Charles Baudelaire

The Dream of a Curious Man

To F.N.

Do you know as I do, delectable suffering? And do you have them say of you: "O! the strange man!" - I was going to die. In my soul, full of love, A peculiar illness; desire mixed with horror, Anguish and bright hopes; without internal strife. The more the fatal hour-glass continued to flow, The fiercer and more delightful grew my torture; My heart was being torn from this familiar world. I was like a child eager for the play, Hating the curtain as one hates an obstacle... Finally the cold truth revealed itself: I had died and was not surprised; the awful dawn Enveloped me. - What! is that all there is to it? The curtain had risen and I was still waiting. Translated by - William Aggeler Dream of a Curious Person Have you known such a savoury grief as I? Do people say "Strange fellow!," whom you meet? - My amorous soul, when I was due to die, Felt longing mixed with horror; pain seemed sweet. Anguish and ardent hope (no factious whim) Were mixed: and as the sands of life ran low My torture grew delicious yet more grim, And of this dear old world would not let go. I seemed a child, so keen to see the Show He feels a deadly hatred of the Curtain... And then I saw the hard, cold truth for certain. I felt that dreadful dawn around me grow With no surprise or vestige of a thrill. The curtain rose - and I stayed waiting still. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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