrey Wagner Causerie You are an autumn sky, suffused with rose... Yet sadness rises in me like the sea, And on my sombre lip, when it outflows. Leaves its salt burning slime for memory. Over my swooning breast your fingers stray; In vain, alas! My breast is a void pit Sacked by the tooth and claw of woman. Nay, Seek not my heart; the beasts have eaten it! My heart is as a palace plundered By the wolves, wherein they gorge and rend and kill, A perfume round thy naked throat is shed... Beauty, strong scourge of souls, O work thy will! Scorch with thy fiery eyes which shine like feasts These shreds of flesh rejected by the beasts! Translated by - Jack Collings Squire Episode You are a lovely, rosy, lucid autumn sky! But sadness mounts upon me like a flooding sea, And ebbs, and ebbing, leaves my lips morose and dry, Smarting with salty ooze, bitter with memory. - Useless to slide your hand like that along my breast; That which it seeks, my dear, is plundered; it is slit By the soft paw of woman, that clawed while it caressed. Useless to hunt my heart; the beasts have eaten it. My heart is like a palace where the mob has spat; There they carouse, they seize each other's hair, they kill. - Your breast is naked... what exotic scent is that?... O Beauty, iron flail of souls, it is your will! So be it! Eyes of fire, bright in the darkness there, Bum up these strips of flesh the beasts saw fit to spare. Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay Conversation You're like an autumn sky, rose, clear, and placid. But sorrow whelms me, like the tide's assault, And ebbing, leaves upon my lips the acid And muddy-bitter memory of its salt. Your hand may stroke my breast, but not console. What it seeks there is but a hole, deep caverned By women's claws and fangs, and ransacked whole. Seek not my heart, on which the beasts have ravened. My heart's a palace plundered by the rabble: They tope, they kill, in blood and guts they scrabble: - A perfume swims around your naked breast! O Beauty, flail of spirits, you know best! With your eyes' fire, lit up as for a spree, Char the poor rags those beasts have left of me! Translated by - Roy Campbell

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