Charles Baudelaire

(9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867 / Paris)

Le Guignon (Ill-Starred) - Poem by Charles Baudelaire

Pour soulever un poids si lourd,
Sisyphe, il faudrait ton courage!
Bien qu'on ait du coeur à l'ouvrage,
L'Art est long et le Temps est court.

Loin des sépultures célèbres,
Vers un cimetière isolé,
Mon coeur, comme un tambour voilé,
Va battant des marches funèbres.

— Maint joyau dort enseveli
Dans les ténèbres et l'oubli,
Bien loin des pioches et des sondes;

Mainte fleur épanche à regret
Son parfum doux comme un secret
Dans les solitudes profondes.


Evil Fate

To lift a weight so heavy,
Would take your courage, Sisyphus!
Although one's heart is in the work,
Art is long and Time is short.

Far from famous sepulchers
Toward a lonely cemetery
My heart, like muffled drums,
Goes beating funeral marches.

Many a jewel lies buried
In darkness and oblivion,
Far, far away from picks and drills;

Many a flower regretfully
Exhales perfume soft as secrets
In a profound solitude.


— Translated by William Aggeler

Ill Luck

So huge a burden to support
Your courage, Sisyphus, would ask;
Well though my heart attacks its task,
Yet Art is long and Time is short.

Far from the famed memorial arch
Towards a lonely grave I come.
My heart in its funereal march
Goes beating like a muffled drum.

— Yet many a gem lies hidden still
Of whom no pick-axe, spade, or drill
The lonely secrecy invades;

And many a flower, to heal regret,
Pours forth its fragrant secret yet
Amidst the solitary shades.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

Ill-Starred

A man would needs be brave and strong
As Sisyphus, for such a task!
It is not greater zeal I ask —
But life is brief, and art is long.

To a forsaken mound of clay
Where no admirers ever come,
My heart, like an invisible drum,
Goes beating a dead march all day.

Many a jewel of untold worth
Lies slumbering at the core of earth,
In darkness and oblivion drowned;

Many a flower has bloomed and spent
The secret of its passionate scent
Upon the wilderness profound.


— Translated by George Dillon

Ill-Starred

To bear a weight that cannot be borne,
Sisyphus, even you aren't that strong,
Although your heart cannot be torn
Time is short and Art is long.
Far from celebrated sepulchers
Toward a solitary graveyard
My heart, like a drum muffled hard
Beats a funeral march for the ill-starred.

—Many jewels are buried or shrouded
In darkness and oblivion's clouds,
Far from any pick or drill bit,

Many a flower unburdens with regret
Its perfume sweet like a secret;
In profoundly empty solitude to sit.


Translated by William A. Sigler


Comments about Le Guignon (Ill-Starred) by Charles Baudelaire

  • (6/19/2014 3:38:00 PM)

    Le poète maudit... Le miracle de l'écriture. Le savant mélange entre le travail et cet enthousiasme dont parle Platon. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]