The sounding ocean
Throbs beneath the eye
Of the moon veiled darkly
And throbs again,

While a violent sinister
Lightning bolt,
Its long zigzag brilliant,
Slits a sky of bister,

And each wave,
In convulsive bounds,
Goes, comes, shouts, glistens,
The length of reefs,

And in the sky
Where the tempest ranges,
The thunder roars

Paul Verlaine

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? I remember
Autumn made the thrush fly through the lifeless air,
And the sun launched a monotonous ray where
The north wind exploded in a wood growing yellower.

We were alone together and, dreaming, wandered,
She and I, our hair and our thoughts in the wind.
Suddenly, her gaze full of feeling, she turned:
“What was your happiest day?” Her gold voice, livened,

Her soft resonant voice, cool timbre of an angel.
My reply was a reserved smile,
And devoutly I kissed her white hand.

—Ah, the first flowers and their perfume!
And the murmuring spell of the sound,
The first yes from those lips when you so love them!

Paul Verlaine