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LES BEAUX ARTS


Absinthe-Robette-by-Henri-Privat-Livemont
Absinthe Poster by
Privat-Livemond, 1896

 

Absinthe-Rosinette
Absinthe Rosinette

Absinthe-Blanqui-Maquette-by Nover

Absinthe Blanqui Maquette
by Nover

 

L'Absinthe-c'est-la-mort-by-Monod
L'Absinthe c'est la mort

 

Absinthe-Professors-69KB
The Absinthe Professors

 

Absinthe Faerie by Kallisti
Absinthe Faerie
by Kallisti © 1993

Verlaine

For me my glory is an
Humble ephemeral Absinthe
Drunk on the sly, with fear of treason
and if I drink it no longer,
it is for a good reason.

Oscar Wilde

"After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world."

and

"If he didn't drink [absinthe], he would be somebody else. Personality must be accepted for what it is. You mustn't mind that a poet is a drunk, rather that drunks are not always poets."

ABSINTHIA TAETRA

Ernest Dowson, 1897

Green changed to white, emerald to
opal: nothing was changed.

The man let the water trickle gently
into his glass, and as the green clouded,
a mist fell from his mind.

Then he drank opaline.

Memories and terrors beset him. The
past tore after him like a panther and
through the blackness of the present he
saw the luminous tiger eyes of the things
to be.

But he drank opaline.

And that obscure night of the soul,
and the valley of humiliation, through
which he stumbled, were forgotten. He
saw blue vistas of undiscovered countries,
high prospects and a quiet, caressing
sea. The past shed its perfume over
him to-day held his hand as if it were a
little child, and to-morrow shone like a
white star: nothing was changed.

He drank opaline.

The man had known the obscure
night of the soul, and lay even now in
the valley of humiliation; and the tiger
menace of the things to be was red in
the skies. But for a little while he had
forgotten.

Green changed to white, emerald to
opal: nothing was changed.

Dowson was later quoted:

"On the whole it is a mistake to get binged on the verdant fluid. As a steady drink it is inferior to the homely Scotch ... awoke this morning with jingling nerves and a pestilential mouth on [insert appendage here] ... I understand absinthe makes the tart grow fonder. It is extremely detrimental to the complexion ... I never presented a more debauched appearance than I do this morning."

Absinthe

Alexander Dumas' "Dictionary of Cuisine", 1802-1870

[Wormwood] is a perennial plant with bitter leaves, found everywhere in Europe. In the North, a wine called vermouth is made from it.

There are two varieties, the Roman and the Pontic, also known as marine wormwood. Wormwood that grows along the shore or high in the mountains is fine to eat. To the latter we owe the special flavor of animals that have fed upon it, highly esteemed by gourmands and known as pré-salé [salt-meadow].

Though the dispensers boast that the beverage called absinthe will strengthen the stomach and aid digestion, and though the Salerno school recommends absinthe for seasickness, it is impossible not to deplore its ravages among our soldiers and poets over the past forty years. There is not a regimental surgeon who will not tell you that absinthe has killed more Frenchman in Africa than the flittá, the yataghan, and the guns of the Arabs put together.

Among our Bohemian poets absinthe has been called "the green muse." Several, and unfortunately not the poorest, have died from its poisoned embraces. Hégésippe Moreau, Amédée Roland, Alfred de Musset, our greatest poet after Hugo and Lamartine--all succumbed to its disastrous effects.

De Musset's fatal passion for absinthe, which may have given some of his verses their bitter flavor, caused the dignified Academy to descend to punning. It seems that de Musset frequently found himself in no condition to attend the academic sessions. Which prompted one of the forty Immortals to say that "he absinthes himself a bit too much."

 

 

Absinthe Faerie by Kallisti

 

For a beautifully printed collection of poetry related to La Fee Verte, see:

The Nepenthes Press: La Fee Verte - Poetry of Madness
produced by Mike Waltz, one of our long-time Fee Verte Forum members.

 



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