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Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song, Page 12  
by Bergen Applegate (1916). Page protected by Copyscape DO NOT COPY

These poems reflect all that was best and most wholesome in the poet's life. By no means the greatest of his work, they are, however, the most spontaneous. The language of love is so universal and so well understood, that those who find Verlaine obscure in his other work can have no cause for complaint in reading:

"All grace and all light In the flush of her sixteen years."

Of La Bonne Chanson the poet once said, "I have always had a predilection for this poor little volume, into which the whole of a purified heart was put."

It was in Romances Sans Paroles that Verlaine found himself. A strange book, indeed, born of a troubled period of his early life. Here begins that litany which, while life lasted, he never ceased to chant lament for the wife who, through his own fault, he had irrevocably lost. How thoroughly had he learned that "Le passé n'est jamais une chose morte."

Here, also, are emphasized those melancholy languors and peculiar thrills of grief which permeate so much of his verse. "Where Baudelaire is bitter, Verlaine is only sad," says Turquet-Milnes. And here, also, he seems "first to recognize the whole charm of the word half spoken . . . and of faltering with grace" in a manner which caused him to appear "less intellectually clear than emotionally simple." Ah, the hopelessness of love! "the vague sentiment that he listened to in his own mind, as to a far distant melancholy song:"

"O triste, triste était mon âme
A cause, à cause d'une femme!


Writing of himself in Mémoires d'un Veuf (doubtless in a mood of intense ennui and forgetful of the full-blooded creatures of Parallèlement, of Casta Piana and other glorified courtesans) the poet says:

"Are you like myself? I hate people full of blood. I despise the whole rank of famous painters and sculptors, notwithstanding my admiration for their works. Noisy voices, rude laughter, shock me beyond expression, — in a word, I dislike health. By health I do not mean that marvelous harmony of soul and body which the heroes of Sophocles possessed, and the antique statues of pagan philosophers, but this dreadful, red face, noisy joy, burned, perspiring skin, plump hands, thick feet — the whole mass of body and colors, a super-abundance of which our epoch seems to enjoy.

"From the same motives, I hate the so-called healthy poetry. Imagine only this: Beautiful girls, beautiful boys, beautiful souls, — 'mens sana' etc., — everything beautiful beyond words. As for the background: Green woods, green fields, blue of the sky, golden sun, weaving white, — I turn away in disgust.

"Are you like myself? If not, leave me alone. But if so, stay and tell me about a September afternoon, about a burning, sad afternoon, when the golden ray of melancholy falls upon the dying and over-ripe landscape. In such a frame, show me a quiet, queenlike figure of a woman, weary of suffering, whose youth is past but a few years. Her strength is not great; still, she can walk in the park. Clad in a white dress, she has large, gray eyes, like the sky, unchanging like the horizon. Truth is written in those eyes: a profound, warm passion is hidden in them.

"My heart and my thoughts accompany this pale enchantress, while, in her flowing dress, she walks over the faded flowers, among the over-ripe fruits, surrounded by the scent of autumn."

PAGE 12 OF 15.

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Applegate, B (1916). Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song:Page12.    
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Applegate, Bergen. "Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song:Page12."    
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Chicago Style:
Applegate, Bergen. "Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song: Paul Verlaine   
	:Page12." 1916. 
	/verbioapp12.html (accessed ).

AUTHOR: Applegate, Bergen (1916).
TITLE OF WEBPAGE: "Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song:Page12".
TITLE OF WEBSITE: La Nouvelle Décadence.
PUBLISHER: Lannie Brockstein.
LAST UPDATED: January 1st, 2010.

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