Hymn to Satan: A Baudelaire Translation

Baudelaire is a symbol as well as a symptom of the human sickness. This is what happens to a man who has lost his spiritual bearings and expects to find an artificial paradise in drugs, sex and Satanism.  

By CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Translated from the French
by Lasha Darkmoon

Hymn to Satan

O you among all angels consummate,
God stripped of honor, God betrayed by fate,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

O Prince of exiles, you who suffered wrong,
Who still undaunted rise up ever strong,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

You, lord and master of the occult art,
Wise healer of the harrowed human heart,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

You who, through love, beneath malignant skies,
Give lepers their first taste of paradise,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

You who, in teaching girls to act like whores,
Bring them to rags and syphilitic sores,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

You who, on a tall building’s outer ledge,
Propel the sleepwalker toward the edge,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

You who, to soothe his soul, inspires man
To make the best gunpowder that he can,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

You who, with death, your darling in delusion,
Invented Hope—that beautiful illusion—
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

O refuge of all who in God’s angry eyes
Have failed the entrance test to paradise,
Satan, have pity on my long despair!

PRAYER

Glory and praise to thee, Satan on high
Who reigned in heaven once, yet vanquished lie
In deepest hell now—plunged in dreams and silence!
Grant that my soul rest one day in thy presence:
There where the Tree of Knowledge spreads its shade,
Building a brave new temple round your head.

4 thoughts to “Hymn to Satan: A Baudelaire Translation”

  1. Sounds of influence from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. I can imagine a congregation of “worshippers” reciting it!

  2. our dark side of de moon daughter of lilith mama be mad as hell ’cause of de ANTI-abortion law in alabama de alabama KKK crackerzzz be ANTI-abortion mama be fit to be tied she be so angry she be mad mad mad she be mad as hell she be readin’ poems about de debil she be so angry about de alabama whiteys’ ANTI-abortion law she be mad as hell with whitey sheeeiiitt……

    1. An amusing comment but silly all the same. The translation of Baudelaire’s “Hymn to Satan” was done over 10 years ago, long before the anti-abortion law in Alabama. In any case, LD is against abortion, so the anti-abortion law in Alabama would meet with her approval. It wouldn’t drive her “mad as hell”. 🙂

  3. Can we take Charles Baudelaire (CB) and his poem at face value? Perhaps we can delve deeper by juxtapositioning the (translated) quote and the poem no doubt accurately translated by LD.

    On the one hand, he states that “the devil’s finest trick” — per the translation, CB does not write “SATAN” — “is to persuade you that he does not exist”. I toss to the side the sexist language — devils have at least two genders, as we all can agree. To the point, I found that the “Hymn to Satan” represents SATAN as an ANGEL, certainly not as a devil. I also had the sense SATAN is genderless.

    Lest I arose one who reads silently and posts loudly, I’ll call it a “rap”.

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