Charles Baudelaire

Cupid and the Skull

An Old Lamp Base

Cupid is seated on the skull Of Humanity; On this throne the impious one With the shameless laugh Is gaily blowing round bubbles That rise in the air As if they would rejoin the globes At the ether's end. The sphere, fragile and luminous, Takes flight rapidly, Bursts and spits out its flimsy soul Like a golden dream. I hear the skull groan and entreat At every bubble: "When is this fierce, ludicrous game To come to an end? Because what your pitiless mouth Scatters in the air, Monstrous murderer - is my brain, My flesh and my blood!" Translated by - William Aggeler Love and the Skull With bold and insolent grimace, Love laughingly bestrides The bare skull of the Human Race, And, as enthroned he rides, Blows bubbles from his rosy cheek Which soar into the sky As if, beyond the blue, to seek The other worlds on high. They ride with wondrous verve at first, Reflect the sunny beams, Then spit their flimsy souls, to burst And fade like golden dreams. I hear the skull at each renewal Expostulate aghast - "This game, ridiculous and cruel - When will it end at last? For what your cruel mouthpiece drains And scatters, sud by sud, Monstrous Assassin! is my brains, My substance, and my blood." Translated by - Roy Campbell

Don't have an account?

You will be identified by the alias - name will be hidden