The Fountain

By Charles Baudelaire 1821–1867 Charles Baudelaire

Translated By Anthony Hecht

My dear, your eyes are weary;
Rest them a little while.
Assume the languid posture
Of pleasure mixed with guile.
Outside the talkative fountain
Continues night and day
Repeating my warm passion
In whatever it has to say.

             The sheer luminous gown
                           The fountain wears
             Where Phoebe’s very own
                           Color appears
             Falls like a summer rain
                           Or shawl of tears.

Thus your soul ignited
By pleasure’s lusts and needs
Sprays into heaven’s reaches
And dreams of fiery deeds.
Then it brims over, dying,
And languorous, apart,
Drains down some slope and enters
The dark well of my heart.

             The sheer luminous gown
                           The fountain wears
             Where Phoebe’s very own
                           Color appears
             Falls like a summer rain
                           Or shawl of tears.

O you, whom night enhances,
How sweet here at your breasts
To hear the eternal sadness
Of water that never rests.
O moon, o singing fountain,
O leaf-thronged night above,
You are the faultless mirrors
Of my sweet, bitter love.

             The sheer luminous gown
                           The fountain wears
             Where Phoebe’s very own
                           Color appears
             Falls like a summer rain
                           Or shawl of tears.

Source: Poetry (September 2011).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2011

Biography

Charles Baudelaire is one of the most compelling poets of the nineteenth century. While Baudelaire's contemporary Victor Hugo is generally—and sometimes regretfully—acknowledged as the greatest of nineteenth-century French poets, Baudelaire excels in his unprecedented expression of a complex sensibility and of modern themes within structures of classical rigor and technical artistry. Baudelaire is distinctive in French . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Charles Baudelaire

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION France

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.