by Charles Baudelaire
Le Démon, dans ma chambre haute
Ce matin est venu me voir,
Et, tâchant à me prendre en faute
Me dit: «Je voudrais bien savoir
Parmi toutes les belles choses
Dont est fait son enchantement,
Parmi les objets noirs ou roses
Qui composent son corps charmant,
Quel est le plus doux.» - Ô mon âme!
Tu répondis à l'Abhorré:
«Puisqu'en Elle tout est dictame
Rien ne peut être préféré.
Lorsque tout me ravit, j'ignore
Si quelque chose me séduit.
Elle éblouit comme l'Aurore
Et console comme la Nuit;
Et l'harmonie est trop exquise,
Qui gouverne tout son beau corps,
Pour que l'impuissante analyse
En note les nombreux accords.
Ô métamorphose mystique
De tous mes sens fondus en un!
Son haleine fait la musique,
Comme sa voix fait le parfum!»
All of Her
The Devil into my high room
This morning came to pay a call,
And trying to find me in fault
Said: "I should like to know,
Among all the beautiful things
Which make her an enchantress,
Among the objects black or rose
That compose her charming body,
Which is the sweetest." - O my soul!
You answered the loathsome Creature:
"Since in Her all is dittany,
No single thing can be preferred.
When all delights me, I don't know
If some one thing entrances me.
She dazzles like the Dawn
And consoles like the Night;
And the harmony that governs
Her whole body is too lovely
For impotent analysis
To note its numerous accords.
O mystic metamorphosis
Of all my senses joined in one!
Her breath makes music,
And her voice makes perfume!"
- Translated by William Aggeler
All in One
The Demon called on me this morning,
In my high room. As is his way,
Thinking to catch me without warning,
He put this question: "Tell me, pray,
Of all the beauties that compose,
The strange enchantment of her ways,
Amongst the wonders black or rose,
Which object most excites your praise,
And is the climax in her litany?"
My soul, you answered the Abhorred,
"Since she is fashioned, all, of dittany,
No part is most to be adored.
Since I am ravished, I ignore a
Degree of difference in delight.
She dazzles me like the aurora
And she consoles me like the night.
The harmony's so exquisite
That governs her, it is in vain
Analysis would try to split
The unity of such a strain.
O mystic fusion that, enwreathing
My senses, fuses each in each,
To hear the music of her breathing
And breathe the perfume of her speech."
- Translated by Roy Campbell
The Devil up my attic stair
Came tiptoeing a while ago
And, trying to catch me unaware,
Said laughing, "I should like to know,
"Of all her many charms, what springs
Most often to your mind? Of all
The rose-colored and shadowy things
Whereby her beauty may enthrall,
"Which is the sweetest?" - O my soul,
You answered the abhorrèd Guest:
"Her beauty is complete and whole.
No single part is loveliest.
"When she is near, I cannot say
What gives me such intense delight.
She dazzles like the break of day,
She comforts like the fall of night.
"My senses seem to merge in one;
The harmony that rules her being
Is all my knowledge - I have none
Of hearing, smelling, touching, seeing.
"No, no. I cannot make a choice
In this sublime bewilderment.
Perhaps the music of her scent!
Perhaps the perfume of her voice!"
- Translated by George Dillon
this morning, to my chamber bare
and high, the Devil came to call,
and fain to trap me in a snare,
inquired: "I would know, of all
- of all the beauties that compose
her spell profound, her subtle sway,
- of all the bits of black or rose
that form her lovely body, say
which is the sweetest?" - o my soul,
thou didst reply to the Abhorred:
naught can be taken from the whole
for every part is a perfect chord.
when all to me is ravishing,
I know not which gives most delight.
like dawn she is a dazzling thing,
yet she consoles me like the night;
too exquisite the harmonies
that all her lovely flesh affords,
for my poor mind to analyse
and note its many rhythmic chords.
o mystic interchange, whereby
my senses all are blent in one!
her breath is like a lullaby
and through her voice rich perfumes run!
- Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
Last updated January 14, 2019