The Tomb of Charles Baudelaire

By Stéphane Mallarmé 1842–1898 Stephane Mallarme

Translated By Henry Weinfield

The buried temple empties through its bowels,
Sepulchral sewer spewing mud and rubies,
Abominably some idol of Anubis,
Its muzzle all aflame with savage howls.
Or if the recent gas the wick befouls
That bears so many insults, it illumines
In haggard outline an immortal pubis
Flying along the streetlights on its prowls.
What wreaths dried out in cities without prayer
Of night could bless like that which settles down
Vainly against the marble of Baudelaire
In the fluttering veil that girds her absence round,
A tutelary poison, his own Wraith,
We breathe in always though it bring us death.

Stéphane Mallarmé, "The Tomb of Charles Baudelaire" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Stéphane Mallarmé.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Collected Poems (University of California Press, 1994)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Stéphane Mallarmé 1842–1898


Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Symbolist


Stéphane Mallarmé is one of France's four major poets of the second half of the nineteenth century, along with Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, and Arthur Rimbaud. Although he was recognized as such during his lifetime, much of his poetry was acknowledged to be difficult to understand because of its tortuous syntax, ambiguous expressions, and obscure imagery. Since his lifetime, critics have continued to disagree as to the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Stéphane Mallarmé

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets


Poetic Terms Symbolist

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.