Paul Verlaine: Poems

Historical footnote

  • In preparation for Operation Overlord, the BBC had signaled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of the 1866 Verlaine poem "Chanson d'automne" were to indicate the start of D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, "Les sanglots longs / Des violons / De l'automne" ("Long sobs of autumn violins"), meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks. These lines were broadcast on 1 June 1944. The next set of lines, "Blessent mon coeur / D'une langueur / Monotone" ("wound my heart with a monotonous languor"),[8] meant that it would start within 48 hours and that the resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system; these lines were broadcast on 5 June at 23:15.[9][10][11]

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