Charles Baudelaire

A Pagan's Prayer

Ah! do not dampen your ardor; Warm my numb heart again, Pleasure, torture of souls! Goddess! hear me, I beseech you! Goddess who permeates the air, Flame in our underground cavern! Grant the prayer of a soul bored utterly, Who offers you a brazen hymn. Pleasure, be my queen forever! Put on a siren's mask Fashioned of flesh and of velvet Or pour on me your heavy sleep, In wine, formless and mystical, O Pleasure, elastic phantom! Translated by - William Aggeler The Pagan's Prayer Ah, damp not yet the living coals! Heat once again my heart in thee! Voluptuousness, thou scourge of souls, Goddess, incline thine ear to me! Spirit abroad in the bright air, Flame in our dark and secret ways, Freezing I bring thee - grant my prayer! — A song of brass to bruit thy praise! Siren, be still my sovereign; keep Thy kingdom; wear thy mask, whose mesh Is half of velvet, half of flesh! Or pour me out thy heavy sleep, In mystic and amorphous wine: Phantom elastic and divine. Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay Pagan's Prayer Ah! keep your ardors ever near me, Warm my numb heart, preserve it whole, O Pleasure, torture of the soul! Goddess, I do beseech thee: Hear me! Goddess who permeates the dim Caverns of our obscurity, Hark to a heart gnawed by ennui Which offers thee this a brazen hymn. Joy, be my queen always, I ask, Pleasure, put on a siren's mask Fashioned of velvet and of flesh, Or pour your sleep, heavy and fresh, In wine, your mystic formless treasure, Elastic phantom, holy Pleasure! Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Pagan Prayer Don't stint the fires with which you flare. Warm up my dull heart to delight, O Pleasure, torture of the sprite, O Goddess, hear my fervent prayer! Goddess, who through the ether pass, Flame in this subterranean hole! Raise up a chilled and stricken soul Who lifts to you his peal of brass. O Pleasure, always be my queen! In flesh and velvet to be seen, Mask your beauty like a siren: Or else my soul with sleep environ Drained from the formless mystic wine, Elastic phantom! which is thine. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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