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Charles Baudelaire
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Illusionary Love (L'Amour du mensonge)
by Charles Baudelaire (1861); translated by Cyril Scott (1909).

When I behold thee wander by, my languorous love,
To songs of viols which throughout the dome resound,
Harmonious and stately as thy footsteps move,
Bestowing forth the languor of thy glance profound.

When I regard thee, glowing in the gaslight rays,
Thy pallid brow embellished by a charm obscure,
Here where the evening torches light the twilight haze,
Thine eyes attracting me like those of a portraiture,

I say — How beautiful she is! how strangely rich!
A mighty memory, royal and commanding tower,
A garland: and her heart, bruised like a ruddy peach,
Is ripe — like her body for Love's sapient power.

Art thou, that spicy Autumn-fruit with taste supreme?
Art thou a funeral vase inviting tears of grief?
Aroma causing one of Eastern wastes to dream;
A downy cushion, bunch of flowers or golden sheaf?

I know that there are eyes, most melancholy ones,
Wherein no precious secret deeply hidden lies,
Resplendent shrines, devoid of relics, sacred stones,
More empty, more profound than ye yourselves, O skies?

Yea, does thy semblance, not alone for me suffice,
To kindle senses which the cruel truth abhor?
All one to me! thy folly or thy heart of ice,
Decoy or mask, all hail! thy beauty I adore!


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AUTHOR: Charles Baudelaire (1861); translated by Cyril Scott (1909).
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