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Some Remarks on Baudelaire's Influence
upon Modern Poetry and Thought, Page 4

by Guy Thorne (1915).

Let us take, for example, Baudelaire's poem "Causerie."

"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 cœur ; les bêtes l'ont mangé.

"Mon cœur 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 !"


I have not included the poem in my own translations. But for those who find that French verse still presents some difficulty, I give an English version of "Causerie." It is fairly literal, it is more or less melodious in English. That it quite achieves the atmosphere of Baudelaire's poem I can hardly think. I have taken it from the little volume issued by the "Walter Scott" Publishing Company, in which, for some reason, it is called "The Eyes of Beauty."

"You are a sky of autumn, pale and rose ;
But all the sea of sadness in my blood
Surges, and, ebbing, leaves my lips morose,
Salt with the memory of the bitter flood.

"In vain your hand glides my faint bosom o'er,
That which you seek, beloved, is desecrate
By woman's tooth and talon ! ah ; no more
Seek in me for a heart which those dogs ate.

"It is a ruin where the jackals rest,
And rend and tear and glut themselves and slay—
A perfume swims about your naked breast !

"Beauty, hard scourge of spirits, have your way !
With flame-like eyes that at bright feasts have flared
Burn up these tatters that the beasts have spared !"


PAGE 4 OF 13.

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