THE ALCHEMY OF GRIEF

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by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

One, Nature! burns and makes thee bright,
One gives thee weeds to mourn withal;
And what to one is burial
Is to the other life and light.

The unknown Hermes who assists
And alway fills my heart with fear,
Makes the mighty Midas’ peer
The saddest of the alchemists.

Through him I make gold changeable
To dross, and paradise to hell;
Clouds for its corpse-cloths I descry.

A stark dead body I love well,
And in the gleaming fields on high
I build immense sarcophagi.

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

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