Charles Baudelaire

The Warner

Every man worthy of the name Has in his heart a yellow Snake Installed as if upon a throne, Who, if he says: "I will!" answers: "No!" Plunge your eyes into the fixed gaze Of Satyresses or Nixies, The Fang says: "Think of your duty!" Beget children, set out trees, Polish verses, sculpture marble, The Fang says: "Will you be alive tonight? Whatever he may plan or hope, Man does not live for an instant Without enduring the warning Of the unbearable Viper. Translated by - William Aggeler The Warner Each man who is man, high or low, Has in his heart a yellow snake Who on a throne his seat doth take And answers "I desire" with "No." Plunge thine eyes deep in Sirens' eyes, Drink in their sensuous sorceries; The Tooth says, "Think on what is right." Yea, breed thy children, plant thy trees, Polish thy verse or carve thy frieze, The Tooth says, "Shalt thou live this night?" Man cannot live a moment here, Whate'er he plan, or ill or well, But boding, insupportable, The Viper whispers in his ear. Translated by - Jack Collings Squire L'Avertisseur each man who is a man must know that yellow serpent in his heart, ruling as on a throne apart, that, when he says "I will!" cries "No!" plunge in the fixed and frozen lies of Satyr-maids' or nixies' eyes, the Fang says: "duty, not delight!" engender children, plant a tree, carve Paros, chisel poetry, the Fang says: "if thou die tonight?" whatever plan or hope we grasp, we cannot live one moment and avoid the warning reprimand of that intolerable asp. Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks The Fang No man that's worthy of the name But in his helpless heart alive Harbors a yellow, talkative Serpent, he cannot hush nor tame. Gaze if you like into the eyes Of dryads... Just before you drown, The Fang says, "You've a date in town." Beget your children, plant your trees, Chisel your marble, build your song... The Fang says, "Well, - it's not for Iong." Hope - if you're hopeful — or despair; Nothing's to hinder you; but hark! - Always the hissing head is there, The insupportable remark. Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay The Fang Each Man who's fit to be so called A Serpent in his heart has got, As though upon a throne installed, Who when he says "I will," says "Not." If your gaze the gaze transfixes O satyresses or of nixies, The Fang says, "Is your duty done?" Breed brats, plant trees, perform your task, Write verse, chip stone - the Fang will ask, "Will you be there at set of sun?" Men scheme each night and hope each morning, Yet no man grows one moment riper But suffers, at each turn, the warning Of the insufferable viper. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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