Draft Epilogue for the Second Edition of Les Fleurs du mal

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

Tranquil as a sage and gentle as one who’s cursed. I said:
I love you, oh my beauty, my charmer

many a time
your debauches without thirst, your soul-less loves,
your longing for the infinite
which proclaims itself everywhere, even in evil,

your bombs, knives, victory marches, public feasts,
your melancholy suburbs,
your furnished rooms,
your gardens full of sighs and intrigue,
your churches vomiting prayer as music,
your childish despairs, mad hags’ games,
your discouragements:

and your fireworks, eruptions of joy,
that make the dumb and gloomy sky smile.
Your venerable vice dressed in silk,
and laughable virtue, with sad gaze,
gentle, delighting in the luxury it shows.

Your saved principles and flouted laws,
your proud monuments on which mists catch,
your metal domes the sun inflames,
your theatrical queens with seductive voices,
your tocsins, cannon, deafening orchestra,
your magic cobbles heaped as barricades,

your petty orators’ swollen rhetoric,
preaching love, while your sewers run with blood,
rushing towards Hell like the Orinoco’s flood,

your angels, your fresh clowns in ancient rags.
Angels dressed in gold, purple and hyacinth,
O you, bear witness that I’ve discharged my task,
like a perfect alchemist like a sainted soul.

From every thing I’ve extracted the quintessence,

you gave me your mud and I’ve turned it into gold.

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