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Dawn (Aube)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

I have held in my arms the summer dawn.

Nothing stirred yet in front of the palaces. The waters were still. The shadows had not yet left their encampments in the woods. I walked, waking the brisk warm winds; and precious stones gazed at me, and wings rose around me noiselessly.

My first adventure was in a footpath already covered with splinters of fresh pale light, where a flower told me her name.

I laughed at the waterfall which twisted its ragged way through the pines: at the silver summit I espied the goddess.

Then, one by one I lifted her veils—in the glade by a movement of my arms; in the plain where I denounced her to the cock. In the town, she fled from me amongst the bell-towers and the domes. Running like a beggar over the marble quays, I pursued her.

I caught her at the top of the road, near a laurel grove; and through her heavy veils I just felt the weight of her immense body! Dawn and the child fell at the foot of the wood.

When we awoke it was noon.

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