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A Une Madone (To A Madonna)

Charles Baudelaire 1821 (Paris) – 1867 (Paris)

Ex-voto dans le goût espagnol

Je veux bâtir pour toi, Madone, ma maîtresse,
Un autel souterrain au fond de ma détresse,
Et creuser dans le coin le plus noir de mon coeur,
Loin du désir mondain et du regard moqueur,
Une niche, d'azur et d'or tout émaillée,
Où tu te dresseras, Statue émerveillée.
Avec mes Vers polis, treillis d'un pur métal
Savamment constellé de rimes de cristal
Je ferai pour ta tête une énorme Couronne;
Et dans ma Jalousie, ô mortelle Madone
Je saurai te tailler un Manteau, de façon
Barbare, roide et lourd, et doublé de soupçon,
Qui, comme une guérite, enfermera tes charmes,
Non de Perles brodé, mais de toutes mes Larmes!
Ta Robe, ce sera mon Désir, frémissant,
Onduleux, mon Désir qui monte et qui descend,
Aux pointes se balance, aux vallons se repose,
Et revêt d'un baiser tout ton corps blanc et rose.
Je te ferai de mon Respect de beaux Souliers
De satin, par tes pieds divins humiliés,
Qui, les emprisonnant dans une molle étreinte
Comme un moule fidèle en garderont l'empreinte.
Si je ne puis, malgré tout mon art diligent
Pour Marchepied tailler une Lune d'argent
Je mettrai le Serpent qui me mord les entrailles
Sous tes talons, afin que tu foules et railles
Reine victorieuse et féconde en rachats
Ce monstre tout gonflé de haine et de crachats.
Tu verras mes Pensers, rangés comme les Cierges
Devant l'autel fleuri de la Reine des Vierges
Etoilant de reflets le plafond peint en bleu,
Te regarder toujours avec des yeux de feu;
Et comme tout en moi te chérit et t'admire,
Tout se fera Benjoin, Encens, Oliban, Myrrhe,
Et sans cesse vers toi, sommet blanc et neigeux,
En Vapeurs montera mon Esprit orageux.

Enfin, pour compléter ton rôle de Marie,
Et pour mêler l'amour avec la barbarie,
Volupté noire! des sept Péchés capitaux,
Bourreau plein de remords, je ferai sept Couteaux
Bien affilés, et comme un jongleur insensible,
Prenant le plus profond de ton amour pour cible,
Je les planterai tous dans ton Coeur pantelant,
Dans ton Coeur sanglotant, dans ton Coeur ruisselant!

--------------------------------- ---------------------------------

To a Madonna

Votive Offering in the Spanish Style

I want to build for you, Madonna, my mistress,
An underground altar in the depths of my grief
And carve out in the darkest corner of my heart,
Far from worldly desires and mocking looks,
A niche, all enameled with azure and with gold,
Where you shall stand, amazed Statue;
With my polished Verses as a trellis of pure metal
Studded cunningly with rhymes of crystal,
I shall make for your head an immense Crown,
And from my Jealousy, O mortal Madonna,
I shall know how to cut a cloak in a fashion,
Barbaric, heavy, and stiff, lined with suspicion,
Which, like a sentry-box, will enclose your charms;
Embroidered not with Pearls, but with all of my Tears!
Your Gown will be my Desire, quivering,
Undulant, my Desire which rises and which falls,
Balances on the crests, reposes in the troughs,
And clothes with a kiss your white and rose body.
Of my Self-respect I shall make you Slippers
Of satin which, humbled by your divine feet,
Will imprison them in a gentle embrace,
And assume their form like a faithful mold;

If I can't, in spite of all my painstaking art,
Carve a Moon of silver for your Pedestal,
I shall put the Serpent which is eating my heart
Under your heels, so that you may trample and mock,
Triumphant queen, fecund in redemptions,
That monster all swollen with hatred and spittle.
You will see my Thoughts like Candles in rows
Before the flower-decked altar of the Queen of Virgins,
Starring with their reflections the azure ceiling,
And watching you always with eyes of fire.
And since my whole being admires and loves you,
All will become Storax, Benzoin, Frankincense, Myrrh,
And ceaselessly toward you, white, snowy pinnacle,
My turbulent spirit will rise like a vapor.

Finally, to complete your role of Mary,
And to mix love with inhumanity,
Infamous pleasure! of the seven deadly sins,
I, torturer full of remorse, shall make seven
Well sharpened Daggers and, like a callous juggler,
Taking your deepest love for a target,
I shall plant them all in your panting Heart,
In your sobbing Heart, in your bleeding Heart!

Translated by William Aggeler

--------------------------------- ---------------------------------

To a Madonna

(Ex Voto in Spanish Style)

I'd build, Madonna, love, for my belief,
An altar in the dim crypt of my grief,
And in the darkest comer of my heart,
From mortal lust and mockery far apart,
Scoop you a niche, with gold and azure glaze,
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:54 min read

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. more…

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