Self Portrait by Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire's
Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil

La Pipe

Je suis la pipe d'un auteur;
On voit, à contempler ma mine
D'Abyssinienne ou de Cafrine,
Que mon maître est un grand fumeur.

Quand il est comblé de douleur,
Je fume comme la chaumine
Où se prépare la cuisine
Pour le retour du laboureur.

J'enlace et je berce son âme
Dans le réseau mobile et bleu
Qui monte de ma bouche en feu,

Et je roule un puissant dictame
Qui charme son coeur et guérit
De ses fatigues son esprit.

Charles Baudelaire

The Pipe

I am the pipe of an author;
One sees by my color,
Abyssinian or Kaffir,
That my master's a great smoker.

When he is laden with sorrow,
I smoke like a cottage
Where they are preparing dinner
For the return of the ploughman.

I clasp and lull his soul
In the wavy blue web
That rises from my fiery mouth.

I give forth clouds of dittany
That warm his heart and cure
His mind of its fatigue.

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

The Author's Pipe

I am an author's pipe. To see me
And my outlandish shape to heed,
You'd know my master was a dreamy
Inveterate smoker of the weed.

When be is loaded down with care,
I like a stove will smoke and burn
Wherein the supper they prepare
Against the labourer's return.

I nurse his spirit with my charm
Swaying it in a soft, uncertain,
And vaguely-moving azure curtain.

I roll a potent cloud of balm
To lull his spirit into rest
And cure the sorrows in his breast.

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

The Pipe

An author's favourite pipe am I,
My Kaffir woman's countenance
Tells the beholder at a glance
My master smokes incessantly.

If he is mournful or in pain
I smoke as does the ploughman's cot
When the good wife prepares the pot
Before her spouse comes home again.

I bind his soul and rock her well
In the blue twisting skein which slips
And rises from my fiery lips,

And weave a very potent spell
Which soothes his heart in its distress
And heals his spirit's weariness.

— Jack Collings Squire, Poems and Baudelaire Flowers (London: The New Age Press, Ltd, 1909)

The Pipe

I am an author's pipe;
From examining my Abyssinian
Or Kaffir countenance, one sees
That my master is a great smoker.

When he is laden with sorrow,
I smoke like a cottage
When the cooking is being prepared
Against the laborer's return

I entwine and I cradle his soul
In the drifting, blue film
That climbs from my fiery mouth,

And I turn a powerful balm
Which charms his heart and heals
His spirit of fatigues.

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


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.