by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation © by Emily Wyatt

Élévation
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Au-dessus des étangs, au-dessus des vallées,
Des montagnes, des bois, des nuages, des mers, 
Par-delà le soleil, par-delà les éthers, 
Par-delà les confins des sphères étoilées, 

Mon esprit, tu te meus avec agilité, 
Et, comme un bon nageur qui se pâme dans l'onde, 
Tu sillonnes gaîment l'immensité profonde 
Avec une indicible et mâle volupté. 

Envole-toi bien loin de ces miasmes morbides ; 
Va te purifier dans l'air supérieur, 
Et bois, comme une pure et divine liqueur, 
Le feu clair qui remplit les espaces limpides. 

Derrière les ennuis et les [sombres]1 chagrins 
Qui chargent de leur poids l'existence brumeuse, 
Heureux celui qui peut d'une aile vigoureuse 
S'élancer vers les champs lumineux et sereins ; 

Celui dont les pensers, comme des alouettes, 
Vers les cieux le matin prennent un libre essor, 
- Qui plane sur la vie, et comprend sans effort 
Le langage des fleurs et des choses muettes !

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857, pages 17-18.

1 L. Freitas Branco and J. Harvey: "vastes"

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 (Emily Wyatt) , "Elevation", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Delfim Guimarães) , "Elevação"


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]
Elevation
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Above ponds, above valleys,
Mountains, woodlands, clouds, seas,
Beyond the sun, beyond the ether,
Beyond the confines of the starry spheres,

My spirit, you move with agility,
And, like a good swimmer who is enraptured in the waves,
You joyfully furrow through the deep vastness
With an indescribable and masculine sensuality.

Fly far, far from this morbid fog;
Go and purify yourself in the upper air,
And drink, like a pure and divine liquor,
The bright fire which fills the clear spaces.

Beyond the boredom and the immense vexations
Which burden with their weight murky existence,
Happy is he who can, on vigorous wing,
Launch out towards the fields, luminous and serene;

He whose thoughts, like larks,
Towards the morning skies take wing freely,
- Who glides over life, and understands without effort
The language of flowers and voiceless things!

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2012 by Emily Wyatt, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Emily Wyatt.  Contact: cobbsquint (AT) gmail (DOT) com

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