Thursday, February 9, 2012

My first translation of Baudelaire

I am currently working on a small essay on Baudelaire and Giorgione, based on a comparison between La Tempesta and "Correspondances". I am writing it in English, and I needed to find a translatiuon of Baudelaire that worked with my reading of it. I didn't. Not that the other existing translations are bad, but I didn't feel they conveyed Baudelaire's verses to their full extent. So here is my modest contribution - I hope you'll find it enjoyable.


Nature is a temple where living pillars
Sometimes let out estranged words;
Man passes amidst forests of symbols
Which gaze at him knowingly.

Like long echoes that from afar mingle
In a deep and dark unity,
Vast like the night and the day,
Perfumes, colors and sounds reverberate.

Some perfumes are fresh like the flesh of children,
Soft as oboes, green as pastures,
-while others, corrupt, rich and overwhelming,

Expanding like all things infinite,
Such as amber, musk, benzoin and incense,
Sing the exaltation of spirit and senses.