Paul Verlaine, born in 1842, a generation after Baudelaire, and just beginning his career as a poet when the latter was at the height of his fame, could not help but be influenced by Les Fleurs du Mal to some extent. All the more so because his temperament and psychological make-up were not unlike Baudelaire’s in that both had enjoyed a sheltered, and even over-sheltered, childhood and that both found the harsh reality of the adult world increasingly hard to bear. Baudelaire’s shift from optimism to pessimism is, however, a fairly steady one – at least as it is presented in Les Fleurs du Mal, although in real life the transition was no doubt much more irregular. Whereas both in Verlaine’s life and in his work there is a constant swaying to and fro from the darkest despair to the most radiant optimism, from the sadness of the ‘paysages tristes’ in Poèmes Saturniens to the joy and confidence of La Bonne Chanson, from the vague melancholy of the ‘ariettes oubliées’ in Romances sans Paroles to the firm and clear resolution of many of the poems of Sagesse.