- Humanities blog - https://humanities.blogs.ie.edu -

Allegory Translation


She’s a beautiful woman with opulent shoulders
Who lets her long hair trail in her goblet of wine.
The claws of love, the poisons of brothels,
All slips and all is blunted on her granite skin.
She laughs at Death and snaps her fingers at Debauch.
The hands of those monsters, ever cutting and scraping,
Have respected nonetheless the pristine majesty
Of her firm, straight body at its destructive games.
She walks like a goddess, rests like a sultana;
She has a Mohammedan’s faith in pleasure
And to her open arms which are filled by her breasts,
She lures all mortals with her eyes.
She believes, she knows, this virgin, sterile
And yet essential to the march of the world,
That a beautiful body is a sublime gift
That wrings a pardon for any foul crime.
She is unaware of Hell and Purgatory
And when the time comes for her to enter
The black Night, she will look into the face of Death
As a new-born child, — without hatred or remorse.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)