Awakening, on Dowson’s 150th birthday

Ernest Dowson as an undergraduate – from Wikipedia

Ernest Dowson, poet, novelist, short story writer and translator of French literature, was born on August 2, 1867, exactly 150 years ago. In his youth he worshipped the child actress Minnie Terry, then became the devoted lover of the young Adelaide Foltinowicz. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

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Aside

Un double anniversaire

Sabine Sicaud à 12ans, lors de la remise des prix des Jeux Floraux de France - de sabinesicaud.com

Sabine Sicaud à 12ans, lors de la remise des prix des Jeux Floraux de France – de sabinesicaud.com

Ernest Dowson as an undergraduate - from Wikipedia

Ernest Dowson as an undergraduate – from Wikipedia

Le 23 février commémore deux grands poètes, deux existences aux vies trop courtes, minées par la maladie et assombries par la souffrance, mais aussi deux voix de la beauté, de la vérité et de l’amour.

Un jeune homme, une jeune fille, l’un anglais, l’autre française, une vie de bohème et une vie de famille, deux écritures différentes…

rose                 rose                 rose

Le 23 février 1900 mourait Ernest Dowson, âgé de 32 ans, le corps ravagé par la tuberculose, la misère et l’alcool, le cœur brisé d’avoir été rejeté par la fille qu’il aimait, Adelaide, qui avait inspiré ses plus beaux poèmes et à qui il avait dédié son premier recueil de vers.

“Ernest, were you ever in love?”
“Vous me demandez si j’ai aimé: oui! c’est une histoire singulière et terrible.”

rose                 rose                 rose

Le 23 février 1913 naquit Sabine Sicaud, qui mourut à 15 ans dans d’atroces souffrances, ayant contracté l’ostéomyélite suite à une infection de la jambe. Elle rêvait d’amour avec Vassili, un cavalier venu de Russie, compagnon imaginaire qui la suivit dans ses derniers poèmes.

La chaise vide… Ah comment feras-tu
pour supporter cela ?
Et moi qui pars, comment ferai-je
pour supporter le reste ?

rose                 rose                 rose

Plaque on Dowson's restored grave (from Dr Tony Shaw's blog)

Plaque on Dowson’s restored grave (from Dr Tony Shaw’s blog)

Voyelles

Airair - Illustration du poème Voyelles d'Arthur Rimbaud (Poster) - de Wikimedia Commons

Airair – Illustration du poème Voyelles d’Arthur Rimbaud (Poster) – de Wikimedia Commons

VOYELLES

A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu : voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes :
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d’ombre ; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d’ombelles ;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes ;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d’animaux, paix des rides
Que l’alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux ;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des Mondes et des Anges :
— O l’Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux !

Arthur Rimbaud, Voyelles
(Édition Le Livre de Poche)

Today is the first anniversary of Agapeta. Since I first reviewed the blog’s history six months ago, the layout and visual style of the blog has not much changed: I customized the left-hand menu, I added an image to some old posts, and inserted in each post except very short ones a “more tag” (so that only the beginning of the post appears on the archive), which makes browsing archives faster. CONTINUE READING…

Aside

148 years ago

National Portrait Gallery - Herbert Rose Barraud (The Theatre) – Minnie Terry (1889)

National Portrait Gallery – Herbert Rose Barraud (The Theatre) – Minnie Terry (1889)

2 August 1867 marks the birthday of Ernest Dowson, poet, novelist, short-story writer, absinthe drinker, worshipper of Minnie Terry and devoted lover of Adelaide Foltinowicz.

The best tribute to Dowson’s poetry was given by Oscar Wilde in a letter written to him on 28 June 1897:

I write a little line … to tell you how charming you are … Tonight I am going to read your poems—your lovely lyrics—words with wings you write always. It is an exquisite gift, and fortunately rare in an age whose prose is more poetic than its poetry.

In a letter to Leonard Smithers sent from Paris just after hearing news of Dowson’s death on 23 February 1900, Wilde gave also the best tribute to him as a lover:

Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he was, a tragic reproduction of all tragic poetry, like a symbol, or a scene. I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb and rue and myrtle too for he knew what love was.

Let us hear the message hidden in a draft of Dowson’s poem Wisdom :

Dream all thy dreams and dream them well, true

References:

The Letters of Ernest Dowson, Desmond Flower and Henry Maas (editors), Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1967, Introduction to Part V, pages 377 and 421.

Ernest Dowson Collected Poems, Robert Kelsey Rought Thornton and Caroline Dowson (editors), Birmingham University Press, 2003, page 261.

Aside

Remember Dowson

Ernest Christopher Dowson died 115 years ago on 23 February 1900, his body worn out by tuberculosis and neglect, and his heart wounded by grief and unrequited love.

Writing to Leonard Smithers from Paris just after hearing news of his death, Oscar Wilde paid Ernest Dowson the most fitting tribute:

Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he was, a tragic reproduction of all tragic poetry, like a symbol, or a scene. I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb and rue and myrtle too for he knew what love was.

Dowson loved younger girls in the purest way, so I will honour him by quoting from the 5th of his Sonnets of a Little Girl:

                            … yet once in a while
Dream of a day departed and a friend
Who placed above the world and Fortune’s prize
The love that centred in thy childish eyes.