Myself (published in La Jeune Belgique, Nov. 1, 1883, signed only with a skull and crossbones).
The first time I saw Myself, I was instinctively pleased with Myself. It seemed I had finally found someone who could understand me, share my ambitions, my joys, who knows? In brief, I loved Myself. Love can’t be explained: the heart has disturbing mysteries and no one will ever know why instead of giving mine to a human creature of the outside world, I gave it to a being, all in all ordinary, who is Myself.
From now on, I’ll worry all the time about my idol! I’ll devote Myself to having fun, to enjoying Myself; I’ll even make other people happy just to give Myself the joy of seeing it. “You’re so good,” I’ll tell Myself, smiling, and “You really do deserve the gratitude people show you with their thoughtfulness and kind looks, not to mention the reputation of wisdom that you’ve made!”
I love Myself!
And of course you’ll never deceive me, Myself! You won’t practice the little treacheries of women, who lie and snap and claw: I will study Myself and know Myself…never will a cloud darken the peace of our affection. Like Narcissus admiring his beautiful young looks in the clear water of the fountain, my soul will reflect Myself in its pure stream and my love will be so harmonious, so limpid and so unalterable that sometimes it will seem to me that I’ll love nothing so much as I love Myself!
That’s what I told Myself when I met Myself for the first time. I considered Myself extremely good as well, quite beautiful in body and mind and I thought Myself very stupid for dreaming for a single moment of giving to strangers this unalterable friendship that I felt for Myself and that I could just as easily have given Myself.
But one day I felt a need to escape from Myself and when I fell in the water, I yelled to Myself to get rescued without me, “I couldn’t care less!” But my devotion to the beloved returned and swimming hard I saved Myself.
Thus I knew Self-sacrifice.
Another day some bully had the audacity to challenge Me Myself to a duel. Right away I talked to Myself and said, “You won’t fight. This wretch will take you away from me. Are you crazy? I’d rather die! True courage consists in scorning insults.”
Thus I knew Heroism. Someone from the outside told me, “It’s cowardly!” Two days before he had stopped a friend from fighting and he found it cowardly that I would do the same thing! I did the same thing, didn’t I, because I was my own best friend.
Nevertheless sorrow came; I suffered—I don’t know why—I was furious at Myself and I wanted to hurt Myself. I listened to Myself one night, I saw Myself slowly descending into a nightmare of despair—because in my exquisite life there was something missing in Myself—and coldly, without fear, inflexible, I killed Myself.
The newspapers claimed it was suicide.
I only killed Myself.