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Squibs. I believe I have already set down in my
notes that Love greatly resembles an application of
torture or a surgical operation. But this idea can be
developed, and in the most ironic manner. For even
when two lovers love passionately and are full of
mutual desire, one of the two will always be cooler


Page [5]
or less self-abandoned than the other. He or she is
the surgeon or executioner; the other, the patient or
victim. Do you hear these sighs—preludes to a
shameful tragedy—these groans, these screams, these
rattling gasps? Who has not uttered them, who has
not inexorably wrung them forth? What worse sights
than these could you encounter at an inquisition
conducted by adept torturers? These eyes, rolled
back like the sleepwalker's, these limbs whose muscles
burst and stiffen as though subject to the action of a
galvanic battery—such frightful, such curious phenomena
are undoubtedly never obtained from even the
most extreme cases of intoxication, of delirium, of
opium-taking. The human face, which Ovid believed
fashioned to reflect the stars, speaks here only of an
insane ferocity, relaxing into a kind of death. For I
should consider it indeed a sacrilege to apply the
word `ecstasy' to this species of decomposition.

A terrible pastime, in which one of the players
must forfeit possession of himself!

It was once asked, in my hearing, what was the
greatest pleasure in Love? Someone, of course,
answered: To receive, and someone else: To give
oneself— The former said: The pleasure of pride,
and the latter: The voluptuousness of humility. All
these swine talked like The Imitation of Jesus Christ.
Finally, there was a shameless Utopian who affirmed
that the greatest pleasure in Love was to beget citizens
for the State. For my part, I say: the sole and
supreme pleasure in Love lies in the absolute knowledge
of doing evil. And man and woman know, from
birth, that in Evil is to be found all voluptuousness.