L'Amour Du Mensonge. Translations. After Charles Baudelaire.

A poem by John Milton Hay

When I behold thee, O my indolent love,
To the sound of ringing brazen melodies,
Through garish halls harmoniously move,
Scattering a scornful light from languid eyes;

When I see, smitten by the blazing lights,
Thy pale front, beauteous in its bloodless glow
As the faint fires that deck the Northern nights,
And eyes that draw me wheresoe'er I go;

I say, She is fair, too coldly strange for speech;
A crown of memories, her calm brow above,
Shines; and her heart is like a bruised red peach,
Ripe as her body for intelligent love.

Art thou late fruit of spicy savour and scent?
A funeral vase awaiting tearful showers?
An Eastern odour, waste and oasis blent?
A silken cushion or a bank of flowers?

I know there are eyes of melancholy sheen
To which no passionate secrets e'er were given;
Shrines where no god or saint has ever been,
As deep and empty as the vault of Heaven.

But what care I if this be all pretence?
'Twill serve a heart that seeks for truth no more.
All one thy folly or indifference, -
Hail, lovely mask, thy beauty I adore!

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