Paul Verlaine: His Life-His Work: Rimbaud, Page 9|
by Edmond Lepelletier (1907); translated by E.M. Lang (1909).
"One evening, I seated Beauty upon my knees, and I found her bitter, and I reviled her.
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"I have risen up against Justice.
"I have fled. Oh, sorcerers, oh, misery, oh, hatred! It is to you that my treasure has been confided.
"I have succeeded in banishing from my mind all human hope. To strangle all joy I have sprung upon it like a ferocious beast.
"I have called upon the executioners to beat me to death with the butt ends of their guns. I have called upon the plagues to stifle me with sand and blood. Misfortune has been my god. I have stretched myself in the mud. I am dried up in the atmosphere of crime. And I have played hide-and-seek with madness.
"And the spring-time has brought me the ghastly laugh of the idiot. . . ."
All this certainly lacks coherence, order, and sequence; it is the triumph of the anacoluthon. From it may be seen that Arthur Rimbaud was a precursor.
This singular introduction concluded with an invocation to Satan, quite in the style of Baudelaire and Prudhomme. Rimbaud, who did not lack a certain summary of erudition, probably took his Satanic doctrine from certain theological books, dealing with a sect called the Luciferians who existed in Germany in the thirteenth century. They adored the fallen angel, vanquished by Heaven, who symbolised humanity struck down, tortured and cursed by the implacable Divinity. The romantic preface is followed by short rambling digressions in nervous, highly-coloured prose, interlarded with poetical fragments. The titles are often of the diabolical order: Mauvais Sang, Nuit de l'Enfer, Délires, Vierge Folle, L'Epoux Infernal, L'Alchimie du Verbe, L'Impossible, L'Eclair, Matin, Adieu.
In Mauvais Sang the author begins:
"I have received from my Gaelic ancestors my pale blue eyes, narrow brain, and awkwardness in warfare; my clothes are as barbarous as theirs. But I do not grease my hair. . . .
"From them I have received my idolatry and love of sacrilege . . .
"Oh! every vice, wrath, licentiousness—splendid licentiousness—and especially deceit and idleness. . . .
"I have a horror of every kind of work. . . ."
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