Le cygne

Not everyone welcomed the Paris of the boulevards that we so admire today when in the nineteenth century swathes of a much-loved, ancient city were swept away to make way for it. Today’s poem uses the classical motif of Andromache, widow of Troy’s greatest warrior, Hector, and the image of a trapped and desperate swan to express Baudelaire’s vision of Paris changed for ever and the anguish of all those who long for something irretrievably lost. Hear the poem in the original French and follow in English here.