Charles Baudelaire

The Monster

I Beloved, certainly you're not What Veuillot calls a "tenderling." Bubbling in you, as in a pot, Dice, lust and revel have their fling. My dear old child, you're surely not Too fresh these days. However, dear, Your tireless game of fast-and-loose Has given you that smooth veneer, That things acquire from constant use. It has its charms, however dear. I do not find it growing stale - That sap your forty summers bring Since autumn fruits with me prevail Over the banal flowers of spring. No! you are never dull nor stale. Your carcase for your age atones, And gives particular delight In hollows of your collar bones, And other places out of sight. Your carcase certainly atones. A fig for those poor doting fools Who're melon-struck and pumpkin mad, Since I prefer your clavicules To those King Solomon once had. A fig for such poor doting fools! A blue-black helmet is your hair. It shades your warrior's brow whereon Both thoughts and blushes are so rare - And then sweeps backward, and is gone! A blue black helmet is your hair. Your eyes resemble mud and mire, Whereon a flaring lantern streaks, Reflects the fard upon your checks, And glows with pale infernal fire. Your eyes are coloured like the mire. By its voluptuous disdain Your bitter lip provokes our lust. It's Eden's apple once again, Half is attraction, half disgust, In its voluptuous disdain. Your leg, so muscular and dry, Could climb volcanoes, never stop, And, spite of snow, and wind, and rain, Perform a cancan at the top. Your leg is muscular and dry. Your burning skin is void of sweetness: Like an old soldier's it appears. To sweat it never had the weakness More than your eyes could furnish tears. And yet it has a kind of sweetness! II Fool! You are driving to the Devil. Willingly I would go with you If the momentum of your revel Did not exasperate me too. Fool! go, alone, then, to the Devil. My hip, my lung, my hams, my thigh Won't let me longer pay respects (Although it often makes me sigh) To that great Lord, as he expects. It's very sad for ham and thigh Oh most sincerely do I suffer Not to accompany your freaks; When he is flatulating sulphur To see you kiss him where he leaks. O most sincerely do I suffer! I feel so devilish annoyed No more to serve you as a socket, You hellish torch! Infernal rocket! And to declare my duty void; I do feel devilish annoyed, Since for a long, long time I love you Being so logical. My dream Was of all ill to skim the cream, Place no monstrosity above you And own you in that line supreme. Truly, old monster! yes, I love you. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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