Charles Baudelaire

The Sick Muse

My poor Muse, alas! what ails you today? Your hollow eyes are full of nocturnal visions; I see in turn reflected on your face Horror and madness, cold and taciturn. Have the green succubus, the rosy elf, Poured out for you love and fear from their urns? Has the hand of Nightmare, cruel and despotic, Plunged you to the bottom of some weird Minturnae? I would that your bosom, fragrant with health, Were constantly the dwelling place of noble thoughts, And that your Christian blood would flow in rhythmic waves Like the measured sounds of ancient verse, Over which reign in turn the father of all songs, Phoebus, and the great Pan, lord of harvest. Translated by - William Aggeler La Muse malade poor Muse, alas! what ails thee now? for thy great hollow eyes with sights nocturnal burn, and in they changing pallor I descry madness and frozen horror, turn by turn. did rosy sprites or pale green succubi pour love or panic from their dream-filled urn? did the mad fist of despot nightmare try to drown thee where the fiends of hell sojourn? I would that thou wert always filled with health and manly thoughts undaunted; that a wealth of Christian blood were thine, which always flowed in calm broad rhythms like a Grecian ode, now echoing forth Apollo's golden strain, and now great Pan, the lord of ripening grain. Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks The Sick Muse Alas - my poor Muse — what aileth thee now? Thine eyes are bedimmed with the visions of Night, And silent and cold - I perceive on thy brow In their turns - Despair and Madness alight. A succubus green, or a hobgoblin red, Has it poured o'er thee Horror and Love from its urn? Or the Nightmare with masterful bearing hath led Thee to drown in the depths of some magic Minturne? I wish, as the health-giving fragrance I cull, That thy breast with strong thoughts could for ever be full, And that rhymthmic'ly flowing - thy Christian blood Could resemble the olden-time metrical-flood, Where each in his turn reigned the father of Rhymes Phoebus - and Pan, lord of Harvest-times. Translated by - Cyril Scott The Sick Muse What's the matter with you today, Muse? Are you going to tell me about last night's visions, Heads on spikes, natives dancing a frenzied juba, And all kinds of other stuff? Oh you pink-lipped succubus! You just don't want me to shoot into you. You say you drowned, at Actium or Lepanto. Again? What a nightmare. I only want you to heave health Be thinking of strongly urged Christian Things And you tied to a bed So, count it out and Moan your dirge - I'm climbing on. Translated by - Will Schmitz The Sick Muse Alas, poor Muse, what ails you so today? Your hollow eyes with midnight visions burn, And turn about, in your complexion play Madness and horror, cold and taciturn. Green succubus and rosy imp - have they Poured you both fear and love into one glass? Or with his tyrant fist the nightmare, say, Submerged you in some fabulous morass? I wish that, breathing health, your breast might nourish Ever robuster thoughts therein to flourish: And that your Christian blood, in rhythmic flow, With those old polysyllables would chime, Where, turn about, reigned Phoebus, sire of rhyme, And Pan, the lord of harvests long ago. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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