Charles Baudelaire

One Night I Lay with a Frightful Jewess

One night I lay with a frightful Jewess, Like a cadaver stretched out beside a cadaver, And I began to muse, by that peddled body, About the sad beauty my desire forgoes. I pictured to myself her native majesty, Her gaze with power and with grace endowed, The hair which forms for her a perfumed casque, And whose souvenir awakens love's desire. For I would fervently have kissed your fair body And spread out the treasure of soulful caresses From your cool feet up to your tresses black, If, some night, with a tear evoked without effort You could only, queen of cruel women! Soften the brilliancy of your cold eyes. Translated by - William Aggeler Une Nuit Que J'etais Près d'une Affreuse Juive A hideous Jewess lay with me for hire One night: two corpses side by side we seemed And stretched by that polluted thing I dreamed Of the sad beauty of my vain desire. I thought upon her brow clad round with fire And matchless strength, her native majesty, Her perfumed helm of hair whose memory Makes me toward Love's heights to reaspire. For fervently I would have rained, my Sweet, Fond kisses over all thy form divine Even from thy black tresses to thy feet, If some soft evening, with a single tear, O cruel queen, thou couldst have dimmed the clear Cold splendour of those icy eyes of thine. Translated by - Jack Collings Squire A Bed of Shame One night I lay, a hideous Jewess at my side, We were stretched out, corpse to like corpse, on my cold bed, And all my thoughts, leaving this foul bought body, sped To that sad beauty whom my own desire denied. I pictured all her native majesty, her pride, Her glance in all its force and grace and subtlety, Her hair, a perfumed casque, and the mere memory Rekindled my love's thirst, ever unsatisfied. I would have kissed your queenly body fervently, Spreading the treasures of my rapturous caresses Upward from your cool feet to your warm onyx tresses, If some night with a tear bestowed effortlessly You could, O queen of cruel women, that I prize, Obscure the glacial splendor of your scornful eyes. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq One Night When, near a Fearful Jewess Lying One night when, near a fearful Jewess lying, As one corpse by another corpse, I sprawled - Beside the venal body I was buying, The beauty that was absent I recalled. I pictured you in native majesty With glances full of energy and grace, Your hair, a perfumed casque, whose memory Revives me for the amorous embrace, For madly I'd have kissed your noble frame, And from your cool feet to your great black tresses, Unleashed the treasure of profound caresses, If with a single tear that gently came You could have quenched, O queen of all the cruel! The blazing of your eyes, their icy fuel. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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