The Alchemy of Sadness

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

One man lights you with his ardour
one decks you in mourning, Nature!
What says to the first: ‘A Sepulchre!’
To the other cries: ‘Life and splendour!’

Unknown Hermes, who assists,
yet intimidates me as well,
you make me Midas’ equal,
the saddest of alchemists:

You help me change gold to iron,
paradise to hell’s kingdom:
in the shrouded atmosphere

I find a dear corpse, and on
the celestial shores, it’s there,
I build a mighty sepulcher.

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