Lot n° 203
5000 - 7000
Result with fees
: 7 150EUR
Autograph poem, Quatrains d'un homme qui avoit le malheur d'avoir 47 ans, [ca. 1745]; 1 1/2 pages in-fol.
Unpublished version of this poem for Émilie du Châtelet.
It consists of 8 quatrains (or 32 lines), with a correction to the word "vint" in the 7th quatrain.
Melancholic poem by Voltaire who regrets his youth, addressed to his companion, Mme du Châtelet, whose foreign loves he finds difficult to bear.
"If you want me to love again, give me back the age of love, in the twilight of my days, join the dawn if you can" ....
The poem was known for the first time on July 11, 1741, in the letter which Voltaire addresses to his friend Cideville (Correspondance, Pléiade, t. II, n° 1549), intimate confidant of the marquise and Voltaire at the same time, his fellow pupil at Louis-le-Grand, become magistrate in Rouen.
Voltaire published it in 1745 in his OEuvres (in Stances à madame du Châtelet, tome
VI, Amsterdam, Etienne Ledet). An enlarged version was printed in London [Trévoux] in 1746 (volume V), including two unpublished stanzas. This version, which includes both the elements of 1745 and not yet those of 1746, is precisely contemporary of these two first printed versions.
Voltaire will later update its title, which will become Quatrains sur le malheur d'avoir près de cinquante ans. This state of the poem remained unpublished, and does not seem to have been studied by the bibliographers.
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