Monday, April 12, 2021

Poemquotes 20: Three from Baudelaire's "Spleen and Ideal" (33-35)

 (my translations)

XXXIII. Remords posthume
[33. Posthumous Remorse]

When you will sleep, my beautiful dusky one,
At the bottom of a monument built of black marble,
And when you will have as alcove and mansion
But a rainy vault and a hollow pit;

When the stone, oppressing your fearful breast
And your flanks that a charming nonchalance softens
Will keep your heart from beating and from wishing,
And your feet from running their adventurous course,

The tomb, confidant of my infinite dreaming
(For the tomb will always understand the poet),
During those great nights in which sleep is banned

Will say: "What does it serve you, imperfect courtesan,
Not to have known why the dead weep?"
— And the worm will gnaw your skin like so much remorse.


 XXXIV. Le chat
[34. The Cat]

Come, my beautiful cat, onto my amorous heart;
   Hold back the claws of your paw,
And let me dive into your beautiful eyes,
   Mixed of metal and agate.

When my fingers at leisure caress
   Your head and your elastic back,
And my hand tingles with the pleasure
   Of palpating your electric body,

I see my woman in spirit. Her gaze,
   Like yours, amiable beast,
Profound and cold, cuts and cleaves like a dart,

   And, from head to toes,
A subtle air, a dangerous perfume,
   Floats about her brown body.


XXXV. Duellum
[35. Duellum {"The Duel"}]

Two warriors rushed, the one upon the other; their weapons
Spattered the air with flashes and blood.
These games, these clangs of iron make up the din
Of youth in prey to mewling love.

The glaives are broken! like our youth, 
My dear! But the teeth, the biting nails,
Soon avenge the sword and the treacherous dagger.
— O fury of hearts ripened by ulcerated love!

In the ravine haunted by leopards and panthers
Our heroes, clasping each other viciously, rolled,
And their flesh will make blossom the aridity of the brambles.

This chasm, it is hell, thronged with our friends!
Let us roll there remorselessly, inhumane amazon,
So as to eternalize the ardor of our hatred! 


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