Selected Poems from Les Fleurs Du Mal Selected Poems from Les Fleurs Du Mal Selected Poems from Les Fleurs Du Mal: A Bilingual Edition a Bilingual Edi

Overview


In a masterly translation by Norman Shapiro, this selection of poems from Les Fleurs du mal demonstrates the magnificent range of Baudelaire's gift, from the exquisite quatrains to the formal challenges of his famous sonnets. The poems are presented in both French and English, complemented by the work of illustrator David Schorr. As much a pleasure to look at as it is to read, this volume invites newcomers and devotees alike to experience Baudelaire's genius anew.

"A fine, formal translation of the best poems of...

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Overview


In a masterly translation by Norman Shapiro, this selection of poems from Les Fleurs du mal demonstrates the magnificent range of Baudelaire's gift, from the exquisite quatrains to the formal challenges of his famous sonnets. The poems are presented in both French and English, complemented by the work of illustrator David Schorr. As much a pleasure to look at as it is to read, this volume invites newcomers and devotees alike to experience Baudelaire's genius anew.

"A fine, formal translation of the best poems of France's founder of the symbolist movement."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"It's rare to find a rewarding translation of a masterwork, particularly a collection of groundbreaking poetry. . . . Through Shapiro's skillful wordsmithing, the reader can fully appreciate Baudelaire's control of the soul and the word which is the ancient and indefatigable ambition of all great poets. . . . Shapiro's interpretations set the standard for future English translations."—Virginia Quarterly Review

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Translates 73 poems from Baudelaire's famous collection, presenting the French originals and translations in facing- page format. Shapiro (Romance languages and literatures, Wesleyan U.) adheres to the rhyme scheme of Baudelaire's originals, but is less strict with metrical considerations. His diction veers closer to the formal than the more vernacular approach favored by some translators of Baudelaire. The poems are illustrated by 18 engravings by the artist David Schorr. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
John Hollander
These wonderfully resonant versions of Baudelaire's great poems are more than merely rhymed, metrical ones: they manage to become English poetry. Shapiro has found here in splendid translation what is most often lost. -- John Hollander
Richard Wilbur
An admirably sustained rendering of a great range of poems, done with a scholar's accuracy and a poet's formal exactitude. Shapiro captures that tension between lapidary form and romantic emotion, which is Baudelaire's signature, and which has eluded many other translators of "Les Fleurs du mal." -- Richard Wilbur
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226039268
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,398,748
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du mal



A Bilingual Edition


By Charles Baudelaire


University of Chicago Press


Copyright © 2003


University of Chicago
All right reserved.


ISBN: 0-226-03926-9





Chapter One


Au Lecteur

La sottise, l'erreur, le peche, la lesine,
Occupent nos esprits et travaillent nos corps,
Et nous alimentons nos aimables remords,
Comme les mendiants nourrissent leur vermine.

Nos peches sont tetus, nos repentirs sont laches;
Nous nous faisons payer grassement nos aveux,
Et nous rentrons gaiement dans le chemin bourbeux,
Croyant par de vils pleurs laver toutes nos taches.

Sur l'oreiller du mal c'est Satan Trismegiste
Qui berce longuement notre esprit enchante,
Et le riche metal de notre volonte
Est tout vaporise par ce savant chimiste.

C'est le Diable qui tient les fils qui nous remuent!
Aux objets repugnants nous trouvons des appas;
Chaque jour vers l'Enfer nous descendons d'un pas,
sans horreur, a travers des tenebres qui puent.

Ainsi qu'un debauche pauvre qui baise et mange
Le sein martyrise d'une antique catin,
Nous volons au passage un plaisir clandestin
Que nous pressons bien fort comme une vieille orange.

Serre, fourmillant, comme unmillion d'helminthes,
Dans nos cerveaux ribote un peuple de Demons,
Et, quand nous respirons, la Mort dans nos poumons
Descend, fleuve invisible, avec de sourdes plaintes.

Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie,
N'ont pas encor bronde de leurs plaisants dessins
Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
C'est que notre ame, helas! n'est pas assez hardie.

Mais parmi les chacals, les pantheres, les lices,
Les singes, les scorpions, les vautours, les serpents,
Les monstres glapissants, hurlants, grognants, rampants,
Dans la menagerie infame de nos vices,

Il en est un plus laid, plus mechant, plus immonde!
Quoiqu'il ne pousse ni grands gestes ni grands cris,
Il ferait volontiers de la terre un debris
Et dans un baillement avalerait le monde;

C'est l'Ennui!-l'oeil charge d'un pleur involontaire,
Il reve d'echafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre delicat,
-Hypocrite lecteur,-mon semblable,-mon frere!


To the Reader

Folly, depravity, greed, mortal sin
Invade our souls and rack our flesh; we feed
Our gentle guilt, gracious regrets, that breed
Like vermin glutting on foul beggars' skin.

Our sins are stubborn; our repentance, faint.
We take a handsome price for our confession,
Happy once more to wallow in transgression,
Thinking vile tears will cleanse us of all taint.

On evil's cushion poised, His Majesty,
Satan Thrice-Great, lulls our charmed soul, until
He turns to vapor what was once our will:
Rich ore, transmuted by his alchemy.

He holds the strings that move us, limb by limb!
We yield, enthralled, to things repugnant, base;
Each day, towards Hell, with slow, unhurried pace,
We sink, uncowed, through shadows, stinking, grim.

Like some lewd rake with his old worn-out whore,
Nibbling her suffering teats, we seize our sly
delight, that, like an orange-withered, dry-
We squeeze and press for juice that is no more.

Our brains teem with a race of Fiends, who frolic
thick as a million gut-worms; with each breath,
Our lungs drink deep, suck down a stream of Death-
Dim-lit-to low-moaned whimpers melancholic.

If poison, fire, blade, rape do not succeed
In sewing on that dull embroidery
Of our pathetic lives their artistry,
It's that our soul, alas, shrinks from the deed.

And yet, among the beasts and creatures all-
Panther, snake, scorpion, jackal, ape, hound, hawk-
Monsters that crawl, and shriek, and grunt, and squawk,
In our vice-filled menagerie's caterwaul,

One worse is there, fit to heap scorn upon-
More ugly, rank! Though noiseless, calm and still,
yet would he turn the earth to scraps and swill,
swallow it whole in one great, gaping yawn:

Ennui! That monster frail!-With eye wherein
A chance tear gleams, he dreams of gibbets, while
Smoking his hookah, with a dainty smile. . .
-You know him, reader,-hypocrite,-my twin!


* * *


L'Invitation au voyage

Mon enfant, ma soeur,
Songe a la douceur
D'aller la-bas vivre ensemble!
Aimer a loisir,
Aimer et mourir
Au pays qui te ressemble!
Les soleils mouilles
De ces ciels brouilles
Pour mon esprit ont les charmes
Si mysterieux
De tes traitres yeux,
Brillant a travers leurs larmes.

La, tout n'est qu'ordre et beaute,
Luxe, calme, et volupte.

Des meubles luisantes,
Polis par les ans,
Decoreraient notre chambre:
Les plus rare fleurs
Melant leurs odeurs
Aux vagues senteurs de l'ambre,
Les riches plafonds,
Les miroirs profonds,
La splendeur orientale,
Tout y parlerait
A l'ame en secret
Sa douce langue natale.

La, tout n'est qu'ordre et beaute,
Luxe, calme et volupte.

Vois sur ces canaux
Dormir ces vaisseaux
Dont l'humeur est vagabonde;
C'est pour assouvir
Ton moindre desir
Qu'ils viennent du bout du monde.
-Les soleils couchants
Revetent les champs,
Les canaux, la ville entiere,
D'hyacinthe et d'or;
Le monde s'endort
Dans une chaude lumiere.

La, tout n'est qu'ordre et beaute,
Luxe, calme, et volupte.


Invitation to the Voyage

Imagine, ma petite,
Dear sister mine, how sweet
Were we to go and take our pleasure
Leisurely, you and I-
To lie, to love, to die
Off in that land made to your measure!
A land whose suns' moist rays,
Through the skies' misty haze,
Hold quite the same dark charms for me
As do your scheming eyes
When they, in their like wise,
Shine through your tears, perfidiously.

There all is order, naught amiss:
Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss.

Treasure galore-ornate,
Time-glossed-would decorate
Our chamber, where the rarest blooms
Would blend their lavish scent,
Heady and opulent,
With wisps of amber-like perfumes;
Where all the Orient's
Splendid, rich ornaments-
Deep mirrors, ceilings fine-would each,
In confidential tone,
Speak to the soul alone
In its own sweet and secret speech.

There all is order, naught amiss:
Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss.

See how the ships, asleep-
They who would ply the deep!-
Line the canals: to satisfy
Your merest whim they come
From far-flung heathendom
And skim the seven seas. -On high,
The sunset's rays enfold
In hyacinth and gold,
Field and canal; and, with the night,
As shadows gently fall,
Behold! Life sleeps, and all
Lies bathed in warmth and evening light.

There all is order, naught amiss:
Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss.


* * *


La Fin de la Journee

Sous une lumiere blafarde
Court, danse et se tord sans raison
La Vie, impudente et crarde.
Aussi, sitot qu'a l'horizon

La nuit voluptueuse monte,
Apaisant tout, meme la faim,
Effacant tout, meme la honte,
Le Poete se dit: "Enfin!

Mon esprit, comme me vertebres,
Invoque ardemment le repos;
Le coeur plein de songes funebres,

Je vais me coucher sur le dos
Et me rouler dans vos rideaux,
O rafraichissantes tenebres!"


The End of the Day

In all its raucous impudence
Life writhes, cavorts in pallid light,
With little cause or consequence;
And when, with darkling skies, the night

Casts over all its sensuous balm,
Quells hunger's pangs and, in like wise,
Quells shame beneath its pall of calm,
"Aha, at last!" the Poet sighs.

"My mind, my bones, yearn, clamoring
For sweet repose unburdening.
Heart full of dire, funeral thought,

I will lie out; your folds will cling
About me: veils of shadow wrought,
O darkness, cool and comforting!"

(Continues...)







Excerpted from Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du mal
by Charles Baudelaire
Copyright © 2003
by University of Chicago.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Foreword by Willis Barnstone
Preface by Norman R. Shapiro
Illustrator's Preface by David Schorr
To the Reader
The Albatross
Elevation
Correspondences
The Sick Muse
The Wretched Monk
The Enemy
The Jinx
The Former Life
Man and the Sea
Don Juan in Hell
Pride Punished
Beauty
The Ideal
The Giantess
Hymn to Beauty
Exotic Perfume
Tresses
"I worship you ..."
"Boredom it is ..."
Sed non satiata
"Dressed in her opalescent ..."
De profundis clamavi
The Vampire
"One night, with a vile Jewess ..."
The Cat
The Possessed
All of Her
"What will you say ..."
The Living Torch
Reversibility
Dawn of the Spirit
Evening Harmony
Poison
Heavens' Haze
The Beautiful Ship
Invitation to the Voyage
Chat
For a Creole Lady
Moesta et Errabunda
The Incubus
Autumn Sonnet
Sorrows of the Moon
Cats
The Owls
The Pipe
Music
Burial
A Fantastic Engraving
The Cracked Bell
Spleen
Spleen
Spleen
Spleen
Obsession
The Taste for Nothingness
Grief's Alchemy
Harmony of Horror
Heautontimoroumenos
Landscape
The Sun
The Swan
"I still recall ..."
Mists and Rains
Morning Twilight
The Lone Man's Wine
Lovers' Wine
Destruction
The Two Good Sisters
The Fountain of Blood
Beatrice Mine
Abel and Cain
The End of the Day
Notes
Illustrator's Notes
Acknowledgments
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