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Impressions and opinions: A Great Poet (Verlaine), Page 1  
by George Moore (1913). Page protected by Copyscape DO NOT COPY

I write about a poet whose verse, whose name, and whose life are unknown in England — of one who even in his own country is known only to the élite — of one who, although he has published beautiful books for more than a quarter of a century, remains to this day unhonoured and unrecognised by the general reading public in the most distinguished literary centre in the world — in Paris. His name is Verlaine, and standing to-day on the last verge of life he sees glory rising out of the chasm beneath him. And when he steps into the chasm, the faint light that now gilds the last rocks and peaks of life will ascend into those heavens out of which no light sets. In the meantime, he lives in poverty, if not in absolute hunger.

It is true that real talent may be passed by, but sooner or later it is recognised. The one invincible thing is a good book. It may be doubted if the world contains a single good unknown poem. If a man were to write a good sonnet and drop it in the middle of the Sahara, the fate that has watched over good poetry through so many centuries would catch it up, and carry it somehow into common repute. How, then, is it that Verlaine is unknown? I answer that just as there are many ways of being "stonebroke," so there are many ways of being unknown. No man, however great, is known to everybody, and no man, however solitary, is known to nobody.

Among men of letters Verlaine is as well known as Victor Hugo; to the occasional reader his name is as unknown as that of the concierge over the way, or the cocher turning the corner of the street. And this, because the general reading public cares little for poetry? No. But because Verlaine is of all men of genius I have ever met the least fitted to defend himself in the battle of life. He is able for nothing except the occasional writing of beautiful verses. And verses that have no other characteristic than beauty may be said to be an almost unsaleable commodity. His instincts are neither patriotic nor popular, but entirely æsthetical — the religious emotion of a monk painting the joys of heaven above the dim altar, and the sensuousness of the same monk delineating the tall adolescent angel. He loves language and every cadence the French language may inflect haunts in his ear. So natural and instinctive is the music of his verse that it often seems no more than the melancholy inarticulate voice which nature speaks, penetrating and profound by reason of its vagueness and utterness.


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

"Je ne me suis pas consolé
Bien que mon cœur s'en soit allé.

"Bien que mon cœur, bien que mon âme,
Eussent fui loin de cette femme.

"Je ne me suis pas consolé,
Bien que mon cœur s'en soit allé,

"Et mon cœur, mon cœur trop sensible
Dit à mon âme: Est-il possible,

"Est-il possible — le fut-il, —
Ce fier exil, ce triste exil?

"Mon âme dit à mon cœur: Sais-je,
Moi-même, que nous veut ce piège

"D'étre présents bien qu'exilés,
Encore que loin en allés?"


PAGE 1 OF 4.

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Moore, G (1913). Impressions and opinions: A Great Poet (Verlaine)   
	:Page1. Retrieved , from La Nouvelle Décadence 
	Web site: http://webspace.webring.com/people/tl/lanouvelledecadence
        /verbiomoo01.html
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MLA Style:
Moore, George. "Impressions and opinions: A Great Poet (Verlaine)   
	:Page1." La Nouvelle Décadence. 1913.  < http:
	//webspace.webring.com/people/tl/lanouvelledecadence
        /verbiomoo01.html >.
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Turabian Style:
Moore, George. "Impressions and opinions: A Great Poet (Verlaine):Page1."     
	La Nouvelle Décadence. Available from http://webspace.webring.com
	/people/tl/lanouvelledecadence/verbiomoo01.html. Internet; 
        accessed . 
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Chicago Style:
Moore, George. "Impressions and opinions: A Great Poet (Verlaine)   
	:Page1." 1913.http://webspace.webring.com/people/tl 
	/lanouvelledecadence/verbiomoo01.html (accessed 
        ).
______________________________________________

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
AUTHOR: Moore, George (1913).
TITLE OF WEBPAGE: "Impressions and opinions: A Great Poet (Verlaine):Page1".
TITLE OF WEBSITE: La Nouvelle Décadence.
PUBLISHER: Lannie Brockstein.
LAST UPDATED: December 31st, 2009.
URL: http://webspace.webring.com/people/tl
/lanouvelledecadence/verbiomoo01.html
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