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Lives II (Vies II)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

I am an inventor of very different calibre from those who have preceded me; I am a musician who has found something like the key of love. At present, being a gentleman inhabitant of a poor country which lies under sober skies, I try to become moved at the recollection of a mendicant childhood, of apprenticeship, of the arrival in sabots, of polemics, of five or six bereavements, and of certain debauches where my strong head prevented my rising to the diapason of my comrades. I do not regret my old share in divine gaiety: the sober air of this arid country feeds my atrocious scepticism. But as this scepticism can no longer be put to use, and as, besides, I am the victim of a new sorrow—I expect to become a very spiteful madman.

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