Self Portrait by Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire's
Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil

Le Vin des amants

Aujourd'hui l'espace est splendide!
Sans mors, sans éperons, sans bride,
Partons à cheval sur le vin
Pour un ciel féerique et divin!

Comme deux anges que torture
Une implacable calenture
Dans le bleu cristal du matin
Suivons le mirage lointain!

Mollement balancés sur l'aile
Du tourbillon intelligent,
Dans un délire parallèle,

Ma soeur, côte à côte nageant,
Nous fuirons sans repos ni trêves
Vers le paradis de mes rêves!

Charles Baudelaire

The Wine of Lovers

Today space is magnificent!
Without bridle or bit or spurs
Let us ride away on wine
To a divine, fairy-like heaven!

Like two angels who are tortured
By a relentless delirium,
Let us follow the far mirage
Through the crystal blue of the morning!

Gently balanced upon the wings
Of the intelligent whirlwind,
In a similar ecstasy,

My sister, floating side by side,
We'll flee without ever stopping
To the paradise of my dreams!

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

The Wine of Lovers

Oh, what a splendour fills all space!
Without bit, spur, or rein to race,
Let's gallop on the steeds of wine
To heavens magic and divine!

Now like two angels off the track,
Whom wild relentless fevers rack,
On through the morning's crystal blue
The swift mirages we'll pursue.

Now softly poised upon the wings
That a sagacious cyclone brings,
In parallel delirium twinned,

While side by side we surf the wind,
We'll never cease from such extremes,
To seek the Eden of our dreams!

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

The Wine of Lovers

To-day the Distance is superb,
Without bridle, spur or curb,
Let us mount on the back of wine
For Regions fairy and divine!

Let's, like two angels tortured by
Some dark, delirious phantasy,
Pursue the distant mirage drawn
O'er the blue crystal of the dawn!

And gently balanced on the wing
Of some obliging whirlwind, we
— In equal rapture revelling —

My sister, side by side will flee,
Without repose, nor truce, where gleams
The golden Paradise of my dreams!

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

The Wine of Lovers

Space rolls to-day her splendour round!
Unbridled, spurless, without bound,
Mount we upon the wings of wine
For skies fantastic and divine!

Let us, like angels tortured by
Some wild delirious phantasy,
Follow the far-off mirage born
In the blue crystal of the morn.

And gently balanced on the wing
Of the wild whirlwind we will, ride,
Rejoicing with the joyous thing.

My sister, floating side by side,
Fly we unceasing whither gleams
The distant heaven of my dreams.

— F.P. Sturm, from Baudelaire: His Prose and Poetry, edited by Thomas Robert Smith (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919)


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.