Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

90 Top Quotes By Charles Baudelaire, The Author Of Les Fleurs Du Mal

Famous As: French Poet Known for His Handling of Rhyme & Rhythm and His Book 'Les Fleurs du mal'
Born On: April 9, 1821
Died On: August 31, 1867
Born In: Paris, France
Died At Age: 46

Charles Baudelaire was a poet, translator, writer and art critic from France; who lived in the 19th century and produced a body of work that is considered among the finest by literature enthusiasts. Baudelaire is regarded as a great moderniser of the French literature and his biggest innovation was the introduction of the ‘prose-poetry’. The ‘prose-poetry’ style in poems went on to inspire many of the leading French poets like Stephane Malarme and Paul Verlaine among others. The book of poetry titled ‘The Flowers of Evil’ published in 1857 remains his most well-known work and is widely regarded as his greatest work. Baudelaire was also an art critic of great standing in the Parisian art press and in addition to that he was also a popular essayist. Among his works of translation; the most famous is the translated version of the works of American short story writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. Among his other contributions to the world of French literature is the word ‘modernity’ that he coined in order to describe the life of people in a large city. Baudelaire was a man of great depth and intellect and his life and work are also the sources of great quotes which can inspire people even today. Here are some of the selected ones. 

Listed In:
Always be a poet, even in prose.

Always be a poet, even in prose.

Charles Baudelaire
One should always be drunk. That's all that matters...But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters...But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.

Charles Baudelaire
Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will.

Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will.

Charles Baudelaire
A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

Charles Baudelaire
Remembering is only a new form of suffering.

Remembering is only a new form of suffering.

Charles Baudelaire
The beautiful is always bizarre.

The beautiful is always bizarre.

Charles Baudelaire
If the word doesn't exist, invent it; but first be sure it doesn't exist.

If the word doesn't exist, invent it; but first be sure it doesn't exist.

Charles Baudelaire
What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.

What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.

Charles Baudelaire
I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.

I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.

Charles Baudelaire
There are women who inspire you with the desire to conquer them and to take your pleasure of them; but this one fills you only with the desire to die slowly beneath her gaze.

There are women who inspire you with the desire to conquer them and to take your pleasure of them; but this one fills you only with the desire to die slowly beneath her gaze.

Charles Baudelaire
Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.

Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.

Charles Baudelaire
Life has but one true charm: the charm of the game. But what if we’re indifferent to whether we win or lose?

Life has but one true charm: the charm of the game. But what if we’re indifferent to whether we win or lose?

Charles Baudelaire
Extract the eternal from the ephemeral.

Extract the eternal from the ephemeral.

Charles Baudelaire
What can an eternity of damnation matter to someone who has felt, if only for a second, the infinity of delight?

What can an eternity of damnation matter to someone who has felt, if only for a second, the infinity of delight?

Charles Baudelaire
The Devil pulls the strings which make us dance;
We find delight in the most loathsome things;
Some furtherance of Hell each new day brings,
And yet we feel no horror in that rank advance.

The Devil pulls the strings which make us dance; We find delight in the most loathsome things; Some furtherance of Hell each new day brings, And yet we feel no horror in that rank advance.

Charles Baudelaire
I am a cemetery by the moon unblessed.

I am a cemetery by the moon unblessed.

Charles Baudelaire
I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.

I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.

Charles Baudelaire
A multitude of small delights constitute happiness

A multitude of small delights constitute happiness

Charles Baudelaire
Even when she walks one would believe that she dances.

Even when she walks one would believe that she dances.

Charles Baudelaire
You walk on corpses, beauty, undismayed.

You walk on corpses, beauty, undismayed.

Charles Baudelaire
Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.

Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.

Charles Baudelaire
He who looks through an open window sees fewer things than he who looks through a closed window.

He who looks through an open window sees fewer things than he who looks through a closed window.

Charles Baudelaire
The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds
Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day;
But on the ground, among the hooting crowds,
He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.

The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day; But on the ground, among the hooting crowds, He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.

Charles Baudelaire
My heart is lost; the beasts have eaten it.

My heart is lost; the beasts have eaten it.

Charles Baudelaire
I have felt the wind on the wing of madness.

I have felt the wind on the wing of madness.

Charles Baudelaire
I set out to discover the why of it, and to transform my pleasure into knowledge.

I set out to discover the why of it, and to transform my pleasure into knowledge.

Charles Baudelaire
As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.

As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.

Charles Baudelaire
I should like the fields tinged with red, the rivers yellow and the trees painted blue. Nature has no imagination.

I should like the fields tinged with red, the rivers yellow and the trees painted blue. Nature has no imagination.

Charles Baudelaire
Let us beware of common folk, common sense, sentiment, inspiration, and the obvious.

Let us beware of common folk, common sense, sentiment, inspiration, and the obvious.

Charles Baudelaire
The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, & which life reveals is the most living proof of our immortality.

The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, & which life reveals is the most living proof of our immortality.

Charles Baudelaire
But the true voyagers are only those who leave
Just to be leaving; hearts light, like balloons,
They never turn aside from their fatality
And without knowing why they always say:

But the true voyagers are only those who leave Just to be leaving; hearts light, like balloons, They never turn aside from their fatality And without knowing why they always say: "Let's go!

Charles Baudelaire
To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

Charles Baudelaire
It is the hour to be drunken! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

It is the hour to be drunken! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

Charles Baudelaire
Inspiration comes of working every day.

Inspiration comes of working every day.

Charles Baudelaire
It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not.

It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not.

Charles Baudelaire
Forest, I fear you! In my ruined heart your roaring wakens the same agony as in cathedrals when the organ moans and from the depths I hear that I am damned.

Forest, I fear you! In my ruined heart your roaring wakens the same agony as in cathedrals when the organ moans and from the depths I hear that I am damned.

Charles Baudelaire
An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom.

An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom.

Charles Baudelaire
Through the Unknown, we'll find the New

Through the Unknown, we'll find the New

Charles Baudelaire
All which is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.

All which is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.

Charles Baudelaire
Unable to suppress love, the Church wanted at least to disinfect it, and it created marriage.

Unable to suppress love, the Church wanted at least to disinfect it, and it created marriage.

Charles Baudelaire
Nothing is as tedious as the limping days,
When snowdrifts yearly cover all the ways,
And ennui, sour fruit of incurious gloom,
Assumes control of fate’s immortal loom

Nothing is as tedious as the limping days, When snowdrifts yearly cover all the ways, And ennui, sour fruit of incurious gloom, Assumes control of fate’s immortal loom

Charles Baudelaire
La, tout n’est qu’ordre et beaut
Luxe, calme et volupt
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

La, tout n’est qu’ordre et beaut Luxe, calme et volupt There, there is nothing else but grace and measure, Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

Charles Baudelaire
The Beautiful is always strange.

The Beautiful is always strange.

Charles Baudelaire
Passion I hate, and spirit does me wrong. Let us love gently.

Passion I hate, and spirit does me wrong. Let us love gently.

Charles Baudelaire
I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.

I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.

Charles Baudelaire
So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, be endlessly drunk.

So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, be endlessly drunk.

Charles Baudelaire
Any healthy man can go without food for two days--but not without poetry.

Any healthy man can go without food for two days--but not without poetry.

Charles Baudelaire
The Devil's hand directs our every move - / the things we loathed become the things we love

The Devil's hand directs our every move - / the things we loathed become the things we love

Charles Baudelaire
And, drunk with my own madness, I shouted at him furiously,

And, drunk with my own madness, I shouted at him furiously, "Make life beautiful! Make life beautiful!

Charles Baudelaire
Music fathoms the sky.

Music fathoms the sky.

Charles Baudelaire
It is at despair at not being able to be noble and beautiful by natural means that we have made up our faces so strangely.

It is at despair at not being able to be noble and beautiful by natural means that we have made up our faces so strangely.

Charles Baudelaire
Hypocrite reader -- my fellow -- my brother!

Hypocrite reader -- my fellow -- my brother!

Charles Baudelaire
We revel in the laxness of the path we take.

We revel in the laxness of the path we take.

Charles Baudelaire
And yet
to wine, to opium even, I prefer
the elixir of your lips on which love flaunts itself;
and in the wasteland of desire
your eyes afford the wells to slake my thirst.

And yet to wine, to opium even, I prefer the elixir of your lips on which love flaunts itself; and in the wasteland of desire your eyes afford the wells to slake my thirst.

Charles Baudelaire
In our corruption we perceive beauties unrevealed to ancient times.

In our corruption we perceive beauties unrevealed to ancient times.

Charles Baudelaire
Above my cradle loomed the bookcase where/ Latin ashes and the dust of Greece/ mingled with novels, history, and verse/ in one dark Babel. I was folio-high/ when I first heard the voices.

Above my cradle loomed the bookcase where/ Latin ashes and the dust of Greece/ mingled with novels, history, and verse/ in one dark Babel. I was folio-high/ when I first heard the voices.

Charles Baudelaire
The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries out in terror before being vanquished.

The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries out in terror before being vanquished.

Charles Baudelaire
I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.

I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.

Charles Baudelaire
I can barely conceive a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy.

I can barely conceive a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy.

Charles Baudelaire
I sit in the sky like a sphinx misunderstood; My heart of snow is wed to the whiteness of swans; I hate the movement that displaces the rigid lines, With lips untaught neither tears nor laughter do I know.

I sit in the sky like a sphinx misunderstood; My heart of snow is wed to the whiteness of swans; I hate the movement that displaces the rigid lines, With lips untaught neither tears nor laughter do I know.

Charles Baudelaire
How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering.

How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering.

Charles Baudelaire
Nature is a temple, where the living
Columns sometimes breathe confusing speech;
Man walks within these groves of symbols, each
Of which regards him as a kindred thing.

Nature is a temple, where the living Columns sometimes breathe confusing speech; Man walks within these groves of symbols, each Of which regards him as a kindred thing.

Charles Baudelaire
In order not to feel time's horrid fardel bruise your shoulders, grinding you into the earth, get drunk and stay that way. On what? On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever. But get drunk!

In order not to feel time's horrid fardel bruise your shoulders, grinding you into the earth, get drunk and stay that way. On what? On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever. But get drunk!

Charles Baudelaire
The immense appetite we have for biography comes from a deep-seated sense of equality.

The immense appetite we have for biography comes from a deep-seated sense of equality.

Charles Baudelaire
Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams.

Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams.

Charles Baudelaire
Oh, Creator! Can monsters exist in the sight of him who alone knows how they were invented, how they invented themselves, and how they might not have invented themselves?

Oh, Creator! Can monsters exist in the sight of him who alone knows how they were invented, how they invented themselves, and how they might not have invented themselves?

Charles Baudelaire
If rape or arson, poison or the knife
Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff
Of this drab canvas we accept as life -
It is because we are not bold enough!

If rape or arson, poison or the knife Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff Of this drab canvas we accept as life - It is because we are not bold enough!

Charles Baudelaire
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.

With wine, poetry, or virtue as you choose. But get drunk.

Charles Baudelaire
Each day we take another step to hell,
Descending through the stench, unhorrified

Each day we take another step to hell, Descending through the stench, unhorrified

Charles Baudelaire
Abolishers of the soul (materialists) are necessarily abolishers of hell, they, certainly, are interested. At all events, they are people who fear to live again--lazy people.

Abolishers of the soul (materialists) are necessarily abolishers of hell, they, certainly, are interested. At all events, they are people who fear to live again--lazy people.

Charles Baudelaire
Go then, a starveling girl 
With no perfume or pearls, 
Only your nudity 
O my beauty!

Go then, a starveling girl With no perfume or pearls, Only your nudity O my beauty!

Charles Baudelaire
But what does it matter what reality is outside myself, so long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am, and what I am?

But what does it matter what reality is outside myself, so long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am, and what I am?

Charles Baudelaire
Flesh is willing, but the Soul requires
Sisyphean patience for its song,
Time, Hippocrates remarked, is short
and Art is long.

Flesh is willing, but the Soul requires Sisyphean patience for its song, Time, Hippocrates remarked, is short and Art is long.

Charles Baudelaire
I know that pain is the one nobility / upon which Hell itself cannot encroach

I know that pain is the one nobility / upon which Hell itself cannot encroach

Charles Baudelaire
I am but little disposed to put things in writing. One almost always regrets doing so.

I am but little disposed to put things in writing. One almost always regrets doing so.

Charles Baudelaire
Genius is childhood recovered at will.

Genius is childhood recovered at will.

Charles Baudelaire
It's the devil who pulls the strings that make us dance

It's the devil who pulls the strings that make us dance

Charles Baudelaire
The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.

The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.

Charles Baudelaire
Nations, like families, have great men only in spite of themselves.

Nations, like families, have great men only in spite of themselves.

Charles Baudelaire
Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances.

Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances.

Charles Baudelaire
Ant swarming City
City full of dreams
Where in broad day the specter tugs your sleeve

Ant swarming City City full of dreams Where in broad day the specter tugs your sleeve

Charles Baudelaire
The child, in love with prints and maps,
Holds the whole world in his vast appetite.
How large the earth is under the lamplight!
But in the eyes of memory, how the world is cramped!

The child, in love with prints and maps, Holds the whole world in his vast appetite. How large the earth is under the lamplight! But in the eyes of memory, how the world is cramped!

Charles Baudelaire
Fruit free of any bruises, not yet broken open, / With flesh so firm and smooth, it cried out to be eaten!

Fruit free of any bruises, not yet broken open, / With flesh so firm and smooth, it cried out to be eaten!

Charles Baudelaire
Nature is a word, an allegory, a mold, an embossing, if you will.

Nature is a word, an allegory, a mold, an embossing, if you will.

Charles Baudelaire
And over your unconsecrated head
 you'll hear the howling wolves
lament their fate and yours the livelong year;

And over your unconsecrated head you'll hear the howling wolves lament their fate and yours the livelong year;

Charles Baudelaire
The old Paris is no more (the form of a city changes faster, alas! than a mortal's heart).

The old Paris is no more (the form of a city changes faster, alas! than a mortal's heart).

Charles Baudelaire
Wandering aimlessly, broken by my thoughts,
Which slowly sharpened daggers at my heart

Wandering aimlessly, broken by my thoughts, Which slowly sharpened daggers at my heart

Charles Baudelaire
Scent, sound or sight, beneficent, malign – Who cares if you’re a blessing or a curse, So long as you bring light,

Scent, sound or sight, beneficent, malign – Who cares if you’re a blessing or a curse, So long as you bring light,

Charles Baudelaire