Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore Biography

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore was a French poet.

She was born in Douai. Following the French Revolution, her family emigrated to Guadeloupe. In 1817 she married her second husband, the actor Prosper Lanchantin-Valmore.

She published Élégies et Romances, her first poetic work, in 1819. Her melancholy, elegiacal poems are admired for their grace and profound emotion.

Marceline appeared as an actress and singer in Douai, Rouen, the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, where she notably played Rosine in Beaumarchais's Le Barbier de Séville. She retired from the stage in 1823. She later became friends with the novelist Honoré de Balzac, and he once wrote that she was an inspiration for the title character of La Cousine Bette.

Her poetry is also known for taking on dark and depressing themes, which reflects her troubled life. She is the only female writer included in the famous Les poètes maudits anthology published by Paul Verlaine in 1884. A volume of her poetry was among the books in Friedrich Nietzsche's library.

She died in Paris.

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore Poems

The Best Poem Of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Apart (Les Séparés)

Do not write. I am sad, and want my light put out.
Summers in your absence are as dark as a room.
I have closed my arms again. They must do without.
To knock at my heart is like knocking at a tomb.
                Do not write!

Do not write. Let us learn to die, as best we may.
Did I love you? Ask God. Ask yourself. Do you know?
To hear that you love me, when you are far away,
Is like hearing from heaven and never to go.
                Do not write!

Do not write. I fear you. I fear to remember,
For memory holds the voice I have often heard.
To the one who cannot drink, do not show water,
The beloved one's picture in the handwritten word.
                Do not write!

Do not write those gentle words that I dare not see,
It seems that your voice is spreading them on my heart,
Across your smile, on fire, they appear to me,
It seems that a kiss is printing them on my heart.
                Do not write!

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore Comments

johnny 29 March 2019

i really like the poem. but as I was reading it my dad suddenly passed away and my dog got down syndrome

0 1 Reply

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