Immortal Sense of Beauty

It is this admirable, this immortal sense of Beauty which makes us regard the Earth and its sights as a glimpse, a correspondence of Heaven. Our insatiable thirst for everything which is beyond and which is revealed by life is the most living proof of our immortality. It is at once by and through poetry, by and through music that the soul catches a glimpse of the splendors which lie on the other side of the grave; and when an exquisite poem brings tears to our eyes, these tears are not the proof of excessive enjoyment; they are much more the sign of an irritated melancholy, a nervous postulation, a nature exiled in an imperfect world which would like to take possession at once on this very earth of a revealed paradise. Thus the principle of poetry is strictly and simply human aspirations towards a higher beauty and this principle appears in an enthusiasm which is completely independent of passion, which is the intoxication of the heart, and of truth which is the field of reason. For passion is a natural thing, too natural, indeed, not to introduce a painful, discordant note into the realm of pure beauty; too familiar not to scandalize the pure Desires, the gracious Melancholy, the noble Despair which dwell in the supernatural regions of poetry.

Charles Baudelaire

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