The Chimera

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The Chimera
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Frederic Cesar De Sumichrast and Agnes Lee
From French La Chimère


A young chimera at my goblet’s brim
     Gave sweetest kiss amid the orgy’s spell.
Emerald her eyes, and to her haunches slim
     The golden torrent of her tresses fell.

Her shoulders fluttering pinions did bedeck.
     I sprang upon her back, for travel fain,
And toward me bending firm her lovely neck,
     I plunged my tightening fingers in her mane.

She struggled madly; but I clung, austere,
     With iron knees I crushed her flanks to me.
Then softly came her voice, and silver-clear:
     “Whither, then, master, shall I carry thee?”

To farthest edge of all eternal things,
     Beyond the sun, beyond the bounds of space.
But weary ere the end shall be thy wings,—
     For I would see my vision face to face!