Notes on Love
Love is the only passion of the soul that takes it over completely, because it is like an illness of the soul, whereas ambition, sensuality, vanity are as diversions to it.
An amorous libertine who, for the sake of a working woman, gives up whores, their lace and their rouge, vicious women of every type who parade their disgust for the professionals in vice, do not betray any the less by that than by the lyrical, metaphysical, idealized language in which they express their most physical desires, the divine origin of love.
Love does not only claim to find love, it claims to seek it. The name "whores" and the attributes of that profession, the name of a vice or a need proclaim not only: "You will not find love", but "What you are seeking is not love, what he is seeking in you is not love, it is this little vice, this physical need of this one night." Love is shocked, because it is the infinity of her soul that it believes it is giving, beyond the body, her infirmities, for the moment, for the duration.
Love has, contrary to ambition, contrary to sloth, contrary to vice, in order to wrench us from them and in order to restore us to matters of the mind, a power that knows nothing of the mind. It is the power of Pleasure and Pain.
The feverish exigency of the libertine who desires virginity is an indirect and lowly, but significant and present form of the eternal homage that love pays to innocence.
When we were children, there were dolls that we had long coveted, others that we had loved one time, others seen for the first time on New Year's morning, at a very early hour, beneath the lighted lamp, on the table piled with toys still wrapped and tied, that, at that strange moment, struck love into our hearts like a thunderbolt and enchanted us with their fixed and loving smile for years to come. At the age when we no longer have toys, when we no longer light the lamp above the empty table on New Year's morning, we have tried to find, to play with us, keep us company, wring our heart with their tears, those living and breathing toys whose eyes are more fickle, whose hair is more silken, whose body is more resistant and soft that we call women. But, alas, we can no longer embrace them whenever we want, or prevent people we do not like from having them. They do not always want to play with us or see us cry. We cannot break them if we so wish. Out of that comes suffering. Perhaps also love.
Love awakes in the most simple man the desire to appear so much more ardent, more unbridled and more melancholy, than the desire to appear to a single person and no one else as being ostentatious, he can not as she can, find in success with others the consolation for a rejection with one person. The philosopher who is most removed from worldly success loves a snobbish woman; he reminds himself that he has money, a position, cultivates them, lets them be seen and employs a locksmith to open the jewellery drawer whose clasp did not open through being closed so long. And those that he thinks he can get her to accept he gives her, and the others he shows her. He puts off invitations. The most modest become foppish, the least elegant become swells, the dirtiest become clean, the most intelligent, if he is in love with a stupid woman, plays the wit.
As long as love endures the soul is in convalescence from the blow that has struck it, remains lifeless within, is no longer propagated abroad, and has no wish to do anything about it. There are so many flowers, books, sweet and rare perfumes around her chaise longue, stretched out before the window in which blazes the mysterious intensity of the sky, the sky so close and yet so distant, so close that it touches her hand with its reflections, so distant that it can never come near her. She remains throughout the long hours with no wish to leave the house and engage in the pleasures of ambition, vanity and sensuality. Moreover love is propitious to the arts of the soul as opposed to ambition, sensuality and vanity of which it has cured her.
Children with their dolls and men with their women behave in precisely the same way. Is it because men, when they are in love with women still think of themselves as children playing with their dolls, or rather because children playing with their dolls already feel themselves to be men who will one day love women?
Sometimes a woman or a man allow us to glimpse, like a darkened window that has become dimly lit, grace, courage, self-sacrifice, hope, sadness. But life is too complex, too serious, too taken up with itself and as though overburdened, the human body with its multiple expressions and the universal history that it carries written upon it makes us think of too may other and less pure things, so that never for us would a woman or a man consist in grace without accessories, courage without restraint, self-sacrifice without reserves, hope without limits, sadness without alloy.
In order to sample the contemplation of these invisible realities that are the immutable dream of our existence and so that we do not merely feel, when face to face with women and men, the shiver of foreboding, it must be that pure souls, invisible spirits, those genies with the rapidity of flight without the materiality of wings show us the spectacle of their sighs, of their fleetness, of their grace without keeping them prisoner in their own bodies. Or, if our body was also able by having its fun to be more beautiful, it must be that the game of these spirits becomes incarnate but rather in a subtle body, without grandeur, without colour, at one and the same time very distant and very close to us, that gives us from the most profound depths within us the sensation of its coolness without having any temperature, of its colour without it being visible, of its presence without it occupying any space. It must be that removed from all the conditions of life it can be as rapid as a second in time and just as precise, that nothing retards its fleetness, fetters its grace, makes heavier its sigh, suffocates its complaint. We recognize in this exact, delightful and subtle body the play of its purest essence. It is the soul clothed in sound, or rather the migration of the soul through sound, that is to say music.
Manuscript of unknown date.
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