Charles Baudelaire

To a Creole Lady

In the perfumed country which the sun caresses, I knew, under a canopy of crimson trees And palms from which indolence rains into your eyes, A Creole lady whose charms were unknown. Her complexion is pale and warm; the dark enchantress Affects a noble air with the movements of her neck. Tall and slender, she walks like a huntress; Her smile is calm and her eye confident. If you went, Madame, to the true land of glory, On the banks of the Seine or along the green Loire, Beauty fit to ornament those ancient manors, You'd make, in the shelter of those shady retreats, A thousand sonnets grow in the hearts of poets, Whom your large eyes would make more subject than your slaves. Translated by - William Aggeler To a Creole Lady In that perfumed country caressed by the sun, I have known, under a canopy of purple trees And palms raining idleness upon the eyes, A creole lady of private beauty. Her shade is pale and warm; this brown enchantress Has gracefully mannered airs in her neck; Large and sinuous, walking like a huntress, Her smile is silent and her eyes secure. If you should go, Madam, to the true country of glory, On the banks of the Seine or of the green Loire, Fair lady fit to decorate ancient mansions, In some shady and secluded refuge, you would awake A thousand sonnets in the hearts of poets, Whom your great eyes would make more subject than your Blacks. Translated by - Geoffrey Wagner To a Creolean Lady In a country perfumed with the sun's embrace, I knew 'neath a dais of purpled palms, And branches where idleness weeps o'er one's face, A Creolean lady of unknown charms. Her tint, pale and warm - this bewitching bride, Displays a nobly nurtured mien, Courageous and grand like a huntsman, her stride; A tranquil smile and eyes serene. If, madam, you'd go to the true land of gain, By the banks of the verdant Loire or the Seine, How worthy to garnish some pile of renown. You'd awake in the calm of some shadowy nest, A thousand songs in the poet's breast, That your eyes would inspire far more than your brown. Translated by - Cyril Scott To a Colonial Lady In scented countries by the sun caressed I've known, beneath a tent of purple boughs, And palmtrees shedding slumber as they drowse, A creole lady with a charm unguessed. She's pale, and warm, and duskily beguiling; Nobility is moulded in her neck; Slender and tall she holds herself in check, An huntress born, sure-eyed, and quiet-smiling. Should you go, Madam, to the land of glory Along the Seine or Loire, where you would merit To ornament some mansion famed in story, Your eyes would bum in those deep-shaded parts, And breed a thousand rhymes in poets' hearts, Tamed like the negro slaves that you inherit. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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