Baudelaire: Correspondances (From French)

Correspondances
By Charles Baudelaire
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Nature’s a shrine where living columns stand
And now and then breathe a confounded phrase,
Man wanders there amid a forestland
Of symbols, followed by their intimate gaze.
As long-drawn echoes blent from far away
together into dark deep unison,
As vast as night and like the light of day,
colors, sounds and perfumes respond as one.

There are scents fresh as flesh of any child,
Meadow-green, mellow as an oboe tone,
- and others: rich, corrupt, triumphant, wild
expanding like the infinite alone
like ambers, musks and orient frankincense
that sing the ecstasies of soul and sense.


The Original:

Corréspondances

La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.
Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d'enfants,
Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,
— Et d'autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,
Ayant l'expansion des choses infinies,
Comme l'ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l'encens,
Qui chantent les transports de l'esprit et des sens.

4 comments:

  1. Such a tin ear for English...!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How so? Suggestions? Points you think I could improve on?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you've done beautifully with this.
    Literary translation is difficult in that it requires insight,sensitivity,a deep love of language . And in this case,a poetic soul. It takes time, days even longer sometimes.
    Baudelaire,whose poetry I read in French, is one of my favourite poets.
    Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're so wrong,my friend! It's YOU that has the lack of ear for both languages . Such a tin ear for poetry!

    ReplyDelete

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