Charles Baudelaire

Spleen 2

than if I'd lived a thousand years

I have more memories than if I'd lived a thousand years. A heavy chest of drawers cluttered with balance-sheets, Processes, love-letters, verses, ballads, And heavy locks of hair enveloped in receipts, Hides fewer secrets than my gloomy brain. It is a pyramid, a vast burial vault Which contains more corpses than potter's field. - I am a cemetery abhorred by the moon, In which long worms crawl like remorse And constantly harass my dearest dead. I am an old boudoir full of withered roses, Where lies a whole litter of old-fashioned dresses, Where the plaintive pastels and the pale Bouchers, Alone, breathe in the fragrance from an opened phial. Nothing is so long as those limping days, When under the heavy flakes of snowy years Ennui, the fruit of dismal apathy, Becomes as large as immortality. - Henceforth you are no more, O living matter! Than a block of granite surrounded by vague terrors, Dozing in the depths of a hazy Sahara An old sphinx ignored by a heedless world, Omitted from the map, whose savage nature Sings only in the rays of a setting sun. Translated by - William Aggeler Spleen I hold more memories than a thousand years. A chest of drawers crammed full of souvenirs, accounts and love-notes, warrants, verses - where from bills of sale fall coiling locks of hair - guards not more secrets than my heart of woe, a burial-vault whose coffins lie arow, a potters' field that death has filled too soon. - I am a graveyard hated by the moon, where creeping worms trail slowly as remorse, fiercely destroyed each belovèd corpse. I am a room where faded roses lie and gowns of perished fashions multiply, with none but ladies in pastel to share the musk from some old jar forgotten there. no days so lame as all the days I know while, crushed by years of ever-falling snow, boredom, dull fruitage of my apathy, waxes as vast as immortality. henceforth, o living cells, ye sleep, a womb faint shudders pierce, a cold grey cliff of doom lost in a misty desert far away, - a drowsy sphynx, forgot by all today, uncharted avatar, whose tameless heart sounds only when the day's last fires depart. Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks The Sphinx I swear to you that if I lived a thousand years I could not be more crammed with dubious souvenirs. There's no old chest of drawers bulging with deeds and bills, Love-letters, locks of hair, novels, bad verses, wills, That hides so many secrets as my wretched head; - It's like a mausoleum, like a pyramid, Holding more heaped unpleasant bones than Potter's Field; I am a graveyard hated by the moon; revealed Never by her blue light are those long worms that force Into my dearest dead their blunt snouts of remorse. - am an old boudoir, where roses dried and brown Have given their dusty odor to the faded gown, To the ridiculous hat, doubtless in other days So fine, among the wan pastels and pale Bouchers. Time has gone lame, and limps; and under a thick pall Of snow the endless years efface and muffle all; Till boredom, fruit of the mind's inert, incurious tree, Assumes the shape and size of immortality. Henceforth, O living matter, you are nothing more Than the fixed heart of chaos, soft horror's granite core, Than a forgotten Sphinx that in some desert stands, Drowsing beneath the heat, half-hidden by the sands, Unmarked on any map, - whose rude and sullen frown Lights up a moment only when the sun goes down. Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay Spleen Were I ten centuries old, could I remember more? A weighty chest of drawers, crammed with a random store Of poems, billets-doux, writs, songs, balance sheets, And heavy skeins of hair rolled up in old receipts, Hides fewer secrets, surely, than my sorry brain, A pyramid and vault, whose corridors contain More corpses than the potter's field, or late or soon. A graveyard, I, abominated by the moon, Where, like a viscous worm, remorse thrusts out his head To strike forever at my most beloved dead. I am an ancient boudoir filled with faded roses In which a ruck of long-outmoded gowns reposes, Where pastels all too sad and Bouchers all too pale Alone breathe in the scents that uncorked flasks exhale. Nothing can be so long as days, limping and drear, Under the heavy flakes of year on snowy year, When ennui, fruit of dismal incuriosity, Assumes the fearful scope of immortality. - Henceforth you are no more, O mind, O living matter! Than a cold granite block which unknown terrors spatter, Dozing deep in the wastes of a Saharan daze, An ancient Sphinx unknown of our indifferent days, Omitted from all maps, a lonely savage one Who can sing only at the setting of the sun. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Spleen I have more memories than had I seen ten centuries. A huge chest that has been Stuffed full of writs, bills, verses, balance-sheets With golden curls wrapt up in old receipts And love-letters - hides less than my sad brain, A pyramid, a vault that must contain More corpses than the public charnel stores. I am a cemetery the moon abhors, Where, like remorses, the long worms that trail Always the dearest of my dead assail. I am a boudoir full of faded roses Where many an old outmoded dress reposes And faded pastels and pale Bouchers only Breathe a scent-flask, long-opened and left lonely... Nothing can match those limping days for length Where under snows of years, grown vast in strength, Boredom (of listlessness the pale abortion) Of immortality takes the proportion! - From henceforth, living matter, you are nought But stone surrounded by a dreadful thought: Lost in some dim Sahara, an old Sphinx, Of whom the world we live in never thinks. Lost on the map, it is its surly way Only to sing in sunset's fading ray. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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