The Wretched Monk

A poem by Charles Baudelaire

Old monasteries under steadfast walls
Displayed tableaux of holy Verity,
Warming the inner men in those cold halls
Against the chill of their austerity.

Those times, when seeds of Christ would thrive and grow,
More than one monk, now in obscurity,
Taking the graveyard as his studio,
Ennobled Death, in all simplicity.

My soul's a tomb that, wretched cenobite,
I travel in throughout eternity;
Nothing adorns the walls of this sad shrine

O slothful monk! Oh, when may I assign
This living spectacle of misery
To labour of my hands, my eyes' delight?

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