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Two poems about cats by Charles Baudelaire

Cats

They are alike, prim scholar and perfervid lover:

When comes the season of decay, they both decide

Upon sweet, husky cats to be the household pride;

Cats choose, like them, to sit, and like them, shudder.

Like partisans of carnal dalliance and science,

They search for silence and the shadowings of dread;

Hell well might harness them as horses for the dead,

If it could bend their native proudness in compliance.

In reverie they emulate the noble mood

Of giant sphinxes stretched in depths of solitude

Who seem to slumber in a never-ending dream;

Within their fertile loins a sparkling magic lies;

Finer than any sand are dusts of gold that gleam,

Vague starpoints, in the mystic iris of their eyes.

The Cat

Come, my fine cat, against my loving heart;

Sheathe your sharp claws, and settle.

And let my eyes into your pupils dart

Where agate sparks with metal.

Now while my fingertips caress at leisure

Your head and wiry curves,

And that my hand’s elated with the pleasure

Of your electric nerves,

I think about my woman — how her glances

Like yours, dear beast, deep-down

And cold, can cut and wound one as with lances;

Then, too, she has that vagrant

And subtle air of danger that makes fragrant

Her body, lithe and brown.

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) is one of the most important poets in French literature (he also made a name for himself as a literary and art critic). While his early poems displayed the influence of Romanticism, he eventually developed a counter-Romantic style, exhibited in Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil), a book of poems which express a candid, often shocking, realism that later generations, especially the Modernist poets, would also adopt. In fact, Baudelaire is credited with coining the term “modernity” as a way of describing through verse the ephemera of life in contemporary urban settings, a task which he charged all poets to take up through their work.

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Cats

They are alike, prim scholar and perfervid lover:

When comes the season of decay, they both decide

Upon sweet, husky cats to be the household pride;

Cats choose, like them, to sit, and like them, shudder.

Like partisans of carnal dalliance and science,

They search for silence and the shadowings of dread;

Hell well might harness them as horses for the dead,

If it could bend their native proudness in compliance.

In reverie they emulate the noble mood

Of giant sphinxes stretched in depths of solitude

Who seem to slumber in a never-ending dream;

Within their fertile loins a sparkling magic lies;

Finer than any sand are dusts of gold that gleam,

Vague starpoints, in the mystic iris of their eyes.

The Cat

Come, my fine cat, against my loving heart;

Sheathe your sharp claws, and settle.

And let my eyes into your pupils dart

Where agate sparks with metal.

Now while my fingertips caress at leisure

Your head and wiry curves,

And that my hand’s elated with the pleasure

Of your electric nerves,

I think about my woman — how her glances

Like yours, dear beast, deep-down

And cold, can cut and wound one as with lances;

Then, too, she has that vagrant

And subtle air of danger that makes fragrant

Her body, lithe and brown.

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) is one of the most important poets in French literature (he also made a name for himself as a literary and art critic). While his early poems displayed the influence of Romanticism, he eventually developed a counter-Romantic style, exhibited in Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil), a book of poems which express a candid, often shocking, realism that later generations, especially the Modernist poets, would also adopt. In fact, Baudelaire is credited with coining the term “modernity” as a way of describing through verse the ephemera of life in contemporary urban settings, a task which he charged all poets to take up through their work.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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