From shadow to light, from light to shadow.
Twenty-nine unique pieces
XXXIX – Spleen et idéal
Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal (1857)
Translation — Roy Campbell (Pantheon Books, 1952)
For you this poem: if my name should reach
Favoured by mighty gales, to far-off times,
Like a proud vessel sailing to the beach,
To stir the brains of humans with my rhymes —
Your memory, uncertain as a myth,
Will tire the reader like an endless gong,
And be a mystic, kindred chain wherewith
He’ll hang suspended to my towering song:
Curs’d soul to whom (from the supernal sky
To hell’s abysm) none responds but I!
O you, who like a fleeting shadow pass,
Spurn with light foot and with serenest gaze
The stupid mortals who have grudged you praise,
O jade-eyed statue, angel browed with brass!