If advisers accept not accepted what to accomplish of her works, they accept been accepted by poets. Her balladry is visionary, as Rimbaud’s would be. It is Mallarme’s accent that does not accredit but is. Her balladry has the active adjacency of a lyric by Verlaine. Desbordes-Valmore’s “Dans la Rue,” a astute description of the after-effects of a annihilation in Lyon, charge absolutely accept been apprehend by Rimbaud afore he wrote the composition he blue-blooded “Le Mal.”
Rimbaud brought her balladry to the absorption of Verlaine. Proust, by way of Montesquiou, apparent her balladry and adopted the name Albertine for his novel. His reveries about “young girls in blossom” arm-twist the admirable aperture curve of Desbordes-Valmore’s “Intermittent Dream of a Sad Night”:
Land of our fathers area at aphotic Across the fields like after-effects adolescent women glide!
Yves Bonnefoy in his copy of Desbordes-Valmore’s balladry suggests a acumen for their neglect. In France balladry is still actuality apprehend from the point of appearance of Romanticism, which charcoal “the greatest archetype of balladry that is greatly masculine,” impendous to the advance her balladry represents, abnegation apparition and “the pretensions of the Me that are archetypal of Romanticism.”
Desbordes-Valmore would attending aback at her adolescence as idyllic. The bodies were absorbed to simple things and led boring lives. There were four children. Their ancestor corrective cabinets and fabricated abbey ornaments. But Joseph Desbordes absent his audience in the Revolution–the Terror came alike to Douai and the abbey balustrade was destroyed. The Desbordes ancestors was bargain to poverty.
In her autobiographical novel, The Studio of a Painter, Desbordes-Valmore tells how a swallows’ backup is access and the mother takes ambush on a adjoining roof. The ancestor of the four adolescent birds flies plaintively about her, afresh allotment and takes the accouchement one by one and throws them in the courtyard area they die. Marceline adds, “a abbreviate time after, I took address with my mother, alone my mother–to America–where no one was assured us.” The mother, Catherine Desbordes, absitively to go to Guadeloupe area she had a accessory who was a affluent planter. Apparently she was planning not to return. Her oldest daughter, Marceline, now fifteen, did not appetite to be afar from her. They spent a few months putting calm abundant money for the journey. They had a long, asperous crossing, and accustomed in Guadeloupe to acquisition that there was an catching of chicken agitation and that the affluent accessory had aloof died. In a fortnight Catherine Desbordes, too, died of the fever. Her babe managed to survive for eight months in the aberrant country area she knew no one. Sainte-Beuve says that she endured “frightful sufferings.”
Marceline alternate to her father’s abode in Douai. She had had some acquaintance of acting and was affianced by the bounded theater, afresh by the amphitheater in Rouen. She succeeded rapidly and acted generally in Paris. She was additionally autograph balladry that were arise in song books and almanacs.
Latouche would be a determinative influence. She would be disillusioned, not with affair but the affected versions of activity that Romanticism provided. Her acquaintance of Latouche gave her balladry about adulation its realism. To adulation can be aching . . . adulation and affliction at the accident of adulation are inseparable. But there is addition ancillary to this–as she says in “Intermittent Dream of a Sad Night,” if adulation brings sorrow, affliction brings with it the anamnesis of love. The adulation adequate in anamnesis may be aerial to an overview that is religion, philosophy, or art. It is a abating thought, and I do not anticipate anyone abroad has declared it so succinctly. Proust says as much, but he is not succinct.
The man with whom Marceline fabricated her activity was actual altered from Latouche. Prosper Lanchantin, accepted as “Valmore,” was an actor, a man of the theater, “without any mystery,” Yves Bonnefoy remarks, “and alike afterwards abundant charm.” As an amateur he was sometimes whistled and Marceline had to assure him.
She would allege in belletrist of “the accord of marriage.” This does not beggarly that it was a “loveless marriage”–it aloof wasn’t a Bovarist’s abstraction of love. She and her bedmate aggregate the hardships of a activity in the theater, affective from abode to abode and not accepting a home of their own. There were canicule back money was lacking, and there were accouchement to be cared for. There were canicule back Marceline was too apprenticed to address and her aptitude seemed to be activity to waste. But her balladry reflect a accommodation for adulation that grew stronger with the casual of time.
In 1819, two years afterwards they were married, she arise her aboriginal book of poems, Elegies, Marie et Romances. The forms and appearance of her aboriginal balladry are conventional–she is bound by what is accepted of women. The adoration she expresses is the Christianity that advises women to be resigned. But there are flashes of balladry in her descriptions of accustomed things. “My soul,” she writes, “still like a bird skimmed the canicule as they passed.”
Her backbone is in the complete poems, area she speaks of a activity abutting to nature. The axial actuation is adulation of the ancestor whose abode she larboard as a babe to activate her abhorrent journey. The fields and dupe of Douai were an addendum of her father’s life. She writes about the abode of her bearing as admitting it were a active thing. The animal or amative passages are not alone personal, they do not advertise a “secret of the flesh.” They are alloyed with the cry of a bird, the complete of a brook, “the ability of activity that men and women allotment and that ceaselessly the dream abandons but adulation renews.”
Dans la rue
par un jour funèbre de Lyon
La coquette Commonsense n’avons additional d’argent cascade enterrer nos morts. Le prêtre est là, marquant le pris des funérailles; Et les band étendus, troués par les mitrailles, Atteendent un linceul, une croix, un remords. Le meurtre se fait roi. Le vainqueur siffle et passe. Ou va-t-il? Au Trésor, toucher le prix du sang. Il en a bien versé. . . mais sa capital n’est pas lasse; Elle a, sans le combattre, égorgé le passant. Dieu l’a vu. Dieu cueillait comme des fleurs froissées Les femmes, les enfants qui s’envolaient aux cieux. Les homes. . .les voila dans le sang jusqu’aux yeux. L’air n’a pu balayer tant d’âmes courroucées. Elles ne veulent pas craven leurs associates morts. Le prêtre es là, marquant le prix des funérailles; Et les band étendus, troués par les mitrailles, Attendent un linceul, une croix, un remords. Les vivants n’osent additional se hazarder á vivre. Sentinelle soldée au ambience du chemin, La body est un soldat qui anchor et quie délivre Le témoin révolté qui parlerait demain. . . Des femmes Prenons nos rubans noirs, pleurons toutes nos larmes; On commonsense a défendu d’emporter nos meurtris. Ils n’ont fait qu’un monceau de leurs pales debris: Dieu! bénissez-les tous; ils étaient tous sans armes!
In the street
on a day of funerals at Lyon
The woman We accept run out of money to coffin our dead. The priest is there, addition what the amount will be, And the corpses connected out, holed by artillery, Appetite a shroud, a cross, apologetic words to be said. Murder is king. The champ whistles as he goes To the Treasury, to be paid for claret he shed. He has afford plenty, but his duke is not annoyed From fighting. There was no angry at all, God knows. God best up anniversary body like a breakable flower. Women and accouchement went aerial up to the skies, And men…there they are, in claret up to their eyes. Angry souls, too abounding to be borne by the air. They don’t appetite to leave their associates behind, the dead. The priest is there, addition what the amount will be, And the corpses connected out, holed by artillery, Appetite a shroud, a cross, apologetic words to be said. Those who are still animate do not apperceive area to go. A paid bouncer in the average of the way, Death is a soldier who aims and they booty abroad The insubordinate who would angle attestant tomorrow. Women Let us booty our atramentous ribbons, and abrasion one on the arm. It has been banned to booty the anemic charcoal Of our murdered. They accept aggregate them on the stones. God absolve them all! They were all of them unarmed.
Les roses de Saadi J’ai voulu ce matin te rapporter des roses; Mais j’en avais tant pris dans mes ceintures closes Que les noeuds trop serré n’ont pu les contenir. Les noeuds ont éclaté. Les roses envolées Dans le vent, á la mer s’en sont toutes allées. Elles ont suivi l’eau cascade ne additional revenir. La ambiguous en a paru crimson et comme enflammée. Ce soir, ma bathrobe acclamation en est toute embaumée. . . Respires-en sur moi ‘lodorant souvenir. The roses of Saadi The knots burst. All the roses took wing, The air was abounding with roses flying, Carried by the wind, into the sea. The after-effects are red, as admitting they are burning. My dress still has the aroma of the morning, Remembering roses. Smell them on me.
I capital to accompany you roses this morning. There were so abounding I capital to bring, The knots at my waist could not authority so many.
Les séparés N’écris pas. Je suis triste, et je voudrais m’éteindre. Les beaux étés sans toi, c’est la nuit sans flambeau. J’ai refermé mes bras qui ne peuvent t’atteindre, Et frapper á mon Coeur, c’est frapper au tombeau. N’écris pas! N’écris pas. N’apprenons qu’à toi, si je t’aimais! Au addicted de ton absence écouter que tu m’aimes, C’est entendre le ciel sans y monter jamais. N’écris pas! N’écris pas. Je te crains; j’ai peur de ma mémoire; Elle a gardé ta voix qui m’appelle souvent. Ne montre pas l’eau vive à qui ne peut la boire. Une chère écriture est un account vivant. N’écris pas! N’écris pas ces doux mots que je n’ose additional lire: Il semble que ta voix les pand sur mon cœur; Que je los vois brûler à travers ton sourire; Il semble qu’un baiser les empreint sur mon Coeur. N’écris pas!
Apart Do not write. I am sad, and appetite my ablaze put out. Summers in your absence are as aphotic as a room. I accept bankrupt my accoutrements again. They charge do without. To beating at my affection is like animadversion at a tomb. Do not write! Do not write. Let us apprentice to die as best we may. Did I adulation you? Ask God. Ask yourself. Do you know? To apprehend that you adulation me back you are far away, Is like audition from heaven and never to go. Do not write! Do not write. I abhorrence you. I abhorrence to remember, For anamnesis holds the articulation I accept generally heard. To the one who cannot drink, do not appearance water, The admired one’s account in the handwritten word. Do not write! Do not address those affable words that I cartel not see, It seems that your articulation is overextension them on my heart, Across your smile, on fire, they arise to me, It seems that a kiss is press them on my heart. Do not write!
La couronne effeuillée J’irai, j’irai porter ma couronne effeuillée Au jardin de mon père où revit toute fleur; J’y répandrai longtemps mon âme agenouillée: Mon père a des secrets cascade vaincre la douleur. J’irai, J’irai lui dire, au moins avec mes larmes: «Regardez, j’ai souffert. . . » il me regardera, Et sous mes jours changés, sous mes pâleurs sans charmes, Parce qu’il est mon père il me reconnaîtra. Il dira: «C’est donc vous, chère âme désolée! La terre manqué-t-elle â vos pas égarés? Chère âme, je suis Dieu: ne soyez additional trouble; Voici votre maison, voici mon Coeur, entrez!» O clémence! ô douceur! ô saint refuge! ô père! Votre enfant qui pleurait vous l’avez entendu! Je vous obtiens déjà puisque je vous espère Et que vous possédez acclaim ce que j’ai perdu. Vous ne rejetez pas la fleur qui n’est additional belle, Ce abomination de la terre au ciel est pardonné. vous ne maudirez pas votre enfant infidèle, Non d’avoir rien vendu, mais d’avoir acclaim donné. Addle account I shall go, I shall booty my addle account To his garden area the annual lives again. I shall cascade my body out to him as I kneel: My ancestor has abstruse means of healing pain. I shall go, I shall acquaint him at atomic with tears, “Look, I accept suffered.” And he will see. Under my afflicted canicule and the pallor of years, Because he is my ancestor he will apperceive me. He will say, “There you are at last, baby sadness! Do you still ache for the apple you acclimated to roam? Baby soul, I am your God. Now be at peace: Here is my heart, appear in! Here is your home!” O mercy! Sweetness! Holy refuge! Father, You listened to your babe back she wept! I hoped for you and so already accept you, And aggregate that I accept absent you kept. You will not adios what is not beautiful: Heaven pardons what the apple holds criminal. You will not abuse your adolescent who was unfaithful, Not for accepting nothing, but for giving all.
As a clairvoyant of our efforts, you accept stood with us on the advanced curve in the action for culture. Apprentice how your abutment contributes to our connected aegis of truth.
Louis Simpson is alive on a new book of poems. He lives in Stony Brook, New York.
This commodity originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 14 Number 3, on folio 34Copyright © 2021 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.comhttps://newcriterion.com/issues/1995/11/four-poems-by-marceline-desbordes-valmore
Au Theatre Ce Soir – au theatre ce soir
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