Parisian Dream

Parisian Dream  (1925) 
by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Clark Ashton Smith

To pleasure me, in this dark dawn,
A far and terrible paradise,
Fading, has left within mine eyes
The dazzlement of light withdrawn.

Slumber is full of miracles!
Forbidden by mine own decree,
No unconforming blade or tree
In this diviner vision dwells,

And I, proud sculptor of a world,
Grow drunken with the monotone
Of metal, water, flame and stone
At my fantastic will unfurled.

Babel of stairs and of arcades,
There is a palace infinite
With countless pools, and fountains bright
Falling on golden dark estrades;

Where, from the ramparts far and high,
Enormous cataracts have sprung,
Like heavy crystal curtains hung
On brazen walls within the sky.

No bowers, but lines of columns tall
By sleeping tarns surrounded there,
With mirrored naiadès that bare
Huge breasts and limbs titanical.

Blue waters endlessly are whirled
Between the quays of malachite
And quays of sard, that run in light
A million leagues athwart the world—

A world of waves chimerical,
And stone undreamt-of; shore and sea,
A dazzling cold immensity
Reflecting and redoubling all!

In silence, from the vault beyond,
Great rivers negligently turn
The treasure of each teeming urn
Adown the gulfs of diamond.

An architect of Fäery,
Through lofty caverns roofed and walled
With ruby and with emerald,
I drive the tamed, obedient sea.

Pale, black or irised, all things gleam
like burnished Orient mirrors clear;
Colossal gems of sea and mere
Are set in the crystallizèd beam.

And yet no alien star, nor light
left by the sun in nether skies
Has shone upon these prodigies—
Self-lit in lusters infinite!

On all the shifting gramarie
Hovers (0, dreadful strange demesne
Where naught is heard and all is seen!)
The silence of eternity.


Opening eyes replete with fire,
I see my hovel's horror plain,
And feel re-entering in my brain
The fang of cares accurst and dire;

Funeral, slow, the pendulum
Tolls brutally the lapse of noon,
And darkness pours from heaven too soon
On the sad world forlorn and numb.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.

The author died in 1961, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.