Classic and Contemporary Poetry
A SEASON IN HELL, SELECTION, by ARTHUR RIMBAUD Poet's Biography
First Line: Once, long ago - if I remember rightly - my life was a sumptuous feast
Last Line: These sparse hideous pages from my notebook of the damned.
Once, long ago-if I remember rightly-my life was a sumptuous feast, where all
hearts opened and all wines flowed.
One night, I set Beauty on my lap. -And found her bitter. -And reviled her.
I rebelled against justice.
I fled. Oh witches, oh misery and hatred, you have been the guardians of
At last I banished all human hope from my mind. Upon each joy, to strangle
it, I made the soundless spring of a wild beast. I summoned the executioners so
that, dying, I might bite the butts of their guns. I summoned the scourges to
choke me with blood and sand. Misfortune was my god. I sprawled in the mire. I
dried myself off in the crime-filled air. And I played some fine tricks on
Then spring brought me the idiot's frightful laugh.
Of late, however, since I nearly squawked my last, I have again toyed with the
idea of seeking the key to the bygone feast, where perhaps I might revive my
Charity is the key! -An inspiration which proves I have been dreaming!
"You shall remain a hyena, etc.," shrieks the demon who crowned me with such
amiable poppies. "Earn death with all your appetites, and your selfishness and
all the capital sins."
Ah! I've had too much already: -But dear Satan, I implore you, don't scowl
at me so! And while awaiting my few little misdeeds in arrears, you who love in
writers the absence of descriptive or edifying talents, I shall detach for you
these sparse hideous pages from my notebook of the damned.
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