No Strange Delight

A little girl in my sofa

I met a little girl in the flea market. I released her from her tutors and brought her home. Now she stays at my place and seems happy with it.

She is exactly one meter high. She has brown hair and big blue eyes, she wears an old-fashioned black cap with a red ribbon and red and green stripes assorted to her robe. Like many street urchins, her soiled face needed some washing, and her dusty bloomers and petticoat required a laundry. CONTINUE READING…


Martial: Epigram on Canace

Sarcophagus of a Roman girl - from

Sarcophagus of a Roman girl – from

The Latin Poet Martial (b. 38–41 AD, d. 102–104 AD), known for his ferocious satires in his Epigrams, also showed often in his writing a humane and compassionate personality, in particular towards the most powerless people: children and slaves. In particular Epigram 11.91 mourns a 7-year-old girl who died after having been disfigured by a horrible disease. The saddest thing is not death, but how it came.


Canace, one of the daughters of Aeolia, lies buried in this tomb, a little child whose seventh winter was her last. “O shame! O dire fate!” why are you in haste, traveller, to weep? We do not here complain of the shortness of life; sadder than death itself was the manner of it; a horrid disease destroyed her face, and seized upon her delicate mouth. The cruel foe devoured her very lips, nor was her body consigned entire to the funeral pile. If the fates intended to fall on her with such headlong violence, they should have come in some other form. But death hastened to close the passage of her sweet voice, lest her tongue should dissuade the stern goddesses from their purpose.

Source: Latin poem in Wikisource, English translation by The Tertullian Project.

Martial: Epigrams on Erotion

Tonbridge - post-mortem photograph

Tonbridge – post-mortem photograph

The Latin Poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English as Martial), born between 38 and 41 AD and who died between 102 and 104 AD, is known for his Epigrams, a collection of short poems grouped into 12 “Books”. The original poems in Latin can be found in The Latin Library, Bibliotheca Augustana and Wikisource. Here I will use the English translation given by The Tertullian ProjectCONTINUE READING…

Nicolas Boileau : Sonnet sur une de mes parentes

photographie post-mortem, 19e siècle - repris de

Photographie post-mortem, 19e siècle – repris de

Le poète, écrivain et critique français Nicolas Boileau (1636–1711), dit aussi Boileau-Despréaux, est l’auteur des célèbres Satires et Épîtres. Dans ce poème plus personnel, il partage la douleur profonde et durable qu’il ressentit à la mort d’une petite fille de sa famille, qu’il aimait tendrement. Il attribue la source de son élan poétique à cet événement tragique et à son désir de venger l’injustice de ce décès dû à l’incompétence des hommes.


Nourri dès le berceau près de la jeune Orante,
Et non moins par le cœur que par le sang lié,
À ses jeux innocents enfant associé,
Je goûtais les douceurs d’une amitié charmante

Quand un faux Esculape, à cervelle ignorante,
À la fin d’un long mal vainement pallié,
Rompant de ses beaux jours le fil trop délié,
Pour jamais me ravit mon aimable parente.

Oh ! qu’un si rude coup me fit verser de pleurs !
Bientôt la plume en main signalant mes douleurs,
Je demandai raison d’un acte si perfide.

Oui, j’en fis dès quinze ans ma plainte à l’Univers ;
Et l’ardeur de venger ce barbare homicide
Fut le premier démon qui m’inspira des vers.

Source: Paradis des albatros et François Lemonnier: La sexualité de la fillette, Amours enfantines 2.

Images de Navarana et Peter Freuchen

Dans l’article Navarana et Peter Freuchen j’ai relaté la rencontre de Peter Freuchen avec son épouse Navarana, alors qu’elle était encore pratiquement une enfant, puis leur “mariage” quand elle avait environ 13 ans, et enfin la mort et l’enterrement pitoyable de celle-ci 10 ans plus tard, citant le livre de Freuchen Aventure arctique : Ma vie dans les glaces du Nord écrit en 1935, dans la version française publiée par les Editions du C.T.H.S., Paris, 1997.

Il est dificile de trouver sur Internet des photos de bonnne qualité montrant Navarana. La plus connue est probablement celle-ci, qui se trouve d’ailleurs dans l’édition C.T.H.S. d’Aventure arctique : CONTINUE READING…

Ernest Dowson and the ages of woman

The writer Ernest Dowson (1867–1900) was a lover of young girls, his deep feelings for them are expressed in several of his poems, notably

More insight can be gained from his correspondence, namely The Letters of Ernest Dowson edited by Desmond Flower and Henry Maas, and New Letters from Ernest Dowson edited Desmond Flower.  CONTINUE READING…

Ernest Dowson: Transition

Pati Bannister - Angel Child - from

Pati Bannister – Angel Child – from

Dowson’s poem Transition was probably first published in the volume Decorations in 1899. According to Desmond Flower, Dowson wrote it on 26 December 1890 (thus a few weeks after Ad Domnulam Suam, of 18 October 1890). In a letter to Arthur Moore dated the same day, he wrote (the misspelling of the name “Carroll” is Dowson’s, not mine):

I sent Missie the works of the immortal ‘Carrol’: & had a pretty card from her this morning.

“Missie” was the nickname given by Dowson to his beloved Adelaide, who, after they met in November 1889, became the inspiration of most of his poetry. “To you, who are my verses” are the starting words of In Preface: for Adelaide at the beginning of his volume Verses; a few lines below it says “For I need not write your name for you at least to know that this and all my work is made for you in the first place.” Dowson’s absolute love for Adelaide made his poetry immortal as the works of Lewis Carroll.

The poem’s title probably refers to the change of seasons, emblematic of the impermanency of childhood and love.


A little while to walk with thee, dear child;
——To lean on thee my weak and weary head;
Then evening comes: the winter sky is wild,
——The leafless trees are black, the leaves long dead.

A little while to hold thee and to stand,
——By harvest-fields of bending golden corn;
Then the predestined silence, and thine hand,
——Lost in the night, long and weary and forlorn.

A little while to love thee, scarcely time
——To love thee well enough; then time to part,
To fare through wintry fields alone and climb
——The frozen hills, not knowing where thou art.

Short summer-time and then, my heart’s desire,
——The winter and the darkness: one by one
The roses fall, the pale roses expire
——Beneath the slow decadence of the sun.

Source of the poem: from Decorations, in Ernest Dowson Collected Poems, Robert Kelsey Rought Thornton and Caroline Dowson (editors), Birmingham University Press, 2003; also in The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson, With a Memoir by Arthur Symons, Project Gutenberg Ebook, and in The Poems of Ernest Dowson @ ELCore.Net.
Source of the quote: The Letters of Ernest Dowson, Desmond Flower and Henry Maas (editors), Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1967, letter 130, page 180.