Charles Baudelaire

Gypsies Traveling

The prophetical tribe, that ardent eyed people, Set out last night, carrying their children On their backs, or yielding to those fierce appetites The ever ready treasure of pendulous breasts. The men travel on foot with their gleaming weapons Alongside the wagons where their kin are huddled, Surveying the heavens with eyes rendered heavy By a mournful regret for vanished illusions. The cricket from the depths of his sandy retreat Watches them as they pass, and louder grows his song; Cybele, who loves them, increases her verdure, Makes the desert blossom, water spurt from the rock Before these travelers for whom is opened wide The familiar domain of the future's darkness. Translated by - William Aggeler The Gypsies They set out yesterday, the tribe of ragged seers With burning eyes - bearing their little ones in nests Upon their backs, or giving them, to stop their tears, The teats of inexhaustible and swarthy breasts. The men walk shouldering their rifles silently Beside the hooded wagons with bright tatters hung, And peer into the sky, as if they hoped to see Some old mirage that beckoned them when they were young. No matter where they journey through the meager land, The cricket will sing louder from his lair of sand, And Cybele, who loves them, will smile where they advance: The desert will be fruitful, the arid rock will flow Before the footsteps of these wayfarers, who go Eternally into the lightless realm of chance. Translated by - George Dillon Gipsies on the Road The tribe of seers, last night, began its march With burning eyes, and shouldering its young To whose ferocious appetites it swung The wealth of hanging breasts that nought can parch. The men, their weapons glinting in the rays, Walk by the convoy where their folks are carted, Sweeping the far-off skylines with a gaze Regretful of Chimeras long-departed. Out of his hole the cricket sees them pass And sings the louder. Greener grows the grass Because Cybele loves them, and has made The barren rock to gush, the sands to flower, To greet these travellers, before whose power Familiar futures open realms of shade. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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