A poem by Charles Baudelaire

In faded chairs, the pale old courtesans,
Eyebrows painted, eye of fatal calm,
Smirking, and letting drop from skinny ears
Those jingling sounds of metal and of stone;

Around green cloth, the faces without lips,
Lips without colour over toothless jaws,
And fingers twisted by infernal fires,
Digging in pockets, or in panting breast;

Under the filthy ceilings, chandeliers
And lamps of oil doling out their glow
Over the brilliant poets' gloomy brows,
Who come to squander here their bloody sweat;

This is the black tableau that in my dream
I see unroll before my prescient eye.
There in an idle corner of that den
I see myself-cold, mute, and envying,

Envious of these men's tenacious lust,
The morbid gaiety of these old whores,
Trafficking gallantly before my face
In honour and in beauty, as of old!

My heart takes fright to envy this poor lot
Who rush so fervently to the abyss,
And who, drunk on their blood, prefer, in sum,
Suffering to death, and Hell to nothingness!

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