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Childhood II (Enfance II)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

It is she, the little dead child, behind the rose bushes. The young mother who is dead, comes down the flight of steps. The cousin's open carriage creaks over the sand. And there is the little brother (he is in India!)—there, in front of the setting sun, against the field of gillyflowers; and those old people who have been buried, now stand erect in the wallflower rampart.

A swarm of golden leaves surround the general's house. They are in the south. You must follow the road to reach the empty inn. The castle is for sale, and the shutters have dropped off. The key of the church must have been taken away by the priest. Round the park, the park-keepers' lodges are empty. So high are the palisades that one can see nothing but the rustling tree-tops. After all, there is nothing to see inside.

The fields slops up to the villages, left empty of cocks and anvils. The sluices are open. Oh! The Calvaries and the windmills in the desert, the islands and the hayricks.

Magic flowers hummed all around. The gentle slopes lulled them to rest. Beasts of a fabulous elegance walked about. Far beyond, over the sea—that eternity of hot tears—clouds massed themselves.


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AUTHOR: Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).
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