Baudelaire in Leeds

Ship-Yard-1I was wandering around Leeds city centre this afternoon, when, around 3:20pm, I stopped on Lands Lane at the entrance to The Ship Yard, as always struck by the wooden enclosed walkway connecting the buildings on either side. After wandering into the yard, I noticed at ground level an intriguing walled-up window, with a stone lintel, above and slightly to the right of which a metal plaque was fixed to a wooden block.

Ship-Yard-2

There was  writing on the plaque, in French with an accompanying translation, presumably a quotation, which, I felt sure, was from the 19th century, possibly Rimbaud or Baudelaire:

Trebuchant sur les mots comme sur les paves
(stumbling against words as against
cobblestones)

Ship-Yard-3

On returning home, I checked and found it was indeed Baudelaire, from his poem, ‘Le Soleil’ published in the ‘Tableaux Parisiens’ section of Fleurs du mal, translations of which can be found here:

http://fleursdumal.org/poem/101

I wonder how long this plaque has been there and who might have been responsible for its appearance.

Kenneth Cox
17th January 2014

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