DON JUAN AUX ENFERSDON JUAN IN HELL
Charles Baudelairetrans. W. A. Sigler
Quand Don Juan descendit vers l'onde souterraine
Et lorsqu'il eut donné son obole à Charon,
Un sombre mendiant, l'oeil fier comme Antisthène,
D'un bras vengeur et fort saisit chaque aviron.

Montrant leurs seins pendants et leurs robes ouvertes,
Des femmes se tordaient sous le noir firmament,
Et, comme un grand troupeau de victimes offertes,
Derrière lui traînaient un long mugissement.

Sganarelle en riant lui réclamait ses gages,
Tandis que Don Luis avec un doigt tremblant
Montrait à tous les morts errant sur les rivages
Le fils audacieux qui railla son front blanc.

Frissonnant sous son deuil, la chaste et maigre Elvire,
Près de l'époux perfide et qui fut son amant,
Semblait lui réclamer un suprême sourire
Où brillât la douceur de son premier serment.

Tout droit dans son armure, un grand homme de pierre
Se tenait à la barre et coupait le flot noir;
Mais le calme héros, courbé sur sa rapière,
Regardait le sillage et ne daignait rien voir.
When Don Juan descended toward the underground waves
And gave Charon an offering too poor,
A sullen beggar, with eyes like Antisthenes,
Flexed his avenging arms and seized each oar.

Showing their hanging breasts and exposed robes,
The women writhed under the firmament of black and ice
And straggled along with a long low groan
Like a great herd of victims to be sacrificed.

Siganarelle, grimacing, demanded his wages
As Don Luis pointed his trembling finger
Showing to all the dead along the river's edges
The audacious son who makes fun of his father.

Shivering with grief, the chaste and meager Elvira
Next to her perfidious husband who was not her lover, now
Seemed to demand of him one final smile,
One that shone with the sweetness of his first vow.

Straight ahead, in his armor, a great man of stone
Held on to the bar and held back the black sea
But the calm heroes, shaped by his rapier's tone,
Looked at the wake but didn't care to see.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

see also: http://home.carolina.rr.com/alienfamily/dedication.htm


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