other defenders of Rodin were apologizing for him in detail I
brushed aside the nonsense—"a plague o' both your houses!"—and
wrote a sonnet, which is, in its way, to conventional criticism
exactly what the Balzac was. It was translated into French by
Marcel Schwob and made considerable stir in Paris. Even at this
length of time, I attach a certain importance to it. For one
thing, it marks a new stage in my own art.
with iron secrecies ennighted,
Cloaked, Balzac stands and sees. Immense disdain,
Egyptian silence, mastery of pain,
Gargantuan laughter, shake or still the ignited
Stature of the Master, vivid. Far, affrighted,
The stunned air shudders on the skin. In vain
The Master of La Comédie Humaine
Shadows the deep-set eyes, genius-lighted.
Epithalamia, birth songs, epitaphs,
Are written in the mystery of his lips.
Sad wisdom, scornful shame, grand agony
In the coffin folds of the cloak, scarred mountains, lie,
And pity hides i' th' heart. Grim knowledge grips
The essential manhood. Balzac stands, and laughs.
— The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Page 340.