Charles Baudelaire


Come, lie upon my breast, cruel, insensitive soul, Adored tigress, monster with the indolent air; I want to plunge trembling fingers for a long time In the thickness of your heavy mane, To bury my head, full of pain In your skirts redolent of your perfume, To inhale, as from a withered flower, The moldy sweetness of my defunct love. I wish to sleep! to sleep rather than live! In a slumber doubtful as death, I shall remorselessly cover with my kisses Your lovely body polished like copper. To bury my subdued sobbing Nothing equals the abyss of your bed, Potent oblivion dwells upon your lips And Lethe flows in your kisses. My fate, hereafter my delight, I'll obey like one predestined; Docile martyr, innocent man condemned, Whose fervor aggravates the punishment. I shall suck, to drown my rancor, Nepenthe and the good hemlock From the charming tips of those pointed breasts That have never guarded a heart. Translated by - William Aggeler Lethe Come on my heart, cruel and insensible soul, My darling tiger, beast with indolent airs; I want to plunge for hours my trembling fingers In your thick and heavy mane; In your petticoats filled with your perfume To bury my aching head, And breathe, like a faded flower, The sweet taste of my dead love. I want to sleep, to sleep and not to live, In a sleep as soft as death, I shall cover with remorseless kisses Your body beautifully polished as copper. To swallow my appeased sobbing I need only the abyss of your bed; A powerful oblivion lives on your lips, And all Lethe flows in your kisses. I shall obey, as though predestined, My destiny, that is now my delight; Submissive martyr, innocent damned one, My ardor inflames my torture, And I shall suck, to drown my bitterness The nepenthe and the good hemlock, On the lovely tips of those jutting breasts Which have never imprisoned love. Translated by - Geoffrey Wagner Le Lethé come to my heart, cold viper-soul malign, beloved tiger, hydra indolent; long will I drag my hands incontinent and quivering, through this vast loosed mane of thine; long will I bury throbbing brow and head among thy skirts all redolent of thee, and breathe - a blighted flower of perfidy — the fading odour of my passion dead. I'll sleep, not live! I'll lose myself in sleep! in slumber soft as Death's uncertain shore, I'll sleep and sow my drowsy kisses o'er thy polished coppery arms and bosom deep. to drown my sobs and still my spirit - o! no boon but thine abysmal bed avails; poppied oblivion from thy mouth exhales and through thy kisses floods of Lethe flow. so to my doom, henceforward my desire, I shall submit as one predestinate; and like a martyr, calm, immaculate, whose fervour prods again his flickering pyre, I'll suck, to drown my hate's eternal smart, Nepenthe, and good bitter hemlock brew, from the sharp rose-buds of thy breast, anew, thy breast that never did contain a heart. Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Lethe Tigress adored, indolent fiend, lie there, There on my heart now, merciless and strong, I wish to run my trembling fingers long Through the black tangles of your heavy hair, To plunge my aching head amorous of Your skirts as into secret, perfumed bowers, To breathe your scent as from pale withered flowers The after-flavor of my defunct love. I wish to sleep rather than live, alas! In slumber deep and sweet as death, O lover, As my fierce and remorseless kisses cover Your lovely body, bright as burnished brass, To bury my stilled sobs in the abysses Of your anodyne bed, to feast upon Your lips that shed potent oblivion, To drink the Lethe flowing in your kisses. I shall delight in following my fate, Obeying it gladly as a man contemned, O docile martyr, innocent condemned To tortures that his fervors aggravate. With suckling lips to quell my spleen and rancor, Nepenthe I shall drain, and hemlock's sweets, Out of the magic tips of pointed teats That never served a human heart for anchor. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Lethe Come to my arms, cruel and sullen thing; Indolent beast, come to my arms again, For I would plunge my fingers in your mane And be a long time unremembering - And bury myself in you, and breathe your wild Perfume remorselessly for one more hour: And breathe again, as of a ruined flower, The fragrance of the love you have defiled. I long to sleep; I think that from a stark Slumber like death I could awake the same As I was once, and lavish without shame Caresses upon your body, glowing and dark. To drown my sorrow there is no abyss, However deep, that can compare with your bed. Forgetfulness has made its country your red Mouth, and the flowing of Lethe is in your kiss. My doom, henceforward, is my sole desire: As martyrs, being demented in their zeal, Shake with delightful spasms upon the wheel, Implore the whip, or puff upon the fire, So I implore you, fervently resigned! Come; I would drink nepenthe and long rest At the sweet points of this entrancing breast Wherein no heart has ever been confined. Translated by - George Dillon Lethe Rest on my heart, deaf, cruel soul, adored Tigress, and monster with the lazy air. I long, in the black jungles of your hair, To force each finger thrilling like a sword: Within wide skirts, filled with your scent, to hide My bruised and battered forehead hour by hour, And breathe, like dampness from a withered flower, The pleasant mildew of a love that died. Rather than live, I wish to sleep, alas! Lulled in a slumber soft and dark as death, In ruthless kisses lavishing my breath Upon your body smooth as burnished brass. To swallow up my sorrows in eclipse, Nothing can match your couch's deep abysses; The stream of Lethe issues from your kisses And powerful oblivion from your lips. Like a predestined victim I submit: My doom, to me, henceforth, is my delight, A willing martyr in my own despite Whose fervour fans the faggots it has lit. To drown my rancour and to heal its smart, Nepenthe and sweet hemlock, peace and rest, I'll drink from the twin summits of a breast That never lodged the semblance of a heart. Translated by - Roy Campbell

Don't have an account?

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