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

Rimbaud – What’s It to Us?

edouard_manet_022

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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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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