by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation © by Emily Wyatt

L'ennemi
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG HUN
Ma jeunesse ne fut qu'un ténébreux orage,
Traversé çà et là par de [brillants]1 soleils ;
Le tonnerre et la pluie ont fait un tel ravage,
Qu'il reste en mon jardin bien peu de fruits vermeils.

Voilà que j'ai touché l'automne des idées,
Et qu'il faut employer la pelle et les râteaux
Pour rassembler à neuf les terres inondées,
Où l'eau creuse des trous grands comme des tombeaux.

Et qui sait si les fleurs nouvelles que je rêve
Trouveront dans ce sol lavé comme une grève
Le mystique aliment qui ferait leur vigueur ?

Ô douleur! ô douleur! le Temps mange la vie,
Et l'obscur Ennemi qui nous ronge le cœur
Du sang que nous perdons croît et se fortifie !

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Revue des Deux Mondes, seconde série de la nouvelle période, tome dixième, Les Fleurs du mal, Paris: Bureau de la Revue des Deux Mondes, 1855, pages 1089-1090. Also confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857, pages 32-33. Also confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1861, pages 28-29. Punctuation and capitalization follows 1855 edition.

1 misspelled in 1855 edition as "brillans"

Authorship

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):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Haasz) , "Nepřítel"
  • ENG English (Emily Wyatt) , "The enemy", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Cyril Meir Scott) , "The Enemy", appears in The Flowers of Evil, London, Elkin Mathews, first published 1909
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , "Lenne más!", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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

Text added to the website: 2011-03-15 00:00:00
Last modified: 2019-08-04 09:02:30
Line count: 14
Word count: 121

The enemy
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
My youth was only a dark storm,
Crossed here and there by shining suns;
The thunder and the rain have caused such havoc,
That there remain in my garden very few rosy fruits. 

That was where I reached the autumn of ideas,
And I must use the spade and the rake
To build anew the flooded lands,
Where the water gouges out great pits like tombs.

And who knows if the new flowers that I dream
Will find in the soil washed like a bank
The mystical food which would give them vigour?

- O sorrow! O sorrow! Time consumes life,
And the dark Enemy which gnaws at our hearts
Grows and strengthens itself from the blood that we lose!

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2012 by Emily Wyatt, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Emily Wyatt.  Contact: cobbsquint (AT) gmail (DOT) com

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2012-10-09 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:04
Line count: 14
Word count: 120