Perk, Jacques

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Perk, Jacques Gender: M
Jacques Fabrice Herman Perk
born on 10 June 1859 at 10:00 (= 10:00 AM )
Place Dordrecht, Netherlands, 51n48, 4e40
Timezone LMT m4e40 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Schepel
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 18°56' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 19°47 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 00°45'

Jacques Perk


Dutch romantic poet, remembered for his Mathilde sonnets and early tragic death.

Jacques Perk was the eldest son of Walloon theologian Marie Adrien Perk (23 April 1834, Delft - 16 December 1916, Amsterdam) and Justine Georgette Caroline Clifford Kocq van Breugel ( 15 September 1835, Doornspijk - 9 April 1900, Montreux). They married 11 June 1857 in Amsterdam and got four children. His father preached and spoke in French and had a broad minded attitude.

When the family moved in 1872 from Helmond to Amsterdam, Perk went to the Higher Civil School in Amsterdam, where the Renaissance man of letters Willem Doorenbos became his teacher. Doorenbos became the grand old man of the Movement of the Tachtigers, being the school teacher and mentor of Jacques Perk, Willem Kloos, Frank van der Goes and Albert Verwey.

Perk left the school prematurely in 1877 and became via his father a translator of French. He wrote love poetry for the daughter of his French teacher Marie Champury, but her father saw no future in the young and exalted poet. The impossible love was described in his drama Herman en Martha. After the rejection he tried to en-ship on the Willem Barends North pole expedition, but they had no place. He lost his faith in the church and his job and became more and more an eccentric dandy, studying the poetry of Petrarca, Shakespeare, Goethe and Lamartine and discussing life with his adolescent literary friends like his schoolmate Frank van der Goes.

In 1880 he decided to study Law in Amsterdam. It was a necessary evil, but he realised that he needed a decently paid job to be able to write poetry at all. He met Willem Kloos and they became closely befriended. He showed Kloos his hundred Mathilde sonnets, dedicated to Mathilde Thomas he had met during five days in the summer 1879 in La Roche-en-Ardenne. Kloos recognised their poetic value. But when Kloos and Perk travelled in 1880 to La Roche, Perk was not interested any more in the real Mathilde, as his idealised literary picture of her was all he wanted. His individualistic modernistic sonnets, which now belong to the Dutch classics, were not published until October 1880. Only four poems were placed in The Spectator of Vosmaer.

In 1881, Perk fell in love with Joanna C. Blancke, the sister of his sister Dora, fiancée. She was engaged and again it seemed an impossible love, a repeating of the Mathilde tragedy. He rewrote again a variant his Mathilda cycle "Eene helle- en hemelvaart" (Journey to heaven and hell) and Iris, in the style of Shelley, for her.

In October 1881 he became wet after rowing on the Amstel river. He had walked around in Amsterdam with wet clothes and obtained cough and fever. He neglected it and got pneumonia and lung abscess. Mid October his health had so deteriorated that it was too late for lung surgery. On Sunday 30 October, he took leave of his family, reassuring them that he would pass over to eternity into full consciousness forever. He died 1 November 1881 around 5 PM.

Before he died the major Dutch literary critics Alberdingk Thijm and Vosmaer acknowledged him as great poet. Vosmaer spoke of a reborn Dante. It was his friend and by him rejected lover Kloos who would publish most of work posthumously. Kloos foreword to his work in the New Guide would become the manifest of the break-trough Movement of the Eighties.

Citing the Wikipedia on Dutch-language literature: "In November 1881 Jacques Perk (born 1860) died. He was no sooner dead, however, than his posthumous poems, and in particular a cycle of sonnets called Mathilde, were published (1882) and awakened extraordinary emotion. Perk had rejected all the formulas of rhetorical poetry, and had broken up the conventional rhythms. There had been heard no music like his in the Netherlands for two hundred years."

The enchanted song Mathilde in the album "Ces gens-là" (1966) of the Belgian singer and poet Jacques Brel was inspired by Perk. Brel's most famous and desperate song Ne me quitte pas (Laat me niet alleen, let me be not be alone) also shows the nature of Brel's and Perks's lonely soul poetical spiritual aims.

Link to Dutch Wikipedia


  • friend relationship with Goes, Frank van der (born 13 February 1859). Notes: Both were idealistic bohemians in their youth, Van der Goes became more pragmatic.
  • friend relationship with Kloos, Willem (born 6 May 1859). Notes: Kloos was a homosxual male, Perk was more a Romantic heterosexual male.
  • (has as) teacher relationship with Doorenbos, Willem (born 28 May 1820). Notes: Doorenbos was the stimulating teacher of major Tachtigers that invited them to see further in time and place..
  • (has as) teacher relationship with Shelley, Percy Bysshe (born 4 August 1792). Notes: The "puer" Perk was inspired by Shelley's individualistic and tragic romantic poetry.
  • compare to chart of Brel, Jacques (born 8 April 1929). Notes: Brel was inspired by Perk's Mathilde poetry


  • Relationship : Meet a significant person 1872 in Amsterdam (Willem Doorenbos)
  • Relationship : Meet a significant person July 1879 in La Roche En Ardenne (Mathilde Thomas)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Meet a significant person 1880 in Amsterdam (Willem Kloos)

Source Notes

Schepel quotes "Burgelijke Stand" in Sterrentijd 40 for 10h00 LMT.

Jacques Perk · dbnl

De Ardennen van Jacques Perk


  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Other Social Life (Bohemian)
  • Personal : Death : Short Life less than 29 Yrs
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (Renewing individualistic poetry, still belonging to the Dutch canon)