Charles Baudelaire

The Fountain of Blood

It seems to me at times my blood flows out in waves Like a fountain that gushes in rhythmical sobs. I hear it clearly, escaping with long murmurs, But I feel my body in vain to find the wound. Across the city, as in a tournament field, It courses, making islands of the paving stones, Satisfying the thirst of every creature And turning the color of all nature to red. I have often asked insidious wines To lull to sleep for a day my wasting terror; Wine makes the eye sharper, the ear more sensitive! I have sought in love a forgetful sleep; But love is to me only a bed of needles Made to slake the thirst of those cruel prostitutes! Translated by - William Aggeler The Fountain of Blood It seems to me sometimes my blood is bubbling out As fountains do, in rhythmic sobs; I feel it spout And lapse; I hear it plainly; it makes a murmuring sound; But from what wound it wells, so far I have not found. As blood runs in the lists, round tumbled armored bones, It soaks the city, islanding the paving-stones; Everything thirsty leans to lap it, with stretched head; Trees suck it up; it stains their trunks and branches red. I turn to wine for respite, I drink, and I drink deep; (Just for one day, one day, neither to see nor hear!) Wine only renders sharper the frantic eye and ear. In terror I cry to love, "Oh, put my mind to sleep!" But love for me is only a mattress where I shrink On needles, and my blood is given to whores to drink. Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay The Fountain of Blood My blood in waves seems sometimes to be spouting As though in rhythmic sobs a fountain swooned. I hear its long, low, rushing sound till, doubting, I feel myself all over for the wound. Across the town, as in the lists of battle, It flows, transforming paving stones to isles, Slaking the thirst of creatures, men, and cattle, And colouring all nature red for miles. Sometimes I've sought relief in precious wines To lull in me the fear that undermines, But found they sharpened every sense the more. I've also sought forgetfulness in lust, But love's a bed of needles, and they thrust To give more drink to each rapacious whore. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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