À Charles Baudelaire (English translation)


À Charles Baudelaire

Je ne t'ai pas connu, je ne t'ai pas aimé,
Je ne te connais point et je t'aime encor moins :
Je me chargerais mal de ton nom diffamé,
Et si j'ai quelque droit d'être entre tes témoins,
C'est que, d'abord, et c'est qu'ailleurs, vers les Pieds joints
D'abord par les clous froids, puis par l'élan pâmé
Des femmes de péché - desquelles ô tant oints,
Tant baisés, chrême fol et baiser affamé !
Tu tombas, tu prias, comme moi, comme toutes
Les âmes que la faim et la soif sur les routes
Poussaient belles d'espoir au Calvaire touché !
Calvaire juste et vrai, Calvaire où, donc, ces doutes,
Ci, çà, grimaces, art, pleurent de leurs déroutes.
Hein ? mourir simplement, nous, hommes de péché.
Submitted by gamgin on Thu, 07/06/2018 - 04:58
Align paragraphs
English translation

To Charles Baudelaire

I did not know you, I did not love you,
I do not know you and love you even less:
It'll do me ill to burden myself with your libeled name,
and the reason why I might still stand among your witnesses
is firstly that, in some other place, you fell and prayed
at those Feet joined first by cold nails, and then
by the swooned urge of sinful women who kissed them
hungrily and anointed them with mad tears.
You fell and prayed, like me, like all the souls
driven to the roads by hunger and thirst
that hope would embellish as they hit the Calvary!
A just and true Calvary, a Calvary where these doubts,
various grimaces and art, all weep over their debacle.
How come we sinful men could just die?
This translation does not claim to be of any particular value.
Glad if you liked it, sorry if you didn't.
You can reuse it as you please.
Glad if it's for knowledge or understanding, sorry if it's just for money or fame.
Submitted by petit élève on Tue, 11/09/2018 - 17:50
Added in reply to request by makis17
Author's comments:

This exquisite French is too complex for me to produce a true translation. The best I can hope for is a consistent interpretation.

See also
makis17    Wed, 12/09/2018 - 00:05

Thank you very much!

petit élève    Wed, 12/09/2018 - 00:15

Be aware this is just an interpretation. I found some details of this poem pretty hard to get. This is 19th century French used by a creative poet. Other natives might disagree with the way I understood the whole thing.

makis17    Wed, 12/09/2018 - 00:52

Yes I understand. Anyway, thank you for the effort and interest!