18 October 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 3

Song of Autumn


Soon into frozen shades, like leaves, we'll tumble.

Adieu, short summer's blaze, that shone to mock.

I hear already the funereal rumble

Of logs, as on the paving-stones they shock.

Winter will enter in my soul to dwell –

Rage, hate, fear, horror, labour forced and dire!

My heart will seem, to sun that polar hell,

A dim, red, frozen block, devoid of fire.

Shuddering I hear the heavy thud of fuel.

The building of a gallows sounds as good!

My spirit, like a tower, reels to the cruel

Battering-ram in every crash of wood.

The ceaseless echoes rock me and appal.

They're nailing up a coffin, I'll be bound,

For whom? – Last night was Summer. Here's the Fall.

There booms a farewell volley in the sound.


I like die greenish light in your long eyes,

Dear: but today all things are sour to me.

And naught, your hearth, your boudoir, nor your sighs

Are worth the sun that glitters on the sea.

Yet love me, tender heart, as mothers cherish

A thankless wretch, Lover or sister, be

Ephemeral sweetness of the suns that perish

Or glory of the autumn swift to flee.

Brief task! The charnel yawns in hunger horrid,

Yet let me with my head upon your knees,

Although I mourn the summer, white and torrid

Taste these last yellow rays before they freeze.

– Roy Campbell, Tr.

About the author:

1821-1867. Charles Baudelaire was among the most important poets of the nineteenth century. His most famous collection is Les Fleurs du mal ("The Flowers of Evil"). Learn more about Charles Baudelaire at Wikipedia.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Charles Baudelaire at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 6, No. 3, where "Song of Autumn" ran on October 18, 2006. List other work with these same labels: poetry, elegy, classic, translation, rhyme.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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