Famous Poets and Poems:  Home  |  Poets  |  Poem of the Month  |  Poet of the Month  |  Top 50 Poems  |  Famous Quotes  |  Famous Love Poems

Back to main page Search for:


FamousPoetsAndPoems.com / Poets / Charles Baudelaire / Poems
Biography
Poems
Quotes
Books
Popular Poets
Langston Hughes

Shel Silverstein

Pablo Neruda

Maya Angelou

Edgar Allan Poe

Robert Frost

Emily Dickinson

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

E. E. Cummings

Walt Whitman

William Wordsworth

Allen Ginsberg

Sylvia Plath

Jack Prelutsky

William Butler Yeats

Thomas Hardy

Robert Hayden

Amy Lowell

Oscar Wilde

Theodore Roethke

All Poets  

See also:

Poets by Nationality

African American Poets

Women Poets

Thematic Poems

Thematic Quotes

Contemporary Poets

Nobel Prize Poets

American Poets

English Poets

Charles Baudelaire Poems
Back to Poems Page
THE DANCE OF DEATH by Charles Baudelaire
CARRYING bouquet, and handkerchief, and gloves,
Proud of her height as when she lived, she moves
With all the careless and high-stepping grace,
And the extravagant courtesan's thin face.

Was slimmer waist e'er in a ball-room wooed?
Her floating robe, in royal amplitude,
Falls in deep folds around a dry foot, shod
With a bright flower-like shoe that gems the sod.

The swarms that hum about her collar-bones
As the lascivious streams caress the stones,
Conceal from every scornful jest that flies,
Her gloomy beauty; and her fathomless eyes

Are made of shade and void; with flowery sprays
Her skull is wreathed artistically, and sways,
Feeble and weak, on her frail vertebrae.
O charm of nothing decked in folly! they

Who laugh and name you a Caricature,
They see not, they whom flesh and blood allure,
The nameless grace of every bleached, bare bone,
That is most dear to me, tall skeleton!

Come you to trouble with your potent sneer
The feast of Life! or are you driven here,
To Pleasure's Sabbath, by dead lusts that stir
And goad your moving corpse on with a spur?

Or do you hope, when sing the violins,
And the pale candle-flame lights up our sins,
To drive some mocking nightmare far apart,
And cool the flame hell lighted in your heart?

Fathomless well of fault and foolishness!
Eternal alembic of antique distress!
Still o'er the curved, white trellis of your sides
The sateless, wandering serpent curls and glides.

And truth to tell, I fear lest you should find,
Among us here, no lover to your mind;
Which of these hearts beat for the smile you gave?
The charms of horror please none but the brave.

Your eyes' black gulf, where awful broodings stir,
Brings giddiness; the prudent reveller
Sees, while a horror grips him from beneath,
The eternal smile of thirty-two white teeth.

For he who has not folded in his arms
A skeleton, nor fed on graveyard charms,
Recks not of furbelow, or paint, or scent,
When Horror comes the way that Beauty went.

O irresistible, with fleshless face,
Say to these dancers in their dazzled race:
"Proud lovers with the paint above your bones,
Ye shall taste death, musk scented skeletons!

Withered AntinoÑŒs, dandies with plump faces,
Ye varnished cadavers, and grey Lovelaces,
Ye go to lands unknown and void of breath,
Drawn by the rumour of the Dance of Death.

From Seine's cold quays to Ganges' burning stream,
The mortal troupes dance onward in a dream;
They do not see, within the opened sky,
The Angel's sinister trumpet raised on high.

In every clime and under every sun,
Death laughs at ye, mad mortals, as ye run;
And oft perfumes herself with myrrh, like ye
And mingles with your madness, irony!"
View Charles Baudelaire:  Poems | Quotes | Biography | Books

Home   |   About Project   |   Privacy Policy   |   Copyright Notice   |   Links   |   Link to Us   |   Tell a Friend   |   Contact Us
Copyright © 2006 - 2010 Famous Poets And Poems . com. All Rights Reserved.
The Poems and Quotes on this site are the property of their respective authors. All information has been
reproduced here for educational and informational purposes.