Beauty (Baudelaire)

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Beauty / La Beauté
by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Frank Pearce Sturm
NOTE: No. 17 in the 1861 edition of "The Flowers of Evil" / "Les Fleurs du mal". Translated by F. P. Sturm (1879 - 1942), published 1906. Source: The Flowers of Evil, ed. Marthiel and Jackson Mathews, New Directions edition, 1989.


Beauty


I am as lovely as a dream in stone;
My breast on which each finds his death in turn
Inspires the poet with a love as lone
As everlasting clay, and as taciturn.

Swan-white of heart, a sphinx no mortal knows,
My throne is in the heaven’s azure deep;
I hate all movement that disturbs my pose;
I smile not ever, neither do I weep.

Before my monumental attitudes,
Taken from the proudest plastic arts,
My poets pray in austere studious moods,

For I, to fold enchantment round their hearts,
Have pools of light where beauty flames and dies,
The placid mirrors of my luminous eyes.


The note on the translation: