Here is an excerpt.
“Ah! the Green Goddess! What is the fascination that makes her so adorable and
so terrible? Do you know that French sonnet "La legende de l’absinthe?" He
must have loved it well, that poet. Here are his witnesses.
Apollon, qui pleurait le trepas d’Hyacinthe,
Ne voulait pas ceder la victoire a la mort.
Il fallait que son ame, adepte de l’essor,
Trouvat pour la beaute une alchemie plus sainte.
Donc de sa main celeste il epuise, il ereinte
Les dons les plus subtils de la divine Flore.
Leurs corps brises souspirent une exhalaison d’or
Dont il nous recueillait la goutte de—l’Absinthe!
Aux cavernes blotties, aux palis petillants,
Par un, par deux, buvez ce breuvage d’aimant!
Car c’est un sortilege, un propos de dictame,
Ce vin d’opale pale avortit la misere,
Ouvre de la beaute l’intime sanctuaire
Ensorcelle mon coeur, extasie mort ame!
What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? The effects of its abuse
are totally distinct from those of other stimulants. Even in ruin and in
degradation it remains a thing apart: its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their
own, and in their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride that
they are not as other men.
But we are not to reckon up the uses of a thing by contemplating the wreckage
of its abuse. We do not curse the sea because of occasional disasters to our
marines, or refuse axes to our woodsmen because we sympathize with Charles
the First or Louis the Sixteenth. So therefore as special vices and dangers
pertinent to absinthe, so also do graces and virtues that adorn no other liquor.
The word is from the Greek apsinthion. It means "undrinkable" or, according
to some authorities, "undelightful." In either case, strange paradox! No: for the
wormwood draught itself were bitter beyond human endurance; it must be
aromatized and mellowed with other herbs.
Chief among these is the gracious Melissa, of which the great Paracelsus
thought so highly that he incorporated it as the preparation of his Ens Melissa
Vitae, which he expected to be an elixir of life and a cure for all diseases, but
which in his hands never came to perfection.
Then also there are added mint, anise, fennel and hyssop, all holy herbs
familiar to all from the Treasury of Hebrew Scripture. And there is even the
sacred marjoram which renders man both chaste and passionate; the tender
green angelica stalks also infused in this most mystic of concoctions; for like
the artemisia absinthium itself it is a plant of Diana, and gives the purity and
lucidity, with a touch of the madness, of the Moon; and above all there is the
Dittany of Crete of which the eastern Sages say that one flower hath more
puissance in high magic than all the other gifts of all the gardens of the world.
It is as if the first diviner of absinthe had been indeed a magician intent upon a
combination of sacred drugs which should cleanse, fortify and perfume the
Edited by Gwydion Stone, 06 April 2011 - 09:34 PM.