Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LESBOS, by CHARLES BAUDELAIRE



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
LESBOS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Mother of the roman games and greek pleasures
Last Line: And it is from that time that lesbos has mourned!


Mother of the Roman games and Greek pleasures,
Lesbos, where the kisses, gay or languishing,
Burning as suns or cool as watermelons,
Are ornaments for the nights and splendid days;
Mother of the Roman games and Greek pleasures;

Lesbos, where the kisses are like fresh torrents
That cast themselves down bottomless abysses,
And run on, sobbing and cackling fitfully,
Stormy and secretive, turbulent and deep;
Lesbos, where the kisses are like fresh torrents!

Lesbos, where the Phrynes lure one another,
Where no sigh ever went without an echo,
The stars admire you as they do Paphos,
And Venus may well be jealous of Sappho!
Lesbos, where the Phrynes lure one another,

Lesbos, island of those hot, languorous nights
That make, before their mirrors, hollow-eyed girls,
Enamored of their bodies-sterile pleasure! -
Caress the ripe fruits of their nubility;
Lesbos, island of those hot, languorous nights,

Let Plato cast up a disapproving eye;
You win pardon by the excess of your kisses,
Queen of the soft empire, friendly, noble land,
And by your ever-flowering refinements.
Let Plato cast up a disapproving eye;

You win pardon through the eternal martyrdom,
Relentless punisher of ambitious hearts,
That never lets us see the radiant smile
We have glimpsed on the shores of other skies!
You win pardon through eternal martyrdom!

Who among the Gods, Lesbos, will dare judge you,
And condemn the pale forehead of your travail,
If his gold balances have not weighed the torrent
Of tears your rivers emptied into the sea?
Who among the Gods, Lesbos, will dare judge you?

What have laws of right and wrong to do with us?
Noble virgins, pride of the archipelago,
Your religion is august as another,
And love will make mockery of Heaven and Hell!
What have laws of right and wrong to do with us?

For Lesbos has chosen me, of all on earth,
To sing the secret of her virgins in flower,
And from childhood I've known the black mystery
Of frantic laughter mingled with somber tears;
For Lesbos has chosen me, of all on earth.

Since then I've watched from the summit of Leucate,
Like a sentinel with a sure, piercing eye,
Who night and day looks out for tartan or brig,
Whose forms tremble in the blue at a distance;
Since then I've watched from the summit of Leucate,

To learn if the sea is indulgent and good,
And if, while the rocks reverberate with sobs,
One evening there will return to pardoning Lesbos
The adored body of Sappho, who set out
To learn if the sea is indulgent and good!

Of the male Sappho, the lover and poet,
Fairer, with her mournful pallors, than Venus!
The blue eye yields the palm to the black, tarnished
By the dark circle traced by the sorrows
Of the male Sappho, the lover and poet!

Fairer than Venus standing above the world,
Pouring the treasures of her serenity
And all the radiance of her golden youth
On old Ocean, delighted with his daughter;
Fairer than Venus standing above the world!

-Of Sappho who died the day of her blasphemy,
When, insulting the rite and the devised cult,
She let her lovely body be the pasture
Of a brute whose pride punished the impiety
Of her who died the day of her blasphemy.

And it is from that time that Lesbos has mourned,
And despite the admiration of the world
Intoxicates herself each night with the cry
Of torment that escapes from her empty shores!
And it is from that time that Lesbos has mourned!





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net