Monday, July 2, 2012

Baudelaire, "Fleurs du Mal"

love Ocean always, Man: ye both are free!
the Sea, thy mirror: thou canst find thy soul
in the unfurling billows' surging roll,
they mind's abyss is bitter as the sea.

thou doest rejoice thy mirrored face to pierce,
plunging, and clasp with eyes and arms; thy heart
at its own mutter oft forgets to start,
lulled by that plaint indomitably fierce.

discreet ye both are; both are taciturn:
Man, none has measured all thy dark abyss,
none, Sea, knows where thy hoarded treasure is,
so jealously your secrets ye inurn!

and yet for countless ages, trucelessly,
— o ruthless warriors! — ye have fought and striven:
brothers by lust for death and carnage driven,
twin wrestlers, gripped for all eternity!

trans.— Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)


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