CONFITEOR, BY M. GABRIEL TRARIEUX.
FROM COMPTOIR D'ÉDITION, 14 RUE HALÉVY.
Le Mensuel has too little space to provide a full account of the recently published volume of poetry by M. Trarieux. We can hardly recommend as having any particular style those that pleased us more among the pieces in it, which are the ones entitled: Un jour, Souvenir, Rondel, Humilité, À une jeune fille, Séparation, Communion... We will quote a few others.
More than anything we wish to be honest with M. Trarieux. We also say to him with complete frankness that what has given us most satisfaction in his book are the numerous isolated lines, of very fine sentiment, and to which he has been able to give a complete and musical form. We would not be at a loss to find among them many that are just as pleasing as this:
I dream of hearts broken by the anguish of love...
The inconsolable song of my secret sorrows...
in the middle of poems that are not however always the ones we liked best. M. Trarieux's language often appears sonorous and supple, and he formulates beautifully the sentimental harmonies that have been revealed to him. Why then should it be that this very personal and intimate gift should be spoiled for us by the artificial influence of certain tortuous poets? The Baudelairean hieratism that is exaggerated by their exoticism strikes a truly discordant note in 1891. We would prefer it if M. Trarieux, certain of whose verses seem to us to show some analogy with those writers of Vaines tendresses 1, the delicate Intimés 2 and even Romances sans paroles 3, rid himself of the anxiety he seems to have for poetry that is rather too scholarly and artificial for our liking. We imagine that his pen would express more freely this discrete analysis and yet touched with tender passions of which Ritournelle des amoreux has given us several examples. His language has sufficient charm; his ideas the requisite melancholy; and he must surely have reflected on the sorrows of the heart. We must confess, we have less liking for certain perhaps more lofty pieces, but whose disquieting and generally pantheistic philosophy was not always without causing us dismay; and above all we regret the necessarily rather naive usage that takes on, it seems to us, pastiches of deceased poets, inquisitive of easy voluptuousness, and in which the so chaste Muse of M. Trarieux is sometimes satanically delighted.
Le Rêve de Judas apart, sufficiently plausible and compassionate determinist interpretation of suggestions in which the soul of the one who betrays Christ gives itself up, we also have less liking for the religiously inspired poems. The said Rêve de Judas, which, without being particularly orthodox, would be willingly Slavist, contains a pretty appellation for Pity, defined "that sweet flower of centuries", and which we could hardly reproach for a suspicion of dilettantism. If we have clearly grasped M. Trarieux's meaning, and if he genuinely intended to show us Judas as the irresponsible instrument for the accomplishment of divine design, this wily negation of our free will by way of this instance of unexpected hypnosis, which would be so for all creatures, is not perhaps quite serious; it was certainly tempting. Though we must congratulate M. Trarieux for the harmony of his mystical notions. However we would prefer that he abandon them so as to simply convey to us the murmur of inner voices; and we wish so much the more that the apparent ingenuity of his language be intelligent and not over banal. Here are four lines chosen at random, in which he has rediscovered the subtle hesitancy, the calm and tortured rhythm, almost the full genius of Verlaine:
I search for a soul with a little archness in its languor,
Like those veiled ladies
Whose glance on starry gleams
Falls as gently as a kiss escaping the lips...
To their tenderness of form is added a great seriousness of feeling. We feel that this style of poems, so gentle, so short, are really the ones that M. Trarieux ought to write. From poets who seem to be divided in their admirations of their youth, we willingly dispel the influence, sometimes still evident in him, of Leconte de Lisle, Hugo, even Baudelaire and de Lamartine; and then we are able to discover in his poetry much psychology (apologies for that distasteful word) and much of the temperament of Verlaine, and - this is more questionable - of Jules Laforgue, who in turn are direct descendants of Racine and A. de Musset. Add to these, if one wishes, Amiel and Sully-Prudhomme. Perhaps it is because we love these poets so much that we would like to place alongside them M. Trarieux.
Le Mensuel, April 1891.
2. François Copée.
3. Paul Verlaine.
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