The Last Verses of Jules Laforgue is the first full-length collection of free verse published in the French language and, in many ways, it remains far in advance of any free verse innovations conjured in the past one hundred years and more. Laforgue, in his famous Complaints and Harlequinades, was a profound influence upon such Modernist poets as Eliot and Pound. Yet in his Last Verses he set a precedent which no one as yet has managed to emulate or to advance. Why should this be? Simply put, Last Verses does not reject poetic formalism but, rather, projects it into uncharted and unvoiced regions of spiritual and sexual extremity. The freedom of these poems rests entirely in the purity of their despair, a purity not to be measured by any extant means. This music is made by no instrument but itself. This music is made on the farther shore of death.