Saturday, November 21, 2020

De Profundis

Read "De Profundis" at The Eldritch Dark:

The bibliographic citation provided for this poem at The Eldritch Dark has a significant mistake: it is described as being a translation of a work by Charles Baudelaire.  That is not correct.

The confusion is not totally surprising, since Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) did indeed create an English translation of Baudelaire's "De profundis clamavi", poem XXXI from the 1868 edition of Les fleurs du mal.  However, the poem linked above is not that translation, but rather an original verse authored by CAS himself.

The Latin title can be translated as "From the Depths".  Whether or not CAS took any sort of inspiration from Oscar Wilde's work of the same title is not clear, although both works are profound expressions of love, so there is some continuity between them.

In this poem, CAS invests the spirit of romantic yearning with touches of the weird and the fantastic, as only he could do:

For her I have arisen
From many a broken tomb,
From out the darkling prison
Of sunken worlds and avatars of doom.

Despite the dark imagery used in the stanza quoted above, "De Profundis" ends on a hopeful note:

O Flame that shall not fail
In voids of time and space,
At last you shall avail
To light my feet to her abiding-place.

It's a rather uplifting conclusion for CAS, and shows that his predilection for the weird did not always result in grim finales. 

No comments:

Post a Comment