DON JUAN IN HADES
by: Charles Baudelaire
Juan sought the subterranean flood,
- And paid his obolus on the Stygian shore,
- Charon, the proud and sombre beggar, stood
- With one strong, vengeful hand on either oar.
- With open robes and bodies agonised,
- Lost women writhed beneath that darkling sky;
- There were sounds as of victims sacrificed:
- Behind him all the dark was one long cry.
- And Sganarelle, with laughter, claimed his pledge;
- Don Luis, with trembling finger in the air,
- Showed to the souls who wandered in the sedge
- The evil son who scorned his hoary hair.
- Shivering with woe, chaste Elvira the while,
- Near him untrue to all but her till now,
- Seemed to beseech him for one farewell smile
- Lit with the sweetness of the first soft vow.
- And clad in armour, a tall man of stone
- Held firm the helm, and clove the gloomy flood;
- But, staring at the vessel's track alone,
- Bent on his sword the unmoved hero stood.
MORE POEMS BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
'Don Juan in Hades' is reprinted
from The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire.
Ed. James Huneker. New York: Brentano's, 1919.