28 November 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 3

The Joyous Dead

In a fat, greasy soil, that's full of snails,

I'll dig a grave deep down, where I may sleep

Spreading my bones at ease, to drowse in deep

Oblivion, as a shark within the wave.

I hate all tombs, and testaments, and wills:

I want no human tears; I'd like it more,

That ravens could attack me with their bills,

To broach my carcase of its living gore.

O worms! black friends, who cannot hear or see,

A free and joyous corpse behold in me!

You philosophic souls, corruption-bred,

Plough through my ruins! eat your merry way!

And if there are yet further torments, say,

For this old soulless corpse among the dead.

– 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 "The Joyous Dead" ran on November 28, 2006. List other work with these same labels: poetry, classic, translation, rhyme.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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