For look — I am at war, my dear,
With the whole universe. I know
There is no medicine for my woe.
Believe me, it is called Despair.
It runs in all my veins. I pray:
It cries in all my words. I am
The very glass where what I damn
Leers and admires itself all day.
I am the wound — I am the knife
The deep wound scabbards; the outdrawn
Rack, and the writhing thereupon;
The lifeless, and the taker of life.
I murder what I most adore,
Laughing: I am indeed of those
Condemned for ever without repose
To laugh — but who can smile no more.
— Charles Baudelaire, “The Man Who Tortures Himself” (1861)