12 Aug 1923 – Valentino Sifts Ashes of his Dead Loves with Poetry

“To rake over the dead ashes of a burnt out love one must use the pen point of poetry” –Rudolph Valentino.

Behold the sensitive soul of a Sheik, self-revealed to a world of worshippers. Rudolph Valentino master lover of the silver screen, forcibly exiled from film land, declares he has found consolation in the Muse of Poetry.  A volume of poems and epigrams bearing his signature has just been published.  Flaming orange, symbolic of passions torch, contrasted with the black of disillusion, appropriately clothe the slender sheaf of verse in which the screen troubadour sings his first serenade to the public.  “Day Dreams” he modestly calls his offering. “Just dreams a bit of romance, a bit of sentimentalism, a bit of philosophy”.  They were written, he tells us during his enforced inactivity, “to forget the tediousness of worldly strife”.

“I am a slave, yet free as birds above, Sold into bondage by the tender kiss of love”

Sings Rudolph, the adored of a million maidens. Love indeed, is the stuff that makes up most of the Sheik’s dreams. Among all the love inspired stanzas that Valentino has penned in words as ardent as the glances and embraces which have won him his title as screenland’s champion lover, not a single offering is dedicated to his present wife.  The initials of Winifred Hudnut, step=daughter of the millionaire, and known to the stage as Natacha Rambova, are conspicuous by their absence.  But her are dedications galore to others, whose identity is veiled behind the non-committal initials: “M”, “B”, “O”, “MK”, “AT” “EB” “GS” and “J”. Still more mystifying is the dedication of the whole book “To J.C.N.G. my friends here and there”.  Trying to fit these initials to well-known personages of the screen and artistic world will be one of the favorite indoor sports of the season, guaranteed to start a lively discussion anywhere. Shakespeare has kept the world guessing over four centuries in regard to the identity of a certain dark lady of this celebrated sonnets. Now comes Rudolph with his dozen or more mysterious affinities to puzzle the public.  Who is the fortunate friend whose inspirations has led the Romeo of filmland to protest: “Possessing the jewels of the earth, Holding within my grasp the scepter of the universe, all these would but make me more the pauper.  Were, I beggared of your love”? Who is E.B.? who will be envied by damsels all over the country, when they read the plea of her tempestuous wooer: “O Love, when you leave me, do not say rather, beloved of my heart, we will meet at sunshine tomorrow,” A kingdom for a key to the secrets locked up behind those initials, Mr. Valentino! A thousand lovers rolled into one and you have the romance make-up of the inner Valentino as revealed by his verses.  Sometimes he naively declares:

“Till we kiss our lips, of the mate of our soul. We will never know love has reached its goal.” More often he is the sophisticated Don Juan, reflecting cynically: “I do not care for anything that comes easily, It never lasts I know, but I fell in love with you easily. But not lastingly I know”.   Then inconsistently enough, he turns to reproach someone else for being just as fickle.  But enough of the offerings laid so generously on the altar of love. They fulfill the promise of the Valentino who thrilled the nation as the on-screen lover of Alice Terry, Nazimova, Agnes Ayres, Nita Naldi, Patsy Miller, Gloria Swanson. A many sided personality emerges from the orange covers of “Day Dreams”.   Day dreaming Rudolph is the life-story of the actor-dancer-poet, with many a flash-back into the days of discouragement and disillusion of the first eight years, in America.  It is the struggle of the unknown Italian youth in a strange land that lives again in the verses between the pages of this book.  Many of the lyrics owe their inspiration to Nature.  Rudolph’s intimate knowledge of growing things comes from his early training as an agriculturist, and recalls the humble past of the future Sheik who left the fruitful farms of his native Italy to work in America as a landscape gardener.  Religion plays an important part in the nature of worship of Valentino, who sees God’s handiwork everywhere, and pays tribute to its observations. It’s a sad, sad, world to Rudolph Valentino despite all the popularity that has come to him in the past two years. The author of “Day Dreams” if his revelations are to be considered as bona fide, is a young man who takes himself and his art seriously. His verses are filled with melancholy. The idol of the world of movie fans doesn’t seem very much thrilled by his sudden attainment of the pinnacles of success.  Far from being satisfied with things as they are “Happiness you wait for us Just beyond, Just beyond. We know not where, nor how we shall find you. We only know you are waiting, waiting just beyond”.

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