Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, ed. Josef Nygrin, trans. William Aggeler (1954), Roy Campbell (1952), Cat Nilan (1999), Geoffrey Wagner (1974), Kenneth O. Hanson (1955), and David Paul (1955). Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial Licence, 2008. 162-63.
I 1 In my brain there walks about, 2 As though he were in his own home, 3 A lovely cat, strong, sweet, charming. 4 When he mews, one scarcely hears him, 5 His tone is so discreet and soft; 6 But purring or growling, his voice 7 Is always deep and rich; 8 That is his charm and secret. 9 That voice forms into drops, trickles 10 Into the depths of my being, 11 Fills me like harmonious verse 12 And gladdens me like a philtre. 13 It lulls to sleep the sharpest pains, 14 Contains all ecstasies; 15 To say the longest sentences, 16 It has no need of words, 17 No, there’s no bow that plays upon 18 My heart, that perfect instrument, 19 And makes its most vibrant chord 20 Sing more gloriously 21 Than your voice, mysterious cat, 22 Seraphic cat, singular cat, 23 In whom, as in angels, all is 24 As subtle as harmonious! II 25 From his brown and yellow fur 26 Comes such sweet fragrance that one night 27 I was perfumed with it because 28 I caressed him once, once only. 29 A familiar figure in the place, 30 He presides, judges, inspires 31 Everything within his province; 32 Perhaps he is a fay, a god? 33 When my gaze, drawn as by a magnet, 34 Turns in a docile way 35 Toward that cat whom I love, 36 And when I look within myself, 37 I see with amazement 38 The fire of his pale pupils, 39 Clear signal-lights, living opals, 40 That contemplate me fixedly.