While other defenders of Rodin were apologizing for him in
detail I brushed aside the nonsense — "a plague o' both your
houses!" — and wrote a sonnet, which is, in its way, to
conventional criticism exactly what the Balzac was. It was
translated into French by Marcel Schwob and made considerable
stir in Paris. Even at this length of time, I attach a certain
importance to it. For one thing, it marks a new stage in my own
Giant, with iron secrecies ennighted,
Cloaked, Balzac stands and sees. Immense disdain,
Egyptian silence, mastery of pain,
Gargantuan laughter, shake or still the ignited
Stature of the Master, vivid. Far, affrighted,
The stunned air shudders on the skin. In vain
The Master of La Comédie Humaine
Shadows the deep-set eyes, genius-lighted.
Epithalamia, birth songs, epitaphs,
upshot was that Rodin invited me to come and stay with him at
Meudon. The idea was that I should give a poetic interpretation
of all his masterpieces. I produced a number of poems, many of
which I published at the time in the Weekly Critical Review,
an attempt to establish an artistic entente cordiale. The entire
series constitutes my Rodin in Rime. This book is
illustrated by seven often lithographs of sketches which Rodin
gave me for the purpose.
Are written in the mystery of his lips.
Sad wisdom, scornful shame, grand agony
In the coffin folds of the cloak, scarred mountains, lie,
And pity hides i' th' heart. Grim knowledge grips
The essential manhood. Balzac stands, and laughs.
— The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Page 340.