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 cœur couve une sombre flamme
Aux humides brouillards qui nagent dans ses yeux;

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

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

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.

Bibliography

Baudelaire, Charles. Flowers of Evil. Trans. George Dillon and Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1936. I have compared the French text in this bilinguial edition to that in Antoine Adam's 1959 Garnier edition [GPL].


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Last modified 16 March 2008