By Charles Baudelaire 1821–1867 Charles Baudelaire

Translated By C. F. MacIntyre

At my side the Demon writhes forever,
Swimming around me like impalpable air;
As I breathe, he burns my lungs like fever
And fills me with an eternal guilty desire.

Knowing my love of Art, he snares my senses,
Apearing in woman's most seductive forms,
And, under the sneak's plausible pretenses,
Lips grow accustomed to his lewd love-charms.

He leads me thus, far from the sight of God,
Panting and broken with fatigue into
The wilderness of Ennui, deserted and broad,

And into my bewildered eyes he throws
Visions of festering wounds and filthy clothes,
And all Destruction's bloody retinue.

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

Poet Charles Baudelaire 1821–1867


Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Death, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Symbolist


Charles Baudelaire is one of the most compelling poets of the nineteenth century. While Baudelaire's contemporary Victor Hugo is generally—and sometimes regretfully—acknowledged as the greatest of nineteenth-century French poets, Baudelaire excels in his unprecedented expression of a complex sensibility and of modern themes within structures of classical rigor and technical artistry. Baudelaire is distinctive in French . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Charles Baudelaire

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Death, The Body, 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.