Who among us has not, in moments of ambition, dreamt of the miracle of a form of poetic prose, musical but without rhythm and rhyme, both supple and staccato enough to adapt itself to the lyrical movements of our souls, the undulating movements of our reveries, and the convulsive movements of our consciences? This obsessive ideal springs above all from frequent contact with enormous cities, from the junction of their innumerable connections.
Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), French poet. repr. In Complete Works, vol. 1, "Shorter Prose Poems," ed. Yves-Gérard le Dantec, revised by Claude Pichois (1953). Dedication of Le Spleen de Paris, La Presse (Paris, August 26, 1862).