Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Sick Muse

La Muse malade

Ma pauvre muse, hélas! qu'as-tu donc ce matin?
Tes yeux creux sont peuplés de visions nocturnes,
Et je vois tour à tour réfléchis sur ton teint
La folie et l'horreur, froides et taciturnes.

Le succube verdâtre et le rose lutin
T'ont-ils versé la peur et l'amour de leurs urnes?
Le cauchemar, d'un poing despotique et mutin
T'a-t-il noyée au fond d'un fabuleux Minturnes?

Je voudrais qu'exhalant l'odeur de la santé
Ton sein de pensers forts fût toujours fréquenté,
Et que ton sang chrétien coulât à flots rythmiques,

Comme les sons nombreux des syllabes antiques,
Où règnent tour à tour le père des chansons,
Phoebus, et le grand Pan, le seigneur des moissons.

— Charles Baudelaire


The Sick Muse

My poor Muse, alas! what ails you today?
Your hollow eyes are full of nocturnal visions;
I see in turn reflected on your face
Horror and madness, cold and taciturn.

Have the green succubus, the rosy elf,
Poured out for you love and fear from their urns?
Has the hand of Nightmare, cruel and despotic,
Plunged you to the bottom of some weird Minturnae?

I would that your bosom, fragrant with health,
Were constantly the dwelling place of noble thoughts,
And that your Christian blood would flow in rhythmic waves

Like the measured sounds of ancient verse,
Over which reign in turn the father of all songs,
Phoebus, and the great Pan, lord of harvest.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

More Baudelaire here.


Suggest a Poetic Horror!

1 Comments:

Blogger RHE said...

My French isn't idiomatically fluent enough to know whether "le rose lutin" carries a creepier connotation than "the rosy elf," which sounds like something from Saturday morning cartoons. Hard to picture Vincent Prices as The Rosy Elf, isn't it? As for,

I would that your bosom, fragrant with health,
Were constantly the dwelling place of noble thoughts,

I don't think so. Poetry is awfully hard to translate decently, isn't it?

RHE

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7:08 am  

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