A two page holograph manuscript translation of Baudelaire's poem "Hymne" ("Hymn) by Aleister Crowley. Aleister CROWLEY, translates Charles Baudelaire.

A two page holograph manuscript translation of Baudelaire's poem "Hymne" ("Hymn) by Aleister Crowley.

ND (ca. 1916 ). Crowley's translation of the poem "Hymne," written in manuscript in black ink on the rectos only of two sheets of 9 3/4 x 8 inch plain office-type paper. Crowley was enormously fond of the work of the French decadent poem Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821 – 1867) and made and published numerous translations of his poems, including of course one whole book: Baudelaire's "Little Poems in Prose." The poem "Hymne" was originally published in the French author's book "Fleurs du Mal." Crowley's translation of the poem is neatly written in black ink, with just a few corrections, and Crowley has added the title "Hymn" and the words "(translated from Charles Baudelaire)" to the top of the first page in pencil. On the reverse of the second page Crowley has written in pencil, in large letters: "Ch[arles] B[audelaire] / Hymne / À la très chère, à la très belle" [the latter being the first line of the poem in the original French]. The translation is undated, but as it was published in "The International" Vol. XI, No. 11, November 1917 (p. 33) it obviously predates that, most probably dating from 1915 or 1916. While it is for the most part a resaonably straight-forward translation, it is interesting that Crowley has interpolated the magical name of his then-Scarlet Woman, "Hilarion", into the first line of both the first and last stanzas. Thus the first line which might be translated as "To the most dear, the most beautiful woman", becomes "Most dear, most fair, Hilarion." Soror Hilarion or "the cat" was the poet Jeanne Roberts Foster (1879-1970), whom Crowley first met in June 1915. The two were passionately attracted to each other and soon commenced a relatively brief but significant affair, she was the inspiration of a considerable amount of his poetry including the mostly unpublished poetic cycle "The Golden Rose" and she was also the muse of his important magickal work, "Liber Aleph." Crowley's love of Baudelaire's poetry was lifelong, and he was translating his work up to the last years of his life. He had a copy of "Fleurs du Mal" since his Cambridge days, and that particular volume, now preserved in the Yorke collection, is known to have been one of his favourite books. Other more mainstream translators of Baudelaire, including Sir Michael Hamburger who had met Crowley, have declared Crowely's translations to be quite competent - although they are unlikely to have approved of the addition of the name of his lover to this particular piece. The manuscript is overall in VG+ condition, the top edge of both pages is a little jagged where they were perhaps neatly torn from a note-pad, and first page is somewhat toned and has a "rust shadow" from a paper clip at the head. There are a couple of small chips to the edges. An interesting and significant piece. Item #68309