el desdichado

I am the shadow, the widower, the unconsoled,
the Aquitanian prince with the ruined tower;
my only star is dead, and my star-strewn lute
bears the black sun of Melancholy.

You who consoled me, in the night of the tomb,
give me back Posillipo and the Italian sea,
the flower which please my grief-stricken heart so much,
and the arbour where the vine joints with the rose.

Am I Love or Phoebus?… Lusignan or Biron?
My brow is still red from the queen’s kiss;
I have dreamed in the cave where the siren swims. …

And I have twice crossed Acheron victoriously:
tuning in turn on Orpheus’s lyre
the sighs of the saint and the fairy’s cries.

Gérard de Nerval

twilight ballad

This is the hour of my bleak thoughts.
My Demon sleeps.
The red Demon
of my hellish mirth
sleeps in the gloomy twilight
of this mind of mine.
I smoke…
Desperately, intensely,
I smoke. Always!
Always! Always! Always!
I would like to think, to write, to sing…
But my Demon sleeps
The red Demon of my hellish mirth
sleeps in the gloomy twilight
of this mind of mine.
And no thoughts come…
Nor even laughter and curses!
This is the dark hour
of my black melancholy…

Renzo Novatore


Bluish shadows. O you dark eyes
Which gaze long upon me gliding by.
Sounds of a guitar gently accompany autumn
In the garden, dissolved in brown fluids.
Death’s grave darkling hour is prepared
By nymphen hands; decaying lips
Suck at redbreasts and into black fluids
The sun-youth’s damp locks glide.

Georg Trakl

soleils couchants

Spilled through the meadow by
An enfeebled dawn,
The melancholy
Of setting suns.
Rocks my heart to oblivion
With sweet melody
Amid setting suns.
And strange dreams
Like suns, setting,
Ruddy phantoms
Over shores, passing
Unceasingly, passing like some
Huge suns, like them
Over shores, setting.

Paul Verlaine


Memory, memory, what do you want from me?
Autumn made the thrush fly through the dull air,
and the sun darted a monotonous ray
over the yellowing wood where the north wind is loud.

We were by ourselves and walked dreaming,
she and I, our hair and thoughts in the wind.
Suddenly, turning her touching gaze upon me:
”What was your loveliest day?” said her voice of living gold,

Her gentle, resonant voice with the fresh angelic notes.
A discreet smile gave her her reply,
and I kissed her white hand devoutly.

– Ah! how full of perfume the first flowers are!
And with what a charming murmur the first yes sounds,
coming from beloved lips!

Paul Verlaine