31 May 2016

Translation: Charles Baudelaire's Hymn to Beauty

Do you rise from the deep sky or the abyss,
Oh Beauty? your gaze, infernal and divine,
Pours both of goodness and of crime,
And for that, we can compare it to wine.

In your eye you contain both dusk and dawn;
You cast your perfumes like a stormy eve;
Your kisses are a potion and your mouth an urn
That turn heroes cowardly and children brave.

Do you rise from the dark chasm or descend from the stars?
Charmed destiny chases after your skirts like a dog;
At random you sow joy and disasters,
And you rule over all and answer for nothing.

You walk over the dead, Beauty, whom you mock;
Of your jewels Horror is not the least charming,
And Murder, among your most dear trinkets,
On your proud belly dances amorously.

The ephemeral moth flies toward you, candle,
Crackles, blazes and says: Let us bless this flame!
The panting lover bent over his belle
Seems like a ghost caressing his tomb.

Whether you come from the sky or from hell, what does it matter,
Oh Beauty! enormous monster, frightening, naive!
If your eye, your smile, your foot open the door
To an Infinity I love and have never known?

From Satan or God, what does it matter? Angel or Siren,
What does it matter, if you make — fairy with velvet eyes,
Rhythm, perfume, sheen, oh my only queen! —
The universe less hideous and the moments lighter?

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