One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine: A Bilingual Edition


French poet Paul Verlaine, a major representative of the Symbolist Movement during the latter half of the nineteenth century, was one of the most gifted and prolific poets of his time. Norman Shapiro's superb new translations display Verlaine's ability to transform into timeless verse the essence of everyday life and make evident the reasons for his renown in France and throughout the Western world.

This selection provides the reader with a well-chosen cross section of ...

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One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine: A Bilingual Edition

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French poet Paul Verlaine, a major representative of the Symbolist Movement during the latter half of the nineteenth century, was one of the most gifted and prolific poets of his time. Norman Shapiro's superb new translations display Verlaine's ability to transform into timeless verse the essence of everyday life and make evident the reasons for his renown in France and throughout the Western world.

This selection provides the reader with a well-chosen cross section of Verlaine's extensive and impressive repertoire. Shapiro has included a number of the poet's early works, showing him at his most capricious and lyrical; many poems from his middle period, which reflect his on-again, off-again conversion to Catholicism after his tumultuous relationship with Arthur Rimbaud; and poems from his late period, when he fell prey to poverty, dissipation, and disease. These later poems, rarely anthologized, and for the most part little known, mark an important shift in Verlaine's style and exhibit the biting wit and deep sincerity that characterize this entire collection. Informative biographical introductions and notes help explain the circumstances that gave rise to Verlaine's work. By spanning the poet's entire life's work, Shapiro presents to scholars, students, and general readers of poetry the full range of Verlaine's achievement.

One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine provides an unprecedented representation of Verlaine's oeuvre while simultaneously offering readers of English an artistically faithful rendering of his haunting and lucid verse.

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Editorial Reviews

Genevieve Abravanel
The strength of this selection lies not only in its sweep, but in its delicate attention to each poem. Shapiro's unique translations of this whimsical, agonized music are more than adequate to bring the multifarious Verlaine to new generation of English speakers.
Harvard Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226853451
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman R. Shapiro is a professor of Romance languages and literatures at Wesleyan University. Among his many translations are Four Farces by Georges Feydeau, which was nominated for a National Book Award, The Fabulists French: Verse Fables of Nine Centuries, named Distinguished Book of the Year by the American Literary Translators' Association, and Charles Baudelaire: Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du mal, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Read an Excerpt

One Hundred and One Poems

A Bilingual Edition

By Paul Verlaine

University of Chicago Press

Copyright © 2003

University of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-226-85345-4

Chapter One


Allons, mon pauvre coeur, allons, mon
vieux complice
Redresse et peins a neuf tous tes arcs
Brule un encens ranci sur tes autels d'or
Seme de fleurs les bords beants du
Allons, mon pauvre coeur, allons, mon
vieux complice!

Pousse a Dieu ton cantique, o chantre
Entonne, orgue enroue, des Te Deum
Vieillard premature, mets du fard sur tes
Couvre-toi de tapis mordores, mur jauni;
Pousse a Dieu ton cantique, o chantre

Sonnez, grelots; sonnez, clochettes; sonnez,
Car mon reve impossible a pris corps, et je
Entre mes bras presse: le Bonheur, cet aile
Voyageur qui de l'Homme evite les
-Sonnez, grelots; sonnez, clochettes;
sonnez, cloches!

Le Bonheur a marche cote a cote avec moi;
Mais la FATALITE ne connait point de
Le ver est dans le fruit, le reveil dans le
Et le remords est dansl'amour: telle est la
-Le Bonheur a marche cote a cote avec

From Poemes saturniens (1866)


Come, my poor heart, come, old friend true
and tried,
Repaint your triumph's arches, raised anew;
Smoke tinsel altars with stale incense; strew
Flowers before the chasm, gaping wide;
Come, my poor heart, come, old friend true
and tried

Cantor revivified, sing God your hymn;
Hoarse organ-pipes, intone Te Deums
Make up your aging face, youth wrinkle-browed;
Bedeck yourself in gold, wall yellow-dim;
Cantor revivified, sing God your hymn.

Ring, bells; peal, chimes; peal, ring, bells
large and small!
My hopeless dream takes shape: for
Here, now-lies clutched, embraced in my
Winged Voyager, who shuns Man's every
-Ring, bells; peal, chimes; peal, ring, bells
large and small!

Happiness once walked side by side with
But DOOM knows no reprieve, there's no
The worm is in the fruit; in dreaming,
In loving, mourning. And so must it be.
-Happiness once walked side by side with

* * *

Clair de lune

Votre ame est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs deguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune,
Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire a leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mele au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rever les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau,
Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les

From Fetes galantes (1869)


Your soul is like a landscape fantasy,
Where masks and Bergamasks, in charming
Strum lutes and dance, just a bit sad to be
Hidden beneath their fanciful disguise.

Singing in minor mode of life's largesse
And all-victorious love, they yet seem quite
Reluctant to believe their happiness,
And their song mingles with the pale

The calm, pale moonlight, whose sad
beauty, beaming,
Sets the birds softly dreaming in the trees,
And makes the marbled fountains, gushing,
Slender jet-fountains-sob their ecstasies.

* * *

"Il pleure dans mon coeur ..."

II pleut doucement sur la ville.
Arthur Rimbaud

Il pleure dans mon coeur
Comme il pleut sur la ville;
Quelle est cette langueur
Qui penetre mon coeur?

O bruit doux de la pluie
Par terre et sur les toits!
Pour un coeur qui s'ennuie
O le chant de la pluie!

Il pleure sans raison
Dans ce coeur qui s'ecoeure.
Quoi! nulle trahison? ...
Ce deuil est sans raison.

C'est bien la pire peine
De ne savoir pourquoi
Sans amour et sans haine
Mon coeur a tant de peine!

From Romances sans paroles (1874)

"Like city's rain, my heart ..."

The rain falls gently on the town.
Arthur Rimbaud

Like city's rain, my heart
Rains teardrops too. What now,
This languorous ache, this smart
That pierces, wounds my heart?

Gentle, the sound of rain
Pattering roof and ground!
Ah, for the heart in pain,
Sweet is the sound of rain!

Tears rain-but who knows why?-
And fill my heartsick heart.
No faithless lover's lie? ...
It mourns, and who knows why?

And nothing pains me so-
With neither love nor hate-
A simply not to know
Why my heart suffers so.

* * *

A Charles Baudelaire

Je ne t'ai pas connu, je ne t'ai pas aime,
Je ne te connais point et je t'aime encor
Je me chargerais mal de ton nom diffame,
Et si j'ai quelque droit d'etre entre tes

C'est que, d'abord, et c'est qu'ailleurs, vers
les Pieds joints
D'abord par les clous froids, puis par l'elan
Des femmes de peche-desquelles o tant
Tant baises, chreme fol et baiser affame!-

Tu tombas, tu prias, comme moi, comme
Les ames que la faim et la soif sur les routes
Poussaient belles d'espoir au Calvaire

-Calvaire juste et vrai, Calvaire ou, donc,
ces doutes,
Ci, ca, grimaces, art, pleurent de leurs
Hein? mourir simplement, nous, hommes
de peche.

From Liturgies intimes (1892)

For Charles Baudelaire

I do not know you now, or like you, nor
Did I first know or like you, I admit.
It's not for me to furbish and restore
Your name: if I take up the cause for it,

It's that we both have known the exquisite
Joys of two feet together pressed: His, or
Our whores'! He, nailed; they, swooning in
love's fit,
Madly anointed, kissed, bowed down

You fell, you prayed. And so did I, like all
Those souls whom thirst and hunger,
Shining with hope, urged on to Calvary!

-Calvary, righteous, where-here, there-our fall,
In art-contorted doubts, weeps its chagrin.
A simple death, eh? we, brothers in sin.


Excerpted from One Hundred and One Poems
by Paul Verlaine
Copyright © 2003
by University of Chicago.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
My Familiar Dream 4
Seascape 6
Night Scene 8
Sunsets 10
Mystical Evening Twilight 12
Sentimental Stroll 14
Autumn Song 16
The Shepherd's Hour 18
Woman and Cat 20
A Dahlia 22
Nevermore 24
Moonlight 28
Pantomime 30
On the Grass 32
The Lane 34
Strolling 36
Innocents We 38
Cortege 40
Seashells 42
Puppets 44
Sailing 46
The Faun 48
Mandolin 50
For Clymene 52
Colombine 54
Love Cast Down 58
In Muted Tone 60
Lovers' Chat 62
"Morning star, before you pale..." 66
"Among the trees..." 68
"A Saint set in her stained-glass glow..." 70
"I used to wander aimlessly..." 72
"It's the languorous ecstasy..." 76
"Like city's rain, my heart..." 78
"Bright in the evening's gray and pinkish blur..." 80
"So sad my heart, so sad it was..." 82
"Covering the land..." 84
"Reflections in the fogbound rivulet..." 88
Walcourt 90
Charleroi 92
Green 96
Spleen 98
Streets I 100
Streets II 102
"Beauty of women, weakness, pale soft skin..." 106
"A vast, black lethargy..." 108
"Above the roof the sky is fair..." 110
"The horn's sound in the wood sobs dolefully..." 112
"The wind whips through the bushes, green..." 114
"The hedges billow like the sea's..." 116
"'The city!' Gaudy cluster of white stones..." 118
Pierrot 122
The Skeleton 124
Ars Poetica 126
Allegory 130
Circumspection 132
Languor 134
Prologue 136
"Your voice was deep and low..." 140
For Georges Verlaine 144
Allegory 148
Spring 150
Summer 152
For Mademoiselle 154
False Impression 158
Other 162
Tantalized 166
The Last Stanza 168
In the Style of Paul Verlaine 170
Limbo 172
Loins 176
The Last "Fete Galante" 178
Recollection of Manchester 182
For Edmond Lepelletier 184
For Arthur Rimbaud 186
For Bibi-Puree 188
"In Mary's humble ear..." 192
"Yes, despite your cruel excess..." 198
"I'm poorer than I've ever been..." 202
"True, we don't know when to quit..." 204
"Blonde? Brown? Which is your hair?..." 206
"You believe in superstitions..." 208
"Lover, when you look for lice..." 210
"I dreamed of you last night; and you..." 212
For Charles Baudelaire 216
"You've often been unkind..." 220
"That firm-fleshed belly that has never borne..." 224
Last Hope 230
"When we go - if I see her yet again..." 234
"It's thanks to you I see how I..." 236
Accompanying a Sketch (The Siege of Paris) 238
On a Copy of Les Fleurs du mal 240
Song for the Ladies 244
Fog! 246
Sonnet to Weep Over 250
A Drink Song 252
Another Drink Song 254
Dream 256
Awakening 258
Death 262
Quatrain 266
Notes 269
Acknowledgments 285
Index of Titles and First Lines 287
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