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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Le Beau Navire

Je veux te raconter, ô molle enchanteresse!
Les diverses beautés qui parent ta jeunesse;
Je veux te peindre ta beauté,
Où l'enfance s'allie à la maturité.

Quand tu vas balayant l'air de ta jupe large,
Tu fais l'effet d'un beau vaisseau qui prend le large,
Chargé de toile, et va roulant
Suivant un rythme doux, et paresseux, et lent.

Sur ton cou large et rond, sur tes épaules grasses,
Ta tête se pavane avec d'étranges grâces;
D'un air placide et triomphant
Tu passes ton chemin, majestueuse enfant.

Je veux te raconter, ô molle enchanteresse!
Les diverses beautés qui parent ta jeunesse;
Je veux te peindre ta beauté,
Où l'enfance s'allie à la maturité.

Ta gorge qui s'avance et qui pousse la moire,
Ta gorge triomphante est une belle armoire
Dont les panneaux bombés et clairs
Comme les boucliers accrochent des éclairs;

Boucliers provoquants, armés de pointes roses!
Armoire à doux secrets, pleine de bonnes choses,
De vins, de parfums, de liqueurs
Qui feraient délirer les cerveaux et les coeurs!

Quand tu vas balayant l'air de ta jupe large
Tu fais l'effet d'un beau vaisseau qui prend le large,
Chargé de toile, et va roulant
Suivant un rythme doux, et paresseux, et lent.

Tes nobles jambes, sous les volants qu'elles chassent,
Tourmentent les désirs obscurs et les agacent,
Comme deux sorcières qui font
Tourner un philtre noir dans un vase profond.

Tes bras, qui se joueraient des précoces hercules,
Sont des boas luisants les solides émules,
Faits pour serrer obstinément,
Comme pour l'imprimer dans ton coeur, ton amant.

Sur ton cou large et rond, sur tes épaules grasses,
Ta tête se pavane avec d'étranges grâces;
D'un air placide et triomphant
Tu passes ton chemin, majestueuse enfant.

Charles Baudelaire


The Beautiful Ship

I want to name for you, indolent sorceress!
The divers marks of beauty which adorn your youth;
I want to describe your beauty,
In which are blended childhood and maturity.

When you go sweeping by in your full, flowing skirts,
You resemble a trim ship as it puts to sea
Under full sail and goes rolling
Lazily, to a slow and easy rhythm.

On your large, round neck, on your plump shoulders,
Your head moves proudly and with a strange grace;
With a placid, triumphant air
You go your way, majestic child.

I want to name for you, indolent sorceress!
The divers marks of beauty which adorn your youth;
I want to describe your beauty,
In which are blended childhood and maturity.

Your exuberant breast which swells your silken gown,
Your triumphant breast is a lovely cabinet
Whose panels, round and bright,
Catch each flash of light like bucklers,

Exciting bucklers, armed with rosy points!
Cabinet of sweet secrets, crowded with good things,
With wines, with perfumes, with liqueurs
That would make delirious the minds and hearts of men!

When you go sweeping by in your full, flowing skirts,
You resemble a trim ship as it puts to sea
Under full sail and goes rolling
Lazily, to a slow and easy rhythm.

Your shapely legs beneath the flounces they pursue
Arouse and torment obscure desires
Like two sorceresses who stir
A black philtre in a deep vessel.

Your arms which would scorn precocious Hercules
Are the worthy rivals of glistening boas,
Made to clasp stubbornly Y
our lover, as if to imprint him on your heart.

On your large, round neck, on your plump shoulders,
Your head moves proudly and with a strange grace;
With a placid, triumphant air
You go your way, majestic child.

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


The Splendid Ship

Oh soft enchantress, I'll record with truth
The diverse beauties that adorn your youth.
Yes, I will paint your charm
Of womanhood with childhood arm in arm.

When you go sweeping your wide skirts, to me
You seem a splendid ship that out to sea
Spreads its full sails, and with them
Goes rolling in a soft, slow, lazy rhythm.

Over your tall, round neck and those plump shoulders,
Your head swans forth its pride to all beholders,
With grace triumphant, mild,
And strange, you go your way, majestic child.

Oh soft enchantress, I'll record with truth
The diverse beauties that adorn your youth.
Yes, I will paint your charm
Of womanhood with childhood arm in arm.

Your bosom juts and stretches every stitch,
Triumphant bosom, like a coffer rich
With bosses round and rare,
Like shields that draw the lightning from the air.

Provoking shields, with rosy points uplifted!
Coffer of secret charms, superbly gifted,
Whose scents, liqueurs, and wine
Turn heart and brain deliriously thine.

When you go sweeping your wide skirts, to me
You seem a splendid ship that out to sea
Spreads its full sails, and with them
Goes rolling in a soft, slow, lazy rhythm.

Your noble thighs, beneath the silks they swirl,
Torment obscure desires and tease me, girl;
Like sorcerers they are
That stir black philtres in a deep, cool jar.

Your arms precocious Hercules would grace
And vie with pythons in their bright embrace:
The pressure they impart
Would print your lovers' image on your heart.

Over your tall, round neck and those plump shoulders
Your head swans forth its pride to all beholders,
With grace triumphant, mild,
And strange, you go your way, majestic child.

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


The Beautiful Ship

I Want to tell you, indolent enchantress,
Of the various beauties that adorn your youth;
I want to paint for you your beauty
Of childish maturity.

When you go sweeping the air with your flaring skirts,
You look like a lovely slip taking to flight
Heavy with canvas, pitching,
Rolling in a soft rhythm, both lazy and slow.

On your wide, round neck, on your plump shoulders,
Your head parades its strange graces;
Placidly, triumphantly,
O child of majesty, you go your way.

I want to tell you, indolent enchantress,
Of the various beauties that adorn your youth;
I want to paint for you your beauty
Where childhood touches maturity.

Your breasts thrust forward, heaving their silk,
Your triumphing breasts are charming cases
Whose outlined, rounded panels
Hold flashes of light like twin shields;

Provocative shields, armed with pink tips,
Cases of sweet secrets, full of sweet things,
Of wines and perfumes and liqueurs
Making the brain, the heart delirious!

When you go sweeping the air with your flaring skirts,
You look like a lovely ship taking to flight,
Heavy with canvas, you go pitching,
Rolling in a soft rhythm, both lazy and slow.

Your full legs, under flounces they chase forward,
Torture and excite dark desires,
Like two witches who
Twist some black potion in a deep bowl.

Your arms, which would make light of precocious Hercules,
Rival well two glistening snakes,
Made to bind hopelessly
As if to imprison your lover in your heart.

On your wide, round neck, on your plump shoulders,
Your head parades its strange graces
Placid, triumphantly,
O child of majesty, you go your way.

— Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974)