Midnight Pub

Posthumous Remorse


Charles Baudelaire - 1821-1867

tr. Keith Waldrop

When you go to sleep, my gloomy beauty, below a black marble monument, when from alcove and manor you are reduced to damp vault and hollow grave;

when the stone—pressing on your timorous chest and sides already lulled by a charmed indifference—halts your heart from beating, from willing, your feet from their bold adventuring,

then the tomb, confidant to my infinite dream (since the tomb understands the poet always), through those long nights in which slumber is banished,

will say to you: "What does it profit you, imperfect courtesan, not to have known what the dead weep for?" —And the worm will gnaw at your hide like remorse.


That is beautiful. I like to believe the protagonist went under willingly and unknowingly, but I don't know enough about either them nor the speaker to cast enough judgement