“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