by: Charles Baudelaire
of memories, mistress of mistresses,
- O thou, my pleasure, thou, all my desire,
- Thou shalt recall the beauty of caresses,
- The charm of evenings by the gentle fire,
- Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!
- The eves illumined by the burning coal,
- The balcony where veiled rose-vapour clings--
- How soft your breast was then, how sweet your soul!
- Ah, and we said imperishable things,
- Those eves illumined by the burning coal.
- Lovely the suns were in those twilights warm,
- And space profound, and strong life's pulsing flood,
- In bending o'er you, queen of every charm,
- I thought I breathed the perfume in your blood.
- The suns were beauteous in those twilights warm.
- The film of night flowed round and over us,
- And my eyes in the dark did your eyes meet;
- I drank your breath, ah! sweet and poisonous,
- And in my hands fraternal slept your feet--
- Night, like a film, flowed round and over us.
- I can recall those happy days forgot,
- And see, with head bowed on your knees, my past.
- Your languid beauties now would move me not
- Did not your gentle heart and body cast
- The old spell of those happy days forgot.
- Can vows and perfumes, kisses infinite,
- Be reborn from the gulf we cannot sound;
- As rise to heaven suns once again made bright
- After being plunged in deep seas and profound?
- Ah, vows and perfumes, kisses infinite!
MORE POEMS BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
'The Balcony' is reprinted from
The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire. Ed. James
Huneker. New York: Brentano's, 1919.