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French Poem Reading: “Spleen” de Charles Baudelaire

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Jun 17, 2020

Listen to my recording of “Spleen” de Charles Baudelaire + English translation of the poem.

This French poem is written in Alexandrians, so the rhythm is very important, and you have to respect it, to pronounce letters which are generally silent. It’s a very good French pronunciation exercise

1 – Famous French Poem “Spleen” de Charles Baudelaire – Audio Recording

2 – Famous French Poem “Spleen” de Charles Baudelaire

Spleen

Je suis comme le roi d’un pays pluvieux,
Riche, mais impuissant, jeune et pourtant très vieux,
Qui, de ses précepteurs méprisant les courbettes,
S’ennuie avec ses chiens comme avec d’autres bêtes.
Rien ne peut l’égayer, ni gibier, ni faucon,
Ni son peuple mourant en face du balcon.
Du bouffon favori la grotesque ballade
Ne distrait plus le front de ce cruel malade;
Son lit fleurdelisé se transforme en tombeau,
Et les dames d’atour, pour qui tout prince est beau,
Ne savent plus trouver d’impudique toilette
Pour tirer un souris de ce jeune squelette.
Le savant qui lui fait de l’or n’a jamais pu
De son être extirper l’élément corrompu,
Et dans ces bains de sang qui des Romains nous viennent,
Et dont sur leurs vieux jours les puissants se souviennent,
II n’a su réchauffer ce cadavre hébété
Où coule au lieu de sang l’eau verte du Léthé

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English Translation of the classical French poem – “Spleen” de Charles Baudelaire

Spleen

I am like the king of a rainy land,
Wealthy but powerless, young and yet very old,
Who contemns the fawning manners of his tutors
And is bored with his dogs and other animals.
Nothing can cheer him, neither the chase nor falcons,
Nor his people dying before his balcony.
The ludicrous ballads of his favorite clown
No longer smooth the brow of this cruel invalid;
His bed, adorned with fleurs-de-lis, becomes a grave;
The ladies of the court, to whom every prince is handsome,
No longer can find gowns shameless enough
To wring a smile from this young skeleton.
The alchemist who makes his gold was never able
To extract from him the tainted element,
And in those baths of blood coming from Roman times,
And which in their old age the powerful recall,
He failed to warm this dazed cadaver in whose veins
Flows the green water of Lethe in place of blood.

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