NR Digital

Poetry

by Charles Baudelaire

WHAT SHALL YOU SAY . . .

What shall you say this evening, solitary soul?
What shall you say, my heart, heart withered heretofore,
To the very good, the very dear, the beautiful
Whose divine regard has brought you into bloom once more?

 – To sing her praise, we set aside our haughtiness.
Nothing is equal to her sweet authority;
The perfume of angels, her spiritual flesh,
And her eye clothes us again in clothes of clarity.

Regardless if it be by night, in solitude,
Regardless if in the street and in the multitude,
Her phantom dances like a torch within the air.

At times, it speaks: “I’m fair, and I command,” we hear it
Say, “For love of me, love nothing but the Fair.
I am your Muse, Madonna, and your Guardian Spirit.”

Translated by Jennifer Reeser

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