SPLEEN

Posted by Admin on Monday, 31st March 2008, 00:00

LXXVII in Les Fleurs du Mal  by Charles Baudelaire

I’m like a dynast set in rain-curst ruth,
a wealthy, impotent, and vice-sere youth,
whom neither steed nor hounds from boredom can exempt;
whose servile mentors fawn to unconcealed contempt.
One unamused by fencing, games, or falconry,
as by the peasants dying near his balcony.
Nor does the bawdy ballad, wit of jester,
excite, divert – his febrile thoughts a-fester,
transform that florid couch, his bed, to restless tomb:
and wantons of the chamber, those for whom
all princes are superb, compete in lewd attire,
this blasé skeleton to warm with carnal fire.
The magus, maker of his gold, distils
in vain, a potion for corruption’s ills:
and even blood-baths, Roman souvenirs,
with power unabated through the years,
no longer move this corpse, whose slow-pulsed venous store
is green Lethean oozings – absinthe, now, not gore.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.

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