The Splendid Ship

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

O soft enchantress, let me tell the truth
Of all the beauties decking out your youth!
I'll paint the charms for you to see
Of childhood married with maturity.

When you step out, your broad skirt sweeps the breeze
As if you were a ship on easy seas
Under full sail, that rolls along
In rhythm with a slow and languid song.

On your plump shoulders and your rounded neck
Your head parades itself with rare effect;
In a composed, triumphant style
You go your stately way, majestic child.

O soft enchantress, let me tell the truth
Of all the beauties decking out your youth!
I'll paint the charms for you to see
Of childhood married with maturity.

Your jutting bosom stretching out the moire,
Triumphant bosom, is a fine armoire
Whose bright and swelling panels might
Like shields reflect the flashing of the light;

Enticing shields, equipped with rosy tips!
Armoire of treasures, full of secret gifts,
Of perfumes, of liqueurs, of wines
Making delirious men's hearts and minds!

When you step out your broad skirt sweeps the breeze
As if you were a ship on easy seas
Under full sail, that rolls along
In rhythm with a slow and languid song.

Your noble legs, the flounces they inspire,
Torment and agitate obscure desires.
They're like two witches who stir up
A black concoction in a lavish cup.

Your arms, that rival infant Hercules',
Are like two glimmering boas, which with ease
Can crush their prey against your chest,
As if you'd print your lover on your breast.

On your plump shoulders and your rounded neck
Your head parades itself with rare effect;
In a composed, triumphant style
You go your stately way, majestic child.

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