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 Jet d'eau

Tes beaux yeux sont las, pauvre amante!
Reste longtemps, sans les rouvrir,
Dans cette pose nonchalante
Où t'a surprise le plaisir.
Dans la cour le jet d'eau qui jase,
Et ne se tait ni nuit ni jour,
Entretient doucement l'extase
Où ce soir m'a plongé l'amour.

La gerbe épanouie
En mille fleurs,
Où Phoebé réjouie
Met ses couleurs,
Tombe comme une pluie
De larges pleurs.

Ainsi ton âme qu'incendie
L'éclair brûlant des voluptés
S'élance, rapide et hardie,
Vers les vastes cieux enchantés.
Puis elle s'épanche, mourante,
En un flot de triste langueur,
Qui par une invisible pente
Descend jusqu'au fond de mon coeur.

La gerbe épanouie
En mille fleurs,
Où Phoebé réjouie
Met ses couleurs,
Tombe comme une pluie
De larges pleurs.

Ô toi, que la nuit rend si belle,
Qu'il m'est doux, penché vers tes seins,
D'écouter la plainte éternelle
Qui sanglote dans les bassins!
Lune, eau sonore, nuit bénie,
Arbres qui frissonnez autour,
Votre pure mélancolie
Est le miroir de mon amour.

La gerbe épanouie
En mille fleurs,
Où Phoebé réjouie
Met ses couleurs,
Tombe comme une pluie
De larges pleurs.

Charles Baudelaire


The Fountain

My poor mistress! your lovely eyes
Are tired, leave them closed and keep
For long the nonchalant pose
In which pleasure surprised you.
In the court the bubbling fountain
That's never silent night or day
Sweetly sustains the ecstasy
Into which love plunged me tonight.

The sheaf unfolds into
Countless flowers
In which joyful Phoebe
Puts her colors:
It drops like a shower
Of heavy tears.

Thus your soul which is set ablaze
By the burning flash of pleasure
Springs heavenward, fearless and swift,
Toward the boundless, enchanted skies.
And then it overflows, dying
In a wave of languid sadness
That by an invisible slope
Descends to the depths of my heart.

The sheaf unfolds into
Countless flowers
In which joyful Phoebe
Puts her colors:
It drops like a shower
Of heavy tears.

Oh you whom the night makes so fair,
How sweet, bending over your breast,
To listen to the endless plaint
Of the sobbing of the fountains!
Moon, singing water, blessed night,
Trees that quiver round about us,
Your innocent melancholy
Is the mirror of my love.

The sheaf unfolds into
Countless flowers
In which joyful Phoebe
Puts her colors:
It drops like a shower
Of heavy tears.

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


The Fountain

My darling of a sweetheart, close,
For a long time, your great, tired eyes,
Keeping them in that languid pose
Where pleasure took them by surprise.
Out in the court the fountain chatters
And does not cease by day or night.
The swoon of ecstasy it flatters
In which love plunges me tonight.

Its sheaf uprears
A myriad flowers,
While Phoebe sheers
Through pearl-flushed hours,
To rain down tears
In glittering showers.

So does your flashing soul ignite
In lightnings of voluptuous bliss
And rushes reckless up the height
As though the enchanted sky to kiss;
Then it relaxes, grows more fine,
And in sad languor falls apart
Down an invisible incline
Into the deep well of my heart.

Its sheaf uprears
A myriad flowers,
While Phoebe sheers
Through pearl-flushed hours,
To rain down tears
In glittering showers.

O you whom night so beautifies
How sweet unto your breast to bend
And hear the water as it sighs
Into the ponds without an end
Moon, singing water, blessed night
And trees that tremble up above —
Your melancholy charms my sprite
And is the mirror of my love.

Its sheaf uprears
A myriad flowers,
While Phoebe sheers
Through pearl-flushed hours,
To rain down tears
In glittering showers.

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


The Fountain

Thine eyes are heavy. Let them close.
Lie without opening them. Lie
Still in the lovely thoughtless pose
Where pleasure found thee. The long cry
Of moonlit waters that caress
The evening, languorous as thou art,
Lives on: So does the tenderness
Love has awakened in my heart.

The fountain leaps and flowers
In many roses,
Whereon the moonlight flares.
Their crystal petals, falling,
Falling for ever,
Are changèd to bright tears.

Even thus thy spirit, briefly ht
With the strange lightnings of desire,
Once more into the infinite
Flings up its pure forgetful fire,
As if the dusty earth to flee —
And blossoms there, and breaks apart,
And falls, and flows invisibly
Into the deep night of my heart.

The fountain leaps and flowers
In many roses,
Whereon the moonlight flares.
Their crystal petals, falling,
Falling for ever,
Are changèd to bright tears.

O thou, so fair and so forlorn,
How sweet, my lips upon thy breast,
To hear within its marble urn
The water sobbing without rest.
O moon, loud water, lovely night,
O leaves where the soft winds upstart,
O wild and melancholy light,
Ye are the image of my heart.

The fountain leaps and flowers
In many roses,
Whereon the moonlight flares.
Their crystal petals, falling,
Falling for ever,
Are changèd to bright tears.

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