or The Praise of a Macabre Nymph
Dearest, you certainly are not
What Veuillot calls a tender shoot.
Gambling, lust and gluttony,
Old cauldron, boil away in you.
You are no longer fresh, my dear,
My old infanta! None the less
Your antics, your mad caravans
Have cast the lustre over you
Of things that have been often used
But which seduce us none the less.
I do not find monotonous
The acids of your forty years;
I favour the autumnal fruits
Over the banal blooms of Spring!
No! you are not
Your carcass has its ornaments
And some particulars of grace;
I find strange spices flourishing
In hollows of your collar-bones;
Your carcass has its ornaments!
A fig for foolish lovers, who
Dote on the melon's juicy flesh!
I much prefer your clavicles
To those of old King Solomon,
And pity all those doting fools!
Your head of hair, a blue-black casque,
Shadows your Amazonish brow
That hardly blushes, hardly thinks,
And then, behind, it flows away -
A mane, from under a blue casque.
Your eyes, the colour of the mud,
Where signal-lights are glimmering,
Revived in rouging of your cheek,
Cast an infemallightning-flash!
Your eyes are black as any mud!
By luxury and by disdain
Your bitter lip arouses us;
An Eden is this very lip,
Offending as it captivates.
What luxury! and what disdain!
Your leg, both muscular and lean,
Knows how to climb volcanoes' heights,
And will, in snow or poverty,
Perform the cancan wickedly.
Your leg is muscular and lean;
Your torrid skin, no longer sweet
And like an old policeman's hide,
Seems not to be aware of sweat
As your eye never knows a tear.
(It has its sweetness, though, for me!)
Fool, you are headed straight for Hell!
I willingly would tag along
Were I not put in such a state
By this intimidating speed.
Go to the Devil, then, alone!
My kidneys, lungs, my aching shanks
No longer let me celebrate
That great Lord as one ought to do.
'Alas, it truly is a shame!'
So say my kidneys and my shanks.
Oh! I'm sincerely suffering
To miss the sabbaths, not to see
When he lets his sulphurous blasts
You bend to kiss his filthy ass!
Oh! I'm sincerely suffering!
I am afflicted hellishly,
Not being fit to hold your lamp,
Having to beg my leave of you,
Infernal torch! Please judge, my dear,
How sore afflicted I must be,
Since I, so logically, have loved
You years and years! Wishing, that is,
To skim the cream of Sin, to love
Only a pure monstrosity,
Oh yes! old monster, I love you!
Přeložil James McGowan