Richard Wilbur





L'invitation au Voyage
translation of Charles Baudelaire

     My child, my sister,
                                   dream
     How sweet all things would seem
Were we in that kind land to live together,
     And there love slow and long,
     There love and die among
Those scenes that image you, that sumptuous weather.
     Drowned suns that glimmer there
     Through cloud-disheveled air
Move me with such a mystery as appears
     Within those other skies
     Of your treacherous eyes
When I behold them shining through their tears.

There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

     Furniture that wears
     The lustre of the years
Softly would glow within our glowing chamber,
     Flowers of rarest bloom
     Proffering their perfume
Mixed with the vague fragrances of amber;
     Gold ceilings would there be,
     Mirrors deep as the sea,
The walls all in Eastern splendor hung -
     Nothing but should address
     The soul's loneliness,
Speaking her sweet and secret native tongue.

There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

     See, sheltered from the swells
     There in the still canals
Those drowsy ships that dream of sailing forth;
     It is to satisfy
     Your least desire, they ply
Hither through all the waters of the earth.
     The sun at close of day
     Clothes the fields of hay,
Then the canals, at last the town entire
     In hyacinth and gold:
     Slowly the land is rolled
Sleepward under a sea of gentle fire.

There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.