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

À une passante
Language: French (Français) 
La rue assourdissante autour de moi hurlait.
Longue, mince, en grand deuil, douleur majestueuse,
Une femme passa, d'une main fastueuse
Soulevant, balançant le feston et l'ourlet ;

Agile et noble, avec sa jambe de statue.
Moi, je buvais, crispé comme un extravagant,
Dans son œil, ciel livide où germe l'ouragan,
La douceur qui fascine et le plaisir qui tue.

[Un éclair... puis la nuit !]1 -- Fugitive beauté
Dont le regard m'a fait [soudainement]1 renaître,
Ne te verrai-je plus que dans l'éternité ?

[Ailleurs,]1 bien loin d'ici ! trop tard ! jamais peut-être !
[Car]1 j'ignore où tu fuis, tu ne sais où je vais,
Ô toi que j'eusse aimée, ô toi qui le savais !

R. Piacentini sets stanzas 3-4

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Tableaux parisiens, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1861, pages 216-217. Also confirmed with Œuvres complètes de Charles Baudelaire, vol. I : Les Fleurs du mal, Tableaux parisiens, Paris: Michel Lévy frères, 1868, page 270. Note: this was number 93 in the 1861 edition of Les Fleurs du mal but number 117 in subsequent editions.

First published October 15, 1860 in L'Artiste.

1 omitted by Piacentini

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

This text was added to the website: 2008-11-24
Line count: 14
Word count: 115

To a Passer‑by
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Around me thundered the deafening noise of the street,
In mourning apparel, portraying majestic distress,
With queenly ringers, just lifting the hem of her dress,
A stately woman passed by with hurrying feet.

Agile and noble, with limbs of perfect poise.
Ah, how I drank, thrilled through like a Being insane,
In her look, a dark sky, from whence springs forth the hurricane,
There lay but the sweetness that charms, and the joy that destroys.

A flash—then the night. . . . O loveliness fugitive!
Whose glance has so suddenly caused me again to live,
Shall I not see you again till this life is o'er!

Elsewhere, far away ... too late, perhaps never more,
For I know not whither you fly, nor you, where I go,
O soul that I would have loved, and that you know!

Confirmed with The Flowers of Evil [by Charles Baudelaire; translated into English verse by Cyril Scott], London: Elkin Mathews, 1909, page 58.


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]

This text was added to the website: 2019-08-20
Line count: 14
Word count: 138