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Charles Baudelaire

I am the wound and the knife! I am the slap and the cheek! I am the limbs and the rack, And the victim and the executioner! I am the vampire of my own heart. — Charles Baudelaire, from “The Self-Tormentor,” Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil. (Published by Auguste Poulet-Malassis 1857)

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Anthology · Classic · Collection · Compilation · Decadent Movement · French Culture · French Literature · Poetry · Prose Poetry · Symbolism

Charles Baudelaire

The Desire To Paint Unhappy perhaps is the man, but happy the artist, who is torn with this desire. I burn to paint a certain woman who has appeared to me so rarely, and so swiftly fled away, like some beautiful, regrettable thing the traveller must leave behind him in the night. It is already… Continue reading Charles Baudelaire

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Classic · Collection · Decadent Movement · Excerpt · Fragment · French Culture · French Literature · Passage · Poetry · Symbolism

Charles Baudelaire

From out these wide black eyes which are your spirit’s vent, Heap fires less fierce upon me. O impenitent, I am no tireless Styx to gird you nine times nine, I am no lustful Fury to exhaust your lust, To break your vigor or to make you bite the dust Or in your bed’s hell… Continue reading Charles Baudelaire

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Charles Baudelaire

Mist and Rain O Autumns, Winters, Springs! Seasons of mire! Soul-drowsing times! I love you. Take my praise For shrouding thus my heart and brain entire In a vague tomb and winding-sheet of haze. Through the long nights when the south-wester swings The rusty vanes that shriek upon the towers, My soul can fully stretch… Continue reading Charles Baudelaire

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Charles Baudelaire

To a Madonna Votive Offering in the Spanish Style I want to build for you, Madonna, my mistress, An underground altar in the depths of my grief And carve out in the darkest corner of my heart, Far from worldly desires and mocking looks, A niche, all enameled with azure and with gold, Where you… Continue reading Charles Baudelaire

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Classic · Collection · Decadent Movement · French Culture · French Literature · Modernism · Poetry · Symbolism

Charles Baudelaire

To the Reader To the Reader Folly, error, sin, and penny-pinching Preoccupy our minds and belabor our bodies And we feed our amiable remorse Like beggars nourishing their vermin. Our sins are stubborn, our repentance weak — We demand generous payment for our confessions And we return gaily to the muddy path, Believing a few… Continue reading Charles Baudelaire

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Classic · Collection · Decadent Movement · Excerpt · French Culture · French Literature · Modernism · Passage · Poetry · Symbolism

Charles Baudelaire

Paris may change, but in my melancholy mood Nothing has budged! New palaces, blocks, scaffoldings, Old neighborhoods, are allegorical for me And my dear memories are heavier than stone. – Charles Baudelaire, from “The Swan,” The Flowers of Evil. Translated by James McGowan, (Oxford University Press May 15, 2008) Originally published 1857.

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Classic · Collection · Decadent Movement · Excerpt · Fragment · French Culture · French Literature · Modernism · Passage · Poetry · Symbolism

Charles Baudelaire

I prefer to African wines, to opium, to burgundy, The elixir of your mouth where love parades itself; When my desires leave in caravan for you, Your eyes are the reservoir where my cares drink. — Charles Baudelaire, from “Sed Non Satiata,” Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil. Translated by Geoffrey Wagner. (David R.… Continue reading Charles Baudelaire

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