Verlaine, in misery, desperate, sings the love of God and men.


Proof copy of the collection Amour with the author’s dedication, sort of poetic testament of a miserable and desperate Verlaine, with his autograph call for help addressed to his publisher Léon Vanier and the petty advance that he granted him.


Verlaine. Amour. Exemplaire d'épreuve. Envoi et corrections.


Paul Verlaine. Amour. Paris, Léon Vanier, 1888. In-12. 174 pp., sewed, covercut and mounted on combed paper, under folder and night blue half-morocco bookcase .

Proof copy, 13 February 1888 for the text and 20 February 1888 for the title, as evidenced by the printer’s blue stamps . E. Capiomont on the heading of each quire.

Verlaine. Amour. Exemplaire d'épreuves annoté par Vanier.

With Sagesse (1881) and Bonheur (1891), Amour forms a triptych dedicated to divine love. Composed in 1887-1888, the book was published in March 1888. As for Jadis et Naguère, Verlaine completes old pieces with more recent poems. In 1887, he duplicates Pensées, composes Délicatesse, Angélus de midi and completes the cycle Lucien Létinois in 1885, for the poems V , XI (« La Belle au bois dormait… “) and XXIII, and during the winter 1887-1888 during his stay in Broussais for the pems XVI , XIX, XX, XXI, XXIV and XXV.

At the time of its publication, Theodore de Banville celebrated it : “You’ve produced a prodigy… you’ve grown steadily. ” In 1887, Verlaine, in absolute deprivation, goes from hospital to asylum. He dedicates his collection Amour to his only son George, sixteen-year-old, which he has been living apart since he was two years old. The last poem in the collection “A Georges Verlaine “, composed in May, addressed to him, real poetic testament, Verlaine having considered suicide in April : “Will I see you again ? And who ? But what ! me dead or not, / Here’s my will : / Fear God, don’t hate anyone, and got the naming just right / Which was duly carried. ”

Most moving collection, even if the poems are no longer in the vein of the Fêtes galantes or of the poèmes saturniens.         

Author’s signed dedication : “à M. Pierre Dauze très sympathiquement P. Verlaine “.

Verlaine. Amour. Envoi de l'auteur et annotations de Vanier.

Founder of the journal Biblio-Iconographique, near Anatole France, Paul-Louis Dreyfus-Bing says Pierre Dauze (1852-1913) proposed to Verlaine to write 24 sonnets on bibliophilic subjects that would be published in his journal and then brought together into a collection. Carried away by the disease, Verlaine could only provide 13 sonnets that were brought together under the title Biblio-Sonnets and published in 1913 with a posthumous preface by Pierre Dauze.  

Annotated copy, corrected and signed by publisher Léon Vanier : curiosité littéraire ” and “exemplaires d’épreuves différent du tirage ” on the cover ; A mon fils Georges Verlaine ” on the half title ; Exemplaire d’épreuve différent du tirage ordinaire. Vanier ” on the back of the half-title ; 25 tirages à part » p. 1 ; 27 December 1887 ” and double correction p. 92 [A Charles Morice]. Pièce non insérée dans le vol amour, remplacée par Paysages » p. 109 [to the poem Ecrit en 1888, that will eventually be included in the collection Bonheur in 1891, poem X, untitled]. Corrections  pp. 17, 20, 46, 91.

Verlaine. Amour. Exemplaire d'épreuves.

Léon Vanier (1844-1896), French publisher and bookseller, was famous for being Paul Verlaine’s publisher since Jadis et Naguère in 1885. He will be blamed for often correcting, as in our copy, the poet’s punctuation, so flexible and so original. By the way, Verlaine will not spare him 1891 in his « Handwritten dedication to Vanier for the reissue of the “Good Song” »: “Vanier is just a fool / Who won’t understand me / But from him, easy task / And terrible, I smile.” (Œuvres poétiques complètes, Pléiade, Poèmes divers, p. 983).

Exceptional copy.

Enriched with a signed autograph card and a signed receipt.

Paul Verlaine. Letter card (Entier Postal) autograph signed “P.V. ” to his publisher Léon Vanier [probably rue Moreau , in Paris,  beginning 1887]. 2 pages in-16 (14,1 x 9 cm), purple front, ivory back. Address “Léon Vanier / Editeur Libraire / 19 quai St Michel / E.V. “

Very moving card with poignant despair.

Verlaine. Carte auographe signée adressée à Léon Vanier.

The poet is in misery. It details his debts and, mood of despair, begs his publisher to send him quickly 25 frs, pitifull amount of money “to live ” pending his entry into the hospice, that he hopes next. In passing, he mentions the completion of the collections Amour and Parallèlement.

“[…]  I’ve, you’ll understand it, small debts in my neighborhood : laundry, mending and dyeing, not counting the food since few , days, all minute details but which represent about 25 Francs. Failing to pay these paltry sums and not being a “pouf” man [means. debt man] even temporary, nor diving, [means to go bankrupt] I couldn’t get into the hospice. Besides, my main protector M the dun. J[ullien] is sick and can’t take care of it except in writing, what’s long. [Dr. Louis Jullien (1850-1913), head of department of Saint-Lazare Hospital (the hospital of the venerians of the time), doctor and friend of the poet who dedicated the poem to him Ballade en rêve in the book Amour]. So room to pay, ci 30 fs. 30 and 25 = 55. Would stay at my asset ” 25 fr. je crois. 30 + 25 + 25 = 80. It’s 80 Francs, expired 1st March that I need, the last ones 25 especially to live until back in hospice, if re-entry possibon. As for Amour (except the 80 frs above) I don’t have the manuscript of the epilogue. At least it was not in the package brought by your clerk. As soon as I get back to that beginning, I’ll finish and give you. So be good enough to send me these 80 frs right away. Same address. To you cordially. P. V. [Verlaine writes on the sidelines:] Send by warrant. there may be a mistake 5 fr. in this account. At last as soon as possible, isn’t it! [He writes on the back, in top :] […] But these manuscripts? [He specifies that, on the back of the address:] In fact I’ll try to make money later.

Verlaine. Carte autographe signée adressée à Léon Vanier.

As for Amour, it’s done except the epilogue. Parallèlement also. [Finally, the poet notes on the left side:] I think that a postcard is likely to be read by the postman or a clerk and I put this card in an envelope. Still 2 penny spent for William Ist !

Paul Verlaine had been treated since November at broussais Hospital by Dr. Nelaton for a complete ankylosis of the left knee and unseated ulcers attributed to an old syphilis. At the time, he was staying on Moreau Street, where he ate his meals at no. 8, at the “Mother Allermoz”. He’ll go ., not to hospice as he hoped, but to Cochin Hospital on 19 April, Boyer Room, Bed 13, “in abject poverty”, considering suicide.

Verlaine will not find his Epilogue. “Finally, I’m not angry that I lost my Epilogue, he writes. There would have been, that’s true, “amazing” verses; but it’s not about “amazing” in Pensées du soir, that sums up the “human pride” and Christian humility and above all the sweet impression of the last verses of Lucien Létinois ; the collection is better » Amour and Parallèlement will be published by Leon Vanier in March 1888, and in June 1889.

Thin strip of transparent Japanese paper on the head of the front. Excellent condition.

Leon Vanier won’t send him, on the 80 francs begged, that 25 frs,  “to live “, as the poet had said! 20 francs on 20 January and 5 francs on 17 February, as evidenced by the following document :

Received signed ” P. Verlaine , Paris, on 20 January 1887. 6 Léon Vanier’s handwritten lines. Head-piece note printed by the Library Leon Vanier, 19, Quai Saint-Michel in Paris. 1 page (10,6 x 13,1 cm), black framing. Pinholes and marginal fox band.

The editor filled with his hand: “Received from Mr. Vanier publisher the sum of twenty francs to be worth out of the fifty francs of the last 18 January. Delivered the 20 January 87 “. Then, thicker ink : “five francs handed to Verlaine on 17 February 87 to account “.

Verlaine. Reçu signé d'une avance consentie par Vanier.

Unique set, striking contrast between the poet’s deep despair and his song of love for God and men, dedicated to his beloved son, real swan song.          

                      9 500 €