Charles Baudelaire


Music often transports me like a sea! Toward my pale star, Under a ceiling of fog or a vast ether, I get under sail; My chest thrust out and my lungs filled Like the canvas, I scale the slopes of wave on wave That the night obscures; I feel vibrating within me all the passions Of ships in distress; The good wind and the tempest with its convulsions Over the vast gulf Cradle me. At other times, dead calm, great mirror Of my despair! Translated by - William Aggeler Music Oft Music, as it were some moving mighty sea, Bears me toward my pale Star: in clear space, or 'neath a vaporous canopy On-floating, I set sail. With heaving chest which strains forward, and lungs outblown, I climb the ridged steeps Of those high-piled clouds which 'thwart the night are thrown, Veiling its starry deeps. I suffer all the throes, within my quivering form. Of a great ship in pain, Now a soft wind, and now the writhings of a storm Upon the vasty main Rock me: at other times a death-like calm, the bare Mirror of my despair. Translated by - Jack Collings Squire Music Oft Music possesses me like the seas! To my planet pale, 'Neath a ceiling of mist, in the lofty breeze, I set my sail. With inflated lungs and expanded chest, Like to a sail, On the backs of the heaped-up billows I rest - Which the shadows veil - I feel all the anguish within me arise Of a ship in distress; The tempest, the rain, 'neath the lowering skies, My body caress: At times, the calm pool or the mirror clear Of my despair! Translated by - Cyril Scott Music Music oft seizes me and sweeps me like a sea toward where my star shines pale, With mists for ceiling, or through an immensity of ether I set sail. My breast flung forward and my lungs swollen like white canvas, windswept I scale The backs of heaping waves over which gentle night has wound a darkling veil. So all the passions of a vessel suffering rise in me; the brave blast Of winds, and storms in their convulsive movements, swing me, cradled on the vast Abyss. At other times, dead calms, like mirrors there, reflecting my despair. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Music Music uplifts me like the sea and races Me to my distant star, Through veils of mist or through ethereal spaces, I sail on it afar. With chest flung out and lungs like sails inflated Into the depth of night I escalade the backs of waves serrated, That darkness veils from sight. I feel vibrating in me the emotions That storm-tossed ships must feel. The fair winds and the tempests and the oceans Sway my exultant keel. Sometimes a vast, dead calm with glassy stare Mirrors my dumb despair. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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