Charles Baudelaire

The Death of the Poor

It's Death that comforts us, alas! and makes us live; It is the goal of life; it is the only hope Which, like an elixir, makes us inebriate And gives us the courage to march until evening; Through the storm and the snow and the hoar-frost It is the vibrant light on our black horizon; It is the famous inn inscribed upon the book, Where one can eat, and sleep, and take his rest; It's an Angel who holds in his magnetic hands Sleep and the gift of ecstatic dreams And who makes the beds for the poor, naked people; It's the glory of the gods, the mystic granary, It is the poor man's purse, his ancient fatherland, It is the portal opening on unknown Skies! Translated by - William Aggeler La Mort des pauvres 'tis Death that helps us live, 'tis Death consoles; Death is life's goal; 'tis the one hope that cheers, and, like a cordial, spurs our slackening souls, bestowing strength to march till night appears; through snow and hoar-frost, where the tempest rolls toward the black hills, Death's leaping fire veers; Death is the famous Inn the Book extols, where we shall dine and rest among our peers; Death is an angel, with his fingers full of magic sleep and dreams most wonderful, - who smoothes the bed whereon the beggar lies; Death is the glory of the gods, the gold all poor folk hoard, their fatherland of old, Death is the portal wide to unknown skies! Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks The Death of the Poor It is Death that consoles - yea, and causes our lives; 'Tis the goal of this Life and of Hope the sole ray, Which like a strong potion enlivens and gives Us the strength to plod on to the end of the day. And all through the tempest, the frost and the snows, 'Tis the shimmering light on our black sky-line; 'Tis the famous inn which the guide-book shows, Whereat one can eat, and sleep, and recline; 'Tis an angel that holds in his magic hands The sleep, which ecstatic dream commands, Who remakes up the beds of the naked and poor; 'Tis the fame of the gods, 'tis the granary blest, 'Tis the purse of the poor, and his birth-place of rest, To the unknown Heavens, 'tis the wide-open door. Translated by - Cyril Scott The Death of the Poor Death? Death is our one comfort! - is the bread whereby We live, the wine that warms us when all hope is gone; The very goal of Life. That we shall one day die: This is the thought which gives us courage to go on. Clear on the black horizon, through the blinding sleet, That beacon burns; - oh, Death, thou inn of wide renown! Is it not written in the book: "Here all may eat; Here there is rest for all; here all may sit them down?" Thou hovering Angel, holding in thy magic hand Slumber and blissful dreams; thou Glory overhead; Mysterious attic, filled with treasures manifold; The poor man's purse, and his remembered fatherland; Thou, that remakest nightly the beggar's crumpled bed; Thou only door ajar, pledge of the peace foretold! Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay The Death of Paupers It's Death comforts us, alas! and makes us live. It is the goal of life, it brings us hope, And, like a rich elixir, seems to give Courage to march along the darkening slope. Across the tempest, hail, and hoarfrost, look! Along the black horizon, a faint gleam! It is the inn that's written in the book Where one can sleep, and eat, and sit and dream. An Angel, in magnetic hands it holds Sleep and the gift of sweet ecstatic dreams, And makes a bed for poor and naked souls. It is God's glory and the mystic grange: The poor man's purse and fatherland it seems, And door that opens Heavens vast and strange. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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