Le Tonneau de la Haine


Carlos Schwabe

Le Tonneau de la Haine / The Cask of Hate, 1900

Color lithograph on silk

Illustration for Charles Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal / Flowers of Evil

Le Tonneau de la Haine

La Haine est le tonneau des pâles Danaïdes;
La Vengeance éperdue aux bras rouges et forts
À beau précipiter dans ses ténèbres vides
De grands seaux pleins du sang et des larmes des morts,

Le Démon fait des trous secrets à ces abîmes,
Par où fuiraient mille ans de sueurs et d’efforts,
Quand même elle saurait ranimer ses victimes,
Et pour les pressurer ressusciter leurs corps.

La Haine est un ivrogne au fond d’une taverne,
Qui sent toujours la soif naître de la liqueur
Et se multiplier comme l’hydre de Lerne.

— Mais les buveurs heureux connaissent leur vainqueur,
Et la Haine est vouée à ce sort lamentable
De ne pouvoir jamais s’endormir sous la table.

— Charles Baudelaire

The Cask of Hate

The Cask of the pale Danaids is Hate.
Vainly Revenge, with red strong arms employed,
Precipitates her buckets, in a spate
Of blood and tears, to feed the empty void.

The Fiend bores secret holes to these abysms
By which a thousand years of sweat and strain
Escape, though she’d revive their organisms
In order just to bleed them once again.

Hate is a drunkard in a tavern staying,
Who feels his thirst born of its very cure,
Like Lerna’s hydra, multiplied by slaying.

Gay drinkers of their conqueror are sure,
And Hate is doomed to a sad fate, unable
Ever to fall and snore beneath the table.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire


Carlos Schwabe – born in Holstein, moved to Geneva, practiced in France.

A prolific literary artist and in demand book illustrator in his time. His works are acquainted with Symbolism, often representing women and death.

According to Wikipedia, Schwabe was born in 1866, but some art websites and message boards claim that he was born in 1877.

His allegorical approach in making illustrations makes you wonder if a specific painting is pristine, horrifying, or a mixture of both.

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