THE RANSOM

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by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

To pay his ransom man must toil
With Reason's implement alone
To plough and rake and free from stone
Two plots of hard volcanic soil.

And if he would from out them wrench
A few thorns or a meagre flower,
Continually a heavy shower
Of his salt sweat their roots must drench.

The one is Art, the other Love;
And on that last and terrible day
The wrath of the stern judge to stay
And 'scape the vengeance from above,

He must show barns whose uttermost
Recesses swell with ripened grain,
And blooms whose shapes and hues will gain
The suffrage of the Heavenly Host.

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

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