Qui aimes-tu le mieux, homme enimgatique, dis? Ton pere, ta mere, ta soeur ou ton frere?- Je n’ai ni pere, ni mere, ni soeur, ni frere.
Tes amis?- Vous vous servez la d’une parole dont le sens m’estreste jusqu’a ce jour inconnu.
Ta patrie?- J’ignore sous quelle latitude elle est situee.
La beaute?- Je l’aimerais volontiers, deesse et immortelle.
L’or?- Je le hais comme vous haissez Dieu.
Eh! qu’aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire etranger?- J’aime les nuages...la-bas...la-bas...les merveilleux DuagesAout 1862
Even if they are not specified openly, it is possible in this poem to find some of the characteristic traits of the dandy. The individual is by his own admission alone, without family or friends, he worships beauty while by the same token he despises money. In the end we have the feeling that there are not too many things that can inspire or move the man or the poet, and in this particular case even beauty is doubtful since it should be loved deliberately (having first been found). Beauty is, however, acknowledged as a goddess ruling over mankind and immortal in her purpose, whatever it may be (relevant to Dandyism because both strive for a high standard of aesthetic forms). Gold, symbol of riches and power, often for hate, because it represents the distruction of integrity and is compared in its power to God, who has the same power of distruction, therefore both of them to be considered negative forces.
The stranger being interviewed is an “extraordinary” stranger, not only because he is unfamiliar to the speaker, but also because his feelings are strange in themselves.
Here is the translation of the poem by Baudelaire:
Who do you love best, enigmatic man, tell? Your father, your mother, your sister or your brother?- I have no father, no mother, no sister, no brother.
Your friends?- You use a word whose meaning has been, until today, unknown to me.
Your country?- I don’t know under which latitude she is located
Beauty?- I would love her gladly, goddess and immortal.
Gold?- I hate it as you hate God.
Eh! So, what do you love, extraordinary stranger?- I love the clouds ... the clouds passing ... over there ... over there... the marvelous clouds.August 1862