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« Conversation(s) with Other Women | Main | Bunin, "К воспоминаниям о Толстом" »

Baudelaire, "Confession"

A work ("Confession") by this French poet.  You can read the original here.

One time a nice, sweet solitary lass
Her bright arm by my own did rest
(This memory has hardly waned in mass
Within my soul's most darksome depths).

'Twas late; just like a coin in newest sheen  
The moon so full and thick was borne;
And like a river, night's solemnity
Streamed o'er a sleeping Paris morn. 

Along some houses and coach entryways,
So furtively the cats did glide;
Their ears alert, or like our dearest shades,
So slowly keeping with our strides. 

When suddenly amidst our freest throes,
Revealed by your wan clarity, 
Rich and sonorous instrument, where flows
But radiance and gaiety;

O spectacle so joyful to behold, 
Beneath the twinkling morning's fire,
You let a strange and plaintive note unfold,
While all this time you wobbled, tired,

Like some weak, bestial, somber, wicked girl,
Whose family would blush, dismay'd,
And would not wait to hide her from the world,
Within some secret, distant cave.

Poor angel! So in piercing shrills she ached:
"No thing down here can be believed:
Regardless of the pains one may so take, 
The human ego e'er deceives." 

"How hard a task to be but beauty's spawn!
How dull the work of such a child!
A cold, mad swooning dancer girl gets on
With insincere and metal smiles."

"'Tis a fool's plan to build on heartfelt whims;
For love and beauty too shall flee
Upon that day they're sacked by Oblivion,
And gifted to Eternity!"

This wild enchanted moon I've oft evoked;
This silence, this lethargic chart; 
A horrid confidence in whispers' choke, 
A sad confession of the heart. 

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