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Studies in Modern Poetry: Paul Verlaine, Page 4  
by Federico Olivero (1921). Page protected by Copyscape DO NOT COPY

At the beginning of the book he relates his conversion. — 'A good knight riding in silence, — Misfortune pierced my old heart with his spear. All the blood of my heart spirted out in a scarlet jet, then it evaporated on the flowers, in the sunlight. A shadow covered my sight, a cry rose to my lips, and my heart died with a wild shiver. Then the knight Misfortune came near me, alighted from his horse and touched me with his hand; with his fingers in the iron gauntlet he probed my wound, while he proclaimed his Law with a hard voice. And lo! at the icy touch a new heart was born in me, a heart pure and bold; and now a young heart, fervid with a divine simplicity, throbs in my breast. And the knight, having mounted again his horse, beckoned to me while he was going away and cried — I still hear that voice — 'At least be prudent! Because this is good only for once'.

La bonne chanson is a pure, joyous interlude between the sombre melancholy of Poèmes Saturniens and the refined weariness of Fêtes galantes. There is something virginal in it, the rosy effulgence of an April morning. As in Amour, Liturgies intimes and Bonheur, there is here an effective concentration in his seemingly slip-shod style, in which the homely and the rare are curiously mingled, and to which a certain preciosity lends an additional charm. On the contrary in Jadis et naguère we become aware of a failing of his powers; not only are some of these lyrics very low in aesthetic merit, but we find in them a tendency to sickly, feverish dreams begotten in the bitter quest of pleasure, of the 'bourreau sans merci'; the music of the lines is no longer perfect, and we turn disgusted from these cynical, repulsive compositions, the offspring of a diseased intellect haunted by turbid hallucinations. The same may be said of Parallèlement.

His lines possessed a life-giving power and they left a lingering echo in subsequent poetry. He showed a new delicacy in the handling of the somptuous, heavy materials used by the 'Parnassiens', and the same technique appears in many a contemporary writer. It is in Francis Jammes that we find faithfully reflected the characteristics of Verlaine, his inward struggle and his sense of loving abandonment and repose in God. At a certain period of his life the hyacinth of sensuality yielded to the mystic passionflower; and he rose to the same conception of the human existence.


'A humble life of easy and wearisome labours is a state of election that requires a great love', had said the poet of Bonheur, and this thought is re-echoed in Clairières dans le ciel and in Géorgiques chrétiennes. Verlaine initiated him to that process of transfiguration through which the landscape becomes alive with eternal beings; in the freshness and silence of the dewfall the murmurings of trees turn into voices, a far chime of bells, stealing softly upon the dreamer, becomes a heavenly song; Angels appear, their pensive head surrounded by a circlet of silver light.

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Olivero, F (1921). Studies in Modern Poetry: Paul Verlaine:Page4.    
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Olivero, Federico. "Studies in Modern Poetry: Paul Verlaine:Page4."    
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Olivero, Federico. "Studies in Modern Poetry: Paul Verlaine:Page4."     
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Chicago Style:
Olivero, Federico. "Studies in Modern Poetry: Paul Verlaine   
	:Page4." 1921. 
	/lanouvelledecadence/verbiooli04.html (accessed ).

AUTHOR: Olivero, Federico (1921).
TITLE OF WEBPAGE: "Studies in Modern Poetry: Paul Verlaine:Page4".
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LAST UPDATED: December 31st, 2009.

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