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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La Destruction

Sans cesse à mes côtés s'agite le Démon;
II nage autour de moi comme un air impalpable;
Je l'avale et le sens qui brûle mon poumon
Et l'emplit d'un désir éternel et coupable.

Parfois il prend, sachant mon grand amour de l'Art,
La forme de la plus séduisante des femmes,
Et, sous de spécieux prétextes de cafard,
Accoutume ma lèvre à des philtres infâmes.

II me conduit ainsi, loin du regard de Dieu,
Haletant et brisé de fatigue, au milieu
Des plaines de l'Ennui, profondes et désertes,

Et jette dans mes yeux pleins de confusion
Des vêtements souillés, des blessures ouvertes,
Et l'appareil sanglant de la Destruction!

Charles Baudelaire


Destruction

The Demon is always moving about at my side;
He floats about me like an impalpable air;
I swallow him, I feel him burn my lungs
And fill them with an eternal, sinful desire.

Sometimes, knowing my deep love for Art, he assumes
The form of a most seductive woman,
And, with pretexts specious and hypocritical,
Accustoms my lips to infamous philtres.

He leads me thus, far from the sight of God,
Panting and broken with fatigue, into the midst
Of the plains of Ennui, endless and deserted,

And thrusts before my eyes full of bewilderment,
Dirty filthy garments and open, gaping wounds,
And all the bloody instruments of Destruction!

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


Destruction

Always the Demon fidgets here beside me
And swims around, impalpable as air:
I drink him, feel him burn the lungs inside me
With endless evil longings and despair.

Sometimes, knowing my love of Art, he uses
Seductive forms of women: and has thus,
With specious, hypocritical excuses,
Accustomed me to philtres infamous.

Leading me wayworn into wastes untrod
Of boundless Boredom, out of sight of God,
Using all baits to compass my abduction,

Into my eyes, confused and full of woe,
Soiled clothes and bleeding gashes he will throw
And all the grim regalia of Destruction.

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