Monday, May 18, 2009


I know my heart
With equal freedom and veracity
I have concealed no crimes
added no virtues
the young lover
overwhelmed with sorrow and despair
returned more passionate than ever
had the happiness to find her equally constant
equally tender

how could I become cruel or vicious
I had before my eyes
only examples of mildness
I found so little to excite my desires
those I had were so seldom contradicted
I was hardly sensible of possessing any
I was an absolute stranger to caprice
The charms of her voice
remained on my memory
an old dotard like me
worn out with care and infirmity
in a voice querulous
broken by age
a heart, at once haughty and tender
a character effeminate
fluctuating between weakness and courage
luxury and virtue
set me in contradiction to myself
causing abstinence and enjoyment
pleasure and prudence
equally to shun me
my passions are extremely violent
while under their influence
nothing can equal my impetuosity
I am an absolute stranger to discretion
respect, fear, or decorum
rude, saucy, violent
no shame can stop
no danger intimidate me
the whole world is not worth a thought
I am plunged in a state of annihilation
Take me in my moments of tranquility
I am indolence and timidity itself
I am so subdued by fear and shame
I would gladly shield myself from mortal view

however sincere our love of virtue may be
sooner or later it will give way
we shall imperceptibly become unjust and wicked
however upright in our intentions
strongly imprinted on my mind
educed, though rather too late, to practice
has given my conduct
an appearance of folly and whimsicality
I affected originality
sought to act different from other people
neither endeavor to conform or be singular
I desire only to act virtuously

my pleasing inquietudes became less wandering
young desires, enchanting hopes
brilliant prospects employed my mind
every house was filled with joyous festivity
the meadows resounded with sports and revelry
the rivers offered refreshing baths
delicious fish wantoned in these streams

peace and leisure
simplicity and joy
mingled with the charm of going I knew not whither
everything I saw carried to my heart
some new cause for rapture
the grandeur, variety, and real beauty
in some measure rendered the charm reasonable

health, youth, and laziness
frequently rendered my temperament importunate
I was restless, absent, and thoughtful
I wept and sighed
for a happiness I had no idea of
this life was too delightful to be lasting
my disposition is extremely ardent
my passions lively and impetuous
my conception is clear and penetrating

when that ardent desire
for a life of happiness and tranquility
which ever follows me
for which I was born
inflames my mind
gave myself up to the soft melancholy
my heart rushed with ardor
melting to tenderness
stopping to weep more at my ease
seated on a large stone
seeing my tears drop into the water

let the warmth of my constitution be remembered
my age, and my heart intoxicated with love
let my tender attachment to her be supposed
who would guess the cause of my tears
what, at this moment, passed within me
the object in my power is the masterpiece of love
her wit and person equally approach perfection
she is as good and generous
as she is amiable and beautiful
either my heart deceives me
fascinates my senses
makes me the dupe of an unworthy slut
some secret defect of which I am ignorant
renders her odious

my sentiments became elevated
All my little passions were stifled
by the enthusiasm of truth, liberty, and virtue
this effervescence continued in my mind

who can describe how few can feel
the charms of these repasts
friendship, confidence, intimacy, sweetness of disposition
how delicious are your reasonings
sensuality did not preside at our little orgies
joy, which was preferable, reigned in them all

were I one of those men unfortunately born deaf
to the voice of nature
no sentiment of justice or humanity
ever took the least root
this obduracy would be natural
that warmth of heart, strong sensibility
facility of forming attachments
the innate benevolence
I cherished towards my fellow-creatures
the ardent love I bear
to great virtues, to truth and justice
the horror in which I hold evil of every kind
the impossibility of hating
of injuring or wishing to injure anyone
the soft and lively emotion I feel
at the sight of whatever is virtuous
generous and amiable

(Inspired by Jean Jacques Rousseau from Project Gutenberg E Book of The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Complete)

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