Published in 1860 as the first part of his Les Paradis Artificiel, under the heading Hashish, this essay of Baudelaire's is also known as 'The Poem of Hashish', perhaps because it was so called in the ubiquitous Aleister Crowley translation, used here, which he gave as the third part of a study called The Herb Dangerous, published in his Equinox.

Apparently inspired by De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Baudelaire speaks with some authority, suggesting considerable personal aqcuaintance with his subject.

The work is in five chapters:

  1. The Longing For Infinity
    Discussing human happiness, and means of attaining it
  2. What is Hashish?
    A brief ethnobotany and nomenclature
  3. The Playground of the Seraphim
    A long discussion of the effects. For reasons of size, I've taken the liberty of dividing this in three and allocating titles:
    1. The Musician and the Addict
    2. The Man of Letters
    3. The Woman
  4. The Man-God
    A fictional case-history is considered
  5. Moral
    Wider implications are explored, conclusions drawn

It should be born in mind that oral ingestion (eating) of relatively large amounts of cannabis resin, as described, is significantly more intense than 'normal' contemporary usage. Such experiments, as Baudelaire relates, can prove inconvenient, even catastrophic, especially if undertaken casually or without due regard to one's environment.

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