Charles Baudelaire

Man and the Sea

Free man, you will always cherish the sea! The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul In the infinite unrolling of its billows; Your mind is an abyss that is no less bitter. You like to plunge into the bosom of your image; You embrace it with eyes and arms, and your heart Is distracted at times from its own clamoring By the sound of this plaint, wild and untamable. Both of you are gloomy and reticent: Man, no one has sounded the depths of your being; O Sea, no person knows your most hidden riches, So zealously do you keep your secrets! Yet for countless ages you have fought each other Without pity, without remorse, So fiercely do you love carnage and death, O eternal fighters, implacable brothers! Translated by - William Aggeler L'Homme et la mer love Ocean always, Man: ye both are free! the Sea, thy mirror: thou canst find thy soul in the unfurling billows' surging roll, they mind's abyss is bitter as the sea. thou doest rejoice thy mirrored face to pierce, plunging, and clasp with eyes and arms; thy heart at its own mutter oft forgets to start, lulled by that plaint indomitably fierce. discreet ye both are; both are taciturn: Man, none has measured all thy dark abyss, none, Sea, knows where thy hoarded treasure is, so jealously your secrets ye inurn! and yet for countless ages, trucelessly, - o ruthless warriors! — ye have fought and striven: brothers by lust for death and carnage driven, twin wrestlers, gripped for all eternity! Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Man and the Sea Free man! the sea is to thee ever dear! The sea is thy mirror, thou regardest thy soul In its mighteous waves that unendingly roll, And thy spirit is yet not a chasm less drear. Thou delight'st to plunge deep in thine image down; Thou tak'st it with eyes and with arms in embrace, And at times thine own inward voice would'st efface With the sound of its savage ungovernable moan. You are both of you, sombre, secretive and deep: Oh mortal, thy depths are foraye unexplored, Oh sea - no one knoweth thy dazzling hoard, You both are so jealous your secrets to keep! And endless ages have wandered by, Yet still without pity or mercy you fight, So mighty in plunder and death your delight: Oh wrestlers! so constant in enmity! Translated by - Cyril Scott Man and the Sea Free man, you shall forever cherish the vast sea, The sea, that image where you contemplate your soul As everlastingly its mighty waves unroll. Your mind a yawning gulf seasoned as bitterly. You love to plunge into your image to the core, Embracing it with eyes and arms; your very heart Sometimes finds a distraction from its urgent smart In the wild sea's untamable and plaintive roar. Both of you live in darkness and in mystery: Man, who has ever plumbed the far depths of your being? O Sea, who knows your private hidden riches, seeing How strange the secrets you preserve so jealously? And yet for countless ages you have fought each other With hands unsparing and with unforbearing breath, Each an eternal foe to his relentless brother, So avid are you both of slaughter and of death. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Man and the Sea Free man, you'll always love the sea - for this, That it's a mirror, where you see your soul In its eternal waves that chafe and roll; Nor is your soul less bitter an abyss. in your reflected image there to merge, You love to dive, its eyes and limbs to match. Sometimes your heart forgets its own, to catch The rhythm of that wild and tameless dirge. The two of you are shadowy, deep, and wide. Man! None has ever plummeted your floor - Sea! None has ever known what wealth you store - Both are so jealous of the things you hide! Yet age on age is ended, or begins, While you without remorse or pity fight. So much in death and carnage you delight, Eternal wrestlers! Unrelenting twins! Translated by - Roy Campbell

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