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The Long Dark Night of Alfred de Musset

By: Carl Halling

Page 1, A poem about the French Romantic Musset

The young Musset,
was irresistible and brilliant,
high born and elegant.
"I didn't want to write,
he imperiously announced,
unless I could be a Shakespeare
or a Schiller".
He carefully catalogued
his passionate youth
in "La Confession
D'un Enfant du Siecle",
and revelled in the society
of sybaritic young dandies
in the most fashionable cafes,
such as Chez Tortoni
and the Cafe Anglais,
of the Paris of the 1830s,
whose legends,
unlike those of Musset,
have long since perished.
But for all the manifest glamour
of his jeunesse doree,
Musset was haunted
by weltschmerz,
by a sense
of great foreboding
and loss...
reflected in his masterpiece,
the four mournful poems of
Musset's "les Nuits".

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