In the Nineteenth century Realism, Naturalism, and Symbolism were popular modes of expression by writers of that era. Such modes of expression were the use of nature in their writings. Two poets that really stand out among the rest are Charles Baudelaire 1821-1867 and Paul Verlaine 1844-1896. Baudelaire was referred to by many as the first Modern Poet and the father of modern criticism. Verlaine like Baudelaire was a symbolist poet, he was also French and referred to as the Prince of Poets. Both these poets touch on nature in their poems.
It was in Baudelaire”s Song of Autumn I and Verlaine”s Autumn Song that similarities and differences were most evident. Their views of autumn had melodramatic view of death and at the same time can contrast with one another. Throughout this paper I will discuss the parallelism and divergence between these two poems. In Baudelaire”s first stanza of Song of Autumn I, he explains how the end of summer is near and the weather will become cold. He starts the reader off in the end of summer. Soon we shall plunge into the chilly fogs; Farewell, Swift light!Order now
Our summers are too short line 1-2, pg. 1151. Baudelaire then begins to explain the chopping down of the trees to gather firewood. This idea of the rhythmic thump firewood being delivered is repeated throughout his poem. In Verlaine”s Autumn Song, the first stanza is told in a very monotonous tone much like the first stanza of Song of autumn. Verlaine talks about long sobs and the feeling he has in heart, what he describing is the end of summer and begging of the gloomy season of autumn. This is exactly the same that Baudelaire describes in his first stanza.
Verlaine difference in this stanza is that he starts the poem already in autumn whereas Bauderlaire starts his poem in the end of the summer. In the second stanza of Autumn Song, Verlaine discusses the feeling he has inside of him. Choking and pale when I mind the tale the hours keeplines 6-9, pg. 1169. Verlaine then relates back to memories of the summer and this makes him cry. My memory strays down other days and I weep,lines 10-12, pg. 1169. He also even makes references to idea of daylight savings time, the hours keep,line 9, pg. 1169.
In that line he is saying that along with the gloomy aura of autumn there is now an extra hour. In Song of Autumn I, Baudelaire”s second stanza follows the theme of Verlaine. Here Baudelaire like Verlaine explains his personal feeling of autumn. All of winter will gather in my soul: Hate, anger, horror, chills, the hard forced work;lines 4-5, pg. 1151. Baudelaire however has a more cynical approach to his feeling; he describes in several adjectives the extent of his pain. Baudelaire”s next two lines really personify his feelings, And.
Like the sun in his hell by the North Pole, My heart will be only a red and frozen block,lines 6-8, pg. 1151. What he is exemplifying in these lines is the strong hate that burns inside of him. Baudelaire seems to loathe everything that deals with autumn. As these poems progress there is an evident contrast in the tones of the poets writings. Verlaine has maintained a very slow and monotonous tone throughout, whereas Bauderlaire has been very boisterous about his feelings. Similar to a fire that has gasoline thrown on his fire his raging bigger and bigger with each stanza.
In Song of Autumn I, stanza three, there really is no correlation between this stanza and the third stanza in Autumn Song. There is however a major contrast with this stanza and the whole poem by Verlaine. Baudelaire has kept a pattern of mentioning the idea of the chopping of firewood. He has kept it to an ever-other stanza pattern. Verlaine has no correlation between autumn and firewood. Baudelaire looks at autumn in a way that squirrel might. A squirrel spends autumn preparing for long haul of winter so the squirrel his constantly working through autumn.
Baudelaire explains All of winter will gather in my soul, the hard forced work,lines4-5, pg. 1151. He is saying the he has a lot of work to do to before the winter comes. In stanza three you see that constant chopping of logs is taking it”s toll on Baudelaire. I shudder, hearing every log that falls; No scaffold could be built with hollower sounds,lines 9-10, pg. 1151. It”s almost as like Baudelaire is teetering on the brink of insanity with all the chopping of the trees. This stanza helps to really show how Song of Autumn I and Autumn Song, as similar as they are have differences.
The last stanzas of both poems seem as though that they have no correlation, but underneath it there is a relationship between the stanzas and death. Verlaine looks at autumn in the last stanza as the final stand, he has still kept the monotonous tone throughout the poem. And I let me go where ill winds blow, now here, now therelines 13-15,pg. 1169. He goes to talk about how makes him feel like dead leaf being sent all over. Even as a dead leaf, anywhere,lines16-17,pg. 1169. Verlaine takes the approach that the autumn while carrying an essence of death, leaves one is a depressing state.
Bauderlaire puts a spin on his poem; it seems that Baudelaire”s writing has almost assumed the role of a half-crazed man. He has gone from a tone of hate and rage, to a tone of a man that has been consumed by the madness. It seems to me, lulled by monotonous shocks, as if they were hastily nailing a coffin today. lines 13-15,pg. 1151. Baudelaire the relates back to memories of summer Yesterday was summer. Now autumn knocks,line 15,pg. 1151. He then ends the poem with an idea of death. That mysterious sound is like someone”s going away,line 16, pg. 1151.
I feel that Baudelaire in this line is describing that the change from summer to autumn is like losing someone you love. It is very understandable for Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine to have similar poems. Both were symbolist”s poets and from France, They live relatively close in time. That is why it is not that unusual for their styles of nature to be similar. The thing that makes these two writers so unique is the fact that they both can have such great similarities between their feelings on a certain part of nature, and at the same time both have such distant ideas of writing it.
Both these writers had the same feelings when they look at autumn; it was dark desolate time of the year according to both writers. Baudelaire however seemed enrage with this time of year, the fact of saying goodbye to summer to bring on Autumn fuel a fire deep inside of him. Verlaine looks at the coming of autumn as a dismal time of the year and this was apparent in the melancholy tone he keeps throughout the poem. Charles Bauderlaire and Paul Verlaine showed that their poems had a lot similitude and differences of nature.