translate the poem
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This piece was written by Baudelaire as a preface to the collection "Flowers of Evil." It is a forty line, pessimistic view of the condition of humanity, derived from the poet's own opinions of the causes and origins of said condition. Throughout the poem, Baudelaire rebukes the reader for their sins and the insincerity of their presumed repentance. The devil is to blame for the temptation and ensuing behavior he controls in a world that's unable to resist the evil he gifts them with.
Through Baudelaire's eyes we envision a world of hypocrisy, death, sin. and utter decay, watched over and promoted by Satan himself. Baudelaire informs the reader that it is indeed the Devil rather than God who controls our actions. We possess no freedom of will, and reach out our arms to embrace the fires of hell that we are unable to resist. Human cause death; we are the monsters that lurk in the nightmares brought on by the darkness, "more ugly, evil, and fouler" than any demon.
Baudelaire (the narrator) asserts that all humanity completes this image: On one hand we reach for fantasy and falsehoods, whereas on the other, the narrator exposes the boredom in our lives.
"Flowers of Evil."/ To the Reader (preface)