Charles Baudelaire

(9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867 / Paris)

Charles Baudelaire Quotes

  • ''What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Squibs, Intimate Journals, sct. 18 (1887), trans. by Christopher Isherwood (1930), rev. Don Bachardy (1989).
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  • ''Hugo, like a priest, always has his head bowed—bowed so low that he can see nothing except his own navel.''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. "Squibs," sect. 22, Intimate Journals (1887), trans. by Christopher Isherwood (1930), revised by Don Bachardy (1989). Of Victor Hugo.
  • ''It is the hour to be drunken! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Complete Works, vol. 1, "Shorter Prose Poems," ed. Yves-Gérard le Dantec; rev. Claude Pichois (1953). Enivrez-vous, Figaro (Paris, Feb. 7, 1864).
  • ''We all have the republican spirit in our veins, like syphilis in our bones. We are democratized and venerealized.''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Sur la Belgique, epilogue, Complete Works, vol. 2, ed. Yves-Gérard le Dantec, rev. by Claude Pichois (1976). A never-completed book on Belgium.
  • ''Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French. Flowers of Evil, "Hymn to Beauty," (1860).
  • ''There is no more steely barb than that of the Infinite.''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. Complete Works, vol. 1, "Shorter Prose Poems," ed. Gérard le Dantec; rev. Claude Pichois (1953). The Artist "Confiteor," La Presse (Paris, Aug. 26, 1862).
  • ''Alas! everything is an abyss,—action, dream, desire, speech!''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet, critic. Flowers of Evil, "The Abyss," (1862).
  • ''I have to confess that I had gambled on my soul and lost it with heroic insouciance and lightness of touch. The soul is so impalpable, so often useless, and sometimes such a nuisance, that I felt no more emotion on losing it than if, on a stroll, I had mislaid my visiting card.''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet. repr. In Complete Works, vol. 4, "Shorter Prose Poems," ed. Yves-Gérard le Dantec; rev. Claude Pichois (1953). "The Generous Gambler," in Figaro (Paris, Feb. 7, 1864).
  • ''We want ... to plunge into the depths of the abyss, Hell or Heaven, what does it matter? into the depths of the Unknown to find something new!''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet, critic. Flowers of Evil, "The Voyage," (1859).
  • ''Who would dare assign to art the sterile function of imitating nature?''
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet, critic. The Painter of Modern Life, XI "In Praise of Cosmetics," (1863).

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Best Poem of Charles Baudelaire

Get Drunk

Always be drunk.
That's it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls

Read the full of Get Drunk


Come to my heart, cruel, insensible one,
Adored tiger, monster with the indolent air;
I would for a long time plunge my trembling fingers
Into the heavy tresses of your hair;

And in your garments that exhale your perfume
I would bury my aching head,
And breathe, like a withered flower,
The sweet, stale reek of my love that is dead.

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