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Best Famous Paul Verlaine Poems


Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Paul Verlaine poems. This is a select list of the best famous Paul Verlaine poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Paul Verlaine poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of paul verlaine poems.

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by Paul Verlaine |

Autumn Song

With long sobs
the violin-throbs
of autumn wound
my heart with languorous
and montonous
sound.

Choking and pale
When i mind the tale
the hours keep,
my memory strays
down other days
and I weep;

and I let me go
where ill winds blow
now here, now there,
harried and sped,
even as a dead
leaf, anywhere.


by Paul Verlaine |

Melancholy

I am the Empire in the last of its decline, 
That sees the tall, fair-haired Barbarians pass,--the while 
Composing indolent acrostics, in a style 
Of gold, with languid sunshine dancing in each line.

The solitary soul is heart-sick with a vile 
Ennui. Down yon, they say, War's torches bloody shine. 
Alas, to be so faint of will, one must resign 
The chance of brave adventure in the splendid file,-

Of death, perchance! Alas, so lagging in desire! 
Ah, all is drunk! Bathyllus, has done laughing, pray? 
Ah, all is drunk,--all eaten! Nothing more to say!

Alone, a vapid verse one tosses in the fire; 
Alone, a somewhat thievish slave neglecting one; 
Alone, a vague disgust of all beneath the sun!


by Robert William Service |

Gods In The Gutter

 I dreamed I saw three demi-gods who in a cafe sat,
And one was small and crapulous, and one was large and fat;
And one was eaten up with vice and verminous at that.

The first he spoke of secret sins, and gems and perfumes rare;
And velvet cats and courtesans voluptuously fair:
"Who is the Sybarite?" I asked. They answered: "Baudelaire."

The second talked in tapestries, by fantasy beguiled;
As frail as bubbles, hard as gems, his pageantries he piled;
"This Lord of Language, who is he?" They whispered "Oscar Wilde."

The third was staring at his glass from out abysmal pain;
With tears his eyes were bitten in beneath his bulbous brain.
"Who is the sodden wretch?" I said. They told me: "Paul Verlaine."

Oh, Wilde, Verlaine and Baudelaire, their lips were wet with wine;
Oh poseur, pimp and libertine! Oh cynic, sot and swine!
Oh votaries of velvet vice! . . . Oh gods of light divine!

Oh Baudelaire, Verlaine and Wilde, they knew the sinks of shame;
Their sun-aspiring wings they scorched at passion's altar flame;
Yet lo! enthroned, enskied they stand, Immortal Sons of Fame.

I dreamed I saw three demi-gods who walked with feet of clay,
With cruel crosses on their backs, along a miry way;
Who climbed and climbed the bitter steep to which men turn and pray.


by Robert William Service |

The Philistine And The Bohemian

 She was a Philistine spick and span,
He was a bold Bohemian.
She had the mode, and the last at that;
He had a cape and a brigand hat.
She was so riant and chic and trim;
He was so shaggy, unkempt and grim.
On the rue de la Paix she was wont to shine;
The rue de la Gaîté was more his line.
She doted on Barclay and Dell and Caine;
He quoted Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine.
She was a triumph at Tango teas;
At Vorticist's suppers he sought to please.
She thought that Franz Lehar was utterly great;
Of Strauss and Stravinsky he'd piously prate.
She loved elegance, he loved art;
They were as wide as the poles apart:
Yet -- Cupid and Caprice are hand and glove --
They met at a dinner, they fell in love.

Home he went to his garret bare,
Thrilling with rapture, hope, despair.
Swift he gazed in his looking-glass,
Made a grimace and murmured: "Ass!"
Seized his scissors and fiercely sheared,
Severed his buccaneering beard;
Grabbed his hair, and clip! clip! clip!
Off came a bunch with every snip.
Ran to a tailor's in startled state,
Suits a dozen commanded straight;
Coats and overcoats, pants in pairs,
Everything that a dandy wears;
Socks and collars, and shoes and ties,
Everything that a dandy buys.
Chums looked at him with wondering stare,
Fancied they'd seen him before somewhere;
A Brummell, a D'Orsay, a beau so fine,
A shining, immaculate Philistine.

Home she went in a raptured daze,
Looked in a mirror with startled gaze,
Didn't seem to be pleased at all;
Savagely muttered: "Insipid Doll!"
Clutched her hair and a pair of shears,
Cropped and bobbed it behind the ears;
Aimed at a wan and willowy-necked
Sort of a Holman Hunt effect;
Robed in subtile and sage-green tones,
Like the dames of Rossetti and E. Burne-Jones;
Girdled her garments billowing wide,
Moved with an undulating glide;
All her frivolous friends forsook,
Cultivated a soulful look;
Gushed in a voice with a creamy throb
Over some weirdly Futurist daub --
Did all, in short, that a woman can
To be a consummate Bohemian.

A year went past with its hopes and fears,
A year that seemed like a dozen years.
They met once more. . . . Oh, at last! At last!
They rushed together, they stopped aghast.
They looked at each other with blank dismay,
They simply hadn't a word to say.
He thought with a shiver: "Can this be she?"
She thought with a shudder: "This can't be he?"
This simpering dandy, so sleek and spruce;
This languorous lily in garments loose;
They sought to brace from the awful shock:
Taking a seat, they tried to talk.
She spoke of Bergson and Pater's prose,
He prattled of dances and ragtime shows;
She purred of pictures, Matisse, Cezanne,
His tastes to the girls of Kirchner ran;
She raved of Tchaikovsky and Caesar Franck,
He owned that he was a jazz-band crank!
They made no headway. Alas! alas!
He thought her a bore, she thought him an ass.
And so they arose and hurriedly fled;
Perish Illusion, Romance, you're dead.
He loved elegance, she loved art,
Better at once to part, to part.

And what is the moral of all this rot?
Don't try to be what you know you're not.
And if you're made on a muttonish plan,
Don't seek to seem a Bohemian;
And if to the goats your feet incline,
Don't try to pass for a Philistine.


by Paul Verlaine |

The Young Fools (Les Ingénus)

 High-heels were struggling with a full-length dress
So that, between the wind and the terrain,
At times a shining stocking would be seen,
And gone too soon. We liked that foolishness.

Also, at times a jealous insect's dart
Bothered out beauties. Suddenly a white
Nape flashed beneath the branches, and this sight
Was a delicate feast for a young fool's heart.

Evening fell, equivocal, dissembling,
The women who hung dreaming on our arms
Spoke in low voices, words that had such charms
That ever since our stunned soul has been trembling.


by |

Ballade: In Favour Of Those Called Decadents And Symbolists Translation of Paul Verlaines Poem: Ballade

for Léon Vanier*

(The texts I use for my translations are from: Yves-Alain Favre, Ed. Paul Verlaine: Œuvres Poétiques Complètes. Paris: Robert Laffont,1992, XCIX-939p.)

Some few in all this Paris:
We live off pride, yet flat broke we’re
Even if with the bottle a bit too free
We drink above all fresh water
Being very sparing when taken with hunger.
With other fine fare and wines of high-estate
Likewise with beauty: sour-tempered never.
We are the writers of good taste.

Phoebé when all the cats gray be
Highly sharpened to a point much harsher
Our bodies nourrished by glory
Hell licks its lips and in ambush does cower
And with his dart Phoebus pierces us ever
The night cradling us through dreamy waste
Strewn with seeds of peach beds over.
We are the writers of good taste.

A good many of the best minds rally
Holding high Man’s standard: toffee-nosed scoffer
And Lemerre* retains with success poetry’s destiny.
More than one poet then helter-skelter
Sought to join the rest through the narrow fissure;
But Vanier at the very end made haste
The only lucky one to assume the rôle of Fisher*.
We are the writers of good taste.

ENVOI

Even if our stock exchange tends to dither
Princes hold sway: gentle folk and the divining caste.
Whatever one might say or pours forth the preacher,
We are the writers of good taste.

*One of Verlaine’s publishers who first published his near-collected works at 19, quai Saint-Michel, Paris-V.

* Alphonse Lemerre (1838-1912) , one of Verlaine’s publishers at 47, Passage Choiseul, Paris, where from 1866 onwards the Parnassians met regularly.

*Vanier first specialised in articles for fishing as a sport.

© T. Wignesan – Paris,2013