"The Metamorphoses of a Vampire," Charles Baudelaire

The Metamorphoses of a Vampire

Meanwhile, from her red mouth the woman, in husky tones,
Twisting her body like a serpent upon hot stones
And straining her white breasts from their imprisonment,
Let fall these words, as potent as a heavy scent:
“My lips are moist and yielding, and I know the way
To keep the antique demon of remorse at bay.
All sorrows die upon my bosom. I can make
Old men laugh happily as children for my sake.
For him who sees me naked in my tresses, I
Replace the sun, the moon, and all the stars of the sky!
Believe me, learned sir, I am so deeply skilled
That when I wind a lover in my soft arms, and yield
My breasts like two ripe fruits for his devouring-both
Shy and voluptuous, insatiable and loath-
Upon his bed that groans and sighs luxuriously
Even the impotent angels would be damned for me!”

When she drained me of my very marrow, and cold
And weak, I turned to give her one more kiss-behold,
There at my side was nothing but a hideous
Putrescent thing, all faceless and exuding pus.
I closed my eyes and mercifully swooned till day:
Who seemed to have replenished her arteries from my own,
The wan, disjointed fragments of a skeleton
Wagged up and down in a new posture where she had lain;
Rattling with each convulsion like a weathervane
Or an old sign that creaks upon its bracket, right
Mournfully in the wind upon a winter’s night.

–Charles Baudelaire; translation by Edna St. Vincent Millay

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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