February 11, 2009

Poems by Debordes-Valmore

In the 19th century, poetry is a genre reserved for men and few women publish under their real name. The best known of them, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859) is a self-taught. Coming from the petty bourgeoisie ruined by the Revolution, the young woman survived becoming an actress and an opera singer. After a failed marriage and the death of her first son, she married actor Prosper Lachantin, said Valmore, with whom she has three children. She published, in 1819, a first collection, Elégies, Marie et Romances. The poetess, then, never stopped writing and put an end to her theatrical career in 1823. She quickly earned the admiration of his peers including Balzac, Victor Hugo and Sainte-Beuve. Her inventiveness, which dusts off the conventionel meter, greatly influenced Verlaine.
(sources : wikipédia, Larousse).

"Quand je t'écris à l'ombre du mystère,
Je crois te voir et te parler tout bas;
Mais, je l'avoue, en ce lieu solitaire,
tout est tranquille, et mon cœur ne l'est pas,
Quand je t'écris.

En vain j'écris : quand l'âme est oppressée,
Le temps s'arrête; il n'a plus d'avenir.
Non, loin de toi, je n'ai qu'une pensée,
et mon bonheur n'est plus qu'un souvenir :
En vain j'écris.

Je n'ai plus d'espérance :
Mais je ne voudrais pas, pour tout mon avenir,
perdre le souvenir! "

Le Billet
- in Poésies, Boulard, 1830

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • Desbordes-Valmore (Marceline). Poésies. Paris, A. Boulard, 1830, 2 volumes in-8, binding by Mercier. First general edition, with vignettes from Deveria, Henri Monnier, Tony Johannot and Pujol. One of the few copies on thin vellum paper including 4 plates figures in 3 conditions,and the engraving on vellum paper. Joined : two handwritten paper sheets of Desbordes-Valmore (the fist one, a poem and the second, a letter regarding her daughter Ondine).