by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation © by Charles Hopkins (1952 - 2007)

Les chats
Language: French (Français) 
Les amoureux fervents et les savants austères
Aiment également dans leur mûre saison
Les chats puissants et doux, orgueil de la maison,
Qui comme eux sont frileux et comme eux sédentaires.

Amis de la science et de la volupté,
Ils cherchent le silence et l'horreur des ténèbres ;
L'Érèbe les eût pris pour ses coursiers funèbres,
S'ils pouvaient au servage incliner leur fierté.

Ils prennent en songeant les nobles attitudes
Des grands sphinx allongés au fond des solitudes,
Qui semblent s'endormir dans un rêve sans fin ;

Leurs reins féconds sont pleins d'étincelles magiques,
Et des parcelles d'or, ainsi qu'un sable fin,
Étoilent vaguement leurs prunelles mystiques.

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857, pages 132-133. Note: this was number 56 in the 1857 edition of Les Fleurs du mal but number 66 or 68 in subsequent editions.


Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Charles Hopkins) , "Cats", written 2002, first published 2002, copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Charles Hopkins) , "Cats", written c2005, copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Cyril Meir Scott) , "Cats", appears in The Flowers of Evil, first published 1909


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-08-03 15:56:13
Line count: 14
Word count: 107

Cats
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Fervent lovers and austere scholars alike,
in their fuller years, love powerful yet gentle cats, the pride of the household,1
who[,] like them[,] feel the cold and lead sedentary lives. 

Friends of scholarship and sensual delight,
they search out the silence and horror of the hours of darkness;
Erebus would have engaged them as messengers of gloom,
if they could bring themselves to lower their pride to servitude.

As they muse they take on the noble airs
of those great sphinxes stretched out in total solitude,
appearing to sleep in an endless dream;

Their fruitful loins filled with sparks of magic,
with gold dust, like the finest sand,
the pupils of their eyes flickering with the mystical light of distant stars.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with an original Microsoft Word Document provided by Alistair Hinton.

1 Hopkins breaks this line into two in the 2002 version and in accordance with the original.

Authorship

Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]


Researcher for this text: Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2018-08-04 00:00:00
Last modified: 2018-08-04 14:28:14
Line count: 13
Word count: 121