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

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010



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