[Wormwood] is a perennial plant with
bitter leaves, found everywhere in Europe.
In the North, a wine called vermouth is
made from it.
There are two varieties, the Roman and
the Pontic, also known as marine wormwood.
Wormwood that grows along the shore or
high in the mountains is fine to eat.
To the latter we owe the special flavor
of animals that have fed upon it, highly
esteemed by gourmands and known as pré-salé
Though the dispensers boast that the
beverage called absinthe will strengthen
the stomach and aid digestion, and though
the Salerno school recommends absinthe
for seasickness, it is impossible not
to deplore its ravages among our soldiers
and poets over the past forty years. There
is not a regimental surgeon who will not
tell you that absinthe has killed more
Frenchman in Africa than the flittá,
the yataghan, and the guns of the Arabs
Among our Bohemian poets absinthe has
been called "the green muse." Several,
and unfortunately not the poorest, have
died from its poisoned embraces. Hégésippe
Moreau, Amédée Roland, Alfred
de Musset, our greatest poet after Hugo
and Lamartine--all succumbed to its disastrous
De Musset's fatal passion for absinthe,
which may have given some of his verses
their bitter flavor, caused the dignified
Academy to descend to punning. It seems
that de Musset frequently found himself
in no condition to attend the academic
sessions. Which prompted one of the forty
Immortals to say that "he absinthes himself
a bit too much."