Esoteric London

No. 258: Regent’s Canal, NW8

Posted in Architectural, Literary London, Transport by esotericlondon on February 23, 2011

Regent’s Canal, London, NW8. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Streets II from Romances Sans Paroles by Paul Verlaine, 1874:

O the river in the street!
Fantastically you’ll meet
Behind high five-foot walls,
Never a sound does it make,
Its water pure yet opaque,
Peacefully there it crawls.

The roadway’s broad and so
The waters widely flow,
Pale as the dead, and lack
Reflections of aught but mist,
Though the dawn will insist
On cottages yellow and black.


[Translation: A.S. Kline]


O la rivière dans la rue!
Fantastiquement apparue
Derrière un mur haut de cinq pieds,
Elle roule sans un murmure
Sans onde opaque et pourtant pure,
Par les faubourgs pacifiés.

La chaussée est très large, en sorte
Que l’eau jaune comme une morte
Dévale ample et sans nuls espoirs
De rien refléter que la brume,
Même alors que l’aurore allume
Les cottages jaunes et noirs.


One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] They wrote as well. Parts of Rimbaud’s Illuminations and Une Saison en Enfer were written in London, and his relationship with Verlaine is recorded in the latter’s lines: ‘On several nights, his demon seized me, we rolled around together, I wrestled with him!—At nights, often, drunk, he lies in wait in the streets or in the houses, to frighten me half to death… In the hovels where we used to get drunk, he would weep at the sight of those around us, miserable beasts…’ Verlaine was also influenced by the hectic modernity of the docks, and wrote a poem about Regent’s Canal. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: