Charles Baudelaire

To Theodore de Banville

So roughly did you seize the Goddess by her hair That, seeing your imperious, nonchalant look, One would have taken you to be A young ruffian manhandling his mistress. Your bright eye filled with the fire of precocity, You indulged the pride of an architect In your phrasing, correct in spite of its daring; You showed what you will be in your maturity. Poet, our blood escapes from every pore; Was it merely by chance the robe of the Centaur Which transformed every vein into a fatal stream Was dyed three times in the subtle froth Of those reptiles, monstrous and vindictive That little Hercules strangled in his cradle? Translated by - William Aggeler To Theodore de Banville, 1842 So proud your port, your arm so powerful. With such a grip you grip the goddess' hair, That one might take you, from your casual air. For a young ruffian flinging down his trull. Your clear eye flashing with precocity, You have displayed yourself proud architect Of fabrics so audaciously correct That we may guess what your ripe prime will be. Poet, our blood ebbs out through every pore; Is it, perchance, the robe the Centaur bore, Which made a sullen streamlet of each vein, Was three times dipped within the venom fell Of those old reptiles fierce and terrible Whom, in his cradle, Hercules had slain? Translated by - Jack Collings Squire To Theodore de Banville, 1842 Your hands have seized the goddess by the hair In such a grasp, so finally and fully, One thinks of some Herculean young Bully Flooring his mistress with a lordly air. With clear eyes radiant with precocious fire, You've shown such pride in architecture fine And such a pure audacity of line - One knows to what your manhood will aspire. Poet! Our blood, through every pore outpressed, Escapes from us as if the Centaur's vest Made a funereal rill of every vein; One thinks that vest was dyed in vengeful spittle Of the two snakes that Hercules, when little, Throttled in his two fists till they were slain. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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