Charles Baudelaire

Unslakeable Lust

Singular deity, brown as the nights, Scented with the perfume of Havana and musk, Work of some obeah, Faust of the savanna, Witch with ebony flanks, child of the black midnight, Through those two great black eyes, the outlets of your soul, O pitiless demon! pour upon me less flame; I'm not the River Styx to embrace you nine times, Alas! and I cannot, licentious Megaera, To break your spirit and bring you to bay In the hell of your bed turn into Proserpine! Translated by - William Aggeler Sed Non Satiata Strange deity, brown as nights, Whose perfume is mixed with musk and Havanah, Magical creation, Faust of the savanna, Sorceress with the ebony thighs, child of black midnights, I prefer to African wines, to opium, to burgundy, The elixir of your mouth where love parades itself; When my desires leave in caravan for you, Your eyes are the reservoir where my cares drink. From those two great black eyes, chimneys of our spirit, O pitiless demon, throw out less flame at me; I am no Styx to clasp you nine times, Nor can I, alas, dissolute shrew, To break your courage, bring you to bay, Become any Proserpine in the hell of your bed! Translated by - Geoffrey Wagner Sed Non Satiata Dusky as tropic nights, O bizarre deity, Redolent of havana, musk and cordovan, What obeah man or Faust of the Caribbean, Wrought you, child-witch of night, with flanks of ebony? Better than opium or Constanta. Wine or Your nectar mouth where Love swoons in a slow pavane, When my desires set forth, a serried caravan, Your eyes are the twin wells where I can slake ennui. From out these wide black eyes which are your spirit's vent, Heap fires less fierce upon me. O impenitent, I am no tireless Styx to gird you nine times nine, I am no lustful Fury to exhaust your lust, To break your vigor or to make you bite the dust Or in your bed's hell turn into a Proserpine. Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Sed non Satiata Strange goddess, brown as evening to the sight, Whose scent is half of musk, half of havanah, Work of some obi, Faust of the Savanah, Ebony witch, and daughter of the night. By far preferred to troth, or drugs, or sleep, Love vaunts the red elixir of your mouth. My caravan of longings seeks in drouth Your eyes, the wells at which my cares drink deep. Through those black eyes, by which your soul respires, Pitiless demon! pour less scorching fires. I am no Styx nine times with flame to wed. Nor can I turn myself to Proserpine To break your spell, Megera libertine! Within the dark inferno of your bed. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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