The Voice, By Henri de Régnier
I do not wish anyone to be near my sadness—
|From THE POEMS LOOKED AT: or, NOTES|
The Voice, By Henri de Régnier. 1967. Henri de Régnier is not usually seen as a poet of piercingness and power. He is usually seen as a poet of urns, old gardens, and Renaissance remnants in late nineteenthcentury France. This is unjust, for Régnier has enough of Job in him to be other than a depicter of outward and inward elegance. The distaste for an earlier loved person is in the present poem with musical bitterness and stylistic cuttingness and persistence. The soul, as it will, has objected to what love brought; or, if one wishes, the personality has found something fearful and undesired in the caress of the woman chosen for amorous blessing and value. A late symbolist poet says his "heart today is miserable and sullen." Everything seems "somber" and "everything seems vain." Falsity has been seen in love itself, that is why. When Régnier says that his "sadness comes from something further than myself," he is saying that the nature of the world as a whole, as affecting himself, and within himself too, makes love seem to be a dull, regrettable misleader, not a fulfillment. Régnier is hardly alone in saying this, but the way he says it in these four quatrains is honest enough, composed enough, immediate enough, and everlasting enough.
From Hail, American Development (Definition Press)
© 1968 by Eli Siegel
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