Charles Baudelaire

Don Juan in Hades

When Don Juan descended to the underground sea, And when he had given his obolus to Charon, That gloomy mendicant, with Antisthenes' proud look, Seized the two oars with strong, revengeful hands. Showing their pendent breasts and their unfastened gowns Women writhed and twisted under the black heavens, And like a great flock of sacrificial victims, A continuous groan trailed along in the wake. Sganarelle with a laugh was demanding his wage, While Don Luis with a trembling finger Was showing to the dead, wandering along the shores, The impudent son who had mocked his white brow. Shuddering in her grief, Elvira, chaste and thin, Near her treacherous spouse who was once her lover, Seemed to implore of him a final, parting smile That would shine with the sweetness of his first promises. Erect in his armor, a tall man carved from stone Was standing at the helm and cutting the black flood; But the hero unmoved, leaning on his rapier, Kept gazing at the wake and deigned not look aside. Translated by - William Aggeler Don Juan in Hades When the hidalgo reached the subterranean seas, And, with an obol, paid Charon's accustomed score, A gloomy beggarman, proud as Antisthenes, With strong revengeful hands seized either trailing oar. With sagging breasts and gray unfastened gowns, a crowd Of women writhed in woe under a leaden sky, In their grim wake a groan trailed, mournfully and loud, Like flocks of sacrificial victims trudging by. Sganarelle, grinning, claimed his wages; dour and lank, Don Luis, with trembling finger, pointed at the prow, To show the phantoms wandering on the river bank That impious son who mocked his father's snow-white brow. Elvira, chaste and gaunt, shuddered in sorrow, while Beside her traitorous spouse (her lover, once) she seemed To crave the favor of an ultimate bright smile, Sweet as his first-made vows and as the dream she dreamed. Erect in coat-of-mail, a tall man, hewn of stone, Stood at the helm, cleaving the flood. But in mute pride, Leaning upon his sword, impassive and alone, The hero watched the wave nor deigned to look aside. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Don Juan in Hades He found the wide bark rocking in the Stygian breeze And came aboard, having first paid Charon what he owed. A beggar, somber and haughty as Antisthenes, Seized the long oars with a revengeful gesture and rowed. Writhing and tearing open their garments while he crossed, A crowd of disappointed females, herded there Along the bank like victims for a holocaust, Filled with a soft and bestial moaning the dark air. Sganarelle laughed triumphantly, demanding his wage; Don Luis, still wrathful, pointed with a palsied hand To the unruly son who mocked him in his old age, Calling to witness the dead throngs upon that strand. She whom he wed in church and loved a little while, Elvira, thin and trembling in her black robes of grief, Seemed to implore of her betrayer a last smile In memory of his first ardor, noble and brief. The knight he murdered and whose ghost he had rebuked Stood now, a tall and cuirassed helmsman, at the stem; But the calm hero, leaning upon his rapier, looked Absently into the water, ignoring all of them. Translated by - George Dillon Don Juan in Hell When, having reached the subterranean wave, Don Juan paid his passage from the shore, Proud as Antisthenes, a surly knave With vengeful arms laid hold of either oar. With hanging breasts between their mantles showing Sad women, writhing under the black sky, Made, as they went, the sound of cattle lowing As from a votive herd that's led to die. Sganarelle for his wages seemed to linger, And laughed; while to the dead assembled there, Don Luis pointed out with trembling finger The son who dared to flout his silver hair. Chilled in her crepe, the chaste and thin Elvira, Standing up close to her perfidious spouse, Seemed to be pleading from her old admirer For that which thrilled his first, unbroken vows. A great stone man in armour leaped aboard; Seizing the helm, the coal-black wave he cleft. But the calm hero, leaning on his sword, Had eyes for nothing but the wake they left. Translated by - Roy Campbell

Don't have an account?

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