Charles Baudelaire

To One Who Is Too Gay

Your head, your bearing, your gestures Are fair as a fair countryside; Laughter plays on your face Like a cool wind in a clear sky. The gloomy passer-by you meet Is dazzled by the glow of health Which radiates resplendently From your arms and shoulders. The touches of sonorous color That you scatter on your dresses Cast into the minds of poets The image of a flower dance. Those crazy frocks are the emblem Of your multi-colored nature; Mad woman whom I'm mad about, I hate and love you equally! At times in a lovely garden Where I dragged my atony, I have felt the sun tear my breast, As though it were in mockery; Both the springtime and its verdure So mortified my heart That I punished a flower For the insolence of Nature. Thus I should like, some night, When the hour for pleasure sounds, To creep softly, like a coward, Toward the treasures of your body, To whip your joyous flesh And bruise your pardoned breast, To make in your astonished flank A wide and gaping wound, And, intoxicating sweetness! Through those new lips, More bright, more beautiful, To infuse my venom, my sister! Translated by - William Aggeler To Her Who Is Too Gay Your head, your gesture, your air Are beautiful as a beautiful landscape; The smile plays in your face Like a fresh wind in a clear sky. The fleeting care that you brush against Is dazzled by the health Which leaps like clarity From your arms and your shoulders. The re-echoing colors Which you scatter in your toilet Cast in the hearts of poets The image of a ballet of flowers. These silly clothes are the emblem Of your many-colored spirit; Silly woman of my infatuation, I hate as much as love you! Sometimes in a pretty garden Where I dragged my weakness, I have felt the sun like irony Tear my chest; And the spring and the green of things Have so humbled my heart, That I have punished a flower For the insolence of Nature. Thus I would wish, one night, When the voluptuary's hour sounds, To crawl like a coward, noiselessly, Towards the treasures of your body, In order to correct your gay flesh And beat your unbegrudging breast, To make upon your starting thigh A long and biting weal, And, sweet giddiness, Along those newly-gaping lips More vivid and more beautiful, Inject my venom, O my sister! Translated by - Geoffrey Wagner a Celle Qui Est Trop Gaie Your head, your stance, your airy grace Are as a landscape in July, Blithe laughter plays upon your face Like a cool wind in a clear sky. The sorry passerby you sight Is dazzled by the glowing charms That issue in a radiant light Over your shoulders and your arms. Over your blaring frocks we find Wild colors strewn with elegance That rouse within the poet's mind The image of a flower dance. Your crazy gowns are emblems of Your own variegated state, Madwoman, whom I madly love And whom I quite as madly hate. At times in gardens where, oppressed, I dragged my stubborn atony, I felt gold sunlight rend my breast As if in bitter raillery. Both springtime and its verdant bowers So mortified my heart and sense That I chastised the budding flowers Because of Nature's insolence. Thus I should like some night, when deep The hour tolls out for hidden pleasures, Softly and cravenly to creep Close to your body's lavish treasures. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq A Girl Too Gay Oh, you are lovely! Every heart Surrenders to your sorceries; And laughter, like a playful breeze, Is always blowing your lips apart. Your health is radiant, infinite, Superb: When you go down the street Each mournful passerby you meet Is dazzled by the blaze of it! Your startling dresses, overwrought With rainbow hues and sequined showers, Bring to a poet's mind the thought Of a ballet of drunken flowers. They are the very symbol of Your gay and crudely colored soul, As stripèd as a barber's pole, Exuberant thing I hate and love! Sometimes when wandering, full of gloom, In a bright garden, I have felt Horror for all I touched and smelt: The world outrageously in bloom, The blinding yellow sun, the spring's Raw verdure so rebuked my woes That I have punished upon a rose The insolence of flowering things. Likewise, some evening, I would creep, When midnight sounds, and everywhere The sighing of lovers fills the air, To the hushed alcove where you sleep, And waken you by violent storm, And beat you coldly till you swooned, And carve upon your perfect form, With care, a deep seductive wound - And (joy delirious and complete!) Through those bright novel lips, through this Gaudy and virgin orifice, Infuse you with my venom, sweet. Translated by - George Dillon To One Who Is Too Gay Your head, your gestures, and your air Are lovely as a landscape; smiles Rimple upon your face at whiles Like winds in the clear sky up there. The grumpy passers that you graze Are dazzled by the radiant health, And the illimitable wealth Your arms and shoulders seem to blaze. The glaring colours that, in showers, Clash in your clothes with such commotion, In poets' minds suggest the notion Of a mad ballet-dance of flowers. These garish dresses illustrate Your spirit, striped with every fad. O madwoman, whom, quite as mad, I love as madly as I hate. Sometimes in gardens, seeking rest, Where I have dragged my soul atonic, I've felt the sun with gaze ironic Tearing the heart within my breast. The spring and verdure, dressed to stagger, Humiliate me with such power That I have punished, in a flower, The insolence of Nature's swagger. And so, one night, I'd like to sneak, When night has tolled the hour of pleasure, A craven thief, towards the treasure Which is your person, plump and sleek. To punish your bombastic flesh, To bruise your breast immune to pain, To farrow down your flank a lane Of gaping crimson, deep and fresh. And, most vertiginous delight! Into those lips, so freshly striking And daily lovelier to my liking - Infuse the venom of my sprite. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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