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La Destruction by Charles Baudelaire


The Demon is always moving about at my side; 
He floats about me like an impalpable air; 
I swallow him, I feel him burn my lungs 
And fill them with an eternal, sinful desire.

Sometimes, knowing my deep love for Art, he assumes 
The form of a most seductive woman, 
And, with pretexts specious and hypocritical, 
Accustoms my lips to infamous philtres.

He leads me thus, far from the sight of God, 
Panting and broken with fatigue, into the midst 
Of the plains of Ennui, endless and deserted,

And thrusts before my eyes full of bewilderment, 
Dirty filthy garments and open, gaping wounds, 
And all the bloody instruments of Destruction!

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)


Always the Demon fidgets here beside me 
And swims around, impalpable as air: 
I drink him, feel him burn the lungs inside me 
With endless evil longings and despair.

Sometimes, knowing my love of Art, he uses 
Seductive forms of women: and has thus, 
With specious, hypocritical excuses, 
Accustomed me to philtres infamous.

Leading me wayworn into wastes untrod
Of boundless Boredom, out of sight of God,
Using all baits to compass my abduction,

Into my eyes, confused and full of woe, 
Soiled clothes and bleeding gashes he will throw 
And all the grim regalia of Destruction.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

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