Baudelaire: The Revenant (From French)

The Revenant
By Charles Baudelaire
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original in French

Like angels mad with bestial eyes
I'll come back where your alcove lies
To glide in soundlessly, in flight
With all the shadows of the night.

Then, tawny dear, we will commune
In kisses frozen as the moon,
In the caress of snakes that crawl
And hiss around a cistern’s wall.

When morning shows his livid face
You will find no one in my place
Which will fall cold till night is near.

Though others reign with tenderness
Over your life and youthfulness
I want a sovereignty of fear.


The Original:

Le Revenant

Comme les anges à l'oeil fauve,
Je reviendrai dans ton alcôve
Et vers toi glisserai sans bruit
Avec les ombres de la nuit;

Et je te donnerai, ma brune,
Des baisers froids comme la lune
Et des caresses de serpent
Autour d'une fosse rampant.

Quand viendra le matin livide,
Tu trouveras ma place vide,
Où jusqu'au soir il fera froid.

Comme d'autres par la tendresse,
Sur ta vie et sur ta jeunesse,
Moi, je veux régner par l'effroi.

1 comment:

  1. It's a pleasure to read more Baudelaire. I always preferred him rather than Rimbaud, unlike many of the previous generation of Australian poets. That combination of poet and critic has always appealed to me.

    BTW: regarding the voting system, I don't, as I feel it asks me to rate the translations as translations, rather than as poems in their own right, and since I cannot do so, I feel I cannot add anything meaningful.

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