Disappointed in love, Charles left his native city of Sittard. He became an apprentice to his uncle in Leuven to learn to be a trader.
Later, during the 1860s, Charles was living in Paris. The romantic young man became involved with the circle of poets that became known as the Parnassiens, adopting the classicist-heathen worldview.
Charles the poet returned to Sittard in 1872. When his father passed away in 1879, he decided to take over his father's business in household goods together with his brother Pascal. he first tried to get recognition for his poetry around this time. He sent out poems to concourses in Belgium and France. He had these poems printed with proud mention of the awards they had won. Some claim that Charles was trying to impress the still unmarried Isabelle with his poetry and the awards he won.
But Charles's agnostic behaviour had put him on the fringes of the community in the Roman Catholic country town of Sittard. It was however a cleric who wrote glowing reviews of his poetry. This cleric was the Jesuit Godefridus Jonckbloet, a linguist and a teacher at Aloysius College in Sittard. It was probably this priest who guided Charles back to the mother church. The poet died on 20 June 1890 after receiving the sacrament of the dying, aged 58.