Herodias, by Stéphane Mallarmé


YES, it is for me, for me I bloom, deserted   Gardens of amethyst, you know it, deep
In cunning chasms dazzled under the steep,
Golds guarding light that once in Eden shone
Under a soil no man has trodden on,
Ye stones whence the pure jewels of mine eyes
Borrow their limpid and melodious dyes,
And metals ye, that in my tresses young
Their fatal splendour and massive lure have hung.
But thou, O woman nurtured in the malice
Of centuries old for caverns sybilline,
Who speakest of a man, saying from the chalice
Of these sky-scented rapturous robes of mine
Should dart the white shudder of my nakedness,
Foretell, that if the summer's blue caress,
For which a woman all her veils unfolds,
My shivering modesty of a star beholds,
I die!   I love my gruesome maidenhood, and will
Live in the terror that my locks distil,
So that, a reptile violated not,
My useless flesh may feel, when nights are hot,
The cold glitter of the pale clearness of thee,
Thou who art dying, burning with chastity,
White night of icicles and cruel snow!   And thy lone sister, sister of mine also,
Who diest not: to thee my dream will mount;
Truly, so rare is my heart's limpid fount
Already, that I deem myself alone
In my monotonous land where all is grown
Idolatrous of a glass in whose calm sheen
The diamond eyes of Herodias are seen..
O ultimate charm, I feel, alone I am.           The Nurse.
O mistress, diest thou?           Herodias.
No, poor grandam.
Be calm, forgive this hard heart, and begone,
But ere thou goest close the shutters on
This seraph azure smiling through the pane,
for I abhor the blue without a stain!   O there are cradled waves, and if thou hast
Heard of a dark land where skies overcast
Look with the hate of Venus burning in
The foliage at eve, there will I go.   Lift once again, though it is childish, I know,
These waxen torches whose fire wan and thin
Weeps strange tears in the flaunting gold, and..           The Nurse.
Now?           Herodias.
Farewell. My naked lips, your blossom lies.
For radiance never known awaits my brow,
But, ignorant of the mystery and your cries,
You heave the supreme and the bruisè d sighs
Of childhood feeling in its dreamy heart
Its linked and icy jewels snap and part.

poems.one - Stéphane Mallarmé

Stéphane Mallarmé