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

Obsession
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Grands bois, vous m'effrayez comme des cathédrales ;
Vous hurlez comme l'orgue ; et dans nos cœurs maudits,
Chambres d'éternel deuil où vibrent de vieux râles,
Répondent les échos de vos De profundis.

Je te hais, Océan ! tes bonds et tes tumultes,
Mon esprit les retrouve en lui ; ce rire amer
De l'homme vaincu, plein de sanglots et d'insultes,
Je l'entends dans le rire énorme de la mer.
 
Comme tu me plairais, ô nuit ! sans ces étoiles
Dont la lumière parle un langage connu !
Car je cherche le vide, et le noir, et le nu !
 
Mais les ténèbres sont elles-mêmes des toiles
Où vivent, jaillissant de mon œil par milliers,
Des êtres disparus aux regards familiers.

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1861, pages 178-179. Note: this was number 79 in the 1861 edition of Les Fleurs du mal but number 81 in subsequent editions.


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Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]
Obsession
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Great forests, you alarm me like a mighty fane;
Like organ-tones you roar, and in our hearts of stone,
Where ancient sobs vibrate, O halls of endless pain!
The answering echoes of your "De Profundis" moan.

I hate thee, Ocean! hate thy tumults and thy throbs,
My spirit finds them in himself. This bitter glee
Of vanquished mortals, full of insults and of sobs,
I hear it in the mighteous laughter of the sea.

O starless night! thy loveliness my soul inhales,
Without those starry rays which speak a language known,
For I desire the dark, the naked and the lone.

But e'en those darknesses themselves to me are veils,
Where live—and, by the millions 'neath my eyelids prance,
Long, long departed Beings with familiar glance.

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


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

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