A FORMER LIFE
by: Charles Baudelaire
since, I lived beneath vast porticoes,
- By many ocean-sunsets tinged and fired,
- Where mighty pillars, in majestic rows,
- Seemed like basaltic caves when day expired.
- The rolling surge that mirrored all the skies
- Mingled its music, turbulent and rich,
- Solemn and mystic, with the colours which
- The setting sun reflected in my eyes.
- And there I lived amid voluptuous calms,
- In splendours of blue sky and wandering wave,
- Tended by many a naked, perfumed slave,
- Who fanned my languid brow with waving palms.
- They were my slaves--the only care they had
- To know what secret grief had made me sad.
MORE POEMS BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
'A Former Life' is reprinted from
The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire. Ed. James
Huneker. New York: Brentano's, 1919.