Arthur Rimbaud

(20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891 / Charleville, Ardennes)

Sun And Flesh (Credo In Unam) - Poem by Arthur Rimbaud

Birth of Venus
I
The Sun, the hearth of affection and life,
Pours burning love on the delighted earth,
And when you lie down in the valley, you can smell
How the earth is nubile and very full-blooded;
How its huge breast, heaved up by a soul,
Is, like God, made of love, and, like woman, of flesh,
And that it contains, big with sap and with sunlight,
The vast pullulation of all embryos!
And everything grows, and everything rises!

- O Venus, O Goddess!
I long for the days of antique youth,
Of lascivious satyrs, and animal fauns,
Gods who bit, mad with love, the bark of the boughs,
And among water-lilies kissed the Nymph with fair hair!
I long for the time when the sap of the world,
River water, the rose-coloured blood of green trees
Put into the veins of Pan a whole universe!
When the earth trembled, green,beneath his goat-feet;
When, softly kissing the fair Syrinx, his lips formed
Under heaven the great hymn of love;
When, standing on the plain, he heard round about him
Living Nature answer his call;
When the silent trees cradling the singing bird,
Earth cradling mankind, and the whole blue Ocean,
And all living creatures loved, loved in God!

I long for the time of great Cybele,
Who was said to travel, gigantically lovely,
In a great bronze chariot, through splendid cities;
Her twin breasts poured, through the vast deeps,
The pure streams of infinite life.
Mankind sucked joyfully at her blessed nipple,
Like a small child playing on her knees.
- Because he was strong, Man was gentle and chaste.

Misfortune! Now he says: I understand things,
And goes about with eyes shut and ears closed.
- And again, no more gods! no more gods! Man is King,
Man is God! But the great faith is Love!
Oh! if only man still drew sustenance from your nipple,
Great mother of gods and of men, Cybele;
If only he had not forsaken immortal Astarte
Who long ago, rising in the tremendous brightness
Of blue waters, flower-flesh perfumed by the wave,
Showed her rosy navel, towards which the foam came snowing
And , being a goddess with the great conquering black eyes,
Made the nightingale sing in the woods and love in men's hearts!

The Birth of Venus


II


I believe! I believe in you! divine mother,
Sea-born Aphrodite! - Oh! the path is bitter
Since the other God harnessed us to his cross;
Flesh, Marble, Flower, Venus, in you I believe!
- yes, Man is sad and ugly, sad under the vast sky.
He possesses clothes, because he is no longer chaste,
Because he has defiled his proud, godlike head
And because he has bent, like an idol in the furnace,
His Olympian form towards base slaveries!
Yes, even after death, in the form of pale skeletons
He wishes to live and insult the original beauty!
- And the Idol in whom you placed such maidenhood,
Woman, in whom you rendered our clay divine,
So that Man might bring light into his poor soul
And slowly ascend, in unbounded love,
From the earthly prison to the beauty of day,
Woman no longer knows even how to be a Courtesan!
- It's a fine farce! and the world snickers
At the sweet and sacred name of great Venus!

III


If only the times which have come and gone might come again!
- For Man is finished! Man has played all the parts!
In the broad daylight, wearied with breaking idols
He will revive, free of all his gods,
And, since he is of heaven, he will scan the heavens!
The Ideal, that eternal, invincible thought, which is
All; The living god within his fleshly clay,
Will rise, mount, burn beneath his brow!
An when you see him plumbing the whole horizon,
Despising old yokes, and free from all fear,
You will come and give him holy Redemption!
- Resplendent, radiant, from the bosom of the huge seas
You will rise up and give to the vast Universe
Infinite Love with its eternal smile!
The World will vibrate like an immense lyre
In the trembling of an infinite kiss!

- The World thirsts for love: you will come and slake its thirst.

.................................. ..................

O! Man has raised his free, proud head!
And the sudden blaze of primordial beauty
Makes the god quiver in the altar of the flesh!
Happy in the present good, pale from the ill suffered,
Man wishes to plumb all depths, - and know all things! Thought,
So long a jade, and for so long oppressed,
Springs from his forehead! She will know Why!...
Let her but gallop free, and Man will find Faith!
- Why the blue silence, unfathomable space?
Why the golden stars, teeming like sands?
If one ascended forever, what would one see up there?
Does a sheperd drive this enormous flock
Of worlds on a journey through this horror of space?
And do all these worlds contained in the vast ether,
tremble at the tones of an eternal voice?
- And Man, can he see? can he say: I believe?
Is the langage of thought anymore than a dream?
If man is born so quickly, if life is so short
Whence does he come? Does he sink into the deep Ocean
Of Germs, of Foetuses, of Embryos, to the bottom
of the huge Crucible where Nature the Mother
Will resuscitate him, a living creature,
To love in the rose and to grow in the corn?...

We cannot know! - We are weighed down
With a cloak of ignorance, hemmed in by chimaeras!
Men like apes, dropped from our mothers' wombs,
Our feeble reason hides the infinite from us!
We wish to perceive: - and Doubt punishes us!
Doubt, dismal bird, beat us down with its wing...
- And the horizon rushes away in endless flight!...

............................... ........................

The vast heaven is open! the mysteries lie dead
Before erect Man, who folds his strong arms
Among the vast splendour of abundant Nature!
He sings... and the woods sing, the river murmurs
A song full of happiness which rises towards the light!...
- it is Redemption! it is love! it is love!...


IV

O splendour of flesh! O ideal splendour!
O renewal of love, triumphal dawn
When, prostrating the Gods and the Heroes,
White Callipyge and little Eros
Covered with the snow of rose petals, will caress
Women and flowers beneath their lovely outstretched feet!
- O great Ariadne who pour out your tears
On the shore, as you see, out there on the waves,
The sail of Theseus flying white under the sun,
O sweet virgin child whom a night has broken,
Be silent! On his golden chariot studded with black grapes,
Lysios, who has been drawn through Phrygian fields
By lascivious tigers and russet panthers,
Reddens the dark mosses along the blue rivers.
- Zeus, the Bull, cradles on his neck like a child
The nude body of Europa who throws her white arm
Round the God's muscular neck which shivers in the wave.
Slowly he turns his dreamy eye towards her;
She, droops her pale flowerlike cheek
On the brow of Zeus; her eyes are closed; she is dying
In a divine kiss, and the murmuring waters
Strew the flowers of their golden foam on her hair.
- Between the oleander and the gaudy lotus tree
Slips amorously the great dreaming Swan
Enfloding Leda in the whiteness of his wing;
- And while Cypris goes by, strangely beautiful,
And, arching the marvellous curves of her back,
Proudly displays the golden vision of her big breasts
And snowy belly embroidered with black moss,
- Hercules, Tamer of beasts, in his Strength,
Robes his huge body with the lion's skin as with glory
And faces the horizons, his brow terrible and sweet!

Vaguely lit by the summer moon,
Erect, naked, dreaming in her pallor of gold
Streaked by the heavy wave of her long blue hair,
In the shadowy glade whenre stars spring in the moss,
The Dryade gazes up at the silent sky...
- White Selene, timidly, lets her veil float,
Over the feet of beautiful Endymion,
And throws him a kiss in a pale beam...
- The Spring sobs far off in a long ectasy...
Ii is the nymph who dreams with one elbow on her urn,
Of the handsome white stripling her wave has pressed against.
- A soft wind of love has passed in the night,
And in the sacred woods, amid the standing hair of the great trees,
Erect in majesty, the shadowly Marbles,
The Gods, on whose brows the Bullfinch has his nest,
- the Gods listen to Men, and to the infinite World!

Original French


Soleil et Chair
I

Le Soleil, le foyer de tendresse et de vie,
Verse l'amour brûlant à la terre ravie,
Et, quand on est couché sur la vallée, on sent
Que la terre est nubile et déborde de sang ;
Que son immense sein, soulevé par une âme,
Est d'amour comme Dieu, de chair comme la femme,
Et qu'il renferme, gros de sève et de rayons,
Le grand fourmillement de tous les embryons !

Et tout croît, et tout monte !

spacespacespacespacespacespace- O Vénus, ô Déesse !
Je regrette les temps de l'antique jeunesse,
Des satyres lascifs, des faunes animaux,
Dieux qui mordaient d'amour l'écorce des rameaux
Et dans les nénuphars baisaient la Nymphe blonde !
Je regrette les temps où la sève du monde,
L'eau du fleuve, le sang rose des arbres verts
Dans les veines de Pan mettaient un univers !.
Où le sol palpitait, vert, sous ses pieds de chèvre ;
Où, baisant mollement le clair syrinx, sa lèvre
Modulait sous le ciel le grand hymne d'amour ;
Où, debout sur la plaine, il entendait autour
Répondre à son appel la Nature vivante ;
Où les arbres muets, berçant l'oiseau qui chante,
La terre berçant l'homme, et tout l'Océan bleu
Et tous les animaux aimaient, aimaient en Dieu !

Soleil et Chair, Suite


Je regrette les temps de la grande Cybèle
Qu'on disait parcourir, gigantesquement belle,
Sur un grand char d'airain, les splendides cités ;
Son double sein versait dans les immensités
Le pur ruissellement de la vie infinie.
L'Homme suçait, heureux, sa mamelle bénie,
Comme un petit enfant, jouant sur ses genoux.
- Parce qu'il était fort, l'Homme était chaste et doux.

Misère ! Maintenant il dit : Je sais les choses,
Et va, les yeux fermés et les oreille closes.
- Et pourtant, plus de dieux ! plus de dieux ! l'Homme est Roi,
L'Homme est Dieu ! Mais l'Amour, voilà la grande Foi !
Oh ! si l'homme puisait encore à ta mamelle,
Grande mère des dieux et des hommes, Cybèle ;
S'il n'avait pas laissé l'immortelle Astarté
Qui jadis, émergeant dans l'immense clarté
Des flots bleus, fleur de chair que la vague parfume,
Montra son nombril rose où vint neiger l'écume,
Et fit chanter, Déesse aux grands yeux noirs vainqueurs,
Le rossignol aux bois et l'amour dans les coeurs !

II


Je crois en toi ! Je crois en toi ! divine mère,
Aphrodite marine ! - Oh ! la route est amère
Depuis que l'autre Dieu nous attelle à sa croix ;
Chair, Marbre, Fleur, Vénus, c'est en toi que je crois !
- Oui, l'Homme est triste et laid, triste sous le ciel vaste,
Il a des vêtements, parce qu'il n'est plus chaste,
Parce qu'il a sali son fier buste de Dieu,
Et qu'il a rabougri, comme une idole au feu,
Son corps Olympien aux servitudes sales !
Oui, même après la mort, dans les squelettes pâles
Il veut vivre, insultant la première beauté !
- Et l'Idole où tu mis tant de virginité,
Où tu divinisas notre argile, la Femme,
Afin que l'Homme pût éclairer sa pauvre âme
Et monter lentement, dans un immense amour,
De la prison terrestre à la beauté du jour,
La Femme ne sait plus même être Courtisane !
- C'est une bonne farce ! et le monde ricane
Au nom doux et sacré de la grande Vénus !

III


Si les temps revenaient, les temps qui sont venus !
- Car l'Homme a fini ! l'Homme a joué tous les rôles !
Au grand jour, fatigué de briser des idoles
Il ressuscitera, libre de tous ses Dieux,
Et, comme il est du ciel, il scrutera les cieux !
L'idéal, la pensée invincible, éternelle,
Tout ; le dieu qui vit, sous son argile charnelle,
Montera, montera, brûlera sous son front !
Et quand tu le verras sonder tout l'horizon,
Contempteur des vieux jougs, libre de toute crainte,
Tu viendras lui donner la Rédemption sainte !
- Splendide, radieuse, au sein des grandes mers
Tu surgiras, jetant sur le vaste Univers
L'Amour infini dans un infini sourire !
Le Monde vibrera comme une immense lyre
Dans le frémissement d'un immense baiser

- Le Monde a soif d'amour : tu viendras l'apaiser.


IV


O splendeur de la chair ! ô splendeur idéale !
O renouveau d'amour, aurore triomphale
Où, courbant à leurs pieds les Dieux et les Héros,
Kallipyge la blanche et le petit Éros
Effleureront, couverts de la neige des roses,
Les femmes et les fleurs sous leurs beaux pieds écloses !
- O grande Ariadné, qui jette tes sanglots
Sur la rive, en voyant fuir là-bas sur les flots
Blanche sous le soleil, la voile de Thésée,
O douce vierge enfant qu'une nuit a brisée,
Tais-toi ! Sur son char d'or brodé de noirs raisins,
Lysios, promené dans les champs Phrygiens
Par les tigres lascifs et les panthères rousses,
Le long des fleuves bleus rougit les sombres mousses.
- Zeus, Taureau, sur son cou berce comme une enfant
Le corps nu d'Europé, qui jette son bras blanc
Au cou nerveux du Dieu frissonnant dans la vague
Il tourne lentement vers elle son oeil vague ;
Elle, laisse traîner sa pâle joue en fleur
Au front de Zeus ; ses yeux sont fermés ; elle meurt
Dans un divin baiser, et le flot qui murmure
De son écume d'or fleurit sa chevelure.
- Entre le laurier-rose et le lotus jaseur
Glisse amoureusement le grand Cygne rêveur
Embrassant la Léda des blancheurs de son aile ;
- Et tandis que Cypris passe, étrangement belle,
Et, cambrant les rondeurs splendides de ses reins,
Étale fièrement l'or de ses larges seins
Et son ventre neigeux brodé de mousse noire,
- Héraclès, le Dompteur, qui, comme d'une gloire
Fort, ceint son vaste corps de la peau du lion,
S'avance, front terrible et doux, à l'horizon !

Par la lune d'été vaguement éclairée,
Debout, nue, et rêvant dans sa pâleur dorée
Que tache le flot lourd de ses longs cheveux bleus,
Dans la clairière sombre, où la mousse s'étoile,
La Dryade regarde au ciel silencieux....
- La blanche Séléné laisse flotter son voile,
Craintive, sur les pieds du bel Endymion,
Et lui jette un baiser dans un pâle rayon...
- La Source pleure au loin dans une longue extase...
C'est la nymphe qui rêve, un coude sur son vase,
Au beau jeune homme blanc que son onde a pressé.
- Une brise d'amour dans la nuit a passé,
Et, dans les bois sacrés, dans l'horreur des grands arbres,
Majestueusement debout, les sombres Marbres,
Les Dieux, au front desquels le Bouvreuil fait son nid,
- Les Dieux écoutent l'homme et le Monde infini !


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010



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