Charles Baudelaire


Wine knows how to adorn the most sordid hovel With marvelous luxury And make more than one fabulous portal appear In the gold of its red mist Like a sun setting in a cloudy sky. Opium magnifies that which is limitless, Lengthens the unlimited, Makes time deeper, hollows out voluptuousness, And with dark, gloomy pleasures Fills the soul beyond its capacity. All that is not equal to the poison which flows From your eyes, from your green eyes, Lakes where my soul trembles and sees its evil side... My dreams come in multitude To slake their thirst in those bitter gulfs. All that is not equal to the awful wonder Of your biting saliva, Charged with madness, that plunges my remorseless soul Into oblivion And rolls it in a swoon to the shores of death. Translated by - William Aggeler Le Poison wine clothes the sordid walls of hovels old with pomp no palace knows, evokes long peristyles in pillared rows from vaporous red and gold; like sunset with her cloud-built porticoes. and opium widens all that has no bourn in its unbounded sea; moments grow hours, pleasures cease to be in souls that, overworn, drown in its black abyss of lethargy. dread poisons, but more dread the poisoned well of thy green eyes accurst; tarns where I watch my trembling soul, reversed my dreams innumerable throng to those bitter gulfs to slake their thirst. dread magic, but thy mouth more dread than these: its wine and hellebore burn, floods of Lethe, in my bosom's core, till winds of madness seize and dash me swooning on Death's barren shore! Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Poisons Wine can conceal a sordid room In rich, miraculous disguise, And make such porticoes arise Out of its flushed and crimson fume As makes the sunset in the skies. Opium the infinite enlarges, And lengthens all that is past measure. It deepens time, and digs its treasure, With sad, black raptures it o'ercharges The soul, and surfeits it with pleasure. Neither are worth the drug so strong That you distil from your green eyes, Lakes where I see my soul capsize Head downwards: and where, in one throng, I slake my dreams, and quench my sighs. But to your spittle these seem naught - It stings and burns. It steeps my thought And spirit in oblivious gloom, And, in its dizzy onrush caught, Dashes it on the shores of doom. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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