The Sun (Baudelaire)

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The Flowers of Evil ~ The Sun
written by Charles Baudelaire
translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay
From Le Soleil in Les Fleurs du mal. In the second edition it was moved into Part II: "Paris Pictures" / "Tableaux parisiens". (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936). Link to further information



In this old district, where the shabby houses hide
Behind drawn shutters many a furtive lust inside,
In the fierce rays of noon, which mercilessly beat
On town and country, on the roofs and on the wheat,
I walk alone, absorbed in my fantastic play, —
Fencing with rhymes, which, parrying nimbly, back away;
Tripping on words, as on rough paving in the street,
Or bumping into verses I long had dreamed to meet.

The sun, our nourishing father, anemia's deadly foe,
Makes poems, as if poems were roses, bud and grow;
Burns through the anxious mists of every mind alive,
And fills with honey the celled brain as the celled hive.
ëTis he who makes the man on crutches stump along
As gay as a young girl, humming as sweet a song;
Calls to the human spirit to climb and ripen still —
Which would bloom on for ever, could it have its will.

He goes into the city, where, like the poet, his light
Ennobles and gives purpose to the least thing in sight;
Or, quietly, unattended, like a king, he calls
At every palace, and visits all the hospitals.


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