La Beauté

Word about beauty seem even more intense when they are written in the French language. This poem by Charles Baudelaire is an good example how beautiful poetry about love really is.

The first publication of the book Fleurs du mal was in 1857, and it contained this poem. The expanded edition was released in 1861. The definitive version of the book was released after his death in 1868. This shows that poetry is not always finnished when the writer decides so. Poetry is dynamic. If you are worried about the ending of your poems, please read this article by Tessel for more information about how to write poetry.

 

La Beauté

Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre,
Et mon sein, où chacun s’est meurtri tour à tour,
Est fait pour inspirer au poète un amour
Eternel et muet ainsi que la matière.

Je trône dans l’azur comme un sphinx incompris;
J’unis un coeur de neige à la blancheur des cygnes;
Je hais le mouvement qui déplace les lignes,
Et jamais je ne pleure et jamais je ne ris.

Les poètes, devant mes grandes attitudes,
Que j’ai l’air d’emprunter aux plus fiers monuments,
Consumeront leurs jours en d’austères études;

Car j’ai, pour fasciner ces dociles amants,
De purs miroirs qui font toutes choses plus belles:
Mes yeux, mes larges yeux aux clartés éternelles!

English translation

Beauty

I am fair, O mortals! like a dream carved in stone,
And my breast where each one in turn has bruised himself
Is made to inspire in the poet a love
As eternal and silent as matter.

On a throne in the sky, a mysterious sphinx,
I join a heart of snow to the whiteness of swans;
I hate movement for it displaces lines,
And never do I weep and never do I laugh.

Poets, before my grandiose poses,
Which I seem to assume from the proudest statues,
Will consume their lives in austere study;

For I have, to enchant those submissive lovers,
Pure mirrors that make all things more beautiful:
My eyes, my large, wide eyes of eternal brightness!

Translated by: William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

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