Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé among many others. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that ... more »
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Charles Baudelaire Poems
Always be drunk. That's it! The great imperative! In order not to feel
You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it--it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
Anywhere Out of the World
This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window. It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not, and this question of removal is one which I discuss incessantly with my soul.
They are alike, prim scholar and perfervid lover: When comes the season of decay, they both decide Upon sweet, husky cats to be the household pride; Cats choose, like them, to sit, and like them, shudder.
At One O'Clock In The Morning
Alone, at last! Not a sound to be heard but the rumbling of some belated and decrepit cabs. For a few hours we shall have silence, if not repose. At last the tyranny of the human face has disappeared,
Soon we will plunge ourselves into cold shadows, And all of summer's stunning afternoons will be gone. I already hear the dead thuds of logs below Falling on the cobblestones and the lawn.
O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape! O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare! O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape With memories that in these tresses sleep,
Looking from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more pregnant, more insidious, more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers. Across the ocean of roofs I can see a middle-aged woman, her face already lined, who is forever bending over something and who never goes out. Out of her face, her dress, and her gestures, our of practically nothing at all, I have made up this woman's story, or rather legend, and sometimes I tell it to myself and weep.
La sottise, l'erreur, le péché, la lésine, Occupent nos esprits et travaillent nos corps, Et nous alimentons nos aimables remords, Comme les mendiants nourrissent leur vermine.
It is not given to every man to take a bath of multitude; enjoying a crowd is an art; and only he can relish a debauch of vitality at the expense of the human species, on whom, in his cradle, a fairy has bestowed the love of masks and masquerading, the hate of home, and the passion for roaming. Multitude, solitude: identical terms, and interchangeable by the active and fertile poet. The man who is unable to people his solitude is equally unable to be alone in a bustling crowd.
Often to pass the time on board, the crew will catch an albatross, one of those big birds which nonchalently chaperone a ship across the bitter fathoms of the sea.
Remember that object we saw, dear soul, In the sweetness of a summer morn: At a bend of the path a loathsome carrion On a bed with pebbles strewn,
Nature is a temple whose living colonnades Breathe forth a mystic speech in fitful sighs; Man wanders among symbols in those glades Where all things watch him with familiar eyes.
You that, like a dagger’s thrust, Have entered my complaining heart, You that, stronger than a host Of demons, came, wild yet prepared;
Quotationsmore quotations »
''What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.''Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Squibs, Intimate Journals, sct. 18 (1887), trans. by Christopher Isherwood (1930), rev. Don Bachardy (198...
''Hugo, like a priest, always has his head bowedbowed so low that he can see nothing except his own navel.''Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. "Squibs," sect. 22, Intimate Journals (1887), trans. by Christopher Isherwood (1930), revised by Don Bach...
''It is the hour to be drunken! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.''Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Complete Works, vol. 1, "Shorter Prose Poems," ed. Yves-Gérard le Dantec; rev. Claude Pichois (1953). Eni...
''We all have the republican spirit in our veins, like syphilis in our bones. We are democratized and venerealized.''Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Sur la Belgique, epilogue, Complete Works, vol. 2, ed. Yves-Gérard le Dantec, rev. by Claude Pichois (197...
''Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!''Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French. Flowers of Evil, "Hymn to Beauty," (1860).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Always be drunk.
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans