Charles Baudelaire

With Her Pearly, Undulating Dresses

With her pearly, undulating dresses, Even when she's walking, she seems to be dancing Like those long snakes which the holy fakirs Set swaying in cadence on the end of their staffs. Like the dull sand and the blue of deserts, Both of them unfeeling toward human suffering, Like the long web of the ocean's billows, She unfurls herself with unconcern. Her glossy eyes are made of charming minerals And in that nature, symbolic and strange, Where pure angel is united with ancient sphinx, Where everything is gold, steel, light and diamonds, There glitters forever, like a useless star, The frigid majesty of the sterile woman. Translated by - William Aggeler Sonnet With her dresses undulating, pearly, Even walking one would think her dancing, Like those long serpents which holy charmers Move in harmony at the tips of their batons. Like the dull sand and the blue of deserts, Unmoved alike by human pain, Like the long fabric of the swell of seas, She unfolds herself with indifference. Her polished eyes are of delicious metals, And in this strange, symbolic nature Where virgin angel meets with ancient sphinx, Where all is only gold and steel and light and diamonds, There shines for ever, like a useless star, The cold majesty of the sterile woman. Translated by - Geoffrey Wagner Avec ses vêtements ondoyants et nacres with all her undulant pearly draperies, she moves in measures lovelier than a dance, as in the fakirs' Indian sorceries tall cobras 'neath a moving rod advance like drear Sahara's sand or azure skies, insentient both to human suffering, like the long lacy nets the surges bring, her slow indifferent length she amplifies. her eyes are made from agates polished bright, and in that strange symbolic soul which links the inviolate angel and the fabled sphynx, where all is gold, steel, diamonds and light, glitters forever, starlike, far, inhuman, the regal coldness of the sterile woman. Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Sonnet XXVIII With pearly robes that wave within the wind, Even when she walks, she seems to dance, Like swaying serpents round those wands entwined Which fakirs wave in rhythmic elegance. So like the desert's Blue, and the sands remote, Both, deaf to mortal suffering and to strife, Or like the sea-weeds 'neath the waves that float, Indifferently she moulds her budding life. Her polished eyes are made of minerals bright, And in her mien, symbolical and cold, Wherein an angel mingles with a sphinx of old, Where all is gold, and steel, and gems, and light, There shines, just like a useless star eternally, The sterile woman's frigid majesty. Translated by - Cyril Scott With Waving Opalescence in Her Gown With waving opalescence in her gown, Even when she walks along, you think she's dancing. Like those long snakes which charmers, while entrancing, Wave with their wands, in cadence, up and down. Like the sad sands of deserts and their skies, By human sufferings untouched and free, Or like the surfy curtains of the sea, She flaunts a cold indifference. Her eyes Are made of charming minerals well-burnished. Her nature, both by sphynx and angel furnished, Is old, intact, symbolic, and bizarre: She seems, made all of gems, steel, light, and gold, In barrenness, majestic, hard, and cold, To blaze forever, like a useless star. Translated by - Roy Campbell

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