A Fantastic Print


Charles Baudelaire

That strange ghost wears nothing more

Than a diadem, atrocious and tawdry,

Grotesquely fixed on his skeleton brow.

Without spurs, without a whip, he winds a horse,

A phantom like himself, an apocalyptic steed

That foams from the nostrils like an epileptic.

Both ghost and horse are plunging through space

And trampling on the infinite with daring feet.

The horseman is waving a flaming sword

Over the anonymous crowds who are crushed by his mount;

And he examines, like a prince inspecting his house,

The graveyard, immense and cold, without a horizon,

Where lie, in the glimmer of a white, lifeless sun,

All the races of history, both ancient and modern.

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