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

Pitiable brother! What atrocious vigils I owe to him. 'I did not take this enterprise in hand seriously. I made sport of his infirmity. It would be my fault if we returned into exile and slavery.' He attributed a strange bad luck and a strange innocence to me, and added disquieting reasons.

I replied jeeringly to this satanic doctor, and finished by escaping through the window. Far beyond this country (swept by wandering melodies) I created phantoms of a nocturnal luxury to come.

After this distraction—partly hygienic—I stretched myself on a straw mattress. And nearly every night, as soon as he was asleep my poor brother rose, his mouth all leprous-stained, his eyes torn out—for so he dreamed himself to be!—and drew me into the room howling out his idiot nightmare.

In all sincerity I had promised to restore him to his primitive state of 'Child of the Sun'—and so we wandered (drinking Palermo wine and eating tramps' biscuits) I in haste to find the necessary spot and the necessary formula.

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