Charles Baudelaire

Spleen 1

January, irritated with the whole city, Pours from his urn great waves of gloomy cold On the pale occupants of the nearby graveyard And death upon the foggy slums. My cat seeking a bed on the tiled floor Shakes his thin, mangy body ceaselessly; The soul of an old poet wanders in the rain-pipe With the sad voice of a shivering ghost. The great bell whines, the smoking log Accompanies in falsetto the snuffling clock, While in a deck of cards reeking of filthy scents, My mortal heritage from some dropsical old woman, The handsome knave of hearts and the queen of spades Converse sinisterly of their dead love affair. Translated by - William Aggeler Spleen November, vexed with all the capital, whelms in a death-chill from her gloomy urn the cold pale dead beneath the graveyard wall, the death-doomed who in dripping houses yearn. Grimalkin prowls, a gaunt and scurvy ghoul, seeking a softer lair for her sojourn; along the eaves an ancient poet's soul shivers and wails, a ghost no eyes discern. the whining church-bell and the log a-sputter repeat the rheumy clock's falsetto mutter; while in a pack of cards, scent-filled and vile, grim relic of a dropsical old maid, the queen of spades and knave of hearts parade their dead amours, with many an evil smile. Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Spleen The rainy moon of all the world is weary, And from its urn a gloomy cold pours down, Upon the pallid inmates of the mortuary, And on the neighbouring- outskirts of the town. My wasted cat, in searching for a litter, Bestirs its mangy paws from post to post; (A poet's soul that wanders in the gutter, With the jaded voice of a shiv'ring ghost). The smoking pine-log, while the drone laments, Accompanies the wheezy pendulum, The while amidst a haze of dirty scents, - Those fatal remnants of a sick man's room — The gallant knave of hearts and queen of spades Relate their ancient amorous escapades. Translated by - Cyril Scott Late January Pluviose, hating all that lives, and loathing me, Distills his cold and gloomy rain and slops it down Upon the pallid lodgers in the cemetery Next door, and on the people shopping in the town. My cat, for sheer discomfort, waves a sparsely-furred And shabby tail incessantly on the tiled floor; And, wandering sadly in the rain-spout, can be heard The voice of some dead poet who had these rooms before. The log is wet, and smokes; its hissing high lament Mounts to the bronchial clock on the cracked mantel there; While (heaven knows whose they were - some dropsical old maid's) In a soiled pack of cards that reeks of dirty scent, The handsome jack of hearts and the worn queen of spades Talk in suggestive tones of their old love-affair. Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay Spleen The Month of Rains, incensed at life, outpours Out of her urn, a dark chill, like a penance, Over the graveyards and their wan, grey tenants And folk in foggy suburbs out of doors. My cat seeks out a litter on the ground Twitching her scrawny body flecked with mange. The soul of some old poet seems to range The gutter, with a chill phantasmal sound. The big bell tolls: damp hearth-logs seem to mock, Whistling, the sniffle-snuffle of the clock, While in the play of odours stale with must, Reminders of a dropsical old crone, The knave of hearts and queen of spades alone Darkly discuss a passion turned to dust. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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