Hymn to Beauty
by Charles Baudelaire
Do you come from deep heaven or do you come fromhell,
O Beauty? Your eyes, infernal and divine,
Pour out both goodness and crime,
And for that you can be compared to wine.
You contain in your eyes the sunset and dawn;
You scatter perfumes like a stormy night;
Your kisses are a philtre and your mouth an amphora
Which make the hero a coward and the child courageous.
Do you come from a black abyss or do you come downfrom the stars?
Charmed Destiny follows your skirts like a dog;
At random you sow joy and disasters,
And you govern all and answer for nothing.
You walk over the dead, O Beauty, and mock them.
Among your jewels, Horror is not the least charming,
And Murder, among your dearest baubles,
Dances amorously on your proud body.
The dazzled moth flies to you, a candle,
Crackles, flames and says: Let us bless this torch!
The panting lover bending over his mistress
Resembles a dying man caressing his tomb.
It is of little consequence whether you come from heavenor hell,
O Beauty! huge, terrifying, artless monster!
If your eyes, your smile, your feet open for me the gate
Of an Infinity I love and have never known.
From Satan or God, what difference? Angel or Siren,
What difference, if you make -- O fairy with soft eyes,
Rhythm, perfume, light, O my one queen --
The universe less hideous and time less heavy?