mon ami, Charles Baudelaire.
And while I'm not saying the intent is my intent, the capitalization of Toi allows me to read it in a way that perhaps M. Baudelaire did not intend. (Almost certainly did not intend given the title of his chief work--Les Fleurs du Mal.)
De profundis clamavi
J'implore ta pitié, Toi, l'unique que j'aime,
Du fond du gouffre obscur où mon coeur est tombé.
C'est un univers morne à l'horizon plombé,
Où nagent dans la nuit l'horreur et le blasphème;
Un soleil sans chaleur plane au-dessus six mois,
Et les six autres mois la nuit couvre la terre;
C'est un pays plus nu que la terre polaire
— Ni bêtes, ni ruisseaux, ni verdure, ni bois!
Or il n'est pas d'horreur au monde qui surpasse
La froide cruauté de ce soleil de glace
Et cette immense nuit semblable au vieux Chaos;
Je jalouse le sort des plus vils animaux
Qui peuvent se plonger dans un sommeil stupide,
Tant l'écheveau du temps lentement se dévide!
A translation, more poetic than accurate, but aiming at the spirit:
De Profundis Clamavi
Have pity, my one love and sole delight!
Down to a dark abyss my heart has sounded,
A mournful world, by grey horizons bounded,
Where blasphemy and horror swim by night.
For half the year a heatless sun gives light,
The other half the night obscures the earth.
The arctic regions never knew such dearth.
No woods, nor streams, nor creatures meet the sight.
No horror in the world could match in dread
The cruelty of that dire sun of frost,
And that huge night like primal chaos spread.
I envy creatures of the vilest kind
That they in stupid slumber can be lost —
So slowly does the skein of time unwind!
And another, again, poetic, not literal
Out of the Depths
Sole Being I love, Your mercy I implore
Out of the bitter pit of my heart's night,
With leaden skyscapes on a dismal shore,
Peopled only by blasphemy and fright;
For six months frigid suns float overhead,
For six months more darkness and solitude.
No polar wastes are bleaker and more dead,
With never beast nor stream nor plant nor wood.
No horror in this world but is outdone
By the cold razor of this glacial sun
And this chaotic night's immensities.
I envy the most humble beast that ease
Which brings dull slumber to his brutish soul
So slowly does my skein of time unroll.
And then this, which comes from the same hand that gave us the delights of The Importance of Being Earnest
from De Profundis
Prosperity, pleasure and success, may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things. There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought to which sorrow does not vibrate in terrible and exquisite pulsation. The thin beaten-out leaf of tremulous gold that chronicles the direction of forces the eye cannot see is in comparison coarse. It is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.
Which leads us to:
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine,
Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est;
et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem,
speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia,
et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël
ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Which, in those most magnificent of translations are:
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
OUT of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my voice.
O let thine ears consider well : the voice of my complaint.
If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss : O Lord, who may abide it?
For there is mercy with thee : therefore shalt thou be feared.
I look for the Lord; my soul doth wait for him : in his word is my trust.
My soul fleeth unto the Lord : before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch.
O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy : and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel : from all his sins.
To which I append,
[temp title] The Cloud of Unknowing
And so I move from knowing
to unknowing--not merely ignorance
but undoing the knowing I have
untying the knots and staring underneath
at what cannot be known once it is known.
Later: Upon review I discovered that I was remiss in citing my sources. This very fine site presents the original poems from Les Fleurs du Mals with several different English translations. I took the poem and the translations from that site.