Poems by Charles Baudelaire

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One day in ashy, cindery terrains,
Remember, my love, the object we saw
This freakish ghost has nothing else to wear
Long since, I lived beneath vast porticoes,
Surrounded by flasks, and by spangled lames,
I. The Blackness
Reader, have you ever breathed deeply,
My soul, do you remember the object we saw
My heart was like a bird that fluttered joyously
Though your eyebrows surprise,
One's ardour, Nature, makes you bright,
Picture a beauty, shoulders rich and fine,
A hundred times already the sun had leaped, radiant or saddened, from the immense cup of the sea whose rim could scarcely be seen; a hundred times it had again sunk, glittering or morose, into its mighty bath of twilight. For many days we had contemp
Alone at last! Nothing is to be heard but the rattle of a few tardy and tired-out cabs. There will be silence now, if not repose, for several hours at least.
La sottise, l’erreur, le péché, la lésine,
I hear them say to me, your crystal eyes,
To roll the rock you fought
Through fields of ash, burnt, without verdure,
Am as lovely as a dream in stone,
When, by an edict of the powers supreme,
Lorsque, par un décret des puissances suprêmes,
You can scorn more illustrious eyes,
Beside a monstrous Jewish whore I lay
Ere is the chamber consecrate,
La tribu prophétique aux prunelles ardentes
If on some woebegone night
Have patience, O my sorrow, and be still.
Stiff scholars and the hody amorous
Sous un grand ciel gris, dans une grande plaine poudreuse, sans
One would say your gaze was a misted screen:
The Devil and I had a chat
Like pensive cattle lying on the sands
Within the dwindling glow of light from languid lamps,
Once, once only, sweet and lovable woman,
Une fois, une seule, aimable et douce femme,
From this bizarre and livid sky
Hou, O my Grief, be wise and tranquil still,
You are a pink and lovely autumn sky!
In Nature's temple living pillars rise,
For Ernest Christophe
À Ernest Christophe
Reveille sang its call among the barracks' paths,
In evening as the sun goes down
I beg your pity, You, my only love;
Cent fois déjà le soleil avait jailli, radieux ou attristé, de cette
The Fiend is at my side without a rest;
When Juan sought the subterranean flood,
Tranquil as a sage and gentle as one who’s cursed. I said:
for F.N.
Two warriors have grappled, and their arms
Sweet evening comes, friend of the criminal,
Above the ponds, beyond the valleys,
With quiet heart, I climbed the hill,
Here’s the criminal’s friend, delightful evening:
Beneath a broad grey sky, upon a vast and dusty plain devoid of grass, and where not even a nettle or a thistle was to be seen, I met several men who walked bowed down to the ground.
When with closed eyes in autumn's eves of gold
This is the sanctuary
Like pensive cattle, lying on the sands,
Off in a perfumed land bathed gently by the sun,
One must have courage as strong
In faded chairs, the pale old courtesans,
That tribe of prophets with the burning eyes
Voici venir les temps o vibrant sur sa tige
Now those days arrive when, stem throbbing,
O fleece, billowing even down the neck!
for J.G.F.
De ce ciel bizarre et livide,
To the too-dear, to the too-beautiful,
O Beauty! do you visit from the sky
Viens-tu du ciel profond ou sors-tu de l’abîme
I give to you these verses, that if in
I have not forgotten our little white retreat
I love the naked ages long ago
I love the thought of ancient, naked days
I love you as I love the night's high vault
It was in her white skirts that he loved to see
To bear a weight that cannot be borne,
Higher there, higher, far from the ways,
One must be for ever drunken: that is the sole question of importance. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time that bruises your shoulders and bends you to the earth, you must be drunken without cease. But how? With wine, with poetry, with
My sister, my child
I’ve not forgotten, near to the town,
I adore you, the nocturnal vault’s likeness,
Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
The great-hearted servant of whom you were jealous,
Lovers of whores don’t care,
So as to write my eclogues in the purest verse
In order to write my chaste verses I’ll lie
Mother of Roman games and Greek delights,
On the old oak benches, more shiny and polished
O Angel, the most brilliant and most wise,
Free man, you'll love the ocean endlessly!
Late autumns, winters, spring-times steeped in mud,
Autumn's last days, winters and mud-soaked spring
A vapour seems to hide your face from view;
Agatha, tell me, could your heart take flight
You are a lovely autumn sky, rose-clear!
Reveille was sounding on barrack-squares,
Music doth uplift me like a sea
I've been home a long time among the vast porticos,
Is it not pleasant, now we are tired,
Great forests you frighten me, like vast cathedrals:
The poet in his cell, unkempt and sick,
Under black yew-trees, in the shade,
Quand, les deux yeux fermés, en un soir chaud d’automne,
for Constantin Guys
An Old Colophon
Wine can invest the most disgusting hole
With new chords I'll sing your praises,
When in brave days of old, Theology
When, sullen beauty, you will sleep and have
Angel of gaiety, have you tasted grief?
Singular goddess, brown as night, and wild,
You said, there grows within you some strange gloom,
Picture Diana decked out for the chase,
Although your wayward brows
They say to me, thy clear and crystal eyes:
The moon tonight dreams vacantly, as if
I'm like some king in whose corrupted veins
Pluvius, this whole city on his nerves,
More memories than if I'd lived a thousand years!
I might as well be king of rainy lands
When low and heavy sky weighs like a lid
Pluviôse, irrité contre la ville entière,
J’ai plus de souvenirs que si j’avais mille ans.
Je suis comme le roi d’un pays pluvieux,
Quand le ciel bas et lourd pèse comme un couvercle
What, then, has God to say of cursing heresies,
‘From that sky livid, bizarre
That kind heart you were jealous of, my nurse
Often, to amuse themselves, the crew of the ship
One man lights you with his ardour
On the great walls of ancient cloisters were nailed
Other of memories, mistress of mistresses,
Ubens, oblivious garden of indolence,
Consider them, my soul, they are a fright!
Hate is the cask of the Danaïdes;
Come, my fine cat, to my amorous heart;
The Clock! a sinister, impassive god
How penetrating is the end of an autumn day! Ah, yes, penetrating enough to be painful even; for there are certain delicious sensations whose vagueness does not prevent them from being intense; and none more keen than the perception of the Infinite.
How bittersweet it is on winter nights
Carrying bouquet, and handkerchief, and gloves,
How I adore, dear indolent,
How many times must I jingle my little bells
We will have beds imbued with mildest scent,
It is death that consoles and allows us to live.
Unhappy perhaps is the man, but happy the artist, who is torn with this desire.
A chamber that is like a reverie; a chamber truly spiritual, where the stagnant atmosphere is lightly touched with rose and blue.
Above the valleys, over rills and meres,
My youth was nothing but a black storm
The ancient cloisters on their lofty walls
You are a sky of autumn, pale and rose;
There are some powerful odours that can pass
It’s bitter, yet sweet, on wintry nights,
Sometimes it seems my blood spurts out in gobs
Old courtesans in washed-out armchairs,
Softly as brown-eyed Angels rove
In times when madcap Nature in her verve
The Moon, who is caprice itself, looked in at the window as you slept in your cradle, and said to herself:
There are some natures purely contemplative and antipathetic to action, who nevertheless, under a mysterious and inexplicable impulse, sometimes act with a rapidity of which they would have believed themselves incapable. Such a one is he who, fearing
In a rich land, fertile, replete with snails
Now it is nearly time when, quivering on its stem,
O fleece, billowing down to the shoulders!
It will not be these beauties of vignettes,
Do you know, as I do, delicious sadness
It is a superb land, a country of Cockaigne, as they say, that I dream of visiting with an old friend. A strange land, drowned in our northern fogs, that one might call the East of the West, the China of Europe; a land patiently and luxuriously decor
Can we suppress the old Remorse
How can we kill the long, the old Remorse
My sweetheart was naked, knowing my desire,
Whatever place he goes, on land or sea,
O you, the most knowing, and loveliest of Angels,
for Victor Hugo
They pass before me, these Eyes full of light,
They march ahead, those brilliant Eyes in you
When I watch you go by, in all your indolence,
This morning how grand is the space!
As the carriage traversed the wood he bade the driver draw up in the neighbourhood of a shooting gallery, saying that he would like to have a few shots to kill time. Is not the slaying of the monster Time the most ordinary and legitimate occupation o
Allegorical Statue in the Style of the Renaissance
Twisting and writhing like a snake on fiery sands,
Oh moon our fathers worshipped, their love discreet,
My wife is dead and I am free!
Under the overhanging yews,
I am a writer's pipe; you see
Wine can clothe the most sordid hole
The sun is wrapped within a pall of mist,
Often, beneath a street lamp's reddish light,
Man, with which to pay his ransom,
O shadowy Beauty mine, when thou shalt sleep
The Moon more indolently dreams to-night
City of swarming, city full of dreams
O swarming city, city full of dreams,
Ant-like city, city full of dreams,
"Cemetery View Inn" "A queer sign," said our traveller to himself; "but it raises a thirst! Certainly the keeper -o f this inn appreciates Horace and the poet pupils of Epicurus. Perhaps he even apprehends the profound philosophy of those old Egyptia
Poor Muse, alas, what ails thee, then, to-day?
Where'er he be, on water or on land,
How I love to watch, dear indolence,
A handsome woman's tantalizing gaze
One night, from bottles, sang the soul of wine:
When white and ruby dawn among the rakes
O soft enchantress, let me tell the truth
Tell me, enigmatic man, whom do you love best? Your father, your mother, your sister, or your brother?
Through all the district's length, where from the shacks
How beautiful a new sun is when it rises,
Andromache, I think of you! The stream,
Dull soul, to whom the battle once was sweet,
The Demon, in my chamber high,
What is a thyrsus? According to the moral and poetical sense, it is a sacerdotal emblem in the hand of the priests or priestesses celebrating the divinity of whom they are the interpreters and servants. But physically it is no more than a baton, a pu
Debauch and Death are a fine, healthy pair
You invaded my sorrowful heart
Muse of my heart, lover of palaces,
I was the height of a folio, my bed just
Pascal had his Void that went with him day and night.
Every man worth the name
The way her silky garments undulate
Vauvenargues says that in public gardens there are alleys haunted principally by thwarted ambition, by unfortunate inventors, by aborted glories and broken hearts, and by all those tumultuous and contracted souls in whom the last sighs of the storm m
Old monasteries under steadfast walls
White maiden with the russet hair,
In a perfumed land caressed by the sun
Madonna, mistress, I would build for thee
Pale girl with russet hair,
Your feet are as slender as hands, your hips, to me,
Around me roared the nearly deafening street.
Your head, your gesture, your air,
Stupidity and error, avarice and vice,
How admirable the day! The vast park swoons beneath the burning eye of the sun, as youth beneath the lordship of love.
for Maxime du Camp
The prophetic tribe with burning eyes
I once knew a certain Benedicta whose presence filled the air with the ideal and whose eyes spread abroad the desire of grandeur, of beauty, of glory, and of all that makes man believe in immortality.
What will you say tonight, poor lonely soul,
You'd entertain the universe in bed,