The subject of the third of M. de Regnier's lectures, given yesterday afternoon, was "Paul Verlaine." The substance of the lecture is as follows:
Verlaine began his literary career early in life by writing poetry of the Parnassien School, his first works being "Saturniens" and "Les Fetes Galantes." The latter work is in the style of eighteenth century verse, and is almost beyond criticism. Among his more famous poems is "La Bonne Chanson."
The Franco-Prussian War had a great effect upon Verliane. He had a violent nature, and welcomed the war of 1870 as a chance for throwing off the yoke of social restraint that he hated so much. He became associated with the Commune, which later caused his exile. During his residence in Brussels he shot a friend in a quarrel. For two years he lived in prison, spending his time in introspective meditation. This led to his becoming a Roman Catholic, and to the writing of "Sagesse" in 1880. His existence was two fold, - either spent in debauchery and sensual crimes, or in meditation upon the delights of mystic religion. He was essentially a personal writer, and we can not know his works well until we know the man himself. His greatest service to French verse was in the music be added to French poetry. He was thoroughly artistic, and usually full of painstaking care though his works are very uneven. His verse is always frank and free from all taint of hypocrisy.