Charles Baudelaire

(9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867 / Paris)

The Bad Monk - Poem by Charles Baudelaire

On the great walls of ancient cloisters were nailed
Murals displaying Truth the saint,
Whose effect, reheating the pious entrails
Brought to an austere chill a warming paint.

In the times when Christ was seeded around,
More than one illustrious monk, today unknown
Took for a studio the funeral grounds
And glorified Death as the one way shown.

—My soul is a tomb, an empty confine
Since eternity I scour and I reside;
Nothing hangs on the walls of this hideous sty.

O lazy monk! When will I see
The living spectacle of my misery,
The work of my hands and the love of my eyes?


Translated by William A. Sigler


Submitted by Ryan McGuire


Comments about The Bad Monk by Charles Baudelaire

  • (7/2/2007 9:16:00 AM)


    My soul is a tomb, an empty confine
    Since eternity I scour and I reside;
    Nothing hangs on the walls of this hideous sty.
    french version:
    – Mon âme est un tombeau que, mauvais cénobite,
    Depuis l'éternité je parcours et j'habite;
    Rien n'embellit les murs de ce cloître odieux.
    why Singler translated 'mauvais cenobite' into 'an empty confine'. It means 'shameful monk' or 'bad monk'. an empty confine is totally wrong! I mean, mauvais cenobite is referred to the person in the poem (the author) not to the tomb! how did he got his degree?
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Read poems about / on: funeral, today, work, truth, death



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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