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The Vampire by Charles Baudelaire (Le Vampire)

Analysis

Baudelaire makes a reference to Kipling's poem of the same name in the last stanza with "Fool!" The fool is addicted to bringing the vampire back to life.

This translation of "The Vampire" wasn't able to keep the same rhyme scheme or syllables. Nonetheless, it does keep much of the same feeling as the original, so it shouldn't be brushed off as simply doggerel. It's emotion and meaning brings something simple doggerel does not: words that influence our thinking.

Poem

The Vampire
By 

You who, like the stab of a knife,
Entered my plaintive heart;
You who, strong as a herd
Of demons, came, ardent and adorned,

To make your bed and your domain
Of my humiliated mind
- Infamous bitch to whom I'm bound
Like the convict to his chain,

Like the stubborn gambler to the game,
Like the drunkard to his wine,
Like the maggots to the corpse,
- Accurst, accurst be you!

I begged the swift poniard
To gain for me my liberty,
I asked perfidious poison
To give aid to my cowardice.

Alas! both poison and the knife
Contemptuously said to me:
"You do not deserve to be freed
From your accursed slavery,

Fool! - if from her domination
Our efforts could deliver you,
Your kisses would resuscitate
The cadaver of your vampire!"

Published in .

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

Poem

Le Vampire


Toi qui, comme un coup de couteau,
Dans mon coeur plaintif es entrée;
Toi qui, forte comme un troupeau
De démons, vins, folle et parée,

De mon esprit humilié
Faire ton lit et ton domaine;
- Infâme à qui je suis lié
Comme le forçat à la chaîne,

Comme au jeu le joueur têtu,
Comme à la bouteille l'ivrogne,
Comme aux vermines la charogne
- Maudite, maudite sois-tu!

J'ai prié le glaive rapide
De conquérir ma liberté,
Et j'ai dit au poison perfide
De secourir ma lâcheté.

Hélas! le poison et le glaive
M'ont pris en dédain et m'ont dit:
"Tu n'es pas digne qu'on t'enlève
à ton esclavage maudit,

Imbécile! - de son empire
Si nos efforts te délivraient,
Tes baisers ressusciteraient
Le cadavre de ton vampire!"

Poème de 

Publié en .

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