French Symbolist Poet and Critic
Stephane Mallarme, born Étienne Mallarmé
French Symbolist Poet and Critic
These nymphs I would perpetuate. So clear their light carnation, that it floats in the air heavy with tufted slumbers. Was it a dream I loved?
This was the glorious culmination of what I had longed for, those ideal flowers that I had sought, and my heart leaped within me to see the whole family of the flowers of the goddess Iris rise up in their turn at the prospect of my accepting the task of revealing their existence.
We do not write poems with ideas, but with words.
When slowly we breathe it out
When the sad sun sinks, it shall pierce through the body of wax till it shrinks! No sunset, but the red awakening of the last day concluding everything struggles so sadly that time disappears, the redness of apocalypse, whose tears fall on the child, exiled to her own proud heart, as the swan makes its plumage a shroud for its eyes, the old swan, and is carried away from the plumage of grief to the eternal highway of its hopes, where it looks on the diamonds divine of a moribund star, which never more shall shine!
Who, in the blissful dreams of my happy childhood used to hover above me sprinkling from her gentle hands snow-white clusters of perfumed stars.
Yes, I know, we are merely empty forms of matter, but we are indeed sublime in having invented God and our soul. So sublime, my friend, that I want to gaze upon matter, fully conscious that it exists, and yet launching itself madly into Dream, despite its knowledge that Dream has no existence, extolling the Soul and all the divine impressions of that kind which have collected within us from the beginning of time and proclaiming, in the face of the Void which is truth, these glorious lies!
Yes, I now know that far into the night the Earth is flinging a strange and mysterious shaft of light whose brilliance will only be increased as the grim centuries pass by.
I can see my reflection like that of an angel! And I feel that I am dying, and, through the medium of art or of mystical experience, I want to be reborn, wearing my dream like a diadem, in some better land where beauty flourishes.
O Spirit of litigation, know, when we keep silent in this season, the stem of multiple lilies grew too large to be contained by reason.
I feel in my sinews the spreading of shadows converging together with a shiver and in solitary vigil after flights triumphal my head rise from this scythe through a clean rupture that serves to dissever the ancient disharmony with the body as drunk from fasting it persists in following with a haggard bound its gaze profound up where the frozen absolute has chosen that nothing shall measure its vastness, O glacier but according to a ritual
The sun as it's halted miraculously exalted resumes its descent Incandescent.
I have finally begun my Herodiade. With terror, for I am inventing a language which must necessarily burst forth from a very new poetics, that could be defined in a couple of words: Paint, not the thing, but the effect it produces. ? the line of poetry in such a case should be composed not of words, but of intentions, and all the words should fade away before the sensation..
The work of pure poetry implies the elocutionary disappearance of the poet, who yields the initiative to words.
I wait, but do not know for what or why or perhaps you are uttering the last bruised sighs, ignorant of the mystery and of your cries, of a childhood feeling its frozen gems being broken off at last amidst its dreams.
Then shall I awake to the primitive fervor, straight and alone, 'neath antique floods of light, lilies and one of you all through my ingenuousness.
I, proud of my rumor, for long I will talk of goddesses; and by picturings idolatrous,
Away with those perfumes that do me harm! I hate them, nurse, and would you have me feel their drunken vapors make my senses reel?
If only I'd chosen an easy work! But, precisely, I, who am sterile and crepuscular, have chosen a terrifying subject, whose sensations, if they are strong, reach the point of atrocity, and if they are vague, have the strange attitude of mystery. And my Verse hurts me at times, and wounds me as if it were of iron! I have, moreover, found an intimate and unique way of painting and noting down the very fleeting impressions. I should add, which is even more terrifying, that all these impressions follow one another as in a symphony, and I often have entire days when I ask myself if this impression can accompany that one, what is their relationship and effect ? You can guess that I write few lines in a week.
Bears witness to some cigar burning skillfully while the ash is separated far from its bright kiss of fire. So does the choir of romantic art fly towards the lips exclude from it if you start the real because it?s cheap meaning too precise is sure to void your dreamy literature.
Illumined by the principle that chose my consecration it extends a salutation.
Child sprung from the two of us ? showing us our ideal, the way ? ours! Father and mother who sadly existing survive him as the two extremes ? badly coupled in him and sundered ? from whence his death ? obliterating this little child 'self'.
In a museum in London there is an exhibit called "The Value of Man": a long coffinlike box with lots of compartments where they've put starch ? phosphorus ? flour ? bottles of water and alcohol ? and big pieces of gelatin. I am a man like that.
Degas was discussing poetry with Mallarm‚; "It isn't ideas I'm short of... I've got too many" [Ce ne sont pas les id‚es qui me manquent... J'en ai trop], said Degas. "But Degas," replied Mallarm‚, "you can't make a poem with ideas. ? You make it with words."
In the labor of my patience, atlas, herbal, ritual.