French Poet – Paul Verlaine

Paul Verlaine was a French poet born in Metz (France) on Mars 30th, 1844. He died at age 51 in Paris (France) on January 8th, 1896. His family belonged to the French bourgeoisie of the 19th century ; his father was a captain of the French Army.

He was used to go in typical cafes and literary salons and this is where he met a lot of well known poets and writers of this time, who inspired him to become a poet, and put in writing in vision of life, love and death.

But France declared war to Prusse (ex-German territory), then the French Second Empire collapsed and was taken over by the German Empire, proclaimed by the Castle of Versailles. So, Paul Verlaine decided to leave France with his wife, Mathilde Maute, and moves in his in laws’ house in the middle of the country.

But then, he met with Arthur Rimbaud (another very famous French poet)  and got disrupted for the rest of his life. He fell in love with him, left his wife, and left France to go to England, then Belgium. During his trips, he wrote a big part of him well-known work.

But in 1873, after an argument with Rimbaud, he fired his gun on his lover, and shot him in the wrist. Verlaine immediately regretted his gesture, but Rimbaud informed the police. After a media-related trial, Verlaine got convicted for a two-year prison sentence. The reason was ‘”attempt of murder on the person of Arthur Rimbaud”, but also “homosexuality” that was reprehensible at that time.

During his prison sentence, his wife got a divorce, and Paul Verlaine wrote a work that he will never publish. After his release, he converted to Catholicism and moved again to England for a few years.

He spent the majority of the last ten years of his life at the hospital. He had diabetes, ulcers and syphilis, and he was an alcoholic. He died prematurely at age 51 in Paris (France).

The following night after his death, a curious event happened : The Statue of Poetry, that is right in front of the Opera on Paris, lost her arm that was holding a lyre. And more strangely, the hearse containing Paul Verlaine’s body drove by this side of the statue the day before, on its way to the cemetery.

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