The collected poems of James Elroy Flecker/Litany to Satan

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Les Litanies de Satan.


Litany to Satan

(From Baudelaire)

O grandest of the Angels, and most wise,
O fallen God, fate-driven from the skies,
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


O first of exiles who endurest wrong,
Yet growest, in thy hatred, still more strong,
Satan, at last take pity on our pain!


O subterranean King, omniscient,
Healer of man’s immortal discontent,
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


To lepers and to outcasts thou dost show
That Passion is the Paradise below.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thou by thy mistress Death hast given to man
Hope, the imperishable courtesan.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.

Thou givest to the Guilty their calm mien
Which damns the crowd around the guillotine
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thou knowest the comers of the jealous Earth
Where God has hidden jewels of great worth.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thou dost discover by mysterious signs
Where sleep the buried people of the mines.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thou stretchcst forth a saving hand to keep
Such men as roam upon the roofs in sleep.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thy power can make the halting Drunkard’s feet
Avoid the peril of the surging street.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thou, to console our helplessness, didst plot
The cunning use of powder and of shot.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Thy awful name is written as with pitch
On the unrelenting foreheads of the rich.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.

In strange and hidden places thou dost move
Where women cry for torture in their love.
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.

Father of those whom God’s tempestuous ire
Has flung from Paradise with sword and fire,
Satan, at last take pity on our pain.


Prayer

Satan, to thee be praise upon the Height
Where thou wast king of old, and in the night
Of Hell, where thou dost dream on silently.
Grant that one day beneath the Knowledge-tree,
When it shoots forth to grace thy royal brow,
My soul may sit, that cries upon thee now.