The following, from Symon's seminal SYMBOLIST MOVEMENT IN LIT.
reminds me SOOO much of Prufrock, even if ultimately this was a person
who dared. It is Symon's description of Verlaine's face.
What do you think?
Few poets of our time have been more often drawn,
few have been easier to draw, few have better repaid
drawing, than Paul Verlaine. A face without a beautiful
line, a face all character, full of somnolence and sudden
fire, in which every irregularity was a kind of aid to the
hand, could not but tempt the artist desiring at once to
render a significant likeness and to have his own part in
the creation of a picture. Verlaine, like all men of
genius, had something of the air of the somnambulist:
that profound slumber of the face, as it was in him,
with its startling awakenings. It was a face devoured by
dreams, feverish and somnolent; it had earthly passion,
intellectual pride, spiritual humility; the air of one who
remembers, not without an effort, who is listening, half
distractedly to something which other people do not hear;
coming back so suddenly, and from so far, with the relief
of one who steps out of that obscure shadow into the
noisier forgetfulness of life. The eyes, often half closed,
were like the eyes of a cat between sleeping and waking;
eyes in which contemplation was "itself an act." A
remarkable lithograph by Mr. Rothenstein (the face lit
by oblique eyes, the folded hand thrust into the cheek)
gives with singular truth the sensation of that restless
watch on things which this prisoner of so many chains
kept without slackening. To Verlaine every corner of
the world was alive with tempting and consoling and
terrifying beauty. I have never known any one to whom
the sight of the eyes was so intense and imaginative a
thing. To him, physical sight and spiritual vision, by
some strange alchemical operation of the brain, were one.
And in the disquietude of his face, which seemed to take
such close heed of things, precisely because it was suf-
ficiently apart from them to be always a spectator, there
was a realisable process of vision continually going on, in
which all the loose ends of the visible world were being,
caught up into a new mental fabric.
[Symons, A. THE SYMBOLIST MOVEMENT IN LITERATURE. NY:
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