Chanson d’automne

by PAUL VERLAINE (1844-1896)

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon coeur
D’une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure;

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
De çà, de là,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

Paul Verlaine

“I am sorry that I ever met Paul Verlaine, for the remembrance of the devastation which had been wrought in the perishable body of that immortal genius must always be a poignant sorrow. My first sight of this great, simple, beautiful poet and child was in the basement of a café on the Place St. Michel, where there used to be singing, and where the poets gathered. Verlaine was drunk that night, and, as usual, was dressed in rags. He had a false nose on his face (for it was carnival time), and he was piping on a little tin whistle. The spectacle had the terrible comedy touch of Aristophanes. It was tragedy made grotesque. The man had the head and face of Socrates, and here we saw Socrates playing the buffoon. It was ‘the glory that was Greece’ swathed in the mire of the Paris gutter. I could not bear the sight, and hurried home.” ~ Robert Harborough Sherard

English translation on page 2