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Sunday
May172009

Baudelaire, "Le vin de l'assassin"

A drinking song of sorts ("The assassin's wine") by this French poet.  You can read the original here.

My wife is dead, and I am free        
To give myself to thirsty night!         
Yet when flat broke I'd seek alee,   
Her cries would rip my fibers tight. 

As happy as a king am I:                      
The air is pure, the heavens clear;           
Such was the joyful summer sky       
When I first loved my wife so dear! 

This horrid thirst that cuts me cold,
Can only be relieved with wine.
As much wine as a tomb will hold:
My grave, a massive pit of brine! 

An endless well I threw her down,      
And even sealed her fate that night 
With every stone from that high crown
Forgetting it all if I might!

In sermons of most tender vow,
Where nothing could rend us apart,
To lead through waves our love's bold prow,
So drunk on memory was my heart,

That I asked for a rendez-vous:
An evil eve; a darkened road.
And folly-stricken she came, too!
We all endure sweet folly's goad.

She was quite fine, a beauty spry
If tired now; and as for me, 
I loved her so, too much!  That's why
I bade her from this life to flee!

No one gets why, perhaps one blight,
Among this drunken, foolish crowd:
Could he have dreamt in morbid nights
Of turning wine to blackest shroud?

This blameless crook, as firmly safe
As iron cog with iron wheel;
Never would he in winter's chafe
Or summer's sun know love most real.

With black enchantment and black fears,
His cursed parade to panic's tune,
His vials of poison and his tears,
His rattling chains and mortal dunes!

And now I'm free, single once more!
Tonight dead drunk in my rebirth
Without cold fear or hot remorse,
I'll then lie down upon the earth.

And like a dog I'll take to sleep!
A chariot fast on heavy spoke;
With stones and mud it trudges deep,
This furious coach would gladly stroke

My guilty head into the sod
Or split me into equal parts! 
And I would mock, as I mock God
The Devil and Dee's Table charts!

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