Monday, October 14, 2013

Beckett? No, But...

This almost sounds like Beckett, except perhaps too florid:
No, I have not the strength to bear this any longer. God, the things they are doing to me! They poor cold water upon my head! They do not heed me, nor see me, nor listen to me. What have I done to them? Why do they torture me? What do they want of poor me? What can I give them? I have Washington. My strength is gone, I cannot endure all this torture. My head is aflame, and everything spins before my eyes. Save me, someone! Take me away! Give me three steeds, steeds as fast as the whirling wind! Seat yourself, driver, ring out, little harness bell, wing your way up, steeds, and rush me out of this world. On and on, so that nothing be seen of it, nothing. Yonder the sky wheels its clouds, a tiny star glitters afar, a forest sweeps by with its dark trees, and the moon comes in its wake; a silvergay mist swims below; a musical string twangs in the mist; there is the sea on one hand, there is Italy on the other; and now Russian peasant huts can be discerned. Is that my hope looming blue in the distance? Is that my mother sitting there at her window? Mother dear, save your poor son! Shed a tear upon his aching head. See, how they torture him. Press the poor orphan to your heart. There is no place for him in the whole wide world! He is a hunted creature. Mother dear, take pity on your sick little child. . . . And by the way, gentlemen, do you know that the Bey of Algiers has a round lump growing right under his nose?

Gogol, Diary of a Madman; the frontispiece to Vladimir Nabokov's extraordinary study of Gogol, published by New Directions Books (1944).

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