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Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song, Page 13  
by Bergen Applegate (1916). Page protected by Copyscape DO NOT COPY

Of Sagesse, written in prison at Mons, an overpowering sense of shame and misery quite overbalanced his mind, already weakened by excessive use of stimulants. Enforced continence, also, contributed toward violent mental disturbances, so that he soon found himself in the frame of mind of some medieval, ecstatic monk and began pouring forth a series of verses as mystical and unintelligible as any in the Apocalypse. Quite in keeping with this mental attitude are the poems of Parallèlement, most of which were written at the same time. Ch. Donos, writing of this book, says: "The reading of Parallèlement is equivalent to taking an aphrodisiac of exquisite flavor. It evokes the vision of a horde of unbridled luxuries, hennying like a band of wild stallions turned loose among mares on an open prairie of the Far West. Les passions les plus perverse, les vices anormaux, hors-nature, sont célébrés, magnifiés dans ce livre. Mais en des vers si merveilleux de facture, avec de telles subtilités d'expression, d'un rythme tour à tour berceur comme de lents baisers, ou ravi dans l'élan des brutales étrientes qu'il en garde le caractère d'une œuvre littéraire, sincere et de haute valeur poétique."

Verlaine's poetical output after his release from prison and the publication of Sagesse was more mature and original, though less brilliant. Jadis et Naguère contained some poems in his best vein — likely written, however, at an earlier period. In Amour the poet celebrates in graceful verses his friendship for Lucien Létinois. Here, also, may be found some of his strongest, most original and best poised work. The note is largely personal. In Parallèlement, to quote Stefan Zweig, "he won the crown of all pornographic works with perverse and indecent poems." Bonheur is a less ardent Sagesse where the note of self-pity predominates and Chansons pour Elle and Odes en Son Honneur celebrate his various mistresses. These two books are distorted echoes of The Good Song resounding in an empty heart. Liturgies Intimes are little less puerile than portions of Sagesse. With advancing years his work showed steady deterioration, and his voice, for the most part, was that of

". . . un vieux poète erre dans la gouttière
Avec la triste voix d'un fantôme frileux

As Verlaine's poetry defies analysis in its original language, so does it defy interpretation in English.

"How much of his work will live?" asks a writer reviewing Lepelletier's Life of Verlaine in Current Literature. "Perhaps a hundred pages, but those pages will give him a place among the poets of the 19th century. He is nothing of a teacher; he throws no illuminating ray upon the problems that vex humanity; he speaks to us neither of fortitude nor hope, but in its verbal magic and power to evoke half-forgotten moods and emotions, the best of Verlaine's work is the pure gold of literature."


That the quality of much of the work of Paul Verlaine is of the highest literary value, and that his fame is growing rather than diminishing are incontestable facts.

George A. Tournoux, in his Bibliographic Verlainienne (Leipzig, Libraire E. Rowohlt, 1912) indicates 1,044 references upon the subject of his monograph. This work, although of great value to the student, makes no pretension to being complete. The compiler of this interesting contribution to letters says in the introduction: "We have thought it necessary to disregard the notations in the general histories of French literature, the encyclopedias, and the works of ephemeral value, also those studies where the question of Verlaine appears merely in an accidental or summary manner. . . If we have departed from this line of conduct in favor of certain articles, it is because of the eminence of their authors as well as the character of the periodical, or that the circumstances under which they were published gave them a particular value."

The Tournoux monograph, which carries the work of research up to the beginning of the year 1911, is divided into two sections. The first deals with the work of Verlaine published in France. One notation (107) in this division shows the complete works of the poet to have been published in Leipzig by Rowohlt in 1910. Interesting also to note are the books of a pornographic character which have at times fallen under the ban of the courts:

1867 5. Les Amies. Scènes d'amour saphique. Sonnets. Par le licencié Pablo de Herlagnez. Bruxelles. Poulet-Malassis. Petit in-12.
6. Les Amies. Scènes d'amour saphique. Sonnets. ar le licencié, Pablo de Herlagnez. Ségovie. 1870. Petit in-12.

PAGE 13 OF 15.

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Applegate, Bergen. "Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song: Paul Verlaine   
	:Page13." 1916. 
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AUTHOR: Applegate, Bergen (1916).
TITLE OF WEBPAGE: "Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe Tinted Song:Page13".
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