Poésie du Départ
THE title 'Poésie du Départ' is perhaps somewhat misleading, for it is applied usually to a specific aspect of French symbolist poetry, the vague nostalgic regret associated with voyages and departures, a regret that is at the same time exhilarating. The poetry to which it refers here, however, illustrates that deeper meaning of which, Eliot says, Baudelaire had some fleeting conception in parts of his work -- notably Mon Cœur Mis à Nu. The phrase implies in this context Eliot's departure from the beliefs of his earlier poems to full acceptance of the Christian faith. In 'Marina' the departure makes use of Baudelaire's symbol (see p. 55), but this is a secondary matter, for the departure is more obviously concerned with a particular spiritual concept. That Eliot should divert his sympathies from the urban element in Baudelaire's poetry to his glimpses of beatitude, is symptomatic of the change in Eliot himself. It is paralleled in his turning from Dante's Inferno and Purgatory to his Paradiso, which is of more lasting value to Eliot's poetry. The parallel is not entirely valid, but we can see the links forged by Eliot between, firstly, Baudelaire's city and Dante's Limbo, then between Dante's Paradiso and Baudelaire's glimpses of the divine, less assured and less sustained though they were. Eliot does not abandon his early masters. But he continues to admire them for reasons different from those which first attracted him to them.