It is not wise to find symbols in everything that one sees.
It makes life too full of terrors.
Ah! How I loathe the Romans! They are rough and common, and
they give themselves the airs of noble lords.
Thy body is hideous. It is like the body of a leper, It is
like a plastered wall where vipers have crawled.
Neither at things, nor at people should one look. Only in
mirrors should one look, for mirrors do but show us masks.
How pale the Princess is! Never have I seen her so pale.
She is like the shadow of a white rose in a mirror of silver.
The Young Syrian
The long black nights, when the moon hides her face, when
the stars are afraid, are not so black. The silence that dwells
in the forest is not so black. There is nothing in the world
so black as thy hair.
Ah! thou wouldst not suffer me to kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan.
Well! I will kiss it now. I will bite it with my teeth as
one bites a ripe fruit. Yes, I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan.
I said it; did I not say it? I said it. Ah! I will kiss it
now.... But, wherefore dost thou not look at me, Jokanaan?
Thine eyes that were so terrible, so full of rage and scorn,
are shut now. Wherefore are they shut? Open thine eyes! Lift
up thine eyelids, Jokanaan! Wherefore dost thou not look at
me? Art thou afraid of me, Jokanaan, that thou wilt not look
Ah, Jokanaan, Jokanaan, thou wert the only man that I have
loved. All other men are hateful to me. But thou, thou wert
beautiful! Thy body was a column of ivory set on a silver
socket. It was a garden full of doves and of silver lilies.
It was a tower of silver decked with shields of ivory. There
was nothing in the world so white as thy body. There was nothing
in the world so black as thy hair. In the whole world there
was nothing so red as thy mouth. Thy voice was a censer that
scattered strange perfumes, and when I looked on thee I heard
a strange music. Ah! wherefore didst thou not look at me,
I am athirst for thy beauty; I am hungry for thy body; and
neither wine nor fruits can appease my desire. What shall
I do now, Jokanaan? Neither the floods nor the great waters
can quench my passion. I was a princess, and thou didst scorn
me. I was a virgin, and thou didst take my virginity from
me. I was chaste, and thou didst fill my veins with fire.
The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.