La Chevelure (La Chevelure)|
by Charles Baudelaire (1861); translated by Cyril Scott (1909).
O fleece, that foams down unto the shoulders bare!
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O curls, O scents which lovely languidness exhale!
Delight! to fill this alcove's sombre atmosphere
With memories, sleeping deep within this tress of hair,
I'll wave it in the evening breezes like a veil!
The shores of Africa, and Asia's burning skies,
A world forgotten, distant, nearly dead and spent,
Within thy depths, O aromatic forest! lies.
And like to spirits floating unto melodies,
Mine own, Belovèd! glides within thy sacred scent.
There I will hasten, where the trees and humankind
With languor lull beside the hot and silent sea;
Strong tresses bear me, be to me the waves and wind!
Within thy fragrance lies a dazzling dream confined
Of sails and masts and flames — O lake of ebony!
A loudly echoing harbour, where my soul may hold
To quaff, the silver cup of colours, scents and sounds,
Wherein the vessels glide upon a sea of gold,
And stretch their mighty arms, the glory to enfold
Of virgin skies, where never-ending heat abounds.
I'll plunge my brow, enamoured with voluptuousness
Within this darkling ocean of infinitude,
Until my subtle spirit, which thy waves caress,
Shall find you once again, O fertile weariness;
Unending lullabye of perfumed lassitude!
Ye tresses blue — recess of strange and sombre shades,
Ye make the azure of the starry Realm immense;
Upon the downy beeches, by your curls' cascades,
Among your mingling fragrances, my spirit wades
To cull the musk and cocoa-nut and lotus scents.
Long — foraye — my hand, within thy heavy mane,
Shall scatter rubies, pearls, sapphires eternally,
And thus my soul's desire for thee shall never wane;
For art not thou the oasis where I dream and drain
With draughts profound, the golden wine of memory?
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