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I Love The Naked Ages Long Ago

Written by: Charles Baudelaire | Biography
 | Quotes (59) |
 I love the naked ages long ago 
When statues were gilded by Apollo, 
When men and women of agility 
Could play without lies and anxiety, 
And the sky lovingly caressed their spines, 
As it exercised its noble machine. 
Fertile Cybele, mother of nature, then, 
Would not place on her daughters a burden, 
But, she-wolf sharing her heart with the people, 
Would feed creation from her brown nipples. 
Men, elegant and strong, would have the right 
To be proud to have beauty named their king; 
Virgin fruit free of blemish and cracking, 
Whose flesh smooth and firm would summon a bite! 
The Poet today, when he would convey 
This native grandeur, would not be swept away 
By man free and woman natural, 
But would feel darkness envelop his soul 
Before this black tableau full of loathing. 
O malformed monsters crying for clothing! 
O ludicrous heads! Torsos needing disguise! 
O poor writhing bodies of every wrong size, 
Children that the god of the Useful swaths 
In the language of bronze and brass! 
And women, alas! You shadow your heredity, 
You gnaw nourishment from debauchery, 
A virgin holds maternal lechery 
And all the horrors of fecundity! 

We have, it is true, corrupt nations, 
Beauty unknown to the radiant ancients: 
Faces that gnaw through the heart's cankers, 
And talk with the cool beauty of languor; 
But these inventions of our backward muses 
Are never hindered in their morbid uses 
Of the old for profound homage to youth, 
—To the young saint, the sweet air, the simple truth, 
To the eye as limpid as the water current, 
To spread out over all, insouciant 
Like the blue sky, the birds and the flowers, 
Its perfumes, its songs and its sweet fervors.