Nature is a temple whose living colonnades
Breathe forth a mystic speech in fitful sighs;
Man wanders among the symbols in those glades
Where all things watch him with familiar eyes.
Like dwindling echoes gathered far away
Into a deep and thronging unison
Huge as the night or as the light of day,
All scents and sounds and colors meet as one.
Perfumes there are as sweet as the oboe’s sound,
Green as the prairies, fresh as a child’s caress,
—And there are others, rich, corrupt, profound
And an infinite pervasiveness,
Like myrrh, or musk, or amber, that excite
The ecstasies of sense, the soul’s delight.
by Charles Baudelaire
translation by Richard Wilbur, in The Flowers of Evil, eds. Marthiel and Jackson Matthews, New Directions, New York, 1962.