IN 1893 the thoughts of a certain pilgrim were a good deal occupied by the theories and experiments which a section of the younger French poets were engaged upon. In this country, the Symbolists and Decadents of Paris had been laughed at and parodied, but, with the exception of Mr. Arthur Symons, no English critic had given their tentatives any serious attention. I became much interested — not wholly converted, certainly, but considerably impressed — as I studied, not what was said about them by their enemies, but what they wrote themselves. Among them all, there was but one, M. Mallarmé, whom I knew personally; him I had met, more than twenty years before, carrying the vast folio of his Manet-Poe through the length and breadth of London, disappointed but not discouraged. I learned that there were certain haunts where these later Decadents might be observed in large numbers, drawn together by the gregarious attraction of verse. I determined to haunt that neighbourhood with a butterfly-net, and see what delicate creatures with powdery wings I could catch. And, above all, was it not understood that that vaster lepidopter, that giant hawk-moth, Paul Verlaine, uncoiled his proboscis in the same absinthe-corollas?
To the critical entomologist the eastern side of this street is known as the chief, indeed almost the only habitat of poeta symbolans, which, however, occurs here in vast numbers. Each of the leaders of a school has his particular café, where he is to be found at an hour and in a chair known to the habitués of the place. So Dryden sat at Will's and Addison at Button's, when chocolate and ratafia, I suppose, took the place of absinthe. M. Jean Moréas sits in great circumstance at the Restaurant d'Harcourt — or he did three years ago — and there I enjoyed much surprising and stimulating conversation. But Verlaine — where was he? At his café, the François-Premier, we were told that he had not been seen for four days. "There is a letter for him — he must be ill," said Madame; and we felt what the tiger-hunter feels when the tiger has gone to visit a friend in another valley. But to persist is to succeed.
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Gosse, E (1896). French Profiles: A First Sight Of Verlaine:Page1. Retrieved , from La Nouvelle Décadence Web site: http://webspace .webring.com/people/tl/lanouvelledecadence/verbiogos01.html
Gosse, Edmund. "French Profiles: A First Sight Of Verlaine:Page1." La Nouvelle Décadence. 1896. < http://webspace.webring.com /people/tl/lanouvelledecadence/verbiogos01.html >.
Gosse, Edmund. "French Profiles: A First Sight Of Verlaine:Page1." La Nouvelle Décadence. Available from http://webspace.webring.com /people/tl/lanouvelledecadence/verbiogos01.html. Internet; accessed .
Gosse, Edmund. "French Profiles: A First Sight Of Verlaine:Page1." 1896. http://webspace.webring.com/people/tl/lanouvelledecadence/verbiogos01.html (accessed ).
AUTHOR: Gosse, Edmund (1896).
TITLE OF WEBPAGE: "French Profiles: A First Sight Of Verlaine:Page1".
TITLE OF WEBSITE: La Nouvelle Décadence.
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