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French Friday...well sort of

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a french poet--some argue one of the greatest french poets of the 19Th century-- who was given the surnom of 'the father of modern criticism,' shocked the Conservatives with his unveiled view of lust and decay. Baudelaire was the first to assimilate modern, artificial, and decadent--was on the side of artificiality, saying that vices are natural and essentially selfish where virtue are artificial because one put forth an conscious effort and restraint in order to be good. To Baudelaire the snobbishly controlled and the dandy were heroes and the ultimate proof of meaningless existence. He was a gentleman who never became vulgar and remained a cool collected smile.
His life was not an easy one, death, sadness and an estranged relationship with his mother after her third marriage, he was sent to boarding school and was expelled. His true passion since childhood was to live by his pen but still he enrolled in Law school, around this time he became addicted to Opium and later contracted lethal syphilis. His debts piled higher and higher around him and he left his studies and never returned.
From 1852 to 1865 he was occupied in translating Edgar Allan Poe's writings. In Poe, Baudelaire found a kindred spirit (Now you probably know why I like him. Anyone who loves Poe is aces in my book). When his Les Fleurs du Mal(The Flowers of Bad) came out all the people who had a hand in the work- author, printer, and publisher -were prosecuted and found guilty of obscenity and blasphemy. In this controversial book he transfers his guilt, sins and lies on the reader making them feel just as the poet felt. Waving the truth before their eyes and shedding the blinders with words, what powerful words, "If poison, arson, sex, narcotics, knives / have not yet ruined us and stitched their quick, / loud patterns on the canvas of our lives, / it is because our souls are still too sick."

With out further ado...the poem!

Fleurs du mal--La Fontaine de Sang

Charles Baudelaire

Il me semble parfois que mon sang coule à flots,

Ainsi qu'une fontaine aux rythmiques sanglots.

Je l'entends bien qui coule avec un long murmure,

Mais je me tâte en vain pour trouver la blessure.

À travers la cité, comme dans un champ clos,

Il s'en va, transformant les pavés en îlots,

Désaltérant la soif de chaque créature,

Et partout colorant en rouge la nature.

J'ai demandé souvent à des vins captieux

D'endormir pour un jour la terreur qui me mine;

Le vin rend l'oeil plus clair et l'oreille plus fine!

J'ai cherché dans l'amour un sommeil oublieux;

Mais l'amour n'est pour moi qu'un matelas d'aiguilles

Fait pour donner à boire à ces cruelles filles!

and now in english, but I have to say the words loose a bit in translation...

Flowers of Evil--The Fountain of Blood
Charles Baudelaire's words translated by Roy Campbell

My blood in waves seems sometimes to be spouting

As though in rhythmic sobs a fountain swooned.

I hear its long, low, rushing sound till, doubting,

I feel myself all over for the wound.

Across the town, as in the lists of battle,

It flows, transforming paving stones to isles,

Slaking the thirst of creatures, men, and cattle,

And colouring all nature red for miles.

Sometimes I've sought relief in precious wines

To lull in me the fear that undermines,

But found they sharpened every sense the more.

I've also sought forgetfulness in lust,

But love's a bed of needles, and they thrust

To give more drink to each rapacious whore.

"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."- William Shakespeare


"Sometimes I've sought relief in precious wines

To lull in me the fear that undermines,

But found they sharpened every sense the more." Tooootally true! Many times I've wondered why I need to put my mind down, but when I's more awake than ever...

June 14, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

Like trying to blow out a trick just isn't in the cards.

June 14, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

"Like trying to blow out a trick just isn't in the cards" that's putting it in a way I can understand!


June 15, 2009 at 6:46 AM  

..or given he's french...

Comme l'essai de souffler un tour mirez-… le juste n'est pas dans les cartes?

June 15, 2009 at 6:47 AM  

Hey there,
Fristly, the layout on your other blog is insane, I love it!

Secondly,you currently follow my blog "Bright green laces". It's has died in favour of my other blog of the same name. Confusing much? Hopefully my RSS issues have been resolved so I'd love for you to follow me at the main event
If you have difficulties seeing the feed please let me know so i can stab my computer and resolve the issue :)


June 16, 2009 at 7:45 PM  

Charles is gaudy and lugubrious at best, immorally sickening at worst: ever read his poem of incest, and how he liked it?

June 25, 2009 at 9:36 PM  

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