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En français et en anglais
In French & English

Les Fleurs du mal (English: The Flowers of Evil) is a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire. First published in 1857, it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. The subject matter of these poems deals with themes relating to decadence and eroticism.

The initial publication of the book was arranged in six thematically segregated sections:

Spleen et Idéal (Spleen and Ideal)
Tableaux parisiens (Parisian Scenes)
Le Vin (Wine)
Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil)
Révolte (Revolt)
La Mort (Death)
The foreword to the volume, identifying Satan with the pseudonymous alchemist Hermes Trismegistus and calling boredom the worst of miseries, neatly sets the general tone of what is to follow:

Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie,
N'ont pas encore brodé de leurs plaisants dessins
Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
C'est que notre âme, hélas! n'est pas assez hardie.

If rape and poison, dagger and burning,
Have still not embroidered their pleasant designs
On the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies,
It's because our souls, alas, are not bold enough!
The preface concludes with the following malediction:

C'est l'Ennui! —l'œil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
—Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!

It's Ennui! — his eye brimming with spontaneous tear
He dreams of the gallows in the haze of his hookah.
You know him, reader, this delicate monster,
Hypocritical reader, my likeness, my brother!

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