Charles Baudelaire

The Cover

Wherever he may go, on land or sea, Under a blazing sky or a pale sun, Servant of Jesus, courtier of Cythera, Somber beggar or glittering Croesus, City-dweller, rustic, vagabond, stay-at-home, Whether his little brain be sluggish or alert, Everywhere man feels the terror of mystery And looks up at heaven only with frightened eyes Above, the Sky! that cavern wall that stifles him, That ceiling lighted by a comic opera Where every player treads on blood-stained soil; Terror of the lecher, hope of the mad recluse: The Sky! black cover of the great cauldron In which boils vast, imperceptible Humanity. Translated by - William Aggeler The Lid Where'er he may rove, upon sea or on land, 'Neath a fiery sky or a pallid sun, Be he Christian or one of Cythera's band, Opulent Croesus or beggar - 'tis one, Whether citizen, peasant or vagabond he, Be his little brain active or dull. Everywhere, Man feels the terror of mystery, And looks upon high with a glance full of fear. The Heaven above, that oppressive wall; A ceiling lit up in some lewd music hall, Where the actors step forth on a blood-red soil The eremite's hope, and the dread of the sot, The Sky; that black lid of a mighty pot, Where, vast and minute, human Races boil. Translated by - Cyril Scott The Lid Wherever they go Under a sky aflame A slave of Christ Vitamin deficient beggar Townie, queen, or clod Dull or sharp The kind is apprehensive. Above is heaven A ceiling lit By an operatically Suffocating wall Under which many of the actors Still have a fear of the libertine. Heaven. You Black lidded Cauldron Boiling our dreams. - Will Schmitz The Lid Wherever Man may go, by earth or ocean, Beneath a sky of fire, or sun snow-cold, Whether to Christ or Venus his devotion, In gloomy want, or glittering with gold; Citizen, vagabond, stamplicker, farmer, Be his small brain slow-witted, quick, or sly, For this strange terror he can find no armour Nor look to heaven save with trembling eye. Above, the Sky, that cellar-ceiling, stifles, Lit up for comic farce, where struts and trifles Each mummer on a floor of blood and mire. Terror of rakes, the crazy hermits' hope - Beneath its cauldron-lid mankind must grope, Never above its margin to aspire. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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