Poem

Charles Baudelaire 1821–67

  • French
  •  
  • Le Miroir
  •  
  • Un homme épouvantable entre et se regarde dans la glace.
  •  
  • Pourquoi vous regardez-vous au miroir, puisque vous ne pouvez vous y voir qu’avec déplaisir ?
  •  
  • L’homme épouvantable me répond : – Monsieur, d’après les immortels principes de 89, tous les hommes sont égaux en droits ; donc je possède le droit de me mirer ; avec plaisir ou déplaisir, cela ne regarde que ma conscience.
  •  
  • Au nom du bon sens, j’avais sans doute raison ; mais, au point de vue de la loi, il n’avait pas tort.
  • English
  •  
  • The Mirror
  •  
  • A frightful-looking man comes in and looks at himself in the mirror.
  •  
  • Why do you look at yourself in the mirror since you cannot but see yourself in it with displeasure?
  •  
  • The frightful-looking man replies: “Sir, according to the immortal principles of 89, all men are equal in rights; therefore I possess the right to look at myself in the mirror; whether with pleasure or displeasure, that is a matter for my conscience alone.
  •  
  • In the name of good sense, I was was undoubtedly right; but from the point of view of the law, he was not wrong.

Note: the figure 89 is of course a reference to the French Revolution which broke out in 1789.

In memory of Brian Juden, a fine scholar of Baudelaire and of much else.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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