by Emma

So you alone are blessed, you free-thinking man,
In a world where life sprouts in everything?
You seize the liberty to dispose of the forces you hold,
But in all your plans a sense of the universe is lacking.

Honor in each creature the spirit which moves it:
Each flower is a soul moved by Nature’s face;
In each metal resides some of love’s mystery;
“All things feel!” And all you are is powerful.

Beware, even the blind walls may spy on you:
Even matter is vested with the power of voice…
Do not make it serve an impious purpose.

Often in the most obscure beings resides yet the hidden God;
And like the infant’s eye covered by its lid,
The pure spirit forces its kernel though the husk of stones.

–Gérard de Nerval, Vers dorés (1845) in Œuvres complètes, vol. 1, p. 739 (J. Guillaume & C. Pichois eds. 1989)(S.H. transl.)

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