Je suis le Tenebreux – le Veuf – l’Inconsole

Today’s poem is from Gerard de Nerval, the eccentric mid 19th century French poet, who could be seen on the streets of Paris taking his pet lobster for a walk on a leash. This is a rich and evocative poem, which in many cases prefigures TS Eliot with its use of esoteric images and references

1 – Poème : El Desdichado

Je suis le Ténébreux, – le Veuf, – l’Inconsolé,
Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la Tour abolie :
Ma seule Etoile est morte, – et mon luth constellé
Porte le Soleil noir de la Mélancolie.
Dans la nuit du Tombeau, Toi qui m’as consolé,
Rends-moi le Pausilippe et la mer d’Italie,
La fleur qui plaisait tant à mon coeur désolé,
Et la treille où le Pampre à la Rose s’allie.
Suis-je Amour ou Phébus ?… Lusignan ou Biron ?
Mon front est rouge encor du baiser de la Reine ;
J’ai rêvé dans la Grotte où nage la Sirène…
Et j’ai deux fois vainqueur traversé l’Achéron :
Modulant tour à tour sur la lyre d’Orphée
Les soupirs de la Sainte et les cris de la Fée.

From <http://www.frenchtoday.com/french-poetry-reading/desdichado-nerval-poem-audio&gt;

 
The poem describes the poet’s state of melancholy, but in grandiose terms, epicly putting the poet on the same level as the tragic heros of history and mythology. The use of capitalisation, italics, dashes and dots throughout the poem increases the sense of drama or even melodrama. This is really the image of the poet as a master of the universe, on a differerent plane to the rest of humanity.

And all this within the format of a 14 line sonnet, in my mind one of the high achievements of human endeavour over the past 3000 years.

The Poetry Dude

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