The year is 1885 and everybody in Europe is worn out from being Symbolists! It’s time to become a Decadent and shut yourself away in your room in order to be strongly influenced by Gautier and uncomfortable psychological positions! It’s time to retroactively apply the term to writers of a generation before you and signal a vague set of seemingly-unrelated people, ideas, and qualities! Someone told you what Egypt was and now you’re dying on your own sickeningly green couch! Are you ready to invest in perversity and disease? Okay!
Crushed to death by a tortoise you have bedazzled with jewels and set to bump around the unlit corners of your permanently-darkened bedroom!
Drowned by a doppelgänger of your younger self while you sit and sketch him in the mode of Hylas!
drapes too full of DOOMED ELEGANCE; suffocated
strangled by a junior count of the house of Batthyány-Strattmann after witnessing a strange surgical procedure together in a brightly-lit public garden!
Choked to death on your generation’s inability to imagine a convincing future!
saw a boy who looked like a girl reading a book about China
An owl kept looking at you meaningfully during a river trip!
Spoiled as a child – life at school made too easy for you by social-climbing headmasters – other boys too awed by your unearthly beauty to lift a finger against you and teach you resilience – strange affinity for music – besides being brilliant, far too clever – never fell in love but found it easy to adopt a gracious, graceful attitude in being loved – congratulated on your many conquests – the spurned lover – the quick jerk of the upturned vial – not liquor but acid – the ruined beauty – the smashed mirrors – the shameful, furtive visits of friends – the nightly visits to Hyde Park – a child in distress – the reassuring voice of a gentleman – the lifted veil – the sudden shock – blankness – the sound of gulls –
disgusted by modern architecture
You saw a serpent with a woman’s hair growing full from its head! (This was in Egypt.)
failed to seduce a lady acrobat with powerful arms and a robust spinal column
PAROXYSMS BROUGHT ON BY NON-SPECIFIC VICE
Parted your hair on the left due to listlessness and become so morally unbalanced as a result that you fell over completely into your beloved sister’s catafalque!
looked at flowers too hard
unable to define your own sentiments – you, a seasoned man on of the world!
what IS art
saw a virgin who reminded you of a swan you watched die as a child
so confused by the sights of Paris at midnight that you accidentally murdered an honest shepherdess with a train instead of marrying her
found an imperceptible blemish or vulgar expression in your mistress
diet composed primarily of falcons inherited from a once-great ancestor and insufficiently rich in phosphates as a result
plunged into libertine occult mysteries in an effort to escape the banality of life in a German town, then ruined by the sound of a lute
perfume, but evil
licentious dreams unscathed by pious cant of the neighboring priest and unsoothed by gazing into the little silver gilt box kept beside the bed