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

I am the saint praying upon the terrace, like the peaceful beasts which browse as far as the Sea of Palestine.

I am the scholar in the dark arm-chair. The branches of the trees and the rain, beat against the mullioned windows of the library.

I am the pedestrian on the high-road which runs through the dwarf forests; the sound of the mill-stream drowns my steps. For a long time I watch the setting sun mournfully washing in molten gold.

I would like to be the child abandoned on the jetty, close to the sea, or the little boy from the farm, who follows the path through the glade. Its brow touches the sky.

The paths are rough. The mounds are covered with broom. The air is still. How far away seem the birds and the springs. Surely it must be the end of the world just beyond there.


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