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by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

“Whence,” ask you, “is this heavy sadness shed,
Rising like ocean round the bare black stone?”
When the heart’s crop has once been harvested
Life is a burden! ’Tis of all men known.

A simple grief and not mysterious,
Blown like thy joy for all the world: so cease,
Cease, O fair questioner, to probe me thus,
And, though thy voice be gentle, hold thy peace.

Hold thy peace, rapturous one! Child’s mouth so rife
With merriment. Death’s links with us oft seem
Subtler than those which bind our souls to Life.

Let, let my heart grow drunken with a lie,
And plunge in thy great eyes as in a dream,
And slumber ’neath thy lashes tranquilly!

Blossoms of Evil (1857)
by Charles Baudelaire - Translated by John Collings Squire

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