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Historic Evening

On some evening, for example, which finds the tourist naive, retired from our economic horrors, a master's hand animates the harpsichord of the fields; you play cards at the bottom of the pond, mirror evocative of queens and minions; you have sainted women, veils, and strings of harmony, and legendary chromaticisms, at sundown.

He shivers at the passing of huntsmen and hordes. Comedy trickles on the boards of the lawn. And the embarrassment of the poor and weak over these stupid plans!

To his slavish vision, Germany scaffolds itself toward moons; Tartar deserts are lighted; ancient revolts teem in the center of the Celestial Empire; on the stairways and armchairs of the rocks, a little world pale and flat, Africa and Occidents, will be built. Then a ballet of well-known seas and nights, a worthless chemistry, and impossible melodies.

The same middle-class magic at every point the mail train deposits us! The most elementary physicist feels it is no longer possible to submit to that personal atmosphere, fog of physical remorse, noticing which is already an affliction.

No! The steamroom moment, seas borne off, subterranean blazes, the absconded planet, and consequent exterminations, certitudes so little malignly indicated in the Bible and by the Norns and which it will be given to the serious being to observe—yet it will not be at all a legendary effect!




Reality being too thorny for my grand character—I found myself nevertheless at my lady's, a great gray-blue bird soaring to the moldings of the ceiling and dragging my wings in the shadows of the evening.

I was, at the foot of the baldaquin supporting her adored gems and physical masterpieces, a great bear with violet gums and hair hoary with grief, eyes on the crystal and silver of the console tables.

All became shadow and ardent aquarium.

In the morning—a battlesome June dawn—I ran to the fields, an ass, trumpeting and flourishing my grievance, until the Sabines of the outskirts came to fling themselves on my breast.




Every monstrosity violates the atrocious gestures of Hortense. Her solitude is erotic engineering; her lassitude, amorous dynamics. Under a childhood's surveillance, she has been, in numerous epochs, the ardent hygiene of races. Her door is open to misery. There, the morality of present beings disembodies in her passion or her action—o terrible shiver of novice loves on the bloody ground and in bright hydrogen!—find Hortense.




The winding movement on the bank at the river's falls,
The sternpost abyss,
The celerity of the rail,
The current's whims
Lead through unheard-of lights
And chemical novelty
The travelers ringed by waterspouts of valley
And strom.

They are the conquerors of the world
Seeking personal chemical fortune;
Sport and comfort travel with them;
They lead on education
Of races, classes and beasts, on this vessel
Repose and vertigo
To diluvian light,
To terrible evenings of study.

For from the chat among the gear, blood, flowers, fire, jewels,
From the agitated accounts to this runaway riverbank
—You see, rolling like a dike beyond the hydraulic power way,
Monstrous, unceasingly lighted—their study stock;
They driven into harmonic ecstasy,
And the heroism of discovery.

In atmospheric accidents the most surprising,
A youthful couple stands aside on the ark
—Is it ancient unsociableness you pardon?—
And sings and takes a post.