Charles Baudelaire

The Bad Monk

Cloisters in former times portrayed on their high walls The truths of Holy Writ with fitting pictures Which gladdened pious hearts and lessened the coldness, The austere appearance, of those monasteries. In those days the sowing of Christ's Gospel flourished, And more than one famed monk, seldom quoted today, Taking his inspiration from the graveyard, Glorified Death with naive simplicity. - My soul is a tomb where, bad cenobite, I wander and dwell eternally; Nothing adorns the walls of that loathsome cloister. O lazy monk! When shall I learn to make Of the living spectacle of my bleak misery The labor of my hands and the love of my eyes? Translated by - William Aggeler Le Mauvais Moine the wide cold walls of cloisters, long ago set forth God's Holy Truth for all to see, and gazing friars there, with hearts aglow, rejoiced despite their chill austerity. then, when the seed of Christ would always grow, illustrious monks, now lost to memory, would choose the burial-plot for studio to chant Death's glory, unaffectedly. my soul's a tomb, which - wretched friar! — I have paced since Time began, and occupy; bare-walled and hateful still my cloister stands. o slothful monk! when shall I learn to find in the stark drama of this living mind joy for mine eyes and work to fit my hands? Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks The Evil Monk The cloisters old, expounded on their walls With paintings, the Beatic Verity, The which - ado'rning their religious halls, Enriched the frigidness of their Austerity. In days when Christian seeds bloomed o'er the land, Full many a noble monk unknown to-day, Upon the field of tombs would take his stand, Exalting Death in rude and simple way. My soul is a tomb where - bad monk that I be — I dwell and search its depths from all eternity, And nought bedecks the walls of the odious spot. Oh sluggard monk! when shall I glean aright From the living spectacle of my bitter lot, To mold my handy work and mine eyes' Delight? Translated by - Cyril Scott The Evil Monk The walls of cloisters on their frescoed lath Displayed, in pictures, sacred truths of old, Whose sight would warm the entrails of one's faith To temper their austerity and cold. In times when every sowing flowered for Christ Lived famous monks, now out of memory's reach; The graveyard for their library sufficed, And Death was glorified in simple speech. My soul's a grave, where, evil cenobite, To all eternity I have been banned. Nothing adorns this cloister full of spite. O idle monk! Say, to what end were planned The living spectacle of my sad plight, Love of my eye, or labour of my hand? Translated by - Roy Campbell

Don't have an account?

You will be identified by the alias - name will be hidden