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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Moesta et errabunda

Dis-moi ton coeur parfois s'envole-t-il, Agathe,
Loin du noir océan de l'immonde cité
Vers un autre océan où la splendeur éclate,
Bleu, clair, profond, ainsi que la virginité?
Dis-moi, ton coeur parfois s'envole-t-il, Agathe?

La mer la vaste mer, console nos labeurs!
Quel démon a doté la mer, rauque chanteuse
Qu'accompagne l'immense orgue des vents grondeurs,
De cette fonction sublime de berceuse?
La mer, la vaste mer, console nos labeurs!

Emporte-moi wagon! enlève-moi, frégate!
Loin! loin! ici la boue est faite de nos pleurs!
— Est-il vrai que parfois le triste coeur d'Agathe
Dise: Loin des remords, des crimes, des douleurs,
Emporte-moi, wagon, enlève-moi, frégate?

Comme vous êtes loin, paradis parfumé,
Où sous un clair azur tout n'est qu'amour et joie,
Où tout ce que l'on aime est digne d'être aimé,
Où dans la volupté pure le coeur se noie!
Comme vous êtes loin, paradis parfumé!

Mais le vert paradis des amours enfantines,
Les courses, les chansons, les baisers, les bouquets,
Les violons vibrant derrière les collines,
Avec les brocs de vin, le soir, dans les bosquets,
— Mais le vert paradis des amours enfantines,

L'innocent paradis, plein de plaisirs furtifs,
Est-il déjà plus loin que l'Inde et que la Chine?
Peut-on le rappeler avec des cris plaintifs,
Et l'animer encor d'une voix argentine,
L'innocent paradis plein de plaisirs furtifs?

Charles Baudelaire


Grieving and Wandering

Tell me, does your heart sometimes fly away, Agatha,
Far from the black ocean of the filthy city,
Toward another ocean where splendor glitters,
Blue, clear, profound, as is virginity?
Tell me, does your heart sometimes fly away, Agatha?

The sea, the boundless sea, consoles us for our toil!
What demon endowed the sea, that raucous singer,
Whose accompanist is the roaring wind,
With the sublime function of cradle-rocker?
The sea, the boundless sea, consoles us for our toil!

Take me away, carriage! Carry me off, frigate!
Far, far away! Here the mud is made with our tears!
— Is it true that sometimes the sad heart of Agatha
Says: Far from crimes, from remorse, from sorrow,
Take me away, carriage, carry me off, frigate?

How far away you are, O perfumed Paradise,
Where under clear blue sky there's only love and joy,
Where all that one loves is worthy of love,
Where the heart is drowned in sheer enjoyment!
How far away you are, O perfumed Paradise!

But the green Paradise of childhood loves
The outings, the singing, the kisses, the bouquets,
The violins vibrating behind the hills,
And the evenings in the woods, with jugs of wine
— But the green Paradise of childhood loves,

That sinless Paradise, full of furtive pleasures,
Is it farther off now than India and China?
Can one call it back with plaintive cries,
And animate it still with a silvery voice,
That sinless Paradise full of furtive pleasures?

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


Moesta et Errabunda

Agatha, does your heart rise up and fly,
Far from the city's black and sordid sea
Towards a sea that's blue as any sky,
And clear and deep as pure virginity?
Agatha, does your heart rise up and fly?

The sea, the mighty sea, consoles our labour.
What demon taught the sea with raucous verse
To choir the organ which the winds belabour
And lullaby our sorrows like a nurse?
The sea, the mighty sea, consoles our labour.

Train, bear me; take me, ship, to other climes!
Far, far! For here the mud is made of tears.
— Does Agatha's sad heart not say, at times,
"Far from remorses, sorrows, crimes, and fears,
Train, bear me; take me, ship, to other climes"?

How distant is that perfumed paradise!
Where all is joy and love with azure crowned,
Where all one loves is truly worth the price,
And hearts in pure voluptuousness are drowned.
How distant is that perfumed paradise!

But the green paradise of childish love,
Of races, songs, and kisses, and bouquets,
Of fiddles shrilling in the hills above,
And jars of wine, and woods, and dying rays —
But the green paradise of childish love,

innocent paradise of furtive joys,
Is it far off as India or Hong Kong?
Could it be conjured by a plaintive voice
Or animated by a silver song —
That far off paradise of furtive joys?

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


Moesta Et Errabunda

Agatha, tell me, thy heart — does it sometimes fly away,
Far from the vast dark ocean of the mournful town,
Toward one still vaster, mirroring the blue, blue day,
Mindless and deep: a flood wherein all sorrows drown?
Agatha, tell me, thy heart — does it sometimes fly away?

The sea, the enormous sea has rest for our desires:
By what demoniac irony can that fierce thing,
That raucous howler to the winds' untuneful choirs,
Assuage our deepest woe with its wild clarnouring?
The sea, the enormous sea has rest for our desires.

Carry me off, loud trains! Abstract me, silent ships,
Far, far! Here even the earth is miry with our tears!
Is it not true that sometimes Agatha's sweet lips
Murmur: "Far from regrets, from griefs, from cruel fears,
Carry me off, loud trains! Abstract me, silent ships!"

How far, how far away, that paradise above,
Wbere all our ills supposedly are put to rest,
Where everything we love is worthy of our love,
And the unburdened heart lies weightless in the breast
How far, how far away, that paradise above!

But the green, earthly paradise of childhood, even,
The songs, the furtive kisses, the dances, the bouquets,
The picnics on the hillside — that unpretentious heaven
Of summer twilights where a distant music plays:
But the green, earthly paradise of childhood, even,

Where all our cares are mended in small secret joys —
Is it already farther than Shanghai or Ceylon?
Or has the heart some kingdom no suffering destroys,
Where those young voices laugh, where those old tunes play on
Where all our cares are mended in small secret joys?

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


Moesta et Errabunda

Oh, Agatha, tell! does thy heart not at times fly away?
Far from the city impure and the lowering sea,
To another ocean that blinds with its dazzling array,
So blue and so clear and profound, like virginity?
Oh, Agatha, tell! does thy heart not at times fly away?

The sea, the vast ocean our travail and trouble consoles!
What demon hath gifted the sea with a voice from on high,
To sing us (attuned to an Aeolus-organ that rolls
Forth a grumbling burden) a lenitive lullabye?
The sea, the vast ocean our travail and trouble consoles!

Oh, carry me, waggons, oh, sailing-ships, help me depart!
Far, far, here the dust is quite wet with our showering tears,
Oh, say! it is true that Agatha's desolate heart,
Proclaimeth, "Away from remorse, and from crimes, and from cares,"
Oh, carry me, waggons, oh, sailing ships, help me depart!

How distant you seem to be, perfumed Elysian fields!
Wherein there is nothing but sunshine and love and glee;
Where all that one loves is so worthy, and lovingly yields,
And our hearts float about in the purest of ecstasy,
How distant you seem to be, perfumed Elysian fields!

But the green paradise of those transient infantile loves,
The strolls, and the songs, and the kisses, and bunches of flowers,
The viols vibrating beyond, in the mountainous groves,
With the chalice of wine and the evening, entwined, in the bowers,
But the green paradise of those transient infantile loves.

That innocent heaven o'erflowing with furtive delight,
Than China or India, is it still further away?
Or, could one with pityful prayers bring it back to our sight?
Or yet with a silvery voice o'er the ages convey
That innocent heaven o'erflowing with furtive delight!

— Cyril Scott, Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909)


Weeping and Wandering

Say, Agatha, if at times your spirit turns
Far from the black sea of the city's mud,
To another ocean, where the splendour burns
All blue, and clear, and deep as maidenhood?
Say, Agatha, if your spirit thither turns?

The boundless sea consoles the weary mind!
What demon gave the sea -- that chantress hoarse
To the huge organ of the chiding wind --
The function grand to rock us like a nurse?
The boundless ocean soothes the jaded mind!

O car and frigate, bear me far away,
For here our tears moisten the very clay.
Is't true that Agatha's sad heart at times
Says, Far from sorrows, from remorse, from crimes,
Remove me, car, and, frigate, bear away?

O perfumed paradise, how far removed,
Where 'neath a clear sky all is love and joy,
Where all we love is worthy to be loved,
And pleasure drowns the heart, but does not cloy.
O perfumed paradise, so far removed!

But the green paradise of childlike loves,
The walks, the songs, the kisses, and the flowers,
The violins dying behind the hills, the hours
Of evening and the wine-flasks in the groves.
But the green paradise of early loves,

The innocent paradise, full of stolen joys,
Is't farther off than ev'n the Indian main?
Can we recall it with out plaintive cries,
Or give it life, with silvery voice, again,
The innocent paradise, full of furtive joys?

— Richard Herne Shepherd, Translations from Charles Baudelaire (London: John Camden Hotten, 1869)


Moesta et errabunda

say, Agatha, dost thou in dreams delight
— far, far from Paris, black and miry sea —
to rove where other oceans burst in light,
blue, deep, and crystal-clear as chastity?
say, Agatha, dost thou in dreams delight?

the vast, vast ocean is our comforter!
what demon gave the hoarse resounding sea
— and the gruff winds' great organ made for her —
that siren voice to soothe our misery?
the vast, vast ocean is our comforter!

bear me away, swift car and frigate smart!
afar! — afar! this mire is made of tears!
— Agatha, truly does thy mournful heart
cry out: afar from sin, remorse and fears,
bear me away, swift car and frigate smart!

how far from us that fragrant Eden lies,
where all is azure clear and love and joy,
where all we loved was worthy in love's eyes,
where hearts were drowned in bliss without alloy!
how far from us that fragrant Eden lies!

but the green Eden of our earliest loves
— songs, roses, races, with a kiss to win,
the jugs of wine at dusk in shadowy groves
where died, afar, a quivering violin,
— but the green Eden of our earliest loves,

our Eden of pure tremulous joy and bliss
— is it now farther than the Asian shore?
can tears or cries recall each magic kiss,
or prayers or silvery words some eve restore
our Eden of pure tremulous joy and bliss?

— Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)