Baudelaire: Don Juan In Hell

When Don Juan descended toward the underground waves
And gave Charon an offering too poor,
A sullen beggar, with eyes like Antisthenes,
Flexed his avenging arms and seized each oar.

Showing their hanging breasts and exposed robes,
The women writhed under the firmament of black and ice
And straggled along with a long low groan
Like a great herd of victims to be sacrificed.

Siganarelle, grimacing, demanded his wages
As Don Luis pointed his trembling finger
Showing to all the dead along the river's edges
The audacious son who makes fun of his father.

Shivering with grief, the chaste and meager Elvira
Next to her perfidious husband who was not her lover, now
Seemed to demand of him one final smile,
One that shone with the sweetness of his first vow.

Straight ahead, in his armor, a great man of stone
Held on to the bar and held back the black sea
But the calm heroes, shaped by his rapier's tone,
Looked at the wake but didn't care to see.

Source: Baudelaire. "Don Juan In Hell". Trans. William A. Sigler. The Flowers Of Sickness And Evil By Charles Baudelaire (6 February 2000). Accessed 16 December 2002.

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