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.
How, save through obscure terrors, imagine more implacable still and as a suppliant the god who someday will receive the gift of your grace! and for whom, devoured by anguish, do you keep the unknown splendor and mystery of your being?
My breast, though proof-less, still attests a bite mysterious, due to some august tooth; but enough! for confidant such mystery chose the great double reed which one plays 'neath the blue.
Hyperbole! Can you not rise in triumph from my memory, a modern magic spell devise as from an ironbound grammary: for I inaugurate through science the hymn of all hearts spiritual in the labor of my patience, Atlas, herbal, ritual.
No more, I must sleep, forgetting the outrage, on the thirsty sand lying, and as I delight open my mouth to wine's potent star! Adieu, both! I shall see the shade you became.
I am a soul longing to sit beside the bright hearth, and to be brought back to life; all I need is to hear from your lips the murmur of my name repeated throughout the night.
No water murmurs but what my flute pours on the chord sprinkled thicket; and the sole wind prompt to exhale from my two pipes, before it scatters the sound in a waterless shower, is, on the horizon's unwrinkled space, the visible serene artificial breath of inspiration, which regains the sky.
I am alone in my monotonous country, while all those around me live in the idolatry of a mirror reflecting in its depths serene Herodiade, whose gaze is diamond keen... O final enchantment! yes, I sense it, I am alone.
No! My mouth cannot be sure of fully savoring its kisses unless your princely lover finally stifles his dreams of glory burying them like a diamond in the great mass of your hair.
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,