Enivrez-vous, Charles Baudelaire
Il faut être toujours ivre, tout est là ; c'est l'unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l'horrible fardeau du temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.
Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie, ou de vertu à votre guise, mais enivrez-vous!
Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d'un palais, sur l'herbe verte d'un fossé, dans le solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l'ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue, demandez au vent, à la vague, à l'étoile, à l'oiseau, à l'horloge; à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est. Et le vent, la vague, l'étoile, l'oiseau, l'horloge, vous répondront, il est l'heure de s'enivrer ; pour ne pas être les esclaves martyrisés du temps, enivrez-vous, enivrez-vous sans cesse de vin, de poésie, de vertu, à votre guise.
My rough translation:
One must always be drunk, that's all there is; it is the only way. In order not to feel the horrible burden of time which shatters your shoulders and almost drags you to the ground, one must be perpetually drunk.
But on what? On wine, on poetry, or virtue, on whatever you please, but be drunk!
And if, sometimes, on the steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak loneliness of you room, you awaken, your drunkenness already waning or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock; ask all that flees, all that moans, all that sings, all that speaks, ask them what time it is. And the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will tell you, "It is time to get drunk; so as not to be the martyred slaves of time, get drunk, get drunk constantly on wine, on poetry, on virtue, on whatever you please."
The poem is from a collection called "Les petits poemes en prose" (i.e. Little poems in prose) and I've seen it presented in a more traditional poem format, rather than a running paragraph, but I'm pretty sure the original was written in prose.
I first saw this poem when I was flicking through a book in the library. It was an hour or so after school had finished, and I was sitting by the new books display, in between one shelf and a pillar, cross-legged on the floor. And I was bent over this book and I saw the Baudelaire poem. The poem is in the book because apparently the protagonist gets drunk for the first time and his friend sends him the poem after the incident as a joke. It's sent to the protagonist in french, which he doesn't understand a word of.
I've seen some English translations of this but I didn't particularly like any of them, so I just translated it myself. Plus, I'm supposed to practice my French so my teacher doesn't give me any flak when school starts up again.