Charles Baudelaire


Above the lakes, above the vales, The mountains and the woods, the clouds, the seas, Beyond the sun, beyond the ether, Beyond the confines of the starry spheres, My soul, you move with ease, And like a strong swimmer in rapture in the wave You wing your way blithely through boundless space With virile joy unspeakable. Fly far, far away from this baneful miasma And purify yourself in the celestial air, Drink the ethereal fire of those limpid regions As you would the purest of heavenly nectars. Beyond the vast sorrows and all the vexations That weigh upon our lives and obscure our vision, Happy is he who can with his vigorous wing Soar up towards those fields luminous and serene, He whose thoughts, like skylarks, Toward the morning sky take flight - Who hovers over life and understands with ease The language of flowers and silent things! Translated by - William Aggeler Elevation Above the valleys and above the meres, The mountains and the woods, the clouds, the seas, Beyond the sun and ether distances, Beyond the confines of the starry spheres, Swiftly, my spirit, thou dost hold thy flight, And, as one swoons with joy on the sea's breast, Those calm eternal deeps thou furrowest With an ineffable and strong delight. Leave far beneath thy feet these pestilent places To bathe in upper air, and quench desire With unpolluted draughts of that clear fire Which fills the luminous and limpid spaces. O happy who can cast aside his chains, The heavy load of grief and weariness. And, winging from this misty wilderness, Can set his eyes on those far-shining plains! Whose lark-like thoughts, with bright, untrammelled wings, Spring upward when the morning skies are clear; Who soars o'er life, and effortless can hear The secret speech of flowers and dumb things! Translated by - Jack Collings Squire Élevation above the valleys and above the meres, above the mountains, woods, the clouds, the sea, beyond the sun, beyond the canopy of aether, and beyond the starry spheres, o Mind, thou soarest easily and well, and like a swimmer tranced in lifting seas, thou cleavest all those deep immensities, thrilled by a manly joy ineffable. fly far beyond this fog of pestilence; fly! go purge thy squalor in the loftier air; go quaff the pure Olympian ichor where clear fires fill the whole pellucid sky. behind the cares, the dark anxieties that on our sunless hours drag and drift, happy is he whom sturdy pinions lift in spirit, toward those fields of light and peace; o happy he whose thoughts, unfurling wings, leap skyward like the lark at morning's call, - who soars above this life, resolving all the speech of flowers and of voiceless things! Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Elevation Above the ponds, above the valleys, Mountains, woods, clouds, and seas, Beyond the sun, beyond the heavens, Beyond the confines of starry spheres, My spirit, you roam with agility, And, like a good swimmer bracing the waves, You soar happily into profound immensity With exquisite male delight. Fly, far away from these noxious surroundings; And cleanse yourself in the pure air above, And drink, the clear fire that fills lucid spaces, As you would a pure and divine liqueur. Behind the nuisances, and the vast chagrins Amassing with their weight our bewildered existence, Happy is he who can with a vigorous wing Propel towards the luminous and serene realms; He whose thoughts, like larks, Free, in the morning take flight, - Hover over life, and understand with ease The language of flowers and silent things! Translated by - Said Leghlid Up Above the valleys, above the mountains, above the sea, Above the mists that rise at morning from river and pond - Beyond the sun, beyond the fringe of the ether, beyond The boundaries of the fields of stars and nebulae, With what deep bliss, with what insatiable delight, My soul, like a good swimmer reveling in the wave, You plunge into immensity! With what a grave Mute joy you saturate yourself in the clear height! Fly! Oh, indeed, fly far from this unwholesome place! Go and be purged in radiance, wheeling higher and higher: Be drunken, be washed through with the transparent fire, Be lost in the serene bright solitudes of space! From these low vapors hanging in the windless air, From these miasmas fraught with ancient woe and ill, Most blest, most fortunate is he who can at will Take flight into a region luminous and fair - He whose unwearied thoughts on effortless light wings Go up like larks at morning, and circle without fear Above the wakening land - aloof and free — and hear The voices of the flowers and of all voiceless things! Translated by - George Dillon Elevation Above the valleys and the lakes: beyond The woods, seas, clouds and mountain-ranges: far Above the sun, the aethers silver-swanned With nebulae, and the remotest star, My spirit! with agility you move Like a strong swimmer with the seas to fight, Through the blue vastness furrowing your groove With an ineffable and male delight. Far from these foetid marshes, be made pure In the pure air of the superior sky, And drink, like some most exquisite liqueur, The fire that fills the lucid realms on high. Beyond where cares or boredom hold dominion, Which charge our fogged existence with their spleen, Happy is he who with a stalwart pinion Can seek those fields so shining and serene: Whose thoughts, like larks, rise on the freshening breeze Who fans the morning with his tameless wings, Skims over life, and understands with ease The speech of flowers and other voiceless things. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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