Charles Baudelaire

The Jewels

My darling was naked, and knowing my heart well, She was wearing only her sonorous jewels, Whose opulent display made her look triumphant Like Moorish concubines on their fortunate days. When it dances and flings its lively, mocking sound, This radiant world of metal and of gems Transports me with delight; I passionately love All things in which sound is mingled with light. She had lain down; and let herself be loved From the top of the couch she smiled contentedly Upon my love, deep and gentle as the sea, Which rose toward her as toward a cliff. Her eyes fixed upon me, like a tamed tigress, With a vague, dreamy air she was trying poses, And by blending candor with lechery, Her metamorphoses took on a novel charm; And her arm and her leg, and her thigh and her loins, Shiny as oil, sinuous as a swan, Passed in front of my eyes, clear-sighted and serene; And her belly, her breasts, grapes of my vine, Advanced, more cajoling than angels of evil, To trouble the quiet that had possessed my soul, To dislodge her from the crag of crystal, Where calm and alone she had taken her seat. I thought I saw blended in a novel design Antiope's haunches and the breast of a boy, Her waist set off so well the fullness of her hips. On that tawny brown skin the rouge stood out superb! - And when at last the lamp allowed itself to die, Since the fire alone lighted the room, Each time that it uttered a flaming sigh, It drenched with blood that amber colored skin! Translated by - William Aggeler The Jewels Naked was my dark love, and, knowing my heart, Adorned in but her most sonorous gems, Their high pomp decked her with the conquering art Of Moorish slave girls crowned with diadems. Dancing for me with lively, mocking sound, This world of stone and metal, brittle and bright, Fills me with rapture who have always found Excess of joy where hue and tone unite. Naked she lay, suffered love pleasurably To mould her, smiled on my desire as if, Profound and gentle as the rising sea, It rode the tide toward its appointed cliff. A tiger, tamed, her eyes on mine, intent On lust, she sought all strange ways to please: Her air, half-candid, half-lascivious, lent A new charm to her metamorphoses. In turn, her arms and limbs, her veins, her thighs, Polished as nard, undulant as a swan, Passed under my serene clairvoyant eyes As belly and breasts, grapes of my vine, moved on. Skilled in more spells than evil angels muster To break the solace which possessed my heart, Smashing the crystal rock upon whose luster My quietude sat on its own, apart, Her waist, awrithe, her belly enormously Out-thrust, formed strange designs unknown to us, As if the haunches of Antiope Flowed from a body not yet Ephebus. Slowly the lamplight sank, resigned to die. Firelight pierced darkness, stud on glowing stud, Each time it heaved a sharply flaming sigh It steeped her amber flesh in pools of blood. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq The Jewels The lovely one was naked and, knowing well my prayer, She wore her loud bright armory of jewels. They Evoked in her the savage and victorious air Of Moorish concubines upon a holiday. When it gives forth, being shaken, its gay mocking noise, This world of metal and of stone, aflare in the night, Excites me monstrously, for chiefest of my joys Is the luxurious commingling of sound and light. Relaxed among the pillows, she looked down at me And let herself be gazed upon at leisure - as if Lulled by my wordless adoration, like the sea Washing perpetually about the foot of a cliff. Slowly, regarding me like a trained leopardess, She slouched into successive poses. A certain ease, A certain candor coupled with lasciviousness, Lent a new charm to the old metamorphoses. The whole lithe harmony of loins, hips, buttocks, thighs, Tawny and sleek, and undulant as the neck of a swan, Began to move hypnotically before my eyes: And her large breasts, those fruits I have grown lean upon, I saw float toward me, tempting as the angels of hell, To win my soul in thralldom to their dark caprice Once more, and lure it down from the high citadel Where, calm and solitary, it thought to have found peace. She stretched and reared, and made herself all belly. In truth, It was as if some playful artist had joined the stout Hips of Antiope to the torso of a youth!... The room grew dark, the lamp having flickered and gone out, And now the whispering fire that had begun to die, Falling in lucent embers, was all the light therein - And when it heaved at moments a flamboyant sigh It inundated as with blood her amber skin. Translated by - George Dillon The Jewels My well-beloved was stripped. Knowing my whim, She wore her tinkling gems, but naught besides: And showed such pride as, while her luck betides, A sultan's favoured slave may show to him. When it lets off its lively, crackling sound, This blazing blend of metal crossed with stone, Gives me an ecstasy I've only known Where league of sound and lustre can be found. She let herself be loved: then, drowsy-eyed, Smiled down from her high couch in languid ease. My love was deep and gentle as the seas And rose to her as to a cliff the tide. My own approval of each dreamy pose, Like a tarned tiger, cunningly she sighted: And candour, with lubricity united, Gave piquancy to every one she chose, Her limbs and hips, burnished with changing lustres, Before my eyes clairvoyant and serene, Swarmed themselves, undulating in their sheen; Her breasts and belly, of my vine the clusters, Like evil angels rose, my fancy twitting, To kill the peace which over me she'd thrown, And to disturb her from the crystal throne Where, calm and solitary, she was sitting. So swerved her pelvis that, in one design, Antiope's white rump it seemed to graft To a boy's torso, merging fore and aft. The talc on her brown tan seemed half-divine. The lamp resigned its dying flame. Within, The hearth alone lit up the darkened air, And every time it sighed a crimson flare It drowned in blood that amber-coloured skin. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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