by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation © by Corinne Orde

Le flambeau vivant
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ils marchent devant moi, ces yeux pleins de lumières,
Qu'un Ange très-savant a sans doute aimantés ;
Ils marchent, ces divins frères qui sont mes frères,
[Suspendant mon regard à]1 leurs feux diamantés.

Me sauvant de tout piège et de tout péché grave,
Ils conduisent mes pas dans la route du Beau ;
Ils sont mes serviteurs et je suis leur esclave ;
Tout mon être obéit à ce vivant flambeau.

Charmants Yeux, vous brillez de la clarté mystique
Qu'ont les cierges brûlant en plein jour ; le soleil
Rougit, mais n'éteint pas leur flamme fantastique ;

Ils célèbrent la Mort, vous chantez le Réveil ;
Vous marchez en chantant le réveil de mon âme,
Astres dont le soleil ne peut flétrir la flamme !

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857, pages 89-90.

1 L. Vierne: "Secouant dans mes yeux"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Corinne Orde) , "The living torch", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Cyril Meir Scott) , "The Living Torch", appears in The Flowers of Evil, London, Elkin Mathews, first published 1909

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Geoffrey Wieting , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-08-05 12:15:47
Line count: 14
Word count: 125

The living torch
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
They walk before me, those Eyes full of light,
That a very wise Angel has no doubt magnetised;
They walk, those divine brothers who are my brothers,
Shaking their diamond-like sparks in my eyes.

Saving me from any snare or grave sin,
They guide my footsteps along the path of Beauty;
They are my servants and I am their slave;
My whole being obeys this living torch!

Charming Eyes, you shine with that mystical light
Of candles burning in full daylight; the sun
Reddens but does not extinguish their fantastical flame.

They celebrate Death, you sing the Reveille,
You walk on while chanting the awakening of my soul,
Star whose flame no sun can suppress.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 by Corinne Orde, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


Text added to the website: 2007-11-20 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:30
Line count: 14
Word count: 115