by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation by Cyril Meir Scott (1879 - 1970)

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]
Cats
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
All ardent lovers and all sages prize,
—As ripening years incline upon their brows—
The mild and mighty cats—pride of the house—
That like unto them are indolent, stern and wise.

The friends of Learning and of Ecstasy,
They search for silence and the horrors of gloom;
The devil had used them for his steeds of Doom,
Could he alone have bent their pride to slavery.

When musing, they display those outlines chaste,
Of the great sphinxes—stretched o'er the sandy waste,
That seem to slumber deep in a dream without end:

From out their loins a fountainous furnace flies,
And grains of sparkling gold, as fine as sand,
Bestar the mystic pupils of their eyes.

Confirmed with The Flowers of Evil [by Charles Baudelaire; translated into English verse by Cyril Scott], London: Elkin Mathews, 1909


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]