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Baudelaire, Charles: Episode (Causerie in English)

Portre of Baudelaire, Charles
Portre of St. Vincent Millay, Edna

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Causerie (French)


Vous êtes un beau ciel d’automne, clair et rose!
Mais la tristesse en moi monte comme la mer,
Et laisse, en refluant, sur ma lèvre morose
Le souvenir cuisant de son limon amer.

– Ta main se glisse en vain sur mon sein qui se pâme;
Ce qu’elle cherche, amie, est un lieu saccagé
Par la griffe et la dent féroce de la femme.
Ne cherchez plus mon coeur; les bêtes l’ont mangé.

Mon coeur est un palais flétri par la cohue;
On s’y soûle, on s’y tue, on s’y prend aux cheveux!
– Un parfum nage autour de votre gorge nue!…

O Beauté, dur fléau des âmes, tu le veux!
Avec tes yeux de feu, brillants comme des fêtes,
Calcine ces lambeaux qu’ont épargnés les bêtes!



PublisherBudapest, Magvető Kiadó
Source of the quotationSzerb Antal: Száz vers. Negyedik kiadás. 262. p.

Episode (English)

You are a lovely, rosy, lucid autumn sky!
But sadness mounts upon me like a flooding sea,
And ebbs, and ebbing, leaves my lips morose and dry,
Smarting with salty ooze, bitter with memory.

— Useless to slide your hand like that along my breast;
That which it seeks, my dear, is plundered; it is slit
By the soft paw of woman, that clawed while it caressed.
Useless to hunt my heart; the beasts have eaten it.

My heart is like a palace where the mob has spat;
There they carouse, they seize each other's hair, they kill.
— Your breast is naked... what exotic scent is that?...

O Beauty, iron flail of souls, it is your will!
So be it! Eyes of fire, bright in the darkness there,
Bum up these strips of flesh the beasts saw fit to spare.




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