Two editions of Fleurs du mal were published in Baudelaire's lifetime — one in 1857 and an expanded edition in 1861. "Scraps" and censored poems were collected in Les Épaves in 1866. After Baudelaire died the following year, a "definitive" edition appeared in 1868.

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Réversibilité

Ange plein de gaieté, connaissez-vous l'angoisse,
La honte, les remords, les sanglots, les ennuis,
Et les vagues terreurs de ces affreuses nuits
Qui compriment le coeur comme un papier qu'on froisse?
Ange plein de gaieté, connaissez-vous l'angoisse?

Ange plein de bonté, connaissez-vous la haine,
Les poings crispés dans l'ombre et les larmes de fiel,
Quand la Vengeance bat son infernal rappel,
Et de nos facultés se fait le capitaine?
Ange plein de bonté connaissez-vous la haine?

Ange plein de santé, connaissez-vous les Fièvres,
Qui, le long des grands murs de l'hospice blafard,
Comme des exilés, s'en vont d'un pied traînard,
Cherchant le soleil rare et remuant les lèvres?
Ange plein de santé, connaissez-vous les Fièvres?

Ange plein de beauté, connaissez-vous les rides,
Et la peur de vieillir, et ce hideux tourment
De lire la secrète horreur du dévouement
Dans des yeux où longtemps burent nos yeux avide!
Ange plein de beauté, connaissez-vous les rides?

Ange plein de bonheur, de joie et de lumières,
David mourant aurait demandé la santé
Aux émanations de ton corps enchanté;
Mais de toi je n'implore, ange, que tes prières,
Ange plein de bonheur, de joie et de lumières!

Charles Baudelaire


Reversibility

Angel full of gaiety, do you know anguish,
Shame, remorse, sobs, vexations,
And the vague terrors of those frightful nights
That compress the heart like a paper one crumples?
Angel full of gaiety, do you know anguish?

Angel full of kindness, do you know hatred,
The clenched fists in the darkness and the tears of gall,
When Vengeance beats out his hellish call to arms,
And makes himself the captain of our faculties?
Angel full of kindness, do you know hatred?

Angel full of health, do you know Fever,
Walking like an exile, moving with dragging steps,
Along the high, wan walls of the charity ward,
And with muttering lips seeking the rare sunlight?
Angel full of health, do you know Fever?

Angel full of beauty, do you know wrinkles,
The fear of growing old, and the hideous torment
Of reading in the eyes of her he once adored
Horror at seeing love turning to devotion?
Angel full of beauty, do you know wrinkles?

Angel full of happiness, of joy and of light,
David on his death-bed would have appealed for health
To the emanations of your enchanted flesh;
But of you, angel, I beg only prayers,
Angel full of happiness, of joy and of light!

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)


Reversibility

Angel of gaiety, have you known anguish,
Shame and remorse, tears, boredom, and dismay,
Vague horrors of the nights in which we languish,
Which crumple hearts like papers thrown away?
Angel of gaiety, have you known anguish?

Angel of kindness, have you met with hate?
Fists clenched in gloom, eyes running tears of gall,
When Vengeance beats his drum to subjugate
Our faculties, the captain of them all?
Angel of kindness, have you met with hate?

Angel of health, have you beheld the Fevers?
Across pale walls of wards they limp and stumble,
Like exiles wan, with agues, chills, and shivers,
Seeking the scanty sun with lips that mumble.
Angel of health, have you beheld the Fevers?

Angel of beauty, do you know Old Age,
The fear of wrinkles, and the dire emotion,
In eyes we've pierced too long, as on a page,
To read the secret horror of devotion?
Angel of beauty do you know Old Age?

Angel of goodness, radiance, and delight,
The dying David would have begged to share
The emanations of your body bright.
But all I wish to ask of you is prayer,
Angel of goodness, radiance, and delight.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)


The Angelic One

Spirit of happiness, hast thou heard tell of woe?
Hast thou heard tell of anguish, and remorse, and care —
Of those long nights when in the black fist of Despair
The heart is crumpled up like paper? Dost thou know,
Spirit of happiness? Hast thou heard tell of woe?

Spirit of kindliness, hast thou heard tell of hate,
The clenched hands in the darkness, the silent bitter tears,
With Vengeance beating in the arteries of our ears
Its dogged tom-tom, irresistible as fate?
Spirit of kindliness, hast thou heard tell of hate?

Spirit of health, hast thou heard whisper of Disease,
Whose pallid children, in the courtyard gray with soot
Of the bleak hospital, go dragging a slow foot
To find a patch of sunlight? Host thou heard of these?
Spirit of health, hast thou heard whisper of Disease?

Spirit of beauty, hast thou heard of ugliness,
Of the long secret torment of growing old — above
All else, the pain of reading in the eyes we love
A wordless horror, even while the lips say "yes?"
Spirit of beauty, hast thou heard of ugliness?

Spirit of joy, spirit of beauty, spirit of light,
David, grown old, would have thought nothing to implore
Thy healing touch, thy warm young presence in the night;
But, spirit, I only ask of thee thy prayers, no more —
Spirit of joy, spirit of beauty, spirit of light!

— George Dillon, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)


Reversibility

Angel, teeming with gaiety, do you know grief,
Anguish, remorse and shame, their ravages and blights,
And the vague terrors of those panic-stricken nights
Which squeeze the heartstrings dry as a sere crumpled leaf?
Angel, teeming with gaiety, do you know grief?

Angel, teeming with kindliness, do you know hate,
Fists tight-clenched in the shadows, scalding tears of gall,
When Vengeance roars with his infernal battle-call,
Making himself the captain of our acts and fate?
Angel, teeming with kindliness, do you know hate?

Angel, teeming with healthfulness, do you know Fever
Who like an exile lopes with dragging step towards
The wan stark walls of hospitals and public wards,
Mumbling, seeking rare sunlight for a brace or lever?
Angel, teeming with healthfulness, do you know Fever?

Angel, teeming with loveliness, do you know wrinkles,
The fear of growing old, and, like a poisoned potion,
The dread of seeing love turn into fond devotion
In eyes adored, once blue and pure as periwinkles?
Angel, teeming with loveliness, do you know wrinkles?

Angel, teeming with happy, blithe, luminous airs,
David upon his deathbed would have craved for power
From the suave emanations of your body's flower,
But I, angel, beseech of you only your prayers,
Angel, teeming with happy, blithe, luminous airs!

— Jacques LeClercq, Flowers of Evil (Mt Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1958)