[The translator entitled this first of the "Spleen" poems "Late January."]

Pluviôse, irrité contre la vie entière,
De son urne à grands flats verse un froid ténébreux
Aux pâles habitants du voisin cimetière
Et la mortalité sur les faubourgs brumeux.

Mon chat sur le carreau cherchant une litière
Agite sans repos son corps maigre et galeux;
L'âme d'un vieux poète erre dans la gouttière
Avec la triste voix d'un fantôme frileux.

Le bourdon se lamente, et la bûche enfumée
Accompagne en fausset la pendule enrhumée,
Cependant qu'en un jeu plein de sales parfums,

Héritage fatal d'une vieille hydropique,
Le beau valet de cosur et la dame de pique
Consent sinistrement de lews amours défunts.

Pluviose, hating all that lives, and loathing me,
Distills his cold and gloomy rain and slops it down
Upon the pallid lodgers in the cemetery
Next door, and on the people shopping in the town.

My cat, for sheer discomfort, waves a sparsely-furred
And shabby tail incessantly on the tiled floor;
And, wandering sadly in the rain-spout, can be heard
The voice of some dead poet who had these rooms before.

The log is wet, and smokes; its hissing high lament
Mounts to the bronchial clock on the cracked mantel there;
While (heaven knows whose they were — some dropsical old maid's)

In a soiled deck of cards that reeks of dirty scent,
The handsome jack of hearts and the worn queen of spades
Talk in suggestive tones of their old love-affair.

Bibliography

Baudelaire, Charles. Flowers of Evil. Trans. George Dillon and Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1936. I have compared the French text in this bilinguial edition to that in Antoine Adam's 1959 Garnier edition [GPL].


Decadents Decadent Authors Next

Last modified 16 April 2008