Baudelaire poem : “Be quiet and more discreet…

Meditation

Be quiet and more discreet, O my Grief.
You cried out for the Evening; even now it falls:
A gloomy atmosphere envelops the city,
Bringing peace to some, anxiety to others.

While the vulgar herd of mortals, under the scourge
Of Pleasure, that merciless torturer,
Goes to gather remorse in the servile festival,
My Grief, give me your hand; come this way

Far from them. See the dead years in old-fashioned gowns
Lean over the balconies of heaven;
Smiling Regret rise from the depths of the waters;

The dying Sun fall asleep beneath an arch, and
Listen, darling, to the soft footfalls of the Night
That trails off to the East like a long winding-sheet.

C. Baudelaire

 

I found many other translations on the web. You can have fun for a moment with the “translation choices” problem…

The title itself is a mess : Recueillement is contemplation, meditation, recollection, it contains “closure with myself alone” and remembrance, immobility.

“Sois sage, ô my douleur”. Douleur? It’s pain. But it can be, I agree, grief, or sorrow, or despair. But I’d say “pain”…

This poem is about a guy to try to calm down his pain, felt as a little person he knows very very well. Trying maybe to distract her, to… tame her?

Thanks for reading!

 

 

turner-36.jpg

 

Recueillement

Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille.
Tu réclamais le Soir ; il descend ; le voici :
Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,
Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci.

Pendant que des mortels la multitude vile,
Sous le fouet du Plaisir, ce bourreau sans merci,
Va cueillir des remords dans la fête servile,
Ma douleur, donne-moi la main ; viens par ici,

Loin d’eux. Vois se pencher les défuntes Années,
Sur les balcons du ciel, en robes surannées ;
Surgir du fond des eaux le Regret souriant ;

Le Soleil moribond s’endormir sous une arche,
Et, comme un long linceul traînant à l’Orient,
Entends, ma chère, entends la douce Nuit qui marche.

3 thoughts on “Baudelaire poem : “Be quiet and more discreet…

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