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

Be Drunk

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it--it's the
only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks
your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually
But on what?Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of
a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again,
drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave,
the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything
that is groaning, everything ...

Read the full of Be Drunk


Soon we will plunge ourselves into cold shadows,
And all of summer's stunning afternoons will be gone.
I already hear the dead thuds of logs below
Falling on the cobblestones and the lawn.

All of winter will return to me:
derision, Hate, shuddering, horror, drudgery and vice,
And exiled, like the sun, to a polar prison,
My soul will harden into a block of red ice.

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