Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 20. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music and art. He was known to have been a libertine and a restless soul, travelling extensively on three continents before his death from cancer just after his 37th birthday.
Family and childhood (1854–1861)
Arthur Rimbaud was born into the provincial middle class of Charleville (now part of Charleville-Mézières) in the ... more »
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Arthur Rimbaud Poems
I. No one's serious at seventeen. --On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade
Asleep In The Valley
A small green valley where a slow stream flows And leaves long strands of silver on the bright Grass; from the mountaintop stream the Sun's
A Winter Dream
In winter we’ll travel in a little pink carriage With cushions of blue. We’ll be fine. A nest of mad kisses waits In each corner too.
Oh, my Beautiful! Oh, my Good! Hideous fanfare where yet I do not stumble! Oh, rack of enchantments! For the first time, hurrah for the unheard-of work,
I have kissed the summer dawn. Before the palaces, nothing moved. The water lay dead. Battalions of shadows still kept the forest road. I walked, walking warm and vital breath, While stones watched, and wings rose soundlessly.
Everything seen... The vision gleams in every air. Everything had... The far sound of cities, in the evening,
In the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths, And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat: Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet. I will let the wind bathe my bare head.
Is it possible that She will have me forgiven for ambitions continually crushed,-- that an affluent end will make up for the ages of indigence,--
The Drunken Boat
As I drifted on a river I could not control, No longer guided by the bargemen's ropes. They were captured by howling Indians
Against a fall of snow, a Being Beauiful, and very tall. Whistlings of death and circles of faint music Make this adored body, swelling and trembling Like a specter, rise...
I On the calm black water where the stars are sleeping White Ophelia floats like a great lily ;
It has been found again. What ? - Eternity. It is the sea fled away With the sun.
Dance Of The Hanged Men
On the black gallows, one-armed friend, The paladins are dancing, dancing The lean, the devil's paladins The skeletons of Saladins.
While the red-stained mouths of machine guns ring Across the infinite expanse of day; While red or green, before their posturing King, The massed battalions break and melt away;
Quotationsmore quotations »
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, ...Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), French poet. Letter, May 15, 1871. Collected Poems, ed. Oliver Bernard (1962).
''I is another.''Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), French poet. Letter, May 13, 1871. Collected Poems, ed. Oliver Bernard (1962).
''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.''Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), French poet. repr. In Collected Poems, ed. Oliver Bernard (1962). "Délires II: Alchimie du Verbe," Une Saison en Enfer (18...
''But, truly, I have wept too much! The dawns are heartbreaking. Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter.''Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), French poet. repr. In Collected Poems, ed. Oliver Bernard (1962). Le Bateau Ivre (written 1871).
''Life is the farce which everyone has to perform.''Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), French poet. "Mauvais Sang," Une Saison en Enfer (1874).
No one's serious at seventeen.
--On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade
And loud, blinding cafés are the last thing you need
--You stroll beneath green lindens on the promenade.
Lindens smell fine on fine June nights!
Sometimes the air is so sweet that you close your eyes;
The wind brings sounds--the town is near--
And carries scents of vineyards and beer. . .
--Over there, framed by a branch
You can see a little patch of dark blue
Stung by a sinister star that fades
With faint quiverings, so small and white. . ...