Flowers of Evil

Charles Baudelaire
A free download from
The Flowers of Evil
by Charles Baudelaire
Translated Into?English Verse?By Cyril Scott
Elkin Mathews, Vigo Street
Dedicated To Arthur Symons
The Sick Muse
The Venal Muse
The Evil Monk
The Enemy
Interior Life
Man and the Sea
The Ideal
The Giantess
Hymnto Beauty
Exotic Perfume
La Chevelure
Posthumous Remorse
The Balcony
The Possessed One
Semper Eadem
All Entire
Sonnet XLIII
The Living Torch
The Spiritual Dawn
Evening Harmony
Overcast Sky
Invitation to a Journey
Autumn Song
To a Creolean Lady
Moesta et Errabunda
The Ghost
Autumn Song
Sadness of the Moon-Goddess
The Joyous Defunct
The Broken Bell
Magnetic Horror
The Lid
Bertha's Eyes
The Set of the Romantic Sun
To a Passer-by
Illusionary Love
Mists and Rains
The Wine of Lovers
Condemned Women
The Death of the Lovers
The Death of the Poor
When by the changeless Power of a Supreme Decree?The poet issues forth upon this sorry sphere,?His mother, horrified, and full of blasphemy,?Uplifts her voice to God, who takes compassion on her.
"Ah, why did I not bear a serpent's nest entire,?Instead of bringing forth this hideous Child of Doom!?Oh cursed be that transient night of vain desire?When I conceived my expiation in my womb!"
"Yet since among all women thou hast chosen me?To be the degradation of my jaded mate,?And since I cannot like a love-leaf wantonly?Consign this stunted monster to the glowing grate,"
"I'll cause thine overwhelming hatred to rebound?Upon the cursed tool of thy most wicked spite.?Forsooth, the branches of this wretched tree I'll wound?And rob its pestilential blossoms of their might!"
So thus, she giveth vent unto her foaming ire,?And knowing not the changeless statutes of all times,?Herself, amid the flames of hell, prepares the pyre;?The consecrated penance of maternal crimes.
Yet 'fieath th' invisible shelter of an Angel's wing?This sunlight-loving infant disinherited,?Exhales from all he eats and drinks, and everything?The ever sweet ambrosia and the nectar red.
He trifles with the winds and with the clouds that glide,?About the way unto the Cross, he loves to sing,?The spirit on his pilgrimage; that faithful guide,?Oft weeps to see him joyful like a bird of Spring.
All those that he would cherish shrink from him with fear,?And some that waxen bold by his tranquility,?Endeavour hard some grievance from his heart to tear,?And make on him the trial of their ferocity.
Within the bread and wine outspread for his repast?To mingle dust and dirty spittle they essay,?And everything he touches, forth they slyly cast,?Or scourge themselves, if e'er their feet betrod his way.
His wife goes round proclaiming in the crowded quads?"Since he can find my body beauteous to behold,?Why not perform the office of those ancient gods?And like unto them, redeck myself with shining gold?"
"I'll bathe myself with incense, spikenard and myrrh,?With genuflexions, delicate viandes and wine,?To see, in jest, if from a heart, that loves me dear,?I cannot filch away the hommages divine."
"And when of these impious jokes at length I tire,?My frail but mighty hands, around his breast entwined,?With nails, like harpies' nails, shall cunningly conspire?The hidden path unto his feeble heart to find."
"And like a youngling bird that trembles in its nest,?I'll pluck his heart right out; within its own blood drowned, And finally to satiate my favourite beast,?I'll throw it with intense disdain upon the ground!"
Towards the Heavens where he sees the sacred grail?The poet calmly stretches forth his pious arms,?Whereon the lightenings from his lucid spirit veil?The sight of the infuriated mob that swarms.
"Oh blest be thou, Almighty who bestowest pain,?Like some divine redress for our infirmities,?And like the most refreshing and the purest rain,?To sanctify the strong, for saintly ecstasies."
"I know that for the poet thou wilt grant a chair,?Among the Sainted Legion and the Blissful ones,?That of the endless feast thou wilt accord his share?To him, of Virtues, Dominations and of Thrones."
"I know, that Sorrow is that nobleness alone,?Which never may corrupted be by hell nor curse,?I know, in order to enwreathe my mystic crown?I must inspire the ages and the universe."
"And yet the buried jewels of Palmyra old,?The undiscovered metals and the pearly sea?Of gems, that unto me you show could never hold?Beside this diadem of blinding brilliancy."
"For it shall be engendered from the purest fire?Of rays primeval, from the holy hearth amassed,?Of which the eyes of Mortals, in their sheen entire,?Are but the tarnished mirrors, sad and overcast!"
In Nature's temple, living columns rise,?Which oftentimes give tongue to words subdued,?And Man traverses this symbolic wood,?Which looks at him with half familiar eyes
Like lingering echoes, which afar confound?Themselves in deep and sombre unity,?As vast as Night, and like transplendency,?The scents and colours to each other respond.
And scents there are, like infant's flesh as chaste,?As sweet as oboes, and as meadows fair,?And others, proud, corrupted, rich and vast,
Which have the expansion of infinity,?Like amber, musk and frankincense and myrrh,?That sing the soul's and senses' ecstasy.
The Sick Muse
Alas my poor Muse what aileth thee now??Thine eyes are bedimmed with the visions of Night,?And silent and cold I perceive on thy brow?In their turns Despair and Madness alight.
A succubus green, or a hobgoblin red,?Has it poured o'er thee
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