Each one, then, should love his life, even though it be not very attractive, for it is the only life. It is a boon that will never return and that each person should tend and enjoy with care; it is one's capital, large or small, and can not be treated as an investment like those whose dividends are payable through eternity. Life is an annuity; nothing is more certain than that. So that all efforts are to be respected that tend to ameliorate the tenure of this perishable possession which, at the end of every day, has already lost a little of its value. Eternity, the bait by which simple folk are still lured, is not situated beyond life, but in life itself, and is divided among all men, all creatures. Each of us holds but a small portion of it, but that share is so precious that it suffices to enrich the poorest. Let us then take the bitter and the sweet in confidence, and when the fall of the days seems to whirl about us, let us remember that dusk is also dawn.
Nothing returns, nothing begins anew; it is never the same thing, and yet it seems always the same. For, if the days never return, every moment brings forth new beings whose destiny it will be to create for themselves, in the course of their lives, the same illusions that have companioned and at times illuminated ours. The fabric is eternal; eternal, the embroidery. A universe dies when we die; another is born when a new creature comes to earth with a new sensibility. If, then, it is very true that nothing begins all over again, it is very just to say, too, that everything continues. One may fearlessly advance the latter statement or the former, according to whether one considers the individual or the blending of generations. From this second point of view, everything is coexistent; the same cause produces contradictory, yet logical effects. All the colors and their shades are printed at a single impression, to form the wonderful image we call life.
La Nebuleuse is a poem of lovely & deep perspective, where, symboloized by artless beings, are seen the successive generations of men following each other uncomprehendingly, almost undiscerningly, so different are their souls, & always summed up, to the moment of their decline, by the child, the future, the “nebula”, whose birth, finally confirmed, brings death. Under its morning clearness, to the faded smiles of aged stars. And, the vision ended, it is urged that this morrow, which is becoming today, will be altogether likes its dead brothers, & that in short there is nothing new in the spectacle which amuses the dead years leaning…But this “nothingness” has no importance for the human atoms that form & determine it; it is the delightful newness that we breathe & of which we live. The new! The new! And let each intelligence, though short-lived, affirm his will to exist, & to be dissimilar to all antecedent or surrounding manifestations, & let each nebula aspire to the character of a star whose light shall be distinct & clear among other lights.
Litanies of the RoseRose with dark eyes, mirror of your nothingness, rose with dark eyes, make us believe in the mystery, hypocrite flower,flower of silence.Rose the colour of pure gold, oh safe deposit of the ideal, rose the colour of pure gold, give us the key of your womb, hypocrite flower, flower of silence.Rose the colour of silver, censer of our dreams, rose the colour of silver, take our heart and turn it into smoke, hypocrite flower, flower of silence.
Those who do not carry within them the soul of everything the world can show them, will do well to watch it: they will not recognize it, each thing being beautiful only according to the thought of him who gazes at it & reflects it in himself. Faith is essential in poetry as in religion, & faith has no need of seeing with corporeal eyes to contemplate that which it recognizes much better in itself. Such ideas were many times, under multiple forms, always new, expressed by Villiers de L'Isle-Adam in his works. Without going as far as Berkley's pure negations, which nevertheless are but the extreme logic of subjective idealism, he admitted in his conception of life, on the same plan, the Interior & the Exterior, Spirit & Matter, with a very visible tendency to give the first term domination over the second. For him the idea of progress was never anything but a subject for jest, together with the nonsense of the humanitarian positivists who teach, reversed mythology, that terrestrial paradise, a superstition if we assign it the past, becomes the sole legitimate hope if we place it in the future. On the contrary, he makes a protagonist (Edison doubtless) say in a short fragment of an old manuscript of l'Eve future: "We are in the ripe age of Humanity, that is all! Soon will come the senility & decrepitude of this strange polyp, & the evolution accomplished, his mortal return to the mysterious laboratory where all the Ghosts eternally work their experiments, by grace of some unquestionable necessity.
It is undefinable; and moreover, if it were defined it would lose all its value. God is not all that exists; God is all that does not exist. Therein resides the power & the charm of that mysterious word. God is tradition, God is legend, God is folklore, God is a fairy-tale, God is romance, God is a lie, God is a bell, God is a church window, God is religion, God is all that is absurd, useless, invisible, intangible, all that is nothingness & that symbolizes nothingness. God is the nihil in tenebris-(nothing in the darkness) -men have made of him light, life & love.
The vainglory of wishing to understand is dangerous, immoral and, above all, old-fashioned. The modern way – perhaps the final way - is to say: Go forward, without knowing why, as quickly as possible, towards an unknown goal! To act and think are opposites which identify one only in the Absolute. To accomplish all one's movements – of the head, the arms, the legs – without ever quite attaining the status of a puppet, but with a certainty that gives one a feeling of rightness: that is what is nowadays held up as the ideal. Be citizens of Universal activity! Forget to be conscious of ourselves! The blind horse gallops without hesitation, not knowing where it is going, not caring where it has been: so let up put out our eyes!
To acquire the full consciousness of self is to know oneself so different from others that no longer feels allied with men except by purely animal contacts: nevertheless, among souls of this degree, there is an ideal fraternity based on differences,--while society fraternity is based on resemblances.The full consciousness of self can be called originality of soul, -and all this is said only to point out the group of rare beings to which Andre Gide belongs.The misfortune of these beings, when they express themselves, is that they do it with such odd gestures that men fear to approach them; their life of social contacts must often revolve in the brief circle of ideal fraternities; or, when the mob consents to admit such souls, it is as curiosities or museum objects. Their glory is, finally, to be loved from afar & almost understood, as parchments are seen & read above sealed cases.