UNE NUIT QUE J’ÉTAIS PRÈS D’UNE AFFREUSE JUIVE

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by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

A hideous Jewess lay with me for hire
One night: two corpses side by side we seemed
And stretched by that polluted thing I dreamed
Of the sad beauty of my vain desire.

I thought upon her brow clad round with fire
And matchless strength, her native majesty,
Her perfumed helm of hair whose memory
Makes me toward Love’s heights to reaspire.

For fervently I would have rained, my Sweet,
Fond kisses over all thy form divine
Even from thy black tresses to thy feet,

If some soft evening, with a single tear,
O cruel queen, thou couldst have dimmed the clear
Cold splendour of those icy eyes of thine.

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

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