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La Géante (The Giantess)

Charles Baudelaire 1821 (Paris) – 1867 (Paris)



Du temps que la Nature en sa verve puissante
Concevait chaque jour des enfants monstrueux,
J'eusse aimé vivre auprès d'une jeune géante,
Comme aux pieds d'une reine un chat voluptueux.

J'eusse aimé voir son corps fleurir avec son âme
Et grandir librement dans ses terribles jeux;
Deviner si son coeur couve une sombre flamme
Aux humides brouillards qui nagent dans ses yeux;

Parcourir à loisir ses magnifiques formes;
Ramper sur le versant de ses genoux énormes,
Et parfois en été, quand les soleils malsains,

Lasse, la font s'étendre à travers la campagne,
Dormir nonchalamment à l'ombre de ses seins,
Comme un hameau paisible au pied d'une montagne.

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

The Giantess

At the time when Nature with a lusty spirit
Was conceiving monstrous children each day,
I should have liked to live near a young giantess,
Like a voluptuous cat at the feet of a queen.

I should have liked to see her soul and body thrive
And grow without restraint in her terrible games;
To divine by the mist swimming within her eyes
If her heart harbored a smoldering flame;

To explore leisurely her magnificent form;
To crawl upon the slopes of her enormous knees,
And sometimes in summer, when the unhealthy sun

Makes her stretch out, weary, across the countryside,
To sleep nonchalantly in the shade of her breasts,
Like a peaceful hamlet below a mountainside.

Translated by William Aggeler

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

The Giantess

Of old when Nature, in her verve defiant,
Conceived each day some birth of monstrous mien,
I would have lived near some young female giant
Like a voluptuous cat beside a queen;

To see her body flowering with her soul
Freely develop in her mighty games,
And in the mists that through her gaze would roll
Guess that her heart was hatching sombre flames;

To roam her mighty contours as I please,
Ramp on the cliff of her tremendous knees,
And in the solstice, when the suns that kill

Make her stretch out across the land and rest,
To sleep beneath the shadow of her breast
Like a hushed village underneath a hill.

Translated by Roy Campbell

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

The Giantess

In times of old when Nature in her glad excess
Brought forth such living marvels as no more are seen,
I should have loved to dwell with a young giantess,
Like a voluptuous cat about the feet of a queen;

To run and laugh beside her in her terrible games,
And see her grow each day to a more fearful size,
And see the flowering of her soul, and the first flames
Of passionate longing in the misty depths of her eyes;

To scale the slopes of her huge knees, explore at will
The hollows and the heights of her — and when, oppressed
By the long afternoons of summer, cloudless and still,

She would stretch out across the countryside to rest,
I should have loved to sleep in the shadow of her breast,
Quietly as a village nestling under a hill.

Translated by George Dillon

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

The Giantess

In times when Nature, lusty to excess,
Bred monstrous children, would that I had been
Living beside a youthful giantess,
Like a voluptuous cat beside a queen;
To see her soul and body gain full size
Blossoming freely in her fearsome games,
And by the damp mists swimming in her eyes
To watch her heart nursing what somber flames!

To roam her mighty form at my sweet ease,
To crawl along the slopes of her vast knees,
And, summers, when the sun's unhealthy heats
Made her sprawl, tired, across the countryside
To sleep at leisure, shaded by her teats,
Like a calm hamlet by the mountainside.

Translated by Jacques LeClercq

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

Giantess

When Nature once in lustful hot undress
Conceived gargantuan offspring, then would I
Have loved to live near a young giantess,
Like a voluptuous cat at a queen's feet.

To see her body flower with her desire
And freely spread out in its dreadful play,
Guess if her heart concealed some heavy fire
Whose humid smokes would swim upon her eye.

To feel at leisure her stupendous shapes,
Crawl on the cliffs of her enormous knees,
And, when in summer the unhealthy suns

Have stretched her out across the plains, fatigued,
Sleep in the shadows of her breasts at ease
Like a small hamlet at a mountain's base.

Translated by Karl Shapiro

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

La Géante

From the time when Nature in her furious fancy
Conceived each day monstrosities obscene,
I had loved to live near a young Giantess of Necromancy,
Like a voluptuous c
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:54 min read
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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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