Dr. Matthew Paldy

On Love and Death

Baudelaire presents love and death as intensely physical experiences, with nothing intellectual or abstract about either. He compares the death of two lovers to a flash of lightning in which they merge into a spiritual union, making their love eternal. Instead of separating, death brings them together in the perfect fusion and they are reborn.

The Death of Lovers (La Mort des Amants)

- C. Baudelaire, 1857

We shall have beds full of subtle perfumes,
Sofas as deep as graves,
And strange flowers on the shelves,
Which bloomed for us under more beautiful skies.

Until they are exhausted with desire
Our two hearts will be two immense torches
Which will reflect their double light
In our two souls, those twin mirrors.

On a evening of mystical blue and rose
A single flash of lightning will pass between us
Like a long sob that bids a last goodbye;

And later an Angel, through an open door,
Faithful and joyous, will come to revive
The tarnished mirrors and the extinguished flames.