Dreams of a lonely lighthouse

Felicien Rops - Parallélisme
Felicien Rops – Parallélisme, heliogravure (c.1896) – The Art Institute of Chicago, via Wikimedia Commons

Under lockdown, many people lived through Internet, physically separated from the outer world, and regular readers of this blog were probably more assiduous in their visits, waiting eagerly for the next post scheduled three days after the preceding one. Accordingly, floating in a virtual world, I spent much time searching the Web and preparing new posts.

Meanwhile, for many, love, deprived from physical contact, living at distance, became an ideality, filling dreams and desires.

My Love and I took hands and swore,
Against the world, to be
Poets and lovers evermore,
To laugh and dream on Lethe’s shore.

— Michael Field (Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper), “It was deep April, and the morn,” in Underneath the Bough (1893)

Poets and Lovers exists since one year and a half, it was born privately on March 17, 2019, becoming public on the 20th. This its 218th post. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Sonnet II, by Eric Stenbock

SergiyKrykun - Eric Stenbock
SergiyKrykun – Eric Stenbock – from DeviantArt

I have chosen the following love poem from Stenbock’s second collection Myrtle, Rue and Cypress. The Latin subtitle is inspired by the starting verse of the Canticle of Canticles of Solomon in the Bible: “Osculetur me osculo oris sui quia meliora sunt ubera tua vino,” which translates as “Let her kiss me with the kiss of her mouth; for thy breasts are better than wine.” The first two verses indeed follow it, replacing “breasts” by “love” (since the beloved was probably a boy). CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Drinking song, by Eric Stenbock

The Idiot Club of Kolk
Photograph by Frederick Hollyer – The Idiot Club of Kolk; left to right: Karin Stenbock, Eric Stenbock with his dachshund Trixie, Richard von Wistinghausen, Theophile von Wistinghausen – from Of Kings and Things, D. Tibet editor

My second choice from Myrtle, Rue and Cypress (1883), Stenbock’s second collection of verses, is a poem in the spirit of carpe diem, honouring love, youth and wine. Here he joins Baudelaire, who also extolled wine and drunkenness, and indeed both authors experienced the pleasures of alcohol and drugs. As in many of Stenbock’s poems, the gender of the beloved young person is left unknown, but it was most probably a boy. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Song III, by Eric Stenbock

Jock Sturges - Nikki and Lotte, Montalivet
Jock Sturges – Nikki and Lotte, Montalivet

Myrtle, Rue and Cypress (subtitled A Book of Poems, Songs, and Sonnets), Stenbock’s second collection of verses, was published by Hatchards (Picadilly, London) in 1883, and reprinted by Hermitage Books in 1992. This latter edition was digitised for Internet Archive. In 2018, S N Books World (Delhi, India) reprinted it. As with other cheap Indian reprints, the page layout is faulty, with odd-numbered pages on the left and even-numbered pages on the right. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

The Egg of the Albatross, by Eric Stenbock

Northern royal albatross on the Otago Peninsula
Northern royal albatross on the Otago Peninsula – from travel.nine.com.au

Eric Stenbock published in 1894 a collection of seven short studies, Studies of Death, subtitled Romantic Tales. As indicated by the title, most of these stories are macabre, ending in the death of some protagonists. For nearly a hundred years this book was quite forgotten, and almost unobtainable. In 1984, the Garland publishing house reprinted the 1894 edition, together with The Shadow of Death (1893), Stenbock’s third collection of poetry. Then in 1996 the Durtro publishing house (of David Tibet) reprinted Studies of Death, adding to it the short story “The Other Side: A Breton Legend,” which had originally been published separately in The Spirit Lamp (Vol. IV, No. 2, 6 June 1893, pages 52–68). CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Sapphics, by Eric Stenbock

Eric Stenbock
Eric Stenbock – from Strange Flowers on WordPress

Count Eric Stenbock (1860–1895) is a lesser-known ‘Decadent’ writer. In his short lifetime, he published three short collections of poetry, Love, Sleep & Dreams (1881), Myrtle, Rue and Cypress (1883) and The Shadow of Death (1893), a collection of short stories, Studies of Death (1894), and a separate short story, “The Other Side: A Breton Legend,” in The Spirit Lamp (Vol. IV, No. 2 June 1893). CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…