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Be Drunken
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
translated by Arthur Symons (1865-1945)

The Rhyme Maker
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire

Theme:   Wine Musings

Special Rhyme List:  Audios/Videos

Other English translations:
Drink  (1896 King ) A/V
Intoxication (1919 Sturm)

Charles Baudelaire was a pioneer and champion of the controversial “prose poem”.  There are those who would reserve the term "poem" for metered / stanza -ed writing.  Prose is prose and poetry is poetry!  There is no need for hybrid nomenclature.  Author’s intent aside, can one pull, say, the opening paragraph of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and call it a prose poem?

Of course, author’s intent is of ultimate importance in calling a piece of writing a “prose poem”.  Poetic techniques such as repetition, cadence, and rhyme are often employed.  I, obviously, have no problem with the genre.

In the anthology Bottled Poetry: Verses from the Vine, I have taken the liberty of changing the word "drunken" to "drunk"  with this public domain translation, a harmless modernization of Mr. Symon's work. You should feel free to do the same.

 – S. H. Bass  

more Charles Baudelaire at

from Les fluers du mal (The Flowers of Evil):

Hymn To Beauty *   A/V
The Soul Of Wine  
The Wine Of Lovers * A/V
The Wine Of The Murderer*
The Wine Of The Rag-Pickers 
The Wine Of The Solitary*

Prose poems:
The Thyrsus:  To Franz Liszt

* multiple Englsh translations

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Be Drunken 
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet
translated by Arthur Symons (1865-1945)

Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question.  If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.

Drunken with what?  With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.  But be drunken.

And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, of whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask what hour it is;  and the wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you:  "It is the hour to be drunken!  Be drunken, if you would not be martyred slaves of Time;  be drunken continually!  With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will."

from Baudelaire: His Prose and Poetry (1919)

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Les Fluers du Mal (The Flowers of Evil)
 by Charles Baudelaire / Richard Howard (trans.)

  French and English.  
  Award-winning translation


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