Baudelaire was a nineteenth century French poet, essayist, and critic with a pioneering prosaic style and a penchant for the supernatural and macabre. Baudelaire idolized Edgar Allan Poe and translated much of his work into French.
To a Passer-By
The street about me roared with a deafening sound. Tall, slender, in heavy mourning, majestic grief, A woman passed, with a glittering hand Raising, swinging the hem and flounces of her skirt;
Agile and graceful, her leg was like a statue's. Tense as in a delirium, I drank From her eyes, pale sky where tempests germinate, The sweetness that enthralls and the pleasure that kills.
A lightning flash... then night! Fleeting beauty By whose glance I was suddenly reborn, Will I see you no more before eternity?
Elsewhere, far, far from here! too late! never perhaps! For I know not where you fled, you know not where I go, O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!
— Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal
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