The Sick Muse

Clark Ashton Smith

(Translated "from the French of Charles Pierre Baudelaire")

Alas for thee, poor Muse! Thy caverned eyes at dawn
With visions from the baleful night are peopled still,
And I by turns behold, across thy pallor drawn,
Thy folly and thy horror, taciturn and chill.

Have the rose goblin and the greenish succubus
Poured on thee fear and fearful passion from their urn?
Or has the Nightmare's arm, stubborn and tyrannous,
Too deeply drowned thee in some fabulous Minturne?

o Muse, I would an ancient freshness were exhaled
From out thy breast, whereon strong thoughts alone prevailed;
I would thy Christian blood, thy pulses wild or weak,

Ran like the numbered sound of syllables antique
In times when Phoebus, lord of song, in alternation
With Pan the harvest-lord maintained his domination.

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