Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween: Baudelaire's "Vampire"

So last year to wish all a happy All Hallow's Eve, I posted the earliest reference to a zombie in the world.  So this year I thought I would post on a rather recent poem on my favorite undead creature, the vampire:

The Vampire
Sudden as a knife you thrust
into my sorry heart
and strong as a host of demons come,
gaudy and libertine,

to make in my corrupted mind
your bed and bedlam there;
--Beast, who bind me to you close
as convict to his chains,

as gambler to his winning streak,
as drunkard to his wine,
close as the carrion to its worms--
I curse you!  Be accursed!

I begged the sword by one swift stroke
to grant me liberty;
nor did my cowardice disdain
less clear-cut remedies.

Poison and steel, as with one voice,
contemptuously refused;
"You are not worthy to be free
of your enslavement, fool!

Suppose we saved you, even now,
from her supremacy--
your kisses would resuscitate
your vampire's waiting corpse!"

(Baudelaire, "The Vampire," The Flowers of Evil; trans. Richard Howard; Photo: 19th Century Engraving)

Happy Halloween!

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