|Sunset at Cape Sounion|
Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille.
Be good, o my pain, and more tranquil
While the vile multitude of mortals
Under the whip of Pleasure, that merciless hangman
go to pluck remorse in servile festivity,
My Pain, give me your hand, come this way,
Far from them. See how the defunct years lean
over the balconies of the sky, in outdated robes.
Smiling Regret rising from the waters' deeps;
The decayed sun going to sleep beneath an arch;
And, like a long shroud trailing to the Orient,
Hear, my darling, hear the sweet Night approach.
There are still some pleasures left me. I cannot write good poetry, even in English (see for yourself my translation above). But I can enjoy it, I can relish it, I can luxuriate in the poetry of others. The pleasures of the body pass, but those of the mind remain with you always.
How utterly magnificent this poem of Baudelaire's is. The title means "Meditation". Pain and loss and the vile multitude. As I watch the sunset, as I am now while I type this -- often a risky time for my peace of mind -- these words written so long ago bring me comfort.
[You can buy a print of this remarkable photo here]