THE IRREPARABLE

From ImmortalPoetry
Jump to navigationJump to search

by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

I

How shall we kill this old, this long Remorse
Which writhes continually
And feeds on us as worms upon a corse,
Maggots upon a tree?
How stifle this implacable Remorse?

What wine, what drug, what philtre known of man
Will drown this ancient foe,
Ruthless and ravenous as a courtesan,
Sure as an ant, and slow?
What wine? What drug? What philtre known of man?

O tell, fair sorceress, tell if thou dost know
This soul distraught with pain
As a dying soldier crushed and bruised below
Steel hooves and wounded men!
O tell, fair sorceress, tell if thou dost know.

This poor racked wretch the wolf already flays
O’er whom the vultures whirr,
This broken warrior! if in vain he prays
For cross and sepulchre.
This anguished wretch the wolf already flays!

How should we rend dense gulfs which know not dawn
Nor eve, nor any star?
How pierce with light skies which abyss-like yawn
When black as pitch they are?
How should we rend dense gulfs which know not dawn?

Hope glimmered in the windows of the Inn,
But Hope is dead for aye!
Moonless and rayless, can poor travellers win
To shelter from the way?
The Devil made dark the windows of the Inn!

Dost love the damned, adorable sorceress?
Dost know the smitten sore?
Dost know Remorse that, grim and pitiless,
Feeds at my heart’s red core?
Dost love the damned, adorable sorceress?

My soul is prey to the Irreparable,
It gnaws with tooth accurst,
And, termite-like, the cunning spawn of hell
Mines the foundations first!
My soul is prey to the Irreparable!

II

Often within a theatre I have seen,
’Thwart the orchestral roar,
A dazzling Fairy stand in sudden sheen
Where all was gloom before!
Often within a theatre I have seen

A being made of light and gold and gauze
Fling Demons to their fate!
But on my heart’s dark stage an endless pause
Is all, and I await
In vain, in vain the Spirit with wings of gauze!

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

Add your comment
ImmortalPoetry welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.


Contents