Charles Baudelaire :: svět prokletého básníka :: Poezie a próza
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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 Little Old Women

for Victor Hugo


In sinuous coils of the old capitals
Where even horror weaves a magic spell,
Gripped by my fatal humours, I observe
Singular beings with appalling charms.

These dislocated wrecks were women once,
Were Eponine or Lais! hunchbacked freaks,
Though broken let us love them! they are souls.
Under cold rags, their shredded petticoats,

They creep, lashed by the merciless north wind,
Quake from the riot of an omnibus,
Clasp by their sides like relics of a saint
Embroidered bags of flowery design;

They toddle, every bit like marionettes,
Or drag themselves like wounded animals,
Or dance against their will, poor little bells
That a remorseless demon rings! Worn out

They are, yet they have eyes piercing like drills,
Shining like pot-holes where the water sleeps;
Heavenly eyes, as of a little girl
Who laughs with joy at anything that shines.

- Have you observed that coffins of the old
Are nearly small enough to fit a child?
Death, in this similarity, sets up
An eerie symbol with a strange appeal,

And when I glimpse some feeble phantom there,
Part of the swarming tableau of the town,
It always seems to me this fragile soul
Is moving gently to her cradle bed;

Unless geometry occurs to me
In shapes of these contorted limbs, and I
Think how the workmen have to modify
The boxes where these bodies will be lain.

- These eyes are wells, made of a million tears,
Or crucibles where spangled metal cools...
These eyes of mystery have deathless charms
For those who suckle Tribulation's breast!


Vestal of love, from old Frascati's rooms;
Priestess of Thalia, whose name only
The buried prompter knows; celebrity
Whom Tivoli once shaded in its blooms,

All make me drunk! but with these weaker souls
Are those, making a honey of their grief,
Who've said to Sacrifice, who lent them wings,
Lift me into the sky, great Hippogriffe!

One by her homeland trained in misery,
Another whom her husband overtaxed,
One a Madonna martyred by her child -
Oh, each could make a river with her tears!


So many of these women I have stalked!
One among others, when the sun would fall
Steeping the sky in blood from ruby wounds,
Pensive, would settle on a bench alone

To listen to a concert, rich with brass,
With which the soldiers sometimes flood our parks
And pour, in evenings that revive the soul,
Such heroism in the townsmen's hearts.

She, then, upright and proud, stirred by the cause,
Vigorously inhaled this warlike song;
Sometimes her eye gleamed like an eagle's eye;
Fit for the laurel was her marble brow!


So you trudge on, stoic, without complaint,
Through the chaotic city's teeming waste,
Saints, courtesans, mothers of bleeding hearts,
Whose names, in times past, everyone had known.

You glorious ones, you who were full of grace,
Not one remembers you! some rowdy drunk
Insults you on the street with crude remarks;
A taunting child cuts capers at your heels.

O you ashamed of living, shrunken shades,
Fearful, with backs bent, how you hug the walls;
And no one greets you, strange and fated souls!
Debris of man, ripe for eternity!

But I, who from a distance mark your steps
With tenderness, and restless eye intent
As though I were your father, wondrous thought!
Unknown to you I taste a secret joy:

I see your novice passions blossoming;
Sombre or sunny, I see your lost days;
Heart multiplied, I share in all your vice!
With all your virtue shines my glowing soul!

Ruins! my family! my fellow-minds!
Each evening I will bid a grave adieu!
What of tomorrow, Eves of eighty years,
Pressed by the dreadful talon of the Lord?

Přeložil James McGowan

originale française: XCI. Les Petites Vieilles

český překlad: Stařenky

There is very similar material to some of the passages in this poem in the prose poem 'The Widows'; see also the prose poem 'The Old Woman's Despair'.
Eponine or Lais: Eponine was a woman of Gaul, rebellious against Rome, who, though finally executed, became the symbol of great patriotism and virtue. Lai's was a beautiful Greek courtesan, mistress of the soldier-politican Alcibiades (?450-404 BC). These women, then, are opposite types, but both distinguished.
Vestal of love: ironic; the Vestal Virgins were Roman priestesses of the temple of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. old Frascati's rooms: Frascati was a gaming house, closed in 1836 when such establishments were abolished.
Priestess of Thalia: celebrant of the Muse of comedy; therefore, a comedienne.
Tivoli: a large pleasure-garden of Paris, most renowned during the Restoration period.
Hippogriffi: a mythical winged monster, half horse, half griffon, capable of conveying a human being into the sky. :: Since 2002 :: Based On Layout Designed By Danny Is On Fire Productions © 2006