THE MURDERER’S WINE

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by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

My wife is dead and I am free,
Now I may drink to my content;
When I came back without a cent
Her piteous outcries tortured me.

Now I am happy as a king,
The air is pure, the sky is clear;
Just such a summer as that year,
When first I went a-sweethearting.

A horrible thirst is tearing me,
To quench it I should have to swill
Just as much cool wine as would fill
Her tomb–that’s no small quantity.

I threw her down and then began
To pile upon her where she fell
All the great stones around the well—
I shall forget it if I can.

By all the soft vows of our prime,
By those eternal oaths we swore,
And that our love might be once more
As ’twas in our old passionate time,

I begged her in a lonely spot
To come and meet me at nightfall;
She came, mad creature—we are all
More or less crazy, are we not?

She was quite pretty still, my wife,
Though she was very tired, and I,
I loved her too much, that is why
I said to her, “Come, quit this life.”

No one can grasp my thought aright;
Did any of these sodden swine
Ever conceive a shroud of wine
On his most strangely morbid night?

Dull and insensible above
Iron machines, that stupid crew,
Summer or winter, never knew
The agonies of real love.

So now I am without a care!
Dead-drunk this evening I shall be,
Then fearlessly, remorselessly
Shall lie out in the open air.

And sleep there like a homeless cur;
Some cart may rumble with a load
Of stones or mud along the road
And crush my head—I shall not stir.

Some heavy dray incontinent
May come and cut me clean in two:
I laugh at thought o’t as I do
At Devil, God, and Sacrament.

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

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