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Poems of Emile Verhaeren   By: (1855-1916)

Book cover

First Page:

POEMS

OF

EMILE VERHAEREN.

SELECTED AND RENDERED INTO ENGLISH

BY

ALMA STRETTELL.

JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD LONDON & NEW YORK

1915.

INDEX

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

From "LES VILLAGES ILLUSOIRES"

RAIN THE FERRYMAN THE SILENCE THE BELL RINGER SNOW THE GRAVE DIGGER THE WIND THE FISHERMEN THE ROPE MAKER

From "LES HEURES CLAIRES"

I. VIII. XVII. XXI.

From "LES APPARUS DANS MES CHEMINS"

ST. GEORGE THE GARDENS SHE OF THE GARDEN

From "LA MULTIPLE SPLENDEUR"

THE GLORY OF HEAVENS LIFE JOY

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

Emile Verhaeren, remarkable among of the brilliant group of writers representing "Young Belgium," and one who has been recognized by the literary world of France as holding a foremost place among the lyric poets of the day was born at St. Amand, near Antwerp, in 1855. His childhood was passed on the banks of the Scheldt, in the midst of the wide spreading Flemish plains, a country of mist and flood, of dykes and marshes, and the impressions he received from the mysterious, melancholy character of these surroundings, have produced a marked and lasting influence upon his work. Yet the other characteristics with which it is stamped the wealth of imagination, the gloomy force, the wonderful descriptive power and sense of colour, which set the landscape before one as a picture, suggest rather the possibility of Spanish blood in the poet's veins and again, his somewhat morbid subjectivity and tendency to self analysis mark him as the child of the latter end of our nineteenth century.

Verhaeren entered early in life upon the literary career. After some time spent at a college in Ghent, he became a student at the University of Louvain, and here he founded and edited a journal called " La Semaine ," in which work he was assisted by the singer Van Dyck, and by his friend and present publisher, Edmond Deman. He also formed, about this time, a close friendship with Maeterlinck. In 1881, Verhaeren was called to the Bar at Brussels, but soon gave up his legal career to devote himself entirely to literature. In 1883 he published his first volume of poems, and shortly afterwards became one of the editors of " L'Art Moderne ," to which, as well as to other contemporary periodicals, he was for many years a contributor. In 1892 he founded, with the help of two other friends, the "Section of Art" in the "House of the People," a popular institution in Brussels, where performances of the best music, as well as lectures upon literary and artistic subjects, were given. In spite, however, of the work which all this entailed, and of the many interests created by his ardent appreciation of the various branches of art and literature, Verhaeren continued to labour unceasingly at his poetical work, and between 1883 and 1897 brought out successively eleven small volumes: Les Flamandes, Les Moines, Les Soirs, Les Débâcles, Les Flambeaux Noirs, Les Apparus dans mes chemins, Les Campagnes Hallucinées, Les Villages Illusoires, Les Villes Tentaculaires, Les Heures Claires, and Les Aubes .

Throughout this entire series the intellectual and spiritual development of the poet may be closely traced from the materialism which pervades Les Flamandes , and the despairing pessimism and lurid emotion the throes of a self centred soul in revolt against fate which are so powerfully portrayed in Les Débâcles and Les Flambeaux Noirs , and are apparent even in the opening pages of Les Apparus dans mes chemins to the tender, hopeful mysticism which marks the latter poems in that volume, and the wonderful sympathy with Nature, even in her saddest aspects the subtle power of endowing those aspects with a profound and ennobling symbolism, which characterise the most beautiful of the poems in Les Villages Illusoires. Les Heures Claires is the name given to a volume of love songs, an exquisite record of golden hours spent in a garden at spring time spring time in a double sense... Continue reading book >>




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