“My arms are weary because I have embraced the clouds.”

“The Complaints of an Icarus”

The lovers of prostitutes
Are happy, healthy, and sated;
As for me, my arms are weary
Because I have embraced the clouds.

It is thanks to the peerless stars
That flame in the depth of the sky
That my burned out eyes see
Only the memories of suns.

I tried in vain to find
The middle and the end of space;
I know not under what fiery eye
I feel my pinions breaking;

Burned by love of the beautiful
I shan’t have the sublime honor
Of giving my name to the abyss
That will serve me as a tomb.

— Charles Baudelaire


Portrait of Charles Baudelaire by Étienne Carjat, circa 1863

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