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.)

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

June 2015

Loitering With Intent

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Polite Coup

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Findings

What Went Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Shooting Down Man the Hunter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
What Went Wrong·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In the seventh year of his presidency, Barack Obama was presenting himself as a politician who followed the path of least resistance. This is a disturbing confession.”
Photograph by Pete Souza
Article
Surviving a Failed Pregnancy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If this woman — who spent her days studying gray screens for early signs of gestation — could not see my pregnancy, what were the chances that anyone else would?”
Illustration by Leigh Wells
Article
Interesting Facts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My husband is forty-six. I am forty-five. He does not think that, in my forties, after cancer, chemotherapy, and chemically induced menopause, I can get pregnant again, but sisters, I know my womb. It’s proven.”
Photograph by McNair Evans
Post
Kid Chocolate’s Place·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Cuban eyes often look close to tears.”
Illustration by the author
Article
Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If you short-circuit the bottom, you threaten the entire cycle,” Joye told me. “Without a healthy ocean, we’ll all be dead.”
Illustration by John Ritter

Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:

15

Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.

A teenager in Singapore was convicted of obscenity for posts critical of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, that included an image of Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today