Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AT ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING, by CHARLES BAUDELAIRE



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AT ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: At last! Alone! There is no longer anything to be heard
Last Line: I scorn.


At last! Alone! There is no longer anything to be heard but the rattling of
a few belated and exhausted cabs. For a few hours we shall possess silence, if
not repose. At last! The tyranny of the human face has disappeared, and I shall
suffer no longer except by myself.
At last! So it is permitted that I rest in a bath of darkness! First, to
double-lock the door. It seems to me that this turn of the key will increase my
solitude and strengthen the barricades which separate me now from the world.
Horrible life! Horrible life! Let us sum up the day: to have seen several
men of letters, one of whom asked whether it were possible to go to Russia by
land (doubtless he was taking Russia for an island); to have argued amiably with
the director of a review, who to each objection answered, "We are on the side of
the decent people," which implies that all other journals are edited by rascals;
to have raised my hat to some twenty people, of whom fifteen are unknown to me;
to have shaken hands in the same proportion, and this without having taken the
precaution of buying gloves; to have paid a visit, to kill time, to a little
dancer who begged me to design a Venus costume for her; to have paid court to a
theatrical director, who said upon dismissing me, "You might do well to speak to
Z-; he is the dullest, the stupidest, and the most famous of all my authors;
with him you might end up by getting somewhere. Talk to him and then we will
see"; to have boasted (why?) about several sordid acts I have never committed,
and to have denied like a coward a few other misdeeds committed with joy: the
offense of bragging, the crime of respect for men; to have refused a friend an
easy service and given a written recommendation to a consummate knave; ah! is
it really well over with?
Discontented with everyone and discontented with myself, I should like to
redeem myself and rebuild my pride a little in the silence and solitude of the
night. Souls of those I have loved, souls of those I have sung, strengthen me,
support me, remove from me falsehood and the corruptive mists of the world; and
you, oh, Lord my God, accord me the grace to produce a few lovely verses which
will prove to me that I am not the last of men, that I am not inferior to those
I scorn.





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