La fin de la journée
The night is full of pleasure and calm. The day is nothing but deafening noises and agitations. But doesn’t the night symbolize the death of this poet in need of life?
Sometimes the days are overwhelming for the cursed poets who find rest only in the dark and deep night. This end of the day is described by Baudelaire as a resurrection. His spleen chokes when the day declines. In this sonnet, he condemns the day to better deify the night. The night is full of pleasure and calm.
The day, meanwhile, is nothing but deafening noises and agitations. Baudelaire plays with the "S" tones which invoke the evil serpent who "dances and twists without reason". This sonnet appears in the "Flowers of Evil" framed by other poems invoking death.
But doesn't the night symbolize the death of this poet in need of life?
~9 min. 40 sec.
1 vocal score
La Fin de la Journée
Sous une lumière blafarde
Court, danse et se tord sans raison
La Vie, impudente et criarde.
Aussi, sitôt qu’à l’horizon
La nuit voluptueuse monte,
Apaisant tout, même la faim,
Effaçant tout, même la honte,
Le Poète se dit: «Enfin!
Mon esprit, comme mes vertèbres,
Invoque ardemment le repos;
Le coeur plein de songes funèbres,
Je vais me coucher sur le dos
Et me rouler dans vos rideaux,
Ô rafraîchissantes ténèbres!»
The End of the Day
Under a pallid light, noisy,
Impudent Life runs and dances,
Twists and turns, for no good reason
So, as soon as voluptuous
Night rises from the horizon,
Assuaging all, even hunger,
Effacing all, even shame,
The Poet says to himself: “At last!
My spirit, like my vertebrae,
Passionately invokes repose;
With a heart full of gloomy dreams,
I shall lie down flat on my back
And wrap myself in your curtains,
O refreshing shadows!”
Translation: William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)