Title page of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal, 1900 ed.
The Sick Muse
My poor muse, alas!, what’s wrong with you this morning?
Your hollow eyes are peopled with nocturnal visions,
And I see madness and horror, cold and taciturn,
Reflected, one after the other, upon your face.
Did the green succubus and the pink goblin
Pour out for you fear and love from their urns?
Did nightmare, with a despotic and obstinate fist,
Drown you in the depths of a fabulous Minturnes?
I would that your breast, exhaling an odor of health,
Be frequented always by forceful thoughts,
And that your Christian blood flow in rhythmic streams,
Like the numerous sounds of antique syllables,
Ruled over, in turn, by Phoebus, father of songs,
And the great Pan, lord of the harvest.
(Trans. by Cat Nilan)