The Warner

Every man worthy of the name
Has in his heart a yellow Snake
Installed as if upon a throne,
Who, if he says: "I will!" answers: "No!"

Plunge your eyes into the fixed gaze
Of Satyresses or Nixies,
The Fang says: "Think of your duty!"

Beget children, set out trees, 
Polish verses, sculpture marble, 
The Fang says: "Will you be alive tonight?

Whatever he may plan or hope, 
Man does not live for an instant 
Without enduring the warning 
Of the unbearable Viper.

Berthas Eye's

You can scorn more illustrious eyes,
sweet eyes of my child,
 through which there takes flight something as good or as tender as night.
Turn to mine your charmed shadows, sweet eyes! Great eyes of a child, adorable secrets, you resemble those grottoes of magic where,
behind the dark and lethargic, shine vague treasures the world forgets.
My child has veiled eyes, profound and vast, and shining like you,
Night, immense, above!
Their fires are of Trust,
mixed with thoughts of Love, t
hat glitter in depths,
voluptuous or chaste

The Blind

Contemplate them, my soul; they are truly frightful! 
Like mannequins; vaguely ridiculous; 
Strange and terrible, like somnambulists; 
Darting, one never knows where, their tenebrous orbs.

Their eyes, from which the divine spark has departed, 
Remain raised to the sky, as if they were looking 
Into space: one never sees them toward the pavement 
Dreamily bend their heavy heads.

Thus they go across the boundless darkness,
That brother of eternal silence. O city!
While about us you sing, laugh, and bellow,

In love with pleasure to the point of cruelty, 
See! I drag along also! but, more dazed than they, 
I say: "What do they seek in Heaven, all those blind?"

The Bad Monk

 Cloisters in former times portrayed on their high walls The truths of Holy Writ with fitting pictures Which gladdened pious hearts and lessened the coldness, The austere appearance, of those monasteries. In those days the sowing of Christ's Gospel flourished, And more than one famed monk, seldom quoted today, Taking his inspiration from the graveyard, Glorified Death with naive simplicity. — My soul is a tomb where, bad cenobite, I wander and dwell eternally; Nothing adorns the walls of that loathsome cloister.
O lazy monk! When shall I learn to make Of the living spectacle of my bleak misery The labor of my hands and the love of my eyes?
Punishment for Pride (Chatiment de l´orgueil)

In that marvelous time in which Theology Flourished
with the greatest energy and vigor,
It is said that one day a most learned doctor —
After winning by force the indifferent hearts,
Having stirred them in the dark depths of their being;
After crossing on the way to celestial glory,
Singular and strange roads, even to him unknown,
Which only pure Spirits, perhaps, had reached,
— Panic-stricken, like one who has clambered too high,
He cried, carried away by a satanic pride:
"Jesus, little jesus! I raised you very high!
But had I wished to attack you through the defect
In your armor, your shame would equal your glory,
And you would be no more than a despised fetus!"
At that very moment his reason departed.

A crape of mourning veiled the brilliance of that sun;
Complete chaos rolled in and filled that intellect,
A temple once alive, ordered and opulent,
Within whose walls so much pomp had glittered.
Silence and darkness took possession of it
Like a cellar to which the key is lost.
Henceforth he was like the beasts in the street,
And when he went along, seeing nothing, across
The fields, distinguishing nor summer nor winter,
Dirty, useless, ugly, like a discarded thing,
He was the laughing-stock, the joke, of the children.

Nature is a temple in which living pillars
Sometimes give voice to confused words;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with understanding eyes.

Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance
In a deep and tenebrous unity,
Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,
Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.

There are perfumes as cool as the flesh of children,
Sweet as oboes, green as meadows
— And others are corrupt, and rich, triumphant,

With power to expand into infinity,
Like amber and incense, musk, benzoin,
That sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses.

About Charles Baudelaire's "L´Ennemi" / "The enemy" from "Les Fleurs du mal" / "The Flowers of Evil"

The Enemy

My youth has been nothing but a tenebrous storm, 
Pierced now and then by rays of brilliant sunshine; 
Thunder and rain have wrought so much havoc 
That very few ripe fruits remain in my garden.

I have already reached the autumn of the mind, 
And I must set to work with the spade and the rake 
To gather back the inundated soil 
In which the rain digs holes as big as graves.

And who knows whether the new flowers I dream of 
Will find in this earth washed bare like the strand, 
The mystic aliment that would give them vigor?

Alas! Alas! Time eats away our lives, 
And the hidden Enemy who gnaws at our hearts 
Grows by drawing strength from the blood we lose!


About Charles Baudelaire's "La Vie antérieure" / "My former life" from "Les Fleurs du mal" / "The Flowers of Evil"

My former life

For long I lived beneath vast colonnades
Tinged with a thousand fires by ocean suns,
Whose giant pillars, straight and majestic,
Made them look, at evening, like basalt caves. 
The sea-swells, mingling the mirrored skies,
Solemnly and mystically interwove
The mighty chords of their mellow music
With the colours of sunset reflected in my eyes.
It is there that I have lived in sensuous repose,
With blue sky about me and brightness and waves
And naked slaves all drenched in perfume.
Who fanned my brow with fronds of palm,
And whose only care was to fathom
The secret grief which made me languish.
About Charles Baudelaire's "L´Albatros" / "The Albatross" from "Les Fleurs du mal" / "The Flowers of Evil"

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew 
Catch albatrosses, those vast sea birds 
That indolently follow a ship 
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.

Scarcely have they placed them on the deck 
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed, 
Pathetically let their great white wings 
Drag beside them like oars.

That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is, 
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly! 
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe; 
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!

The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky 
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman; 
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers, 
His giant wings prevent him from walking.

About  Charles Baudelaires "La Muse malade" / "The sick muse" (le rose lutin /a rosy elf) from "Les fleurs du mal" / "The flowers of evil

The Sick Muse

My poor Muse, alas! what ails you today? 
Your hollow eyes are full of nocturnal visions; 
I see in turn reflected on your face 
Horror and madness, cold and taciturn.

Have the green succubus, the rosy elf,
Poured out for you love and fear from their urns?
Has the hand of Nightmare, cruel and despotic,
Plunged you to the bottom of some weird Minturnae?

I would that your bosom, fragrant with health,
Were constantly the dwelling place of noble thoughts,
And that your Christian blood would flow in rhythmic waves

Like the measured sounds of ancient verse, 
Over which reign in turn the father of all songs, 
Phoebus, and the great Pan, lord of harvest.