A Season in Hell – Prologue
(Une Saison en Enfer)
Once, if I remember rightly, my life was a feast where all hearts opened, and all wines flowed.
One evening I sat Beauty on my knees – And I found her bitter – And I reviled her.
I armed myself against Justice.
I fled. O sorceresses, O misery, O hatred, it was to you my treasure was entrusted!
I managed to erase all human hope from my mind. I made the wild beast’s silent leap to strangle every joy.
I summoned executioners to bite their gun-butts as I died. I summoned plagues, to stifle myself with sand and blood. Misfortune was my god. I stretched out in the mud. I dried myself in the breezes of crime. And I played some fine tricks on madness.
And spring brought me the dreadful laugh of the idiot.
Now, just lately, finding myself on the point of uttering the last croak, I thought of seeking the key to the old feast, where I might perhaps find my appetite again!
Charity is the key – This inspiration proves I have been dreaming!
‘You’re a hyena still…’ the demon cries who crowned me with such delightful poppies. ‘Win death with all your appetites; your egoism, all the deadly sins.’
Ah, I’ve practised too many! – But, dear Satan, I beg you, an eye a little less inflamed! And while awaiting my few cowardly little deeds, for you who prize in a writer the lack of descriptive or instructive skill, for you, I tear off these few hideous pages from my notebook of a damned soul.