Study Guide

A Season in Hell Section 10: Morning

By Arthur Rimbaud

Section 10: Morning

Lines 269-272

Once upon a time did I not have a pleasant childhood, heroic, fabulous, to be written on leaves of gold – too fortunate! For what crime, what error, have I merited present weakness? You who claim that the creatures sob with grief, that the sick despair, that the dead have bad dreams, try to recount my fall and my slumber. I can explain myself no better than the beggar with his incessant Our Father's and Hail Mary's. I can speak no more.
Yet today I think I've finished my tale of hell. It was hell, for certain; the ancient one, whose gates the son of man opened wide.
From the same desert, in the same night, always my weary eyes wake to the star of silver, always, without troubling the Kings of life, the three mages, heart, soul, and mind. When shall we go beyond the shores and mountains, to hail the birth of fresh toil; fresh wisdom, the rout of tyrants and demons, the end of superstition, to adore – as newcomers – Christmas on earth!
The song of the heavens, the march of peoples! Slaves, let us not curse life.

  • In this section, the speaker goes on about his childhood. You may be shocked to learn that it was not a bowl of cherries.
  • Even still, he can't put a finger on what's caused him to be so colossally bummed-out. He feels like he's just wasting his time, like those poor schlubs who pray. So he's gonna keep his mouth shut. (We suspect that this won't last long.)
  • And there he does talking some more.
  • He thinks he's done with his tale. (Is he, really?) Before he signs off, though, he busts out some serious religious imagery (the start of David, the three wise men) to hope for a new Christmas on Earth, a time for new work and wisdom.

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