No Comment, Quotation — May 30, 2008, 10:42 pm

Rimbaud – What’s It to Us?


Qu’est-ce pour nous, mon cœur, que les nappes de sang
Et de braise, et mille meurtres, et les longs cris
De rage, sanglots de tout enfer renversant
Tout ordre ; et l’Aquilon encor sur les débris

Et toute vengeance ? Rien !… — Mais si, toute encor,
Nous la voulons ! Industriels, princes, sénats,
Périssez ! puissance, justice, histoire, à bas !
Ça nous est dû. Le sang ! le sang ! la flamme d’or !

Tout à la guerre, à la vengeance, à la terreur,
Mon esprit ! Tournons dans la Morsure : Ah ! passez,
Républiques de ce monde ! Des empereurs,
Des régiments, des colons, des peuples, assez !

Qui remuerait les tourbillons de feu furieux,
Que nous et ceux que nous nous imaginons frères ?
À nous ! Romanesques amis : ça va nous plaire.
Jamais nous ne travaillerons, ô flots de feux !

Europe, Asie, Amérique, disparaissez.
Notre marche vengeresse a tout occupé,
Cités et campagnes ! — Nous serons écrasés !
Les volcans sauteront ! et l’océan frappé…

Oh ! mes amis ! — mon cœur, c’est sûr, ils sont des frères :
Noirs inconnus, si nous allions ! allons ! allons !
Ô malheur ! je me sens frémir, la vieille terre,
Sur moi de plus en plus à vous ! la terre fond,

Ce n’est rien ! j’y suis ! j’y suis toujours.

What’s it to us, my heart, the folds of blood
And the coals, and a thousand murders, and long wailings
Of rage, cries from every inferno upturning
Every order; and the north wind gusts over the wreckage

And all vengeance? Nothing!… – But still, just the same,
We want it! Industrialists, princes, courts:
Perish! Down with power, justice, history!
This is our reward! The blood! The blood! The golden flame!
All to war, to vengeance, to terror,
My spirit! We turn in this vise: oh, be gone
Republics of the world! We’ve had enough of
Emperors, regiments, empires and peoples!

Who would whip up the whirlwind of furious fire,
But we ourselves and those we imagine to be our brothers?
For us, romantic friends, it will give us pleasure,
We never shall work, o waves of fire!

Europe, Asia, America, disappear!
Our avenging march has occupied all,
City and country!—We shall be crushed!
Volcanoes shall erupt! And the ocean struck. . .

Oh, my friends!—My heart is confident they are our brothers:
The dark unknowns, if we were to go! Let’s go!
Woe to us! I sense the shudders, the old soil,
Upon me, yours more and more! The soil melts.

But it’s nothing; I am here; I am still here.

Arthur Rimbaud, Qu’est-ce pour nous, mon cœur (1872) in: Œuvres complètes p. 124 (R. de Renéville & J. Mouquet eds. 1954) (S.H. transl.)

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