Arthur Rimbaud - A Season in Hell

Morning

Naked Young Man Beside the Sea

Hadn't I once a youth that was lovely, heroic, fabulous, something to write down on pages of gold? - I was too lucky! Through what crime, by what fault did I deserve my present weakness? You who imagine that animals sob with sorrow, that the sick despair, that the dead have bad dreams, try now to relate my fall and my sleep. I can explain myself no better than the beggar wth his endless Aves and Pater Nosters. I no longer know how to talk!

And yet, today, I think I have finished this account of my Hell. And it was Hell; the old one, whose gates were opened by the Son of Man.

From the same desert, toward the same dark sky, my tired eyes forever open on the silver star, forever; but the three wise men never stir, the Kings of life, the heart, the soul, the mind. When will we go, over mountains and shores, to hail the birth of new labor, new wisdom, the flight of tyrants and demons, the end of superstition, - to be the first to adore! - Christmas on earth!

The song of the heavens, the marching of nations! We are slaves, let us not curse life!

- As translated by Paul Schmidt, and published in 1976 by Harper Colophon Books, Harper & Row.

French version



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