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Paul Verlaine 1844- 1896

Born in Metz, Verlaine published his first poem in 1863. He married in 1870 and joined the communards in 1871 becoming press secretary. He escaped to Pas de Calais after the commune crumbled but abandoned his family for a friendship with Rimbaud with whom he lived briefly in London until, they having returned to Brussels, he shot and injured Rimbaud in a quarrel. He was briefly imprisoned and, upon his release, travelled to England having, meanwhile, published Romance Sans Paroles.

He became a language teacher in England and after his return to France in 1877. He descended into drug and alcohol induced poverty but regained some recognition from his contemporaries as a leading symbolist poet and lived to see some of his works set to music by Chausson, Fauré and Debussy.

He died relatively young in 1896.