Charles Baudelaire

(9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867 / Paris)

Tristesses De La Lune (Sorrows Of The Moon) - Poem by Charles Baudelaire

Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu'une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d'une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s'endormir le contour de ses seins,

Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l'azur comme des floraisons.

Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa langueur oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poète pieux, ennemi du sommeil,

Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pâle,
Aux reflets irisés comme un fragment d'opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.

Sadness of the Moon

Tonight the moon dreams with more indolence,
Like a lovely woman on a bed of cushions
Who fondles with a light and listless hand
The contour of her breasts before falling asleep;

On the satiny back of the billowing clouds,
Languishing, she lets herself fall into long swoons
And casts her eyes over the white phantoms
That rise in the azure like blossoming flowers.

When, in her lazy listlessness,
She sometimes sheds a furtive tear upon this globe,
A pious poet, enemy of sleep,

In the hollow of his hand catches this pale tear,
With the iridescent reflections of opal,
And hides it in his heart afar from the sun's eyes.


— Translated by William Aggeler

Sorrow of the Moon

More drowsy dreams the moon tonight. She rests
Like a proud beauty on heaped cushions pressing,
With light and absent-minded touch caressing,
Before she sleeps, the contour of her breasts.

On satin-shimmering, downy avalanches
She dies from swoon to swoon in languid change,
And lets her eyes on snowy visions range
That in the azure rise like flowering branches.

When sometimes to this earth her languor calm
Lets streak a stealthy tear, a pious poet,
The enemy of sleep, in his cupped palm,

Takes this pale tear, of liquid opal spun
With rainbow lights, deep in his heart to stow it
Far from the staring eyeballs of the Sun.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

The Sadness of the Moon

Tonight the moon, by languorous memories obsessed,
Lies pensive and awake: a sleepless beauty amid
The tossed and multitudinous cushions of her bed,
Caressing with an abstracted hand the curve of her breast.

Surrendered to her deep sadness as to a lover, for hours
She lolls in the bright luxurious disarray of the sky —
Haggard, entranced — and watches the small clouds float by
Uncurling indolently in the blue air like flowers.

When now and then upon this planet she lets fall,
Out of her idleness and sorrow, a secret tear,
Some poet — an enemy of slumber, musing apart —

Catches in his cupped hands the unearthly tribute, all
Fiery and iridescent like an opal's sphere,
And hides it from the sun for ever in his heart.


— Translated by George Dillon

Tristesses de la lune

the moon tonight, more indolently dreaming,
as on a pillowed bed, a woman seems,
caressing with a hand distraught and gleaming,
her soft curved bosom, ere she sinks in dreams.

against a snowy satin avalanche
she lies entranced and drowned in swooning hours,
her gaze upon the visions born to blanch
those far blue depths with ever-blossoming flowers.

and when in some soft languorous interval,
earthward, she lets a stealthy tear-drop fall,
a poet, foe to slumber, toiling on,

with reverent hollow hand receives the pearl,
where shimmering opalescences unfurl,
and shields it in his heart, far from the sun.


— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks

Sorrows of the Moon

Tonight the moon dreams in a deeper languidness,
And, like a beauty on her cushions, lies at rest;
While drifting off to sleep, a tentative caress
Seeks, with a gentle hand, the contour of her breast;

As on a crest above her silken avalanche,
Dying, she yields herself to an unending swoon,
And sees a pallid vision everywhere she’d glance,
In the azure sky where blossoms have been strewn.

When sometime, in her weariness, upon her sphere
She might permit herself to sheda furtive tear,
A poet of great piety, a foe of sleep,

Catches in the hollow of his hand that tear,
An opal fragment, iridescent as a star;
Within his heart, far from the sun, it’s buried deep.

Translated by Anonymous


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010



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