Charles Baudelaire

The Offended Moon

O Moon whom our ancestors discreetly adored, Radiant seraglio! from the blue countries' height To which the stars follow you in dashing attire, My ancient Cynthia, lamp of our haunts, Do you see the lovers on their prosperous pallets, Showing as they sleep, the cool enamel of their mouths? The poet beating his forehead over his work? Or the vipers coupling under the withered grass? Under your yellow domino, with quiet step, Do you go as in days of old from morn till night To kiss the faded charms of Endymion? - "I see your mother, child of this impoverished age, Bending toward her mirror a heavy weight of years, Skillfully disguising the breast that nourished you!" Translated by - William Aggeler The Offended Moon O Moon, O lamp of hill and secret dale! Thou whom our fathers, ages out of mind. Worshipped in thy blue heaven, whilst behind Thy stars streamed after thee a glittering trail, Dost see the poet, weary-eyed and pale. Or lovers on their happy beds reclined, Showing white teeth in sleep, or vipers twined, 'Neath the dry sward; or in a golden veil Stealest thou with faint footfall o'er the grass As of old, to kiss from twilight unto dawn The faded charms of thine Endymion?... "O child of this sick century, I see Thy grey-haired mother leering in her glass And plastering the breast that suckled thee!" Translated by - Jack Collings Squire The Outraged Moon O Moon, adored of old, discreetly, by our sires! From that blue land above, where, in a glittering train, Sandaled with gold, revealed through veils of gossamer rain, The stars attend your steps and wait on your desires, Do you, by chance, my ancient Cynthia, behold The parted lips of lovers drowsy with delight? Or, coupling under the dry grass, the writhing cold Snakes? Or some poet working far into the night? Or, shall we say, 'tis your old flame Endymion Whose superannuated charms you gaze upon? Fancy your keeping up that faded rendezvous! - "Insolent child of this degenerate century, Your wrinkled, simpering mother, - that is what I see. Enameling with art the breast that suckled you!" Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay The Injured Moon Oh Moon, discreetly worshipped by our sires, still riding through your high blue countries, still trailed by the shining harem of your stars, old Cynthia, the lamp of our retreats... the lovers sleep open-mouthed! When they breathe, they show the white enamel of their teeth. The writer breaks his teeth on his work-sheets, the vipers couple under the hot hill. Dressed in your yellow hood, do you pursue your boy from night to dawn, till the sun climbs skyward, where dim Endymion disappears? "I see your mother, Child of these poor times, crushed to her mirror by the heavy years. She cunningly powders the breast that nourished you." Translated by - Robert Lowell The Moon Offended O moon, to whom our fathers used to pray, From your blue home, where, odalisques of light, 'The stars will follow you in spruce array, Old Cynthia, lantern of our dens by night, Do you see sleeping lovers on their couches Reveal the cool enamel of their teeth: The poet at his labours, how he crouches: And vipers - how they couple on the heath? In yellow domino, with stealthy paces, Do you yet steal with clandestine embraces To clasp Endymion's pale, millenial charm? - "I see your mother, by her mirror, buckled By weight of years, poor child of death and harm! Patching with art the breast at which you suckled!" Translated by - Roy Campbell

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