Beautiful Corpse: A Poem by Charles Baudelaire

BEAUTIFUL  CORPSE

by CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Translated from the French by LASHA DARKMOON


One midnight, appalling and drear,
You will lie under your headstone:
Your beautiful corpse, my dear,
In its house of gravel and bone.

When the chaste stars languish and droop
Their eyes at the coming of dawn,
There the spider will weave his web,
There the viper will breed her spawn.

There night after night you will hear,
Like the hounds of hell in your ear,
The wolf and his harrowing howl.
There the raddled harlot will lurk
And the dirty old man will jerk
And the plotter of crimes will prowl.

18 thoughts to “Beautiful Corpse: A Poem by Charles Baudelaire”

  1. The Psychiatrist is in..
    Is there a Psychiatrist out there Somewhere?
    A Shaman? How about a Bartender? If all else fails, perhaps a Prostitute, and let the Dog have his Day…
    Sounds like Somebody needs One of the above…
    Don’t We All…
    Yes, and Some of Us are doing It for Ourselves, the real Priests and Gurus….
    I guess the biggest Fear of Death is that of being trapped, stuck Somewhere in Nowhere Forevermore..
    Time is Our reliable Ally in Life…
    But It doesn’t apply in Death… Now What?
    We suspect Our Conscious Selves continue to exist…
    Some, perhaps the more enlightened, consider Death as our endless End of Existence in every Form…
    And wonder if religious Ideas of the Afterlife are not Poison, better left unsaid…
    It’s been said – “Death is a Gift from God.”
    OK, but what we’re worried about is ‘being dead ‘…
    Which, put into the proper Context, should be one Word – BEINGDEAD…
    And rather than go quietly into that Good Night, Humanity would be better off putting all it’s Energy as a collective Effort into the global Goal of saving Humanity from Death, because BieingDead is the Hell we dread instinctively… Trapped in Nowhere..
    Man needs God… No Doubt about that, the Big Mr. FIXIT..
    But maybe God is the DNA Spiral, within Us after all, like the Jesus and all the rest of them always say….
    “If thou findeth it not within thee, thou wilt never find it without the”… Something like that….
    Otherwise, most of us are striving to be Dogs, in the uncomplicated Moment, NOWWOWS, wise enough to not existentialize things too much, OK enough with our Biscuit, always in the Chase for the Rest of the Present, full of Love and Gratitude, only Dogs, doing what Dogs do….

    1. Or maybe the DNA spiral is only reflective of the inevitable mortal end of its material container. The one that is doomed to its demise for lack of a true orientation of spirit that would prevent that “doomsday scenario”

      Perhaps the act of “passing” is the movement of “time” experienced linearly which ENABLES the said demise.

      Perhaps death is not a gift of God, but really a curse by that which only CLAIMS that Divine distinction…..an impostor…. a…..
      Creation thief in the night
      The one who’s stolen the Light….

      That poem needs a continuation, but I’m running out of…..time

      1. @ Brownhawk

        The poem is beautifully translated. It brings the original French poem alive. Baudelaire would have been pleased. Other versions of the poem I have read are lame in comparison.

      2. To prove my point, here is a highly accurate translation published in 1954. Compare this to LD”s translation. There is no comparison. LD’s version crackles with life. The version below, in comparison, is totally lifeless:

        SEPULCHER

        If on a dismal, sultry night
        Some good Christian, through charity,
        Will bury your vaunted body
        Behind the ruins of a building

        At the hour when the chaste stars
        Close their eyes, heavy with sleep,
        The spider will make his webs there,
        And the viper his progeny;

        You will hear all year long
        Above your damned head
        The mournful cries of wolves
        And of the half-starved witches,
        The frolics of lustful old men
        And the plots of vicious robbers.

        — William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil
        (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

        Anyone who prefers the above version to LD’s version has no idea what poetry is meant to be. Aggeler’s version is much more accurate verbally, but LDs version preserves the mood music and musicality of the original.

    2. @ Barkingdeer

      Hey BD, I fail to understand what your long rant has got to do with this poem!

      Can you explain?

      This is a poem written by French poet Charles Baudelaire in the 1850s, a sex addict and founding member of the French Decadent movement. It was published in 1857 in a sensational collection of poems knowns as FLEURS DU MAL (“Flowers of Evil”). LD has just translated his poem for us. So what’s the big deal?

      Can’t she publish a a French translation of one of France’s most famous (and notorious) 19th century poets without you going apeshit? What he hell is wrong with you? Calm down and have some green tea! 🙂

      1. @ Madame Butterfly
        Madame, I think I understand Barkingdeer. He is afraid. Who can blame him?
        The poem invites us to contemplate death, and very effectively, too.
        There is not a single person on the planet who can help us. No one.
        But as nicely put on another web site, the choice is this; either we believe that the Son of Man rose from the dead on the third day, or if we do not believe that, we should go out and shoot ourselves. Why prolong the agony?

      2. @Jake

        The poem invites us to contemplate death, and very effectively, too.

        Yes, effectively indeed. Putting a poison into our bodies invites us to contemplate death, and very effectively, too. Putting a poison into our minds invites us to contemplate death, and very effectively, too.

        But we don’t have to take this invitation from Charles Baudelaire – a sex addict and founding member of the French Decadent movement – or those who promote him by translating his “invitations” from French to English.

        You can just tell politely the “inviters”: Keep your party to yourselves, but I’ll go to the party that invites me to contemplate life.

        There is not a single person on the planet who can help us. No one.

        There is one: I can help you.

        But as nicely put on another web site, the choice is this; either we believe that the Son of Man rose from the dead on the third day, or if we do not believe that, we should go out and shoot ourselves. Why prolong the agony?

        Wrong! I am pretty sure that you do not believe “that the Son of Man rose from the dead on the third day” – unless you are an idiot, of course – and you, obviously, didn’t “go out and shoot yourself”. So, there is at least one more option – the option that you have chosen (which, by the way, is not the best one).

  2. HAWK
    Without getting too poetic, i think the DNA Spiral, the Cosmic Serpent, Ayahuasca Shaman’s glowing Zig-Zag Snake, Quetzalcoatl and his Thomas brother Tezcatlipoca, it is the Hand of God, or what we might compare it to, alongside the Female, main among the things we Have we Respect… Most likely the Deep Corporate Religious MIC Monarchy State has been all over the DNA longevity subject in its underground DARPA labs for decades.. We can split pholosophical hairs later on about whether life without death is death or whatever, and wouldn’t this be a subject of endeavor to fascinate? Maybe someone will come up with a gameshow to get the thing started… As long as we have plenty of good females we can let a few things ride…
    MB
    I was expressing my interpretation of the meaning of the poem… Try to stay calm…. It’s ok….

  3. One death is the parent of a thousand lives and influences – most of them unappealing. It is well-conveyed in this Beaudlaire poem.

    1. @ Donaldo

      Donaldo doesn’t see how it would be physically possible for an adult male to have sex with a pre-pubic girl. They are so tiny.

      You lack imagination, Donaldo. A giant can have sex with a little girl if he pushes hard enough. In any case, ever heard of lubricants? Vaseline works wonders.

      Apart from that, an adult midget would have no problem having sex with a little girl. She would be the ideal mate.

      1. Jonathan Swift had an imagination which would appeal to Donaldo. When writing “Gulliver’s Travels”, he told of Gulliver’s placement on the giantress’s piss pot, and how he (Gulliver) feared the great “waterfall” drenching, and imagined being used as a dildo for her pleasure… 😖

  4. No matter what the literary merits of these ‘melancholy musings’ might be – and there have been at leat 5 such postings of these poems in the past 2 or 3 months –
    I’m getting seriously concernced for the PSYCH-ological well-being of those “Darkmoon” (<—-cough! cough!) contributors who seem to be morbidly obsessed with Death

    1. @ The REALIST

      If you feel so badly about the poems published on this website, aren’t you a stupid idiot for logging onto the site regularly to read the same poems and have another hissy fit?

      Stay away from the site, moron! You won’t be missed.

      You’ve got lots of other sites you can go to!

      1. To ‘The Realist’:

        I really like and praise the Baudelaire poem, because it offers us an insight into the darker regions of the mind as symbolized not only by Baudelaire but by the late 19th century school of French and English poets known as the Decadents. I also praise the brilliant Darkmoon translation that captures Baudelaire’s mood music to perfection.

        Stupid philistines like you don’t belong on a cultured site like this.

        Piss off to some low-brow site that suits your low IQ.

    2. The Realist has a point; most importantly, he is not shy about expressing his views candidly, knowing all too well that he will be subjected to pressure and intimidation by the likes of Sardonicus.

      I like that, and I think that the realists and independent thinkers should be welcomed – we need realists, not butt-heads.

      1. @ Circassian

        The Realist has a point; most importantly, he is not shy about expressing his views candidly, knowing all too well that he will be subjected to pressure and intimidation by the likes of Sardonicus.

        May I say, Circassian, that you overestimate your intelligence? I am not “intimidating” the Realist by telling him that if doesn’t like the poems published on this site, all he has to do is to SKIP THE POEMS or GO AWAY and find another site more to his taste?

        How is that “intimidation”?

        I have no objection to the Realist’s POLITICAL comments and have only attacked his philistine attitude to poetry. I actually approve of the Realist’s political comments, such as his most recent one which I thoroughly endorse:

        THE REALIST: Well there you have it folks, as ‘plain as day’. Trump was a Capo in the Kosher Nostra all along.

        — Latest thread by John Pilger on Trump’s betrayal of the Palestinians.

        So tell me: why should I “intimidate” the Realist for making a political statement I agree with 100 per cent, hmm?

        Stupid Russian! Less vodka please! 🙂

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