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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Horreur sympathique

De ce ciel bizarre et livide,
Tourmenté comme ton destin,
Quels pensers dans ton âme vide
Descendent? réponds, libertin.

— Insatiablement avide
De l'obscur et de l'incertain,
Je ne geindrai pas comme Ovide
Chassé du paradis latin.

Cieux déchirés comme des grèves
En vous se mire mon orgueil;
Vos vastes nuages en deuil

Sont les corbillards de mes rêves,
Et vos lueurs sont le reflet
De l'Enfer où mon coeur se plaît.

Charles Baudelaire


Reflected Horror

From that sky, bizarre and livid,
Distorted as your destiny,
What thoughts into your empty soul
Descend? Answer me, libertine.

— Insatiably avid
For the dark and the uncertain,
I shall not whimper like Ovid
Chased from his Latin paradise.

Skies torn like the shores of the sea,
You are the mirror of my pride;
Your vast clouds in mourning

Are the black hearses of my dreams,
And your gleams are the reflection
Of the Hell which delights my heart.

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


Sympathetic Horror

From livid skies that, without end,
As stormy as your future roll,
What thoughts into your empty soul
(Answer me, libertine!) descend?

— Insatiable yet for all
That turns on darkness, doom, or dice,
I'll not, like Ovid, mourn my fall,
Chased from the Latin paradise.

Skies, torn like seacoasts by the storm!
In you I see my pride take form,
And the huge clouds that rush in streams

Are the black hearses of my dreams,
And your red rays reflect the hell,
In which my heart is pleased to dwell.

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


Magnetic Horror

"Beneath this sky, so livid and strange,
Tormented like thy destiny,
What thoughts within thy spirit range
Themselves? — O libertine reply."

— With vain desires, for ever torn
Towards the uncertain, and the vast,
And yet, like Ovid — I'll not mourn —
Who from his Roman Heaven was cast.

O heavens, turbulent as the streams,
In you I mirror forth my pride!
Your clouds, which clad in mourning, glide,

Are the hearses of my dreams,
And in your illusion lies the hell,
Wherein my heart delights to dwell.

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