Charles Baudelaire Empress of France Eugene

The empress

November 6, 1857


It took all the unprecedented arrogance of the poet to dare to draw the attention of Your Majesty to a case as insignificant as mine. I had the misfortune of being condemned for a collection of poems entitled “Flowers of Evil,” and even the terrible frankness of the title did not become sufficient protection for me. It seemed to me that I created a beautiful and great work, and most importantly - a bright one; it was condemned as grim, so I was told to redo the book and delete a few passages (six out of a hundred). I must say that Justice has treated me surprisingly gallantly and that even the words that were pronounced in the verdict testify to the recognition of my high and pure intentions. But the penalty, multiplied by legal costs that were beyond my comprehension, clearly exceeds the proverbial poverty of poets, and, encouraged by proofs of respect that I received from high-ranking friends, and at the same time confident that the Heart of the Empress is open to compassion for all adversity as spiritual , so it is material, I decided, after ten days of hesitation and indecision, to appeal to the gracious kindness of Your Majesty and ask you to stand up for me before Mr. Minister of Justice.

Deign, madam, to accept assurances of deep respect, with which I have the honor of being the most devoted and obedient servant

Your Majesty.

Charles Baudelaire

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