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"When you are seventeen you aren't really serious."

(Roman, sct. 1, in Collected Poems)



"What a life! True life is elsewhere. We are not in the world."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Dèlires I")



"Idle youth, enslaved to everything; by being too sensitive I have wasted my life."

(Song of the Highest Tower, in Collected Poems)


Life and Living

"Life is the farce which everyone has to perform."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Mauvais Sang")



"Only divine love bestows the keys of knowledge."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Mauvis Sang")


The Sun

"The Sun, the hearth of affection and life, pours burning love on the delighted earth."

(Soleil et Chair, sct. 1, in Collected Poems)


Gods and Goddesses

"And again: No more gods! no more gods! Man is King, Man is God!- But the great Faith is Love!

(Soleil et Chair, sct. 1, in Collected Poems)\



"One evening I sat Beauty on my knees- And I found her bitter- And I reviled her.

(Une Saison en Enfer)



"But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking. Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter."

(Le Bateau Ivre, in Collected Poems)



"The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences."

(In a letter, May 15, 1871)




C'est la mer mêlée

Au soleil."

(Eternity. It is the sea mingled with the sun.)

(Delires II: Faim, in Une Saison en Enfer)



"I believe that I am in hell, therefore I am there."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Nuit de l'Enfer")



"I am the slave of my baptism. Parents, you have caused my misfortune, and you have caused your own."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Nuir de l'Enfer")



"I saw that all beings are fated to happiness: action is not life, but a way of wasting some force, an ennervation. Morality is the weakness of the brain."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Délires II: Alchimie du Verbe")



"I invented the colors of the vowels!- A black, I red, O blue, U green- I made rules for the form and movement of each consonant, and, and with instinctive rhythms, I flattered myself that I created a poetic language accessible, some day, to all the senses."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Délires II: Alchimie du Verbe")



"For a long time I... found the celebreties of modern painting and poetry ridiculous. I loved absurd pictures, fanlights, stage scenery, mountebanks' backcloths, inn-signs, cheap colored prints; unfashionable literature, church Latin, pornographic books badly spelt, grandmothers' novels, fairy stories, little books for children, old operas, empty refrains, simple rhythms."

(Une Saison en Enfer, "Délires II: Alchimie du Verbe")


Women and the Arts

"There shall be poets! When woman's unmeasured bondage shall be broken, when she shall live for and through herself, man- hitherto detestable- having let her go, she, too, will be poet! Woman will find the unknown! Will her ideational worlds be different from ours? She will come upon strange, unfathomable, repellent, delightful things; we shall take them, we shall comprehend them."

(in a letter, May 15, 1871)