The Mirror, by Charles BaudelaireTranslated by Richard Sieburth

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From Late Fragments, which will be published next month by Yale University Press. Translated from the French.

A frightful-looking man comes in and looks at himself in the mirror.

“Why look at yourself in the mirror? You’ll only feel disgust at what you see.”

The frightful-looking man answers me: “Monsieur, according to the immortal principles of ’89, all men are equal in their rights. Therefore it is my right to look at myself in the mirror. Whether I do so with pleasure or disgust is of concern only to my conscience.”

Common sense was no doubt on my side. But from a legal standpoint, he could hardly be faulted.

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