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-Gerard de Nerval, from the "Chimeras"-

O fall, fall from that burning sky, white blossoms,
Come down! You insult our Gods, pale phantoms.
Holier is that saint who has known the abyss.

-Gerard de Nerval, from the "Chimeras"-

Note: What do you think it means? Thanks :)

Additional Details:

I think I understand every word in the verse, but I don't think I really understand what the paragraph mean as a whole.
What's your interpretation? Thanks

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    You have asked a difficult question. This poem is written in French by de Nerval, who was a mentally troubled genius who hanged himself two years after finishing Les Chimères. It is impossible to understand more than the literal meaning of the verses without (1) knowing the whole poem and (2) understanding obscure cultural references. The lines you have quoted are the last three from Artémis, It has been suggested that the opening stanza refers to a symbolic reference to Tarot cards, where the metaphoric Death card is the thirteenth card, whereby de Nerval moves to the Queen card, the Lover and then to the King cards. It’s uncanny to notice that on some well known Tarot decks Death is shown as the armored reaper on horseback carrying a black flag with an emblem of the white rose (a white rose mentioned briefly in the last stanza of Artemis). In the sonnet the fortune-telling cards usher us away into the domain of love (that loves de Nerval, the narrator) and her appellation is death. For de Nerval, apart from the card’s symbology, Death carries the hollyhock of fertility; let’s recall that the goddess Artemis symbolizes fertility too. Death’s connection to fertility is an ancient motif that carries with it the circularity of birth and death.

    PART II: Continuing through the symbolic visions of the poem, it is tough to find any reference to de Nerval’s ‘Neapolitan saint’ whose hands are full of fire. We’ll content ourselves with this as de Nerval’s personal emblem and one of infernal deviation. St. Gudula’s flower is bizarrely a kind of rare mushroom variety that ‘blooms’ in the month of January. Other varieties of mushroom in the Tremella family are known as “witches butter.” The potentially dismal last line of Artemis: “— La sainte de l’abîme est plus sainte à mes yeux!” is dramatic enough to let us know that this isn’t a Christian poem. L’abîme is often translated as pit or abyss. With this in mind, and in a less satanic key, we look to Swedenborg again. In his book: Rational Psychology there is a passage about the mysteries of the human body as a never-ending source of marvel, and then we find a telling quote: “Nature is an abyss, as it were, and naught remains but amazement." Nature’s depths attract the imaginative powers of the mystic.

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