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And what do you twitter for hours and hours
To mullein, and thistle, and nodding sunflowers?
Some enchanting little rune
Fitted to a goldfinch tune?


I listen and listen with rapt delight
To the twitter that follows the dip in your flight:
Per-chic-o-ree, per-chic-o-ree!
Gone! but not away from me.




Maid of my dream,

O mine about to be, Name me the flower that hides so wistfully Among the snowy lilies of thy throat, Sweetness more pure than moonlight's purest beam!

Lad of my dream,

My master soon to be,
It is the rose of life God gave to me,
Bidding me nurse it as I would my soul:
Thou comest! Lo, its thorns with honey stream.


O woman mine,

All mine, yet strangely free, Name me the flower that swells so joyously Within the silver lilies of thy breast, Thou whose dear warmth can stir me more than wine!

O man of mine,

Whose arms have set me free,
It is the rose of love thou gavest me.
Without thy giving, hateful were its thorns:
Thou gavest! Lo, its fragrance is divine.


Wife of my heart

A heart that aches for thee,
Name me the flower that rests so winsomely
Amid the golden lilies of thine arms,
A tender bud, thy tiny counterpart!

Life of my heart,

A living flower for thee!
It is the rose of God love gave to me,
Though marred by thorns be every rose to come,
This single rose shall soothe their every smart.




Translated from Les Fleurs du Mal" by Charlotte Prentiss


To the most dear, to the most fair,
Who fills my heart with clarity,
Immortal image idolized,-
All hail through immortality!

Her presence spreads throughout my days
As freshening airs blow from the sea,
And in my craving soul she pours
The savour of eternity.

Fresh perfume that forever floats
In some sequestered trysting-place,
Forgotten censer, whose sweet fumes
Coil through the night and interlace—

How shall I tell thy love divine,
How measure thy divinity?
Thou grain of musk, invisible
At heart of my eternity!

To the most kind, to the most fair
Who is my strength and sanity-
Immortal angel idolized,
All hail through immortality!

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Listen well:

The old refrain

Murmurs At the close of day:

“The flower of love

Does not last.

O banished regrets!

The lips of springtime

Are closed,
Love is departed.

Adieu to the fragrance
Of roses!

(Nouvelles Poèsies)

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