The Flawed Bell

Original Text: 

Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, ed. Josef Nygrin, trans. William Aggeler (1954), Roy Campbell (1952), Cat Nilan (1999), Geoffrey Wagner (1974), Kenneth O. Hanson (1955), and David Paul (1955) Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial Licence, 2008. 227-28.


1It is bitter and sweet on winter nights
2To listen by the fire that smokes and palpitates,
3To distant souvenirs that rise up slowly
4At the sound of the chimes that sing in the fog.
5Happy is the bell which in spite of age
6Is vigilant and healthy, and with lusty throat
7Faithfully sounds its religious call,
8Like an old soldier watching from his tent!
9I, my soul is flawed, and when, a prey to ennui,
10She wishes to fill the cold night air with her songs,
11It often happens that her weakened voice
12Resembles the death rattle of a wounded man,
13Forgotten beneath a heap of dead, by a lake of blood,
14Who dies without moving, striving desperately.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: