Oh, my Beautiful! Oh, my Good!
Hideous fanfare where yet I do not stumble!
Oh, rack of enchantments!
For the first time, hurrah for the unheard-of work,
For the marvelous body! For the first time!
It began with the laughter of children, and there it will end.
This poison will stay in our veins even when, as the fanfares depart,
We return to our former disharmony.
Oh, now, we who are so worthy of these tortures!
Let us re-create ourselves after that superhuman promise
Made to our souls and our bodies at their creation:
That promise, that madness!
Elegance, silence, violence!
They promised to bury in shadows the tree of good and evil,
To banish tyrannical honesty,
So that we might flourish in our very pure love.
It began with a certain disgust, and it ended –
Since we could not immediately seize upon eternity –
It ended in a scattering of perfumes.
Laughter of children, discretion of slaves, austerity of virgins,
Horror of faces and objects here below,
Be sacred in the memory of the evening past.
It began in utter boorishness, and now it ends
In angels of fire and ice.
Little drunken vigil, blessed!
If only for the mask you have left us!
Method, we believe in you! We never forgot that yesterday
You glorified all of our ages.
We have faith in poison.
We will give our lives completely, every day.
FOR THIS IS THE ASSASSIN’S HOUR.
(translated by Paul Schmidt)