The Dream of a Curious Man
To Felix Nadar
Do you know as I do, delectable suffering?
And do you have them say of you: « O! the strange man! »
— I was going to die. In my soul, full of love,
A peculiar illness; desire mixed with horror,
Anguish and bright hopes; without internal strife.
The more the fatal hour-glass continued to flow,
The fiercer and more delightful grew my torture;
My heart was being torn from this familiar world.
I was like a child eager for the play,
Hating the curtain as one hates an obstacle…
Finally the cold truth revealed itself:
I had died and was not surprised; the awful dawn
Enveloped me. — What! is that all there is to it?
The curtain had risen and I was still waiting.
— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)