[...] I should have liked to have seen you with some goblet in your hand, one of those Venetian drinking vessels, of so proud and sad form, of a colour so subtle, so voluptuous, so glowing. In the same way there are women among us who are truly exiled, who through their character, through the particular expression of their glances, their gestures and their bodies, belong to a long extinct race, or which will only appear much later on earth, if that race is ever embodied here other than as this one single creature. Also too the frame that would be needed to contain their beauty no longer exists, or has turned to dust over the centuries. A few remains might sometimes be kept in museums, like the goblet that I would have liked to have seen you raise to your lips, Cydalise. But no matter: the singular grace of these exiles is that of an enchantress. Whatever they touch takes on a little of the dignity, or the gracefulness - or the melancholy that is due to it. Is it our imagination, passionately exalted by their presence, that establishes a sort of mysterious harmony between these objects and these women?1

1. It may be however that Cydalise is exquisitely amusing. The resignation of melancholic captives can ally itself with the most charming and the most joyous fantasies. And in a certain sense, the character of Musset's Fantasio is merely the incarnation of Elsbeth's gaiety, albeit so sweet and so sad. And in Henri de Régnier's symbolic vessels, did he not delight in bringing together languorous princesses with "merry jesters"?

Le Banquet no 2, April 1892. This ending to Cydalise was not included in Les Plaisirs et les jours, where it was renamed Cires perdues I  (Lost Wax).


[...] her piercing and gentle eyes were also those of a bird, of a willing and delightful hawk, whose muslins now adorably filled out by her perfect body represented white and folded wings. And her exquisite bird's head, resting on an arm so pure, so proudly extended beneath her chin, was in a reverie. Divine hawk with eyes of precious stones, with wings of snow, wild creature, woman, dream, through what mystery does your beak-like, somewhat too long nose possess such a magical charm that inflames us more than the purest of profiles? You begin to laugh, your lips a little too thin next to your nose [text missing] with piercing eyes [text missing] to the furthest depths of my heart and nerves in recognizing a race that is no doubt the issue of the love between a goddess and a bird, illustrated by the race of the Imperium, whose body swells her white muslins so harmoniously, and makes them quiver, like gulls' wings, under starry nights, beneath her piercing and gentle eyes.

She is woman, dream, and vigorous and delicate wild creature, peacock with wings of snow, hawk with eyes of precious stones. She adds the idea of the fabulous to the thrill of beauty.

Manuscript variants not included in Les Plaisirs et les jours, of Cires perdues II  (Lost Wax).

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Created 29.07.18