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Benediction Analysis

Author: poem of Charles Baudelaire Type: poem Views: 9

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When, by decree of the supreme power,

The Poet appears in this annoyed world,

His mother, blasphemous out of horror

At God's pity, cries out with fists curled:

"Ah! I'd rather You'd will me a snake's skin

Than to keep feeding this monstrous slur!

I curse that night's ephemera are sins

To make my womb atone for pleasure.

"Since You have chosen me from all the brides

To bear the disgust of my dolorous groom

And since I can't throw back into the fires

Like an old love letter this gaunt buffoon

"I'll replace Your hate that overwhelms me

On the instrument of Your wicked gloom

And torture so well this miserable tree

Its pestiferous buds will never bloom!"

She chokes down the eucharist of venom,

Not comprehending eternal designs,

She prepares a Gehenna of her own,

And consecrates a pyre of maternal crimes.

Yet, watched by an invisible seraph,

The disinherited child is drunk on the sun

And in all he devours and in all he quaffs

Receives ambrosia, nectar and honey.

He plays with the wind, chats with the vapors,

Deliriously sings the stations of the cross;

And the Spirit who follows him in his capers

Cries at his joy like a bird in the forest.

Those whom he longs to love look with disdain

And dread, strengthened by his tranquillity,

They seek to make him complain of his pain

So they may try out their ferocity.

In the bread and wine destined for his lips,

They mix in cinders and spit with their wrath,

And throw out all he touches as he grasps it,

And accuse him of putting his feet in their path.

His wife cries out so that everyone hears:

"Since he finds me good enough to adore

I'll weave as the idols of ancient years

A corona of gold as a cover.

"I'll get drunk on nard, incense and myrrh,

Get down on bent knee with meats and wines

To see if in a heart that admires,

My smile denies deference to the divine.

"And, when I tire of these impious farces,

I'll arrange for him my frail and hard nails

Sharpened just like the claws of a harpy

That out of his heart will carve a trail.

"Like a baby bird trembling in the nest

I'll dig out his heart all red from my breast

To slake the thirst of my favorite pet,

And will throw it on the ground with contempt!"

Toward the sky, where he sees a great host,

The poet, serene, lifts his pious arms high

And the vast lightning of his lucid ghost

Blinds him to the furious people nearby:

"Glory to God, who leaves us to suffer

To cure us of all our impurities

And like the best, most rarefied buffer

Prepares the strong for a saint's ecstasies!

"I know that You hold a place for the Poet

In the ranks of the blessed and the saint's legions,

That You invite him to an eternal fete

Of thrones, of virtues, of dominations.

"I know only sorrow is unequaled,

It cannot be encroached on from Hell or Earth

And if I am to braid my mystic wreath,

May I impose it on the universe.

"But the ancient jewels of lost Palmyra,

The unknown metals, pearls from the ocean

By Your hand mounted, they do not suffice,

They cannot dazzle as clearly as this crown

"For it will not be made except from halos

Drawn of pure light in a holy portal

Whose entire splendor, in the eyes of mortals

Is only a mirror, obscure and mournful."

Translated by William A. Sigler

Submitted by Ryan McGuire


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