De Profundis Clamavi (Out Of The Depths I Have Cried)

Charles Baudelaire

J'implore ta pitié, Toi, l'unique que j'aime,
Du fond du gouffre obscur où mon coeur est tombé.
C'est un univers morne à l'horizon plombé,
Où nagent dans la nuit l'horreur et le blasphème;

Un soleil sans chaleur plane au-dessus six mois,
Et les six autres mois la nuit couvre la terre;
C'est un pays plus nu que la terre polaire
- Ni bêtes, ni ruisseaux, ni verdure, ni bois!

Or il n'est pas d'horreur au monde qui surpasse
La froide cruauté de ce soleil de glace
Et cette immense nuit semblable au vieux Chaos;

Je jalouse le sort des plus vils animaux
Qui peuvent se plonger dans un sommeil stupide,
Tant l'écheveau du temps lentement se dévide!

Out of the Depths Have I Cried

I beg pity of Thee, the only one I love,
From the depths of the dark pit where my heart has fallen,
It's a gloomy world with a leaden horizon,
Where through the night swim horror and blasphemy;

A frigid sun floats overhead six months,
And the other six months darkness covers the land;
It's a land more bleak than the polar wastes
- Neither beasts, nor streams, nor verdure, nor woods!

But no horror in the world can surpass
The cold cruelty of that glacial sun
And this vast night which is like old Chaos;

I envy the lot of the lowest animals
Who are able to sink into a stupid sleep,
So slowly does the skein of time unwind!

- Translated by William Aggeler

De Profundis Clamavi

Have pity, my one love and sole delight!
Down to a dark abyss my heart has sounded,
A mournful world, by grey horizons bounded,
Where blasphemy and horror swim by night.

For half the year a heatless sun gives light,
The other half the night obscures the earth.
The arctic regions never knew such dearth.
No woods, nor streams, nor creatures meet the sight.

No horror in the world could match in dread
The cruelty of that dire sun of frost,
And that huge night like primal chaos spread.

I envy creatures of the vilest kind
That they in stupid slumber can be lost -
So slowly does the skein of time unwind!

- Translated by Roy Campbell

De Profundis Clamavi

I do implore thy pity, Thou whom alone I love,
Deep in this mournful vale wherein my heart is fallen.
It is a world completely sad, where the low sullen
Skies seem about to rain pure horror from above.

A fireless sun swims over six months of every year;
Six months of every year the earth is lost in shadow.
It is a bleaker land than any Arctic meadow:
Nor streams, nor flowers, nor fruits, nor birds, nor forests here!

Surely there is no evil imaginable to compare
With the cruelty of that cold sun in the cold air
And that enormous night, like the first chaos of things;

I envy the very animals, to whom slumber brings
Over and over the gift of being thoughtless and blind,
So slowly does the thread of these dark years unwind.

- Translated by George Dillon

Out of the Depths

Sole Being I love, Your mercy I implore
Out of the bitter pit of my heart's night,
With leaden skyscapes on a dismal shore,
Peopled only by blasphemy and fright;
For six months frigid suns float overhead,
For six months more darkness and solitude.
No polar wastes are bleaker and more dead,
With never beast nor stream nor plant nor wood.

No horror in this world but is outdone
By the cold razor of this glacial sun
And this chaotic night's immensities.
I envy the most humble beast that ease
Which brings dull slumber to his brutish soul
So slowly does my skein of time unroll.

- Translated by Jacques LeClercq

De Profundis Clamavi

Have pity, You alone whom I adore
From down this black pit where my heart is sped,
A sombre universe ringed round with lead
Where fear and curses the long night explore.

Six months a cold sun hovers overhead;
The other six is night upon this land.
No beast; no stream; no wood; no leaves expand.
The desert Pole is not a waste so dead.

Now in the whole world there's no horror quite
so cold and cruel as this glacial sun,
So like old Chaos as this boundless night;

I envy the least animals that run,
Which can find respite in brute slumber drowned,
So slowly is the skein of time unwound.

Translated by Anonymous

Last updated July 17, 2015