Charles Baudelaire

You Would Take the Whole World to Bed with You

You would take the whole world to bed with you, Impure woman! Ennui makes your soul cruel; To exercise your teeth at this singular game, You need a new heart in the rack each day. Your eyes, brilliant as shop windows Or as blazing lamp-stands at public festivals, Insolently use a borrowed power Without ever knowing the law of their beauty. Blind, deaf machine, fecund in cruelties! Remedial instrument, drinker of the world's blood, Why are you not ashamed and why have you not seen In every looking-glass how your charms are fading? Why have you never shrunk at the enormity Of this evil at which you think you are expert, When Nature, resourceful in her hidden designs, Makes use of you, woman, O queen of sin, Of you, vile animal, - to fashion a genius? O foul magnificence! Sublime ignominy! Translated by - William Aggeler You'd Take the Entire Universe to Bed with You You'd take the entire universe to bed with you, I think, just out of boredom, you lecherous, idle shrew! You need, to keep your teeth sound, exercise your jaws, Daily, for dinner, some new heart between your paws! Your eyes, all lighted up like shops, like public fairs, How insolent they are! - as if their power were theirs Indeed! - this borrowed power, this Beauty, you direct And use, whose law, however, you do not suspect. Unwholesome instrument for health, O deaf machine And blind, fecund in tortures! - how is it you have not seen, You drinker of the world's blood, your mirrored loveliness Blench and recoil? how is it you feel no shame? confess: Has never, then, this evil's very magnitude Caused you to stagger? - you, who think yourself so shrewd In evil? - seeing how Nature, patient and abstruse — O Woman, Queen of Sins, Vile Animal, - has made use Of you, to mould a genius? - employed you all this time? O muddy grandeur! - ignominy ironic and sublime! Translated by - Edna St. Vincent Millay Tyranny of Woman Aye, you would bed with the whole universe, Lewd woman! Ennui makes your soul perverse; Cruel, you whet your teeth at this weird play, You need a fresh heart in the rack each day. Your eyes blaze like illumined shops or lights Of serried lamps on festive public nights, They use a borrowed puissance haughtily Unconscious of their beauty's tyranny. Blind, deaf machine, geared to increase man's pain, Tool primed to suckle blood from his last vein, Have you no shame when every looking glass Betrays your faded beauties as you pass, When cunning Nature's hidden plans begin To use you, beast! woman, vile queen of sin, To fashion genius in carnality? O shameless might! Sublime ignominy! Translated by - Jacques LeClercq You'd Stick the World into Your Bedside Lane You'd stick the world into your bedside lane. It's boredom makes you callous to all pain. To exercise your teeth for this strange task, A heart upon a rake, each day, you'd ask. Your eyes lit up like shopfronts, or the trees With lanterns on the night of public sprees, Make insolent misuse of borrowed power And scorn the law of beauty that's their dower. Oh deaf-and-dumb machine, harm-breeding fool World sucking leech, yet salutary tool! Have you not seen your beauties blanch to pass Before their own reflection in the glass? Before this pain, in which you think you're wise, Does not its greatness shock you with surprise, To think that Nature, deep in projects hidden, Has chosen you, vile creature of the midden, To knead a genius for succeeding time. O sordid grandeur! Infamy sublime! Translated by - Roy Campbell

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