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české překlady

Květy zla

Malé básně v próze

Báseň o hašiši


Důvěrný deník

originale française

Les fleurs du mal

Petits poemes en prose

La Fanfarlo

Baudelaire in English

» The Flowers of Evil «

To the Reader

Spleen and the Ideal
The Albatross
The Elevation
I love the thought...
The Beacons
The Sicks Muse
The Venal Muse
The Wretched Monk
The Enemy
Ill Fortune
A Former Life
Gypsies Travelling
Man and the Sea
Don Juan in Hell
Punishment for Pride
The Ideal
The Giantess
The Mask
Hymn to Beauty
The Jewels
Exotic Parfume
Head of Hair
I love you as I love...
You'd entertain the universe...
Sed non satiata
The way her silky garments...
The Dancing Serpent
A Carcass
De profundis clamavi
The Vampyre
Beside a monstrous Jewish whore...
Remorse after Death
The Cat
The Balcony
The Possessed
A Phantom
I give to you these verses...
Semper Eadem
Completely One
What will you say tonight...
The Living Torch
To One Who Is Too Cheerful
The Spiritual Dawn
The Harmony of Evening
The Flask
Misty Sky
The Cat
The Splendid Ship
Invitation to the Voyage
The Irreparable
Autumn Song
To a Madonna
Song of the Afternoon
Praises for My Francisca
For a Creole Lady
Moesta et errabunda
The Ghost
Autumn Sonnet
Sorrows of the Moon
The Pipe
A Fantastical Engraving
The Happy Corpse
The Cask of Hate
The Cracked Bell
The Taste for Nothingness
Alchemy of Suffering
Congenial Horror
Prayer of a Pagan
The Pot Lid
Midnight Examination
Sad Madrigal
The Cautioner
The Rebel
Very Far From France
The Gulf
Lament of an Icarus
The Irremediable
The Clock

Parisian Scenes
The Sun
The Insulted Moon
To a Red-Haired Beggar Girl
» The Swan «
The Seven Old Man
The Little Old Women
The Blind
To a Woman Passing By
Skeletons Digging
Danse macabre
The Love of Illusion
I have not forgotten...
That kind heart you were jealous of...
Mists and Rains
Parisian Dream

The Soul of Wine
The Ragman's Wine
The Murderer's Wine
The Solitary's Wine
The Lovers' Wine

Flowers of Evil
Epigraph for a Condemned Book
A Martyr
Condemned Women: Delphine and Hippolyta
Condemned Women
The Two Good Sisters
The Fountain of Blood
A Beatrice
The Metamorphoses of the Vampire
A Voyage to Cythera
Passion and the Skull

St Peter's Denial
Abel and Cain
Litanies of Satan

The Death of Lovers
The Death of the Poor
The Death of Artists
Day's End
Dream of a Curious Man

To Theodore de Banville

The Waifs
The Setting of the Romantic Sun

The Fountain
Bertha's Eyes
A Face Makes Promises
The Monster

Poem on the Portrait of Honoré Daumier
Lola de Valence
On Tasso in Prison

Diverse Pieces
The Voice
The Unforeseen
The Ransom
To a Girl of Malabar

On the Debut of Amina Boschetti
To M. Eugene Fromentin
A Jolly Tavern

Prose Poems



Malý koutek poezie

Malý koutek poezie


The Flowers of Evil

Previous    Next

The Swan

for Victor Hugo


Andromache, I think of you - this meagre stream,
This melancholy mirror where had once shone forth
The giant majesty of all your widowhood,
This fraudulent Simois, fed by bitter tears,

Has quickened suddenly my fertile memory
As I was walking through the modem Carrousel.
The old Paris is gone (the form a city takes
More quickly shifts, alas, than does the mortal heart);

I picture in my head the busy camp of huts,
And heaps of rough-hewn columns, capitals and shafts,
The grass, the giant blocks made green by puddle-stain,
Reflected in the glaze, the jumbled bric-à-brac.

Once nearby was displayed a great menagerie,
And there I saw one day - the time when under skies
Cold and newly bright, Labour stirs awake
And sweepers push their storms into the silent air -

A swan, who had escaped from his captivity,
And scuffing his splayed feet along the paving stones,
He trailed his white array of feathers in the dirt.
Close by a dried out ditch the bird opened his beak,

Flapping excitedly, bathing his wings in dust,
And said, with heart possessed by lakes he once had loved:
'Water, when will you rain? Thunder, when will you roar?'
I see this hapless creature, sad and fatal myth,

Stretching the hungry head on his convulsive neck,
Sometimes towards the sky, like the man in Ovid's book -
Towards the ironic sky, the sky of cruel blue,
As if he were a soul contesting with his God!


Paris may change, but in my melancholy mood
Nothing has budged! New palaces, blocks, scaffoldings,
Old neighbourhoods, are allegorical for me,
And my dear memories are heavier than stone.

And so outside the Louvre an image gives me pause:
I think of my great swan, his gestures pained and mad,
Like other exiles, both ridiculous and sublime,
Gnawed by his endless longing! Then I think of you,

Fallen Andromache, torn from a husband's arms,
Vile property beneath the haughty Pyrrhus' hand,
Next to an empty tomb, head bowed in ecstasy,
Widow of Hector! O! and wife of Helenus!

I think of a negress, thin and tubercular,
Treading in the mire, searching with haggard eye
For palm trees she recalls from splendid Africa,
Somewhere behind a giant barrier of fog;

Of all those who have lost something they may not find
Ever, ever again! who steep themselves in tears
And suck a bitter milk from that good she-wolf, grief!
Of orphans, skin and bones, dry and wasted blooms!

And likewise in the forest of my exiled soul
Old Memory sings out a full note of the horn!
I think of sailors left forgotten on an isle,
Of captives, the defeated ... many others more!

Přeložil James McGowan

originale française: LXXXIX. Le Cygne

český překlad: Labuť

Victor Hugo: (1802-85); the great French poet and novelist. Baudelaire first attempted to make his acquaintance in a letter written in 1840. Later Hugo supported Baudelaire when the first edition of the Flowers was put on trial in 1857, and soon thereafter he wrote an open letter as a preface to a long essay of Baudelaire's on the poet Gautier. Baudelaire dedicated 'The Swan' and the two poems succeeding it to Hugo, in self-imposed political exile on the island of Guernsey, and he also sent Hugo a copy of the 1861 edition of the Flowers, which Hugo praised generously. Baudelaire responded by praising Hugo's novel Les Miserables, though in private he expressed serious reservations. There was, then, a tension between the older and younger poet. Still, they were not enemies, and they took the appropriate public occasions to show their mutual respect.
Andromache: wife of the Trojan warrior Hector in The Iliad. Baudelaire is drawing largely on book III of Virgil's Aeneid, which tells the story of Andromache after the death of Hector and the fall of Troy; the Greek Pyrrhus (see I. 38), claimed Andromache, since his father Achilles had killed her husband in battle.
This fraudulent Simois: Andromache, in exile after the defeat of Troy, looked at a 'meagre stream' which reminded her of the river Simois of her native land.
the modern Carrousel: this is the area between the two wings of the Louvre and the Carrousel Arch. Before 1852 it had been a warren of small streets, but in Baudelaire's time the area was cleared for a monumental square. The speaker, crossing the modern Carrousel, recalls the time when it was a building site (the 'busy camp of huts') and when a menagerie was situated there. The old Paris is gone: Paris, especially on the right bank of the Seine, was being completely done over under the supervision of Baron Haussmann (1809-91); many of the wide boulevards of present-day Paris date from this reconstruction work of the midnineteenth century.
Ovid's book: probably the Metamorphoses, book I.
wife of Helenus: Andromache. When the usurping Pyrrhus decided to marry Hermione, he gave Andromache to Helenus, Hector's brother, also Pyrrhus' slave. :: Since 2002 :: Based On Layout Designed By Danny Is On Fire Productions © 2006