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A Town (Ville)
by Arthur Rimbaud (1872-75); translated by Helen Rootham (1938).

I am an ephemeral and not too discontented citizen of a metropolis crudely modern, inasmuch as all recognized taste has been included in the furniture and the exterior of the houses, as well as in the planning of the town. Here you will see no trace of any monument of superstition. Morality and language are reduced to their simplest expression. These millions of people who feel no need of mutual acquaintance, so manage education, work, and old age, that life must be made by several times shorter than mad statistics find to be the case with the people of the continent.

From my window I see strange spectral shapes plunging through the heavy, eternal coal-smoke—once our forest shade, our summer nights! New Erinnyes haunt the cottage which is my country and the home of my desires—Death without tears our active handmaid, hopeless Love and a pretty little Crime whining in the mud of the street.


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