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Very solid scamps. Several have exploited your worlds. Without needs, and little pressed to put to work their brilliant faculties and their experience of your consciences. What mature men! Dazed eyes in the fashion of summer night, red and black, tricolored, steel pricked with golden stars; features deformed, leaden, pallid, afire; frisky hoarsenesses! The cruel gait of rags!—there are some young—how would they regard Cherubim?—provided with frightening voices and some dangerous resources. They are sent buggering in town, rigged out in disgusting luxury.

O the most violent Paradise of enraged grimace! No comparison with your Fakirs and the other scenic buffooneries. In improvised costumes, with the taste of a bad dream, they perform complaints, tragedies of bandits and demigods spiritual as history and religion have never been. Chinese, Hottentots, bohemians, simpletons, hyenas, Molochs, old dementias, sinister demons, they mix popular turns, maternal, with beastly poses and tendernesses. They would interpret new plays and "nice girl" songs. Master jugglers, they transform place and persons and use magnetic comedy. Eyes burn, blood sings, bones stretch, red tears and dribbles flow. Their raillery or their terror lasts a minute, or whole months.

I only have the key to this wild parade.





Graceful son of Pan! About thy brow with bays and flowerets crowned thine eyes, precious balls, bestir. Stained with brown lees, thy cheeks pucker. Thy fangs glisten. Thy breast is like unto a kithara, tinklings round thy blond arms. Thine heart beats, in that belly where the double sex sleeps. Betake thyself, by night, gently moving that thigh, that second thigh and that left leg.




Being Beauteous

Before a snow, a Being of Beauty very tall. Whistlings of death and circles of mute music cause to rise, grow and tremble like a specter that adored body; scarlet and black wounds burst in the superb flesh—life's own colors deepen, dance, and emerge around the Vision, in progress—and the shivers ascend and the frenzied savor of these effects loading up on the mortal whistlings and raucous music that the world, far behind us, hurls at our mother of beauty—she recoils, she rises. Oh! our bones are clad in a new amorous body. O the ashen face, escutcheon of hair, crystal arms! the cannon upon which I must fall across the melee of trees and light air!






O the enormous avenues of the Holy Land, the terraces of the temple! What has become of the Brahman who explained Proverbs to me? Of then, of there, I still see even the old women! I remember hours of silver and sun around the rivers, the hand of the countryside on my shoulder, and our caresses standing in the peppery plains—a flight of scarlet pigeons thunders about my thought—exiled here, I had a stage on which to play the dramatic masterpieces of all literatures. I would point out to you unheard-of riches . I observe the story of the treasures you found. I see the result! My wisdom is as disdained as chaos. What is my nothingness, compared with the stupor that awaits you?


I am an inventor quite otherwise deserving than all those who have preceded me; a musician even, who has discovered something like the key of love. At present, a gentleman of a harsh countryside with a sober sky, I try to rouse myself with the memory of a beggarly childhood, of apprenticeship or arrival in sabots, of polemics, of five or six widowerhoods, and of weddings where my fine head prevented me from rising to the diapason of my comrades. I do not regret my old part in divine gaiety: the sober air of this harsh countryside feeds most actively my atrocious skepticism. But as this skepticism cannot henceforth be brought into play, and moreover I am dedicated to a new trouble—I expect to become a very nasty fool.


In a garret where I was shut in at twelve years of age I knew the world, I illustrated the human comedy. In a storeroom I learned history. At some night feast, in a Northern city, I met all the women of the old painters. In an old passage in Paris I was taught the classical sciences. In a magnificent dwelling ringed by the entire Orient, I accomplished my immense work and spent my illustrious retreat. I stirred my blood. My duty is remitted. It is not even necessary to dream of that. I am really from beyond the grave, and no commissions.