By Donald Flanell Friedman
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Extra info for An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone Library, V. 15)
From Le Miroir du Ciel Natal La Nuit est seule, comme un pauvre. Les réverbères offrent Leur ﬂamme jaune Comme une aumône. La nuit se tait comme une église close. Les réverbères mélancoliques Ouvrent leur ﬂamme rose Comme des bouquets de lumière, Des bouquets sous un verre et qui sont des reliques, Par qui la Nuit s’emplit d’Indulgences plénières. 21 22 an anthology of belgian symbolist poets The Night endures pain! The streetlamps, in a chorus, Dart their red and sulphurous ﬂame, Like votive images, And Sacred Hearts, Which the wind bleeds with cold knives.
This church is far too old and the city far too quiet; There is nothing but tombstones in the naves and the choirs, And who can tell how many cofﬁns have passed these portals! Yes, everything is dead and dies ceaselessly here: Incense in the nothingness, today in the long ago; The faces in the ancient portraits perish as well; And all who enter must dream of those bones, displayed in glass . . Georges Rodenbach “La vieille église rêve . ” from Le Miroir du Ciel Natal La vieille église rêve en un vaste silence; La ville morte, avec sa tristesse, est autour; On en sent, comme d’un malade, la présence, Et tout est assombri par l’ombre de la tour.
Emile Verhaeren Mais aujourd’hui, serrés dans le pâle cynisme De leur dégoût, ils ont l’esprit inquiété: «Si le bonheur régnait dans ce mâle égoïsme, «Souffrir pour soi, tout seul, mais par sa volonté? «Ils ont banalement aimé comme les autres «Les autres; ils ont cru benoîtement aux deuils, «A la souffrance, à des gestes prêcheurs d’apôtres; «Imbéciles, ils ont eu peur de leurs orgueils. «Ils discutent combien la cruauté rapproche «Mieux que l’amour; combien ils se sont abusés «A pavoiser l’ingratitude et le reproche; «Combien de pleurs, pour quelques yeux qu’ils ont baisés!