Charles Baudelaire

The Joyful Corpse

In a rich, heavy soil, infested with snails, I wish to dig my own grave, wide and deep, Where I can at leisure stretch out my old bones And sleep in oblivion like a shark in the wave. I have a hatred for testaments and for tombs; Rather than implore a tear of the world, I'd sooner, while alive, invite the crows To drain the blood from my filthy carcass. O worms! black companions with neither eyes nor ears, See a dead man, joyous and free, approaching you; Wanton philosophers, children of putrescence, Go through my ruin then, without remorse, And tell me if there still remains any torture For this old soulless body, dead among the dead! Translated by - William Aggeler The Joyous Corse In a soil full of snails and free from stones I fain would dig myself a pit full deep, Where I might lay at ease my aged bones And, like a wave-borne shark, forgetful sleep. For testaments I hate, and tombs I hate; Rather than crave a tear from human eyes I would invite the crows their hunger sate Upon my corpse's foul extremities. O worms! O black, deaf, sightless company! There comes to you a dead man glad and free. O philosophic sons of rottenness, Across my ruin crawl without remorse, And tell if any pain may yet oppress This old and soulless death-surrounded corse. Translated by - Jack Collings Squire The Joyous Defunct Where snails abound - in a juicy soil, I will dig for myself a fathomless grave, Where at leisure mine ancient bones I can coil, And sleep - quite forgotten — like a shark 'neath the wave. I hate every tomb - I abominate wills, And rather than tears from the world to implore, I would ask of the crows with their vampire bills To devour every bit of my carcass impure. Oh worms, without eyes, without ears, black friends! To you a defunct-one, rejoicing, descends, Enlivened Philosophers - offspring of Dung! Without any qualms, o'er my wreckage spread, And tell if some torment there still can be wrung For this soul-less old frame that is dead 'midst the dead! Translated by - Cyril Scott Joyful Corpse In a rich fertile loam where snails recess, I wish to dig my own deep roomy grave, There to stretch out my old bones, motionless, Snug in death's sleep as sharks are in the wave. Men's testaments and tombs spell queasiness, The world's laments are not a boon I crave, Sooner, while yet I live, let the crows press My carrion blood from out my skull and nave. O worms, black comrades without eyes or ears, Behold, a dead man, glad and free, appears! Lecher philosophers, spawn of decay, Rummage remorseless through my crumbling head To tell what torture may remain today For this my soulless body which is dead. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq The Happy Dead Man Slowly, luxuriously, I will hollow a deep grave, With my own hands, in rich black snail-frequented soil, And lay me down, forspent with that voluptuous toil, And go to sleep, as happy as a shark in the wave. No funeral for me, no sepulcher, no hymns; Rather than beg for pity when alive, God knows, I have lain sick and shelterless, and let the crows Stab to their hearts' content at my lean festering limbs. O worms! my small black comrades without ears or eyes, Taste now for once a mortal who lies down in bliss. O blithe materialists! O vermin of my last bed! Come, march remorselessly through me. Come, and devise Some curious new torment, if you can, for this Old body without soul and deader than the dead. Translated by - George Dillon The Joyous Dead In a fat, greasy soil, that's full of snails, I'll dig a grave deep down, where I may sleep Spreading my bones at ease, to drowse in deep Oblivion, as a shark within the wave. I hate all tombs, and testaments, and wills: I want no human tears; I'd like it more, That ravens could attack me with their bills, To broach my carcase of its living gore. O worms! black friends, who cannot hear or see, A free and joyous corpse behold in me! You philosophic souls, corruption-bred, Plough through my ruins! eat your merry way! And if there are yet further torments, say, For this old soulless corpse among the dead. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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