NOTE: No. 114 in the 1861 edition of "The Flowers of Evil" / "Les Fleurs du mal". Translated by F. P. Sturm (1879 - 1942), published 1905. Source: The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire with an Introductory Preface by James Huneker, 1919.
Here is a woman, richly clad and fair,
Who in her wine dips her long, heavy hair;
Love’s claws, and that sharp poison which is sin,
Are dulled against the granite of her skin.
Death she defies, Debauch she smiles upon,
For their sharp scythe-like talons every one
Pass by her in their all-destructive play;
Leaving her beauty till a later day.
Goddess she walks; sultana in her leisure;
She has Mohammed’s faith that heaven is pleasure,
And bids all men forget the world’s alarms
Upon her breast, between her open arms.
She knows, and she believes, this sterile maid,
Without whom the world’s onward dream would fade,
That bodily beauty is the supreme gift
Which may from every sin the terror lift.
Hell she ignores, and Purgatory defies;
And when black Night shall roll before her eyes,
She will look straight in Death’s grim face forlorn,
Without remorse or hate — as one new born.
The note on the translation:
This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1942, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.