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Les Phares (The Beacons)

Charles Baudelaire 1821 (Paris) – 1867 (Paris)

Rubens, fleuve d'oubli, jardin de la paresse,
Oreiller de chair fraîche où l'on ne peut aimer,
Mais où la vie afflue et s'agite sans cesse,
Comme l'air dans le ciel et la mer dans la mer;

Léonard de Vinci, miroir profond et sombre,
Où des anges charmants, avec un doux souris
Tout chargé de mystère, apparaissent à l'ombre
Des glaciers et des pins qui ferment leur pays;

Rembrandt, triste hôpital tout rempli de murmures,
Et d'un grand crucifix décoré seulement,
Où la prière en pleurs s'exhale des ordures,
Et d'un rayon d'hiver traversé brusquement;

Michel-Ange, lieu vague où l'on voit des Hercules
Se mêler à des Christs, et se lever tout droits
Des fantômes puissants qui dans les crépuscules
Déchirent leur suaire en étirant leurs doigts;

Colères de boxeur, impudences de faune,
Toi qui sus ramasser la beauté des goujats,
Grand coeur gonflé d'orgueil, homme débile et jaune,
Puget, mélancolique empereur des forçats;

Watteau, ce carnaval où bien des coeurs illustres,
Comme des papillons, errent en flamboyant,
Décors frais et légers éclairés par des lustres
Qui versent la folie à ce bal tournoyant;

Goya, cauchemar plein de choses inconnues,
De foetus qu'on fait cuire au milieu des sabbats,
De vieilles au miroir et d'enfants toutes nues,
Pour tenter les démons ajustant bien leurs bas;

Delacroix, lac de sang hanté des mauvais anges,
Ombragé par un bois de sapins toujours vert,
Où, sous un ciel chagrin, des fanfares étranges
Passent, comme un soupir étouffé de Weber;

Ces malédictions, ces blasphèmes, ces plaintes,
Ces extases, ces cris, ces pleurs, ces Te Deum,
Sont un écho redit par mille labyrinthes;
C'est pour les coeurs mortels un divin opium!

C'est un cri répété par mille sentinelles,
Un ordre renvoyé par mille porte-voix;
C'est un phare allumé sur mille citadelles,
Un appel de chasseurs perdus dans les grands bois!

Car c'est vraiment, Seigneur, le meilleur témoignage
Que nous puissions donner de notre dignité
Que cet ardent sanglot qui roule d'âge en âge
Et vient mourir au bord de votre éternité!

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

The Beacons

Rubens, river of oblivion, garden of indolence,
Pillow of cool flesh where one cannot love,
But where life moves and whirls incessantly
Like the air in the sky and the tide in the sea;

Leonardo, dark, unfathomable mirror,
In which charming angels, with sweet smiles
Full of mystery, appear in the shadow
Of the glaciers and pines that enclose their country;

Rembrandt, gloomy hospital filled with murmuring,
Ornamented only with a large crucifix,
Lit for a moment by a wintry sun,
Where from rot and ordure rise tearful prayers;

Angelo, shadowy place where Hercules' are seen
Mingling with Christs, and rising straight up,
Powerful phantoms, which in the twilights
Rend their winding-sheets with outstretched fingers;

Boxer's wrath, shamelessness of Fauns, you whose genius
Showed to us the beauty in a villain,
Great heart filled with pride, sickly, yellow man,
Puget, melancholy emperor of galley slaves;

Watteau, carnival where the loves of many famous hearts
Flutter capriciously like butterflies with gaudy wings;
Cool, airy settings where the candelabras' light
Touches with madness the couples whirling in the dance

Goya, nightmare full of unknown things,
Of fetuses roasted in the midst of witches' sabbaths,
Of old women at the mirror and of nude children,
Tightening their hose to tempt the demons;

Delacroix, lake of blood haunted by bad angels,
Shaded by a wood of fir-trees, ever green,
Where, under a gloomy sky, strange fanfares
Pass, like a stifled sigh from Weber;

These curses, these blasphemies, these lamentations,
These Te Deums, these ecstasies, these cries, these tears,
Are an echo repeated by a thousand labyrinths;
They are for mortal hearts a divine opium.

They are a cry passed on by a thousand sentinels,
An order re-echoed through a thousand megaphones;
They are a beacon lighted on a thousand citadels,
A call from hunters lost deep in the woods!

For truly, Lord, the clearest proofs
That we can give of our nobility,
Are these impassioned sobs that through the ages roll,
And die away upon the shore of your Eternity.

Translated by William Aggeler

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

The Beacons

Rubens, the grove of case, Nepenthe's river
Couch of cool flesh, where Love may never be,
But where life ever flows and seems to quiver
As air in heaven, or, in the sea, the sea.

Da Vinci, dusky mir
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:43 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…

All Charles Baudelaire poems | Charles Baudelaire Books

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