Cazalis, Henri - I have been here many times
Type of Spiritual Experience
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 5
CAZALIS, HENRI (1840–1909), French poet and man of letters, was born at Cormeilles-en-Parisis (Seine-et-Oise) in 1840. He wrote under the pseudonyms of Jean Caselli and Jean Lahor. His works include:
- Chants populaires de l’Italie (1865);
- Romances sans musique (1865);
- Le Livre du néant (1872);
- Henry Regnault, sa vie et son œuvre (1872);
- L’Illusion (1875–1893);
- Melancholia (1878);
- Cantique des cantiques (1885);
- Les Quatrains d’Al-Gazali (1896);
- William Morris (1897).
The author of the Livre du néant has a predilection for gloomy subjects and especially for pictures of death. His oriental habits of thought earned for him the title of the “Hindou du Parnasse contemporain.” He died in July 1909.
See a notice by P. Bourget in Anthologie des poètes fr. du XIXe siècle (1887–1888); J. Lemaître, Les Contemporains (1889); E. Faguet in the Revue bleue (October 1893).
A description of the experience
So as at the bottom of forests and chaste fountains
Trembles a pale ray of moonlight buried,
Friend, the memory of distant existences
Shudders in my heart under the waves of oblivion.
I feel a world in me of confused thoughts,
I feel obscurely that I have always lived,
That I have long wandered through the past forests
And may the beast still keep love in me.
I feel confused, winter, when the evening falls,
Whether once, animal or plant, I suffered,
When bleeding Adonis slept pale in his grave,
And my heart turns green when everything turns green again.
When my mind longs for pure light,
I feel a whole past holding it in chains;
I feel the first darkness flowing within me,
The earth was so dark when I was born.
My soul slept too much during the maternal night;
To go up to the day, it took me a lot of effort!
I would like to be pure: the original shame,
The old blood of the beast has remained in my body!