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The Seven Old Men

法国/波德莱尔
À Victor Hugo
Ant-like city, city full of dreams,
where the passer-by, at dawn, meets the spectre!
Mysteries everywhere are the sap that streams
through the narrow veins of this great ogre.
One morning, when, on the dreary street,
the buildings all seemed heightened, cold
a swollen river’s banks carved out to greet,
(their stage-set mirroring an actor’s soul),
the dirty yellow fog that flooded space,
arguing with my already weary soul,
steeling my nerves like a hero, I paced
suburbs shaken by the carts’ drum-roll.
Suddenly, an old man in rags, their yellow
mirroring the colour of the rain-filled sky,
whose looks alone prompted alms to flow,
except for the evil glittering of his eye,
appeared. You’d have thought his eyeballs
steeped in gall: his gaze intensified the cold,
and his long beard, as rigid as a sword,
was jutting out like Judas’s of old.
He was not bent but broken, his spine
made a sharp right angle with his legs,
so that the stick, perfecting his line,
gave him the awkward shape and step
of three-legged usurer, or sick quadruped.
Wading through snow and mud he went
as if, under his feet, he crushed the dead,
hostile to the world, not just indifferent.
Then his double: beard, eyes, rags, stick, back,
no trait distinguished his centenarian twin:
they marched in step, two ghosts of the Baroque,
sprung from one hell, towards some unknown end.
Was I the butt of some infamous game,
some evil chance, aimed at humiliation?
Since minute by minute, I counted seven,
of that sinister old man’s multiplication!
Whoever smiles at my anxiety,
and balks at shivering, the un-fraternal,
consider then, despite their senility,
those seven vile monsters looked eternal!
Could I have lived to see an eighth: yet one
more ironic, fatal, inexorable replication,
loathsome Phoenix, his own father and son?
- I turned my back on that hell-bent procession.
Exasperated, a drunk that sees things doubled,
I stumbled home, slammed the door, terrified,
sick, depressed, mind feverish and troubled,
wounded by mystery, the absurd, outside!
In vain my reason tried to take command,
its efforts useless in the tempest’s roar,
my soul, a mastless barge, danced, and danced,
over some monstrous sea without a shore!
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波德莱尔简介

夏尔·皮埃尔·波德莱尔(1821年-1867年),法国十九世纪最著名的现代派诗人,象征派诗歌先驱,代表作有《恶之花》。夏尔·波德莱尔是法国象征派诗歌的先驱,在欧美诗坛具有重要地位,其作品《恶之花》是十九世纪最具影响力的诗集之一。从1843年起,波德莱尔开始陆续创作后来收入《恶之花》的诗歌,诗集出版后不久,因“有碍公共道德及风化”等罪名受到轻罪法庭的判罚。1861年,波德莱尔申请加入法兰西学士院,后退出。作品有《恶之花》、《巴黎的忧郁》、《美学珍玩》、《可怜的比利时!》等...[波德莱尔的诗歌]

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