Flower of Evil

Sometime in the early 90’s I found a used copy of the 1929 edition of “Fleurs du Mal” by Charles Baudelaire. Translated by C. Bower Alcock, the illustrations were by Beresford Egan, who had a bit of an erotic art déco vibe to his style.

Title page for Fleurs Du Mal by Baudelaire, translated by C. Bower Alcock. Sophistocles Press and T. Werner Laurie, 1929.

Title page for Fleurs Du Mal by Baudelaire, translated by C. Bower Alcock. Sophistocles Press and T. Werner Laurie, 1929.

I was lost in the beauty and decadence of the language and the illustrations were, are, sublime. I was so taken aback by this book, that I nicked the title of it for a poem, which was basically me putting up a brave front against the world: “I am a flower of evil, and those that touch me…die!” In retrospect, I can see the false bravado, but it later became an effective song (?) for my band the Dark Young. The recording of which will finally become available on a follow-up to our 1994 debut album. More on that later.

Upon completing “Hell-Flower”, I decided to read them both at the next open mic I was to attend, which as luck would have it, is tonight, and here in all its petulant glory, is “Flower of Evil”…

On the tree of life, I am but a biter fruit

Acrid to the palate, and overwhelming to the senses

In the garden of society, I am a blight

Not even the very worms of the earth dare partake of my flesh

A vampiric weed, I suck the life from my peers

I shun the light of day, and grow hatefully in the dark

Although I am alone, no wallflower am I

I am a flower of evil, and those that touch me…die!

"Flower of Evil" illustration, 1992, by yours truly.

“Flower of Evil” illustration, 1992, by yours truly.


Update 11/25/2017: I took my friend Galad’s advice and gave a listen to Yvette Mimieux’s recording of Cyril Scott’s 1909 English translation of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, featuring the music of  Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. What a great performance of a great translation! As I have said elsewhere, sublime would be an understatement! It is available on Youtube if one is curious and I have seen it for sale on Amazon.


Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) by Yvette Mimeux & Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (1968, Connoisseur Society).


7 Responses to “Flower of Evil”

  1. Hello again…have you ever encountered the 1968 recording of “Flowers…” by Yvette Mimieux and Ali Akbar Khan (?!?!?!)

    • No, I am not familiar with it, but now that you have brought it to my attention, I shall definitely keep an eye out for it. Thank you for the tip : )

      • Galad Elflandsson Says:

        I thought I’d left a response to your post about my book, but perhaps I hit the wrong link because it doesn’t seem to be there.
        In any case, thanks for the nice words…I rather agree with everything you had to say about it. The reason I found your blog in the first was I was looking for a scan of one of the illustrations in the book (opposite page 46, so I wouldn’t have to do it) because I have the original and, alas, for financial reasons, need to find a home for it. I don’t know if you collect art, but you seem to love Randy’s work and if you were interested I’m sure we could settle on a price.

  2. I’m sorry Mr Elflandsson, I saw it but got distracted and forgot to respond. To make matters worse, I also got food poisoning last night, so I have been sleeping all day. I really enjoyed your book, as you saw in my review. I don’t have the money at present to buy something so valuable, but if and when I do, I shall definitely let you know. Thank you for acknowledging my review, I am honored to hear from you.

    • Galad Elflandsson Says:

      Hiya…seems lack of cash afflicts us all these days…but please call me Galad the Mr part just makes me nervous…and thank you I’m honoured to have provided some enjoyment. with the Wolf/. It’s pretty basic stuff… Anyway…I’m out the door for the weekend… would love to talk some more a bit later own…feel free to email…bearkatt@xplornet..com ….Take care. Have a great weekend

  3. Cool, you too, thanks!

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