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Title: Life and Writings of Maurice Maeterlinck
Author: Bithell, Jethro, 1878-1962
Language: English
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Life and Writings

of

Maurice Maeterlinck

BY

JETHRO BITHELL

London and Felling-on-Tyne:

THE WALTER SCOTT PUBLISHING CO., LTD

NEW YORK AND MELBOURNE



TO

ALBERT MOCKEL,

THE PENETRATING CRITIC, THE SUBTLE POET



"Maurice Maeterlinck.--Il débuta ... dans _La Pléiade_
par un chef-d'œuvre: _Le Massacre des Innocents_. Albert
Mockel devint plus tard son patient et infatigable apôtre
à Paris. C'est lui qui nous fit connaître _Les Serres Chaudes_
et surtout cette _Princesse Maleine_ qui formula définitivement
l'idéal des Symbolistes au théâtre."

STUART MERRILL,

_Le Masque_, Série ii, No. 9 and 10.



PREFACE


It is not an easy task to write the life of a man who is still living.
If the biographer is hostile to his subject, the slaughtering may be an
exciting spectacle; if he wishes, not to lay a victim out, but to pay a
tribute of admiration tempered by criticism, he has to run the risk of
offending the man he admires, and all those whose admiration is in the
nature of blind hero-worship. If he is conscientious, the only thing he
can do is to give an honest expression of his own views, or a mosaic of
the views of others which seem to him correct, knowing that he may be
wrong, and that his authorities may be wrong, but challenging
contradiction, and caring only for the truth as it appears to him.

So much for the tone of the book; there are difficulties, too, when the
lion is alive, in setting up a true record of his movements. If the lion
is a raging lion, how easy it is to write a tale of adventure; but if
the lion is a tame specimen of his kind, you have either to _imagine_
exploits, making mountains out of molehills, or you have to give a page
or so of facts, and for the rest occupy yourself with what is really
essential.

When the lion is as tame as Maeterlinck is (or rather as Maeterlinck
chooses to appear), the case is peculiarly difficult. The events in
Maeterlinck's life are his books; and these are not, like Strindberg's
books, for instance, so inspired by personality that they in themselves
form a fascinating biography. They reveal little of the sound man of
business Maeterlinck is; they do not show us what faults or passions he
may have; they tell us little of his personal relations--in short,
Maeterlinck's books are practically impersonal.

The biographer cannot take handfuls of life out of Maeterlinck's own
books; and it is not much he can get out of what has been written about
him, very little of which is based on personal knowledge. Maeterlinck
has always been hostile to collectors of "copy," those great purveyors
of the stuff that books are made of. Huret made him talk, or says he
did, when Maeterlinck took him into the beer-shop; and a few words of
that interview will pass into every biography. That was at a time when
he hated interviews. He wrote to a friend on the 4th of October, 1890:

     "I beg you _in all sincerity, in all sincerity_, if you can stop
     the interviews you tell me of, for the love of God stop them. I am
     beginning to get frightfully tired of all this. Yesterday, while I
     was at dinner, two reporters from ... fell into my soup. I am going
     to leave for London, I am sick of all that is happening to me. So
     if you can't stop the interviews they will interview my
     servant."[1]

This is not a man who would chatter himself away,[2] not even to Mr
Frank Harris, who found him aggressive (and no wonder either if the
Englishman said by word of mouth what he says in print, namely that _The
Treasure of the Humble_ was written "at length" after _The Life of the
Bee_, _Monna Vanna_, and the translation of _Macbeth_![3]). The fact is,
there is very little printed matter easily available on the biography
proper of Maeterlinck. It is true we have several accounts of him by his
wife in a style singularly like his own; we have gossip; we have
delightful portraits of the houses he lives in--but we have no bricks
for building with.

A future biographer may have at his hands what the present lacks; but I
for my part have no other ambition for this book than that it should be
a running account of Maeterlinck's works, with some suggestions as to
their interpretation and value.

JETHRO BITHELL.

Hammerfield,

Nr. Hemel Hempstead,

31st January, 1913.


[1] Gérard Harry, _Maeterlinck_, p. 18.

[2] "Monsieur Maeterlinck being as all the world knows, hermetically
mute."--(Grégoire Le Roy), _Le Masque_ (Brussels), Série ii, No. 5
(1912).

[3] "_La Vie des Abeilles_ brought us from the tiptoe of expectance to a
more reasonable attitude, and _Monna Vanna_ and the translation of
_Macbeth_ keyed our hopes still lower; but at length in _Le Trésor des
Humbles_ Maeterlinck returned to his early inspiration."--_Academy_,
15th June, 1912.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER I.

Maeterlinck born, August 29th, 1862; his family; meaning of his name;
his father; residence at Oostacker; atmosphere of Ghent; educated at the
Collège de Sainte-Barbe; his hatred of the Jesuits; his schoolfellows;
subscribes to "La Jeune Belgique"; his first poem printed; his religious
nature; his wish to study medicine; studies law at the University of
Ghent; practises for a time as _avocat_; stay in Paris; influence of
Villiers de L'Isle-Adam and Barbey d'Aurevilly; introduced by Grégoire
Le Roy to the founders of "La Pléiade"; contributes "Le Massacre des
Innocents"; influence on him of Flemish painting; other early efforts;
influence of Charles van Lerberghe; meets Mallarmé; the symbolists; the
birth of the _vers libre_; influence of Walt Whitman

CHAPTER II.

Return to Belgium; residence at Ghent and Oostacker; introduced by
Georges Rodenbach to the directors of "La Jeune Belgique"; contributes
to this review, and to "Le Parnasse de la Jeune Belgique"; beginnings of
the Belgian renaissance at Louvain and Brussels; "La Wallonie" founded;
Belgian realism; the banquet to Lemonnier; reaction against naturalism;
influence of Rodenbach

CHAPTER III.

"Serres Chaudes" published; Ghent scandalised; decadent poetry;
Maeterlinck refused a post by the Belgian Government; Maeterlinck always
healthy, the appearance of disease in "Serres Chaudes" due to fashion;
the new poetry; critical estimates of Maeterlinck as a lyrist

CHAPTER IV.

Influence of German pessimism; the forerunners of the new optimism, or
futurism, of Maeterlinck and Verhaeren; "La Princesse Maleine" hailed as
a work of the first rank; influence of the Pre-Raphaelites and of
Shakespeare; the new elements in the book; Maeterlinck's invention, or
adaptation from Ibsen, of interior dialogue; Maeterlinck's methods of
suggesting mystery; the helplessness of man in the power of Fate; the
questions of characterisation and of action

CHAPTER V.

A new idea of tragedy; the unknown powers, or mysteries--Fate, Love, and
Death; influence of Plato; "The Intruder"; "The Sightless";
Maeterlinck's irony; Charles van Lerberghe's "Les Flaireurs"; "The
Intruder" performed at Paris

CHAPTER VI.

Influence of Maeterlinck's Jesuit training; translation of Ruysbroeck;
Maeterlinck and the mystics; "Les Sept Princesses" not understood by the
critics; scenery of the early dramas; "Pelleas and Melisanda"; the
question of adultery; the soul in exile; Maeterlinck and dramaturgy;
influence of Walter Crane's picture-books

CHAPTER VII.

"Dramas for marionettes"; meaning of the term; "Alladine and Palomides";
Maeterlinck's first emancipated woman; the irradiation of the soul; the
doctrine of reality; "Interior"; "The Death of Tintagiles"; the closed
door

CHAPTER VIII.

"Annabella"; translation of Novalis; Maeterlinck's dramatic theories;
the doctrine of "correspondences"; influence of Emerson; "The Treasure
of the Humble"; influence of Carlyle; the doctrine of silence; dramatic
possibilities of same; "the soul's awakening"; "les avertis";
woman-worship; fatalism; Maeterlinck and Christianity; "interior
beauty"; "Aglavaine and Selysette"; the problem of marriage; "Douze
Chansons"

CHAPTER IX.

Maeterlinck settles in Paris; Georgette Leblanc; "Wisdom and Destiny";
Maeterlinck's new philosophy; life, not death; anti-Christian teaching;
Maeterlinck's evolution coincides partially with that of Nietzsche and
Dehmel; salvation by love; Maeterlinck and Verhaeren; the shores of
serenity; "The Life of the Bee"; cerebralism; futurism

CHAPTER X.

"Ardiane and Bluebeard" inspired by Georgette Leblanc; feminism;
emancipation of the flesh; "Sister Beatrice"; quietism again;
Maeterlinck's version of the legend compared with that of Gottfried
Keller; family life and religious prejudice; "The Buried Temple";
heredity and morality; poverty and socialism; the aims of Nature;
vegetarianism; "Monna Vanna" banned by the censor in England; Ibsen's
idea of absolute truth in marriage; the idea of honour; Maeterlinck and
Browning; "Joyzelle"; instinct and the designs of life; sensual and
intellectual love; "The Miracle of St Antony"

CHAPTER XI.

"The Double Garden" affords glimpses into Maeterlinck's life; the essay,
"On the Death of a Little Dog"; flowers old and new, symbols of the
onward march of man; the reign of matter; the modern drama; "Life and
Flowers"; the doctrine of aspiration; the religion of the future;
Maeterlinck's teaching midway between that of Nietzsche and Tolstoy;
Maeterlinck as a boxer; the victory of socialism inevitable; "The Blue
Bird"--an epitome of Maeterlinck's ideas--performed in Moscow and
London; the quest of happiness; futurism again; the drama awarded the
Belgian "Triennial prize for dramatic literature"; translation and
performance at St Wandrille of "Macbeth"; "Mary Magdalene" banned in
England; quarrel with Paul Heyse; "Death" shocks the critics; its
importance lies in its discussion of immortality; Maeterlinck awarded
the Nobel prize for literature; he is honoured by the City of Brussels;
he founds the "Maeterlinck prize"

CHAPTER XII.

Maeterlinck at the Villa Dupont; his personal appearance; the present
position of Maeterlinck in critical estimation; the question of his
originality; his public; Maeterlinck a futurist; compared by Louis
Dumont-Wilden with Bernardin de Saint-Pierre; compared with Goethe;
Maeterlinck a poet

Index

Bibliography



MAURICE MAETERLINCK



CHAPTER I


Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck[1] was born at Ghent on the
29th of August, 1862. It is known that his family was settled at Renaix
in East Flanders as early as the fourteenth century; and the
Maeterlincks are mentioned as burghers of Ghent in the annals of
Flanders. The name is said to be derived from the Flemish word "maet"
(Dutch "maat"), "measure," and is interpreted as "the man who measures
out: distributor." In harmony with this interpretation the story goes
that one of the poet's ancestors was mayor of his village during a year
of famine, and that he in that capacity distributed corn among the poor.
Maeterlinck's father was a notary by profession; being in comfortable
circumstances, however, he did not practise, but lived in a country
villa at Oostacker, near Ghent, on the banks of the broad canal which
joins Ghent to the Scheldt at the Dutch town of Terneuzen.[2] Here
through the paternal garden the sea-going ships seemed to glide,
"spreading their majestic shadows over the avenues filled with roses and
bees."[3]

Those bees and flowers in his father's garden stand for much in the
healthy work of his second period. Over the fatalistic work of his first
period lies, it may be, the shadow of the town he was born in.
Maeterlinck was never absorbed by Ghent, as Rodenbach was by Bruges; but
he was, as a young man, oppressed by some of its moods. Casual visitors
to Ghent and Bruges may see nothing of the melancholy that poets and
painters have woven into them; they may see in them thriving commercial
towns; but poets and painters have loved their legendary gloom. "Black,
suspicious watch-towers," this is Ghent seen by an artist's eyes, "dark
canals on whose weary waters swans are swimming, mediaeval gateways,
convents hidden by walls, churches in whose dusk women in wide, dark
cloaks and ruche caps cower on the floor like a flight of frightened
winter birds. Little streets as narrow as your hand, with bowed-down
ancient houses all awry, roofs with three-cornered windows which look
like sleepy eyes. Hospitals, gloomy old castles. And over all a dull,
septentrional heaven."[4] That hospital on the canal bank which starts a
poem in _Serres Chaudes_[5] may be one he knew from childhood; the old
citadel of Ghent with its dungeons may be the prototype of the castles
of his dramas.

One part of his life in Ghent is still a bitter memory to our poet.
"Maeterlinck will never forgive the Jesuit fathers of the Collège de
Sainte-Barbe[6] their narrow tyranny.... I have often heard him say that
he would not begin life again if he had to pay for it by his seven years
at school. There is, he is accustomed to say, only one crime which is
beyond pardon, the crime which poisons the pleasures and kills the
smile of a child."[7]

Out of twenty pupils in the highest class at Sainte-Barbe fourteen were
intended to be Jesuits or priests. Such a school was not likely to be a
good training-place for poets. Indeed, though Latin verses were allowed,
it forbade the practice of vernacular poetry.[8] And yet this very
school has turned out not less than five poets of international
reputation. Emile Verhaeren (who may be called the national poet of
Flanders, the most international of French poets after Victor Hugo) and
Georges Rodenbach had been schoolboys together at Sainte-Barbe; and on
its benches three other poets, Maeterlinck, Grégoire Le Roy, and Charles
van Lerberghe, formed friendships for life. These three boys put their
small cash together and subscribed to _La Jeune Belgique_, the clarion
journal which, under the editorship of Max Waller, was calling Belgian
literature into life; they devoured its pages clandestinely, as other
schoolboys smoke their first cigarettes;[9] and Maeterlinck even sent in
a poem which was accepted and printed. This was in 1883.

The fact that Maeterlinck was reading _La Jeune Belgique_ shows that he
was already spoilt for a priest. But he was essentially religious; and
his career has proved that he was one of those poets Verhaeren sings of,
who have arrived too late in history to be priests, but who are
constrained by the force of their convictions to preach a new gospel. It
was the religion inborn in him, as well as his monastic training, which
made him a reader and interpreter of such mystics as Ruysbroeck, Jakob
Boehme, and Swedenborg. As a schoolboy he did not feel attracted to
poetry alone; he had a great liking for science, and his great wish was
to study medicine.[10] Some time ago he wrote to a French medical
journal as follows:

     "I never commenced the study of medicine. I did my duty in
     conforming with the family tradition, which ordains that the eldest
     son shall be an _avocat_. I shall regret to my last day that I
     obeyed that tradition, and consecrated my most precious years to
     the vainest of the sciences. All my instincts, all my inclinations,
     attached me to the study of medicine, which I am more than
     convinced is the most beautiful of the keys that give access to the
     great realities of life."

It was in 1885 that he entered the University of Ghent as a student of
law. Like Lessing and Goethe, he had no respect for his professors. He
was again a fellow-student of van Lerberghe and Le Roy; they also were
students of jurisprudence. He was twenty-four when, according to his
parents' wish, he settled in Ghent as an _avocat_; to lose, as Gérard
Harry puts it, "with triumphant facility the first and last causes which
were confided to him." His shyness and the thin, squeaking voice in his
robust peasant's frame were against him in a profession which in any
case he hated. He practised for a year or so, and then--"il a jeté la
toque et la robe aux orties."

In 1886 he set out for Paris, ostensibly with the object of completing
his legal education there. Grégoire Le Roy accompanied him; and each
stayed about seven months. They had lodgings at 22 Rue de Seine.
Grégoire Le Roy scamped painting at the Ecole St Luc and the Atelier
Gervex et Humbert; and the pair of them spent a great deal of time in
the museums. But the important thing in their stay in Paris was that
they came into contact with men of letters. In the Brasserie Pousset at
the heart of the Quartier Latin they heard Villiers de L'Isle-Adam,
"that evangelist of dream and irony," reciting his short stories before
writing them down. "I saw Villiers de L'Isle-Adam very often during the
seven months I spent at Paris," Maeterlinck told Huret. "All I have done
I owe to Villiers, to his conversation more than to his works, though I
admire the latter exceedingly." Villiers was twenty-two years older
than Maeterlinck, having been born in 1840; but his masterpieces had not
long been published, and it was only in the later 'eighties that the
young poets who were to be known as symbolists began to gather round
him, as they gathered round Mallarmé and Verlaine.

Villiers de L'Isle-Adam died in Paris in 1889. In the same year died,
also in Paris, another writer who might be proved to have influenced
Maeterlinck,[11] even if the latter had not placed on record his high
admiration of him. This was Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly (born 1808).
Maeterlinck, after the banquet offered to him by the city of Brussels on
the occasion of his receiving the Nobel prize, wrote despondently,
expressing the good omen, seeing that men of real genius like Villiers
de L'Isle-Adam and Barbey d'Aurevilly had died in obscurity and poverty.
Both men, indeed, had been hostile to cheap popularity. Barbey lived, to
quote Paul Bourget, "in a state of permanent revolt and continued
protest." He had written scathing attacks on the Parnassians. Both poets
were idealists among the naturalists; their idealism is a bridge
spanning naturalism and joining the romanticists with the symbolists or
neo-romanticists.

Villiers was a king in exile on whom the young squires attended. But
they themselves had their spurs to win; and it was the greatest good
fortune for Maeterlinck that he was able to join their company and take
part in their campaign. Several of them, Jean Ajalbert, Ephraïm Mikhaël,
Pierre Quillard, had already been contributing to _La Basoche_, a review
published at Brussels. There was Rodolphe Darzens, who, two years later,
was to anticipate Maeterlinck in writing a play on Mary Magdalene. There
was Paul Roux, who, as time went on, blossomed into "Saint-Pol-Roux le
Magnifique"--he who founded "le Magnificisme," the school of poetry
which had for its programme "a mystical _magnificat_ to eternal nature."
It was in Pierre Quillard's rooms one evening that Grégoire Le Roy read
to this circle of friends a short story by Maeterlinck: _Le Massacre des
Innocents_. On the day following he introduced the author of the tale.
On the 1st March, 1886, these young writers founded _La Pléiade_,[12] a
short-lived review--six numbers appeared--which nevertheless played an
important part. Beside the authors mentioned, it published contributions
from René Ghil. It had the glory of printing the first verses of Charles
van Lerberghe, and, in addition to several poems which were to appear in
_Serres Chaudes_, Maeterlinck's _Massacre des Innocents_ (May, 1886).

_Le Massacre des Innocents_ was signed "Mooris Maeterlinck." The author
discarded it; but it was reprinted in Gérard Harry's monograph (1909). A
translation by Edith Wingate Rinder appeared at Chicago in 1895.[13]

It is a story which reproduces the delightful quaintness of early Dutch
and Flemish painting:

     "There were thirty horsemen or thereabouts, covered with armour,
     round an old man with a white beard. On the croup of their horses
     rode red or yellow lansquenets, who dismounted and ran across the
     snow to stretch their limbs, while several soldiers clad in iron
     dismounted also, and pissed against the trees they had tied their
     horses to.

     "Then they made for the Golden Sun Inn, and knocked at the door,
     which was opened reluctantly, and they went and warmed themselves
     by the fire while beer was served to them.

     "Then they went out of the inn, with pots and pitchers and loaves
     of wheaten bread for their companions who had stayed round the man
     with the white beard, he who was waiting amid the lances.

     "The street being still deserted, the captain sent horsemen behind
     the houses, in order to keep a hold on the hamlet from the side of
     the fields, and ordered the lansquenets to bring before him all
     infants of two years old or over, that they might be massacred,
     even as it is written in the Gospel of Saint Matthew."

Maeterlinck in this story has simply turned an old picture, or perhaps
several pictures, into words. The cruelty of the massacre does not
affect us in the least; the style is such that anyone who has seen the
Breughels' paintings understands at once that a series of fantastic
pictures, which have no relation whatever to fact, or logic, or history,
are being drawn; not dream-pictures, but scenes drawn with the greatest
clearness, and figures standing out boldly in flesh and blood:

     "But he replied in terror that the Spaniards had arrived, that they
     had set fire to the farm, hanged his mother in the willow-trees,
     and tied his nine little sisters to the trunk of a great tree."

(You are to _see_ the woman hanging in the willow-trees, the deep green
and any other colours you like.... Never mind about the pain the little
girls must be suffering.)

     "They came near a mill, on the skirts of the forest, and saw the
     farm burning in the midst of the stars." (This is a flat canvas,
     remember.) "Here they took their station, before a pond covered
     with ice, under enormous oaks....

     "There was a great massacre on the pond, in the midst of huddling
     sheep, and cows that looked on the battle and the moon."

This transposition of the mood (_Stimming_) of old paintings (not by any
means word-painting or descriptive writing) is the secret of much of the
verse of two other Flemings--Elskamp and Verhaeren. It is an immense
pity that Maeterlinck did not write more in this fashion; many of us
would have given some of his essays for this pure artistry. Not that he
threw his gift of seeing pictures away; he made good use of it even when
he had' given up the direct painting of moods for the indirect
suggestion of them (or, in other words, when from a realist he had
become a symbolist).

Maeterlinck, at the time he wrote _The Massacre of the Innocents_, must
have been trying his hand at various forms of literature. Adolphe van
Bever in his little book publishes a letter from Charles van Lerberghe
to himself which shows that the two young poets corrected each other's
efforts. The letter, too, draws a portrait of Maeterlinck as he appeared
at this time:

     "Maeterlinck sent me verses, sonnets principally in Heredia's
     manner, but Flemish in colour, short stories something like
     Maupassant's, a comedy full of humour and ironical observation,
     and other attempts. It is characteristic that he never sent me any
     tragedy or epic poem, never anything bombastic or declamatory,
     never anything languorous or sentimental either. Neither the
     rhetorical nor the elegiac had any hold on him. He was a fine
     handsome young fellow, always riding his bicycle or rowing, the
     kind of student you would expect to see at Yale or Harvard. But he
     was a poet besides being an athlete, and his robust exterior
     concealed a temperament of extreme sensitiveness...."

It was certainly van Lerberghe's own idea that it was he who had trained
Maeterlinck; and Maeterlinck would certainly admit it. It was van
Lerberghe, too, more than any other, who won Maeterlinck over to
symbolism. But Maeterlinck met Mallarmé personally during his stay in
Paris; in short, various influences worked upon him to turn him from
Heredia's and Maupassant's manner to that of Mallarmé's disciples.

The tide was flowing in that direction. Verhaeren was soon to desert the
Parnassian camp.[14] Henri de Régnier was on the point of doing so.[15]
Two years before Jean Moréas had published his first book: _Les Syrtes_
(December 1884). In 1885 René Ghil's _Légendes d'âmes et de sangs_ and
Jules Laforgue's _Les Complaintes_ came out; in 1886, René Ghil's _Le
Traité du Verbe_, Jean Moréas's _Les Cantilènes_, Rimbaud's _Les
Illuminations_, Vielé-Griffin's _Cueille d'Avril_. In the pages of _La
Vogue_, launched on the 11th of April, 1886, were appearing some of the
poems which Gustave Khan was to publish in 1887, as _Les Palais
Nomades_. All these books are landmarks in the onward path of
symbolism;[16] not because they are all, technically, symbolistic, but
because each is in a new manner.

Closely associated with the birth and growth of symbolism is the
question of the origin of _vers libres_. French authorities differ: some
credit Jules Laforgue with its invention; others a Polish Jewess, Marie
Kryzinska, who seems to have attempted to write French poetry; and two
of the French poets who were the first to use the medium, Francis
Vielé-Griffin and Gustave Kahn, might dispute the glory of being its
originators. As to Francis Vielé-Griffin, he is said to have introduced
it by translations of Walt Whitman;[17] or, in other words, the French
_vers libre_ is an imitation of Whitman's lawless line. Now this is a
matter which, as we shall see, directly concerns Maeterlinck; so it will
not be extraneous to our subject to discuss here the question of the
origin of _vers libres_.

Marie Kryzinska may be ruled out to begin with. Her poetry was laughed
at; nobody took her seriously--at the most she served as an engine of
war against Gustave Kahn, who was then anything but popular. As to Jules
Laforgue, he was very much admired, and his influence is beyond
question; but what he attempted in his verses was something quite
different to what the _verslibristes_ proper attempted: it was rather a
manner of compressing his ideas than of expressing them musically. As
for Walt Whitman and Vielé-Griffin, it is true that translations had
appeared, but they had not attracted the least notice, and no one
betrayed the slightest interest for the technique of the American poet.
As a matter of fact, few people knew anything about Whitman, beside the
two poets of American birth, Francis Vielé-Griffin and Stuart Merrill;
and both at that time, although of course their manner was new, were
writing, as far as _form_ is concerned, _regular_ verses. Another of the
first poets to write free verses, the Walloon poet, Albert Mockel, was
not unacquainted with Whitman; he had read _American Poems selected by
William M. Rossetti_. Now Mockel, as editor of _La Wallonie_, which he
had founded to defend the new style, was connected with the whole group
of symbolists and _verslibristes_, all of whom, practically, were
regular contributors to the review. And _La Wallonie_ was hardy: it
lasted seven years; a great rallying ground of the young fighters before
the advent of the _Mercure de France_, the second series of _La Vogue_,
and _La Plume_. But, as it happened, Mockel was not in the least
inspired by the selections from Whitman in Rossetti's collection; they
made the impression on him of being Bible verses rather than real
verses. One poet Whitman's lawless line did directly influence; and this
was Maeterlinck, whose rhymeless verse in _Serres Chaudes_ was written
under the inspiration of _Leaves of Grass_. But _Serres Chaudes_ did not
appear till 1889, and even then the majority of the poems in the volume
were rhymed and regular; so that it could hardly be claimed that
Maeterlinck was the originator of the _vers libre_.[18]

It would seem that Gustave Kahn has the greatest claim to priority. But
it was Vielé-Griffin who popularised the new medium. Albert Mockel, too,
must be mentioned. Kahn's _Palais Nomades_ appeared in April, 1887;
Mockel's first _vers libres_ appeared in _La Wallonie_ in July, 1887.
But these poems of Mockel had been written earlier, tentative verse by a
young man not so confident in himself as Kahn, and who was only induced
to publish by Kahn's audacious book.

Mallarmé's attitude should be decisive. He studied the question, and
reflected for a long time when he was invited to preside at a banquet
offered to Gustave Kahn, in honour of the latter's book, _La Pluie et le
beau Temps_. But, having weighed the arguments for and against, Mallarmé
not only agreed to preside at the banquet, but actually to bear witness
in favour of Kahn as the innovator of the _vers libre_--which he did in
a toast reproduced in _La Revue blanche_.

Catulle Mendès, in his half-serious manner, suggested that the first
advocacy of the _vers libre_ was to be found in a book called _Poésie
nouvelle_, which Lemerre brought out in 1880. The author, a certain
Della Rocca de Vergalo, was a Peruvian exile living in Paris; his ideas
were that lines of poetry should begin with small letters, and that the
alternance of masculine and feminine rhymes should be discarded. But the
founders of the _vers libre_, I am told, had never heard of this book.
Mallarmé, it is true, had been interested in finding a publisher for it;
but merely because he wished to help the author to earn money enough to
take him back to Peru.

These questions of symbolism and free verse must have been discussed in
the _cénacle_ which Maeterlinck joined. Not one of the group adopted the
_vers libre_ at this time; more than one, though all had the greatest
regard for Mallarmé, may be said to have remained tolerably faithful to
the Parnassian prosody in after years. The symbolist element among them
was represented really by Saint-Pol-Roux and Maeterlinck.


[1] The Flemish pronunciation is Màh-ter-lee-nk; but Frenchmen pronounce
it as though it were a French name.

[2] It was by this canal, no doubt, that Maeterlinck as a young man
would skate "into Holland." See Huret's _Enquête_. And it inspired the
scenery of _The Seven Princesses_.

[3] Mme Georgette Leblanc, _Morceaux choisis_, Introduction.

[4] Anselma Heine, _Maeterlinck_, pp. 7-8.

[5] _Serres Chaudes_, "Hôpital."

[6] "The literary history of modern Belgium, by the freaks of chance,
was born in one single house. In Ghent, the favourite city of the
Emperor Charles V., in the old Flemish city heavy with fortifications,
rises remote, far from noisy streets, Sainte-Barbe, the grey-walled
Jesuit monastery. Its thick, defensive walls, its silent corridors and
refectories, remind one somewhat of Oxford's beautiful colleges; here,
however, there is no ivy softening the walls, there are no flowers to
lay their variegated carpet over the green courts."--Stefan Zweig,
_Emile Verhaeren_ (_Mercure de France_, 1910), pp. 39-40.

[7] Mme Georgette Leblanc, _Morceaux choisis_, Introduction.

[8] Anselma Heine, _Maeterlinck_, p. 9. But cf. Léon Bazalgette, _Emile
Verhaeren_, p. 14.

[9] Gérard Harry, _Maeterlinck_, p. 9, note.


[10] Gérard Harry, _Maeterlinck_, p. 26; Heine, _Maeterlinck_, p. 9.

[11] Cf., for instance, Barbey's "Réfléchir sur son bonheur n'est-ce pas
le doubler?" with the opening chapters of _Sagesse et Destinée_.

[12] The review of the same name which was published at Brussels, by
Lacomblez, beginning three years later, and in which Maeterlinck's
criticism of Iwan Gilkin's _Damnation de l'Artiste_ appeared, was a
third-rate periodical.

[13] _The Massacre of the Innocents and other Tales by Belgian Writers._

[14] Verhaeren's first _vers libres_ appeared in book form in January,
1891 (printed in December, 1890) in _Les Flambeaux noirs_. But in May,
1890, he had published, in _La Wallonie_, a poem in _vers libres_; and
this is dated 1889.

[15] _Poèmes anciens et romanesques_, his first book of acknowledged
symbolism, did not appear till 1890, but the poems which compose it were
written between 1887 and 1888.

[16] It was in 1886, too, that Gustave Kahn with the collaboration of
Jean Moréas and Paul Adam, founded the review _Le Symboliste_.

[17] A translation of Whitman's _Enfants d'Adam_, by Jules Laforgue,
appeared in _La Vogue_ in 1886. Stuart Merrill personally handed this
translation to Whitman, who was delighted. (See _Le Masque_, Série ii,
Nos. 9 and 10, 1912). Vielé-Griffin's first translation of Whitman
appeared in November, 1888, in. _La Revue indépendante_; another
translation of his appeared afterwards in _La Cravache_. A translation
of Whitman had appeared in the _Revue des deux Mondes_ in the reign of
Napoleon III.

[18] He himself told Huret that _La Princesse Maleine_ was written in
_vers libres_ concealed typographically as prose.



CHAPTER II


On his return to Belgium, Maeterlinck spent his winters in Ghent, in the
house of his parents; his summers in the family villa at the village of
Oostacker.

He now (1887) became, acquainted with Georges Rodenbach, who introduced
him to the directors of _La Jeune Belgique_. He was in no hurry to
write, however; in three years the magazine only published three poems,
still in regular verse, from his pen. These were included later in
_Serres Chaudes_, as also were the few poems in regular verse which
appeared in the anthology of Belgian verse, _Le Parnasse de la Jeune
Belgique_, published in 1887 under the auspices of _La Jeune Belgique_.

The fact that by 1887 it was possible to compile such an anthology is
remarkable; for before 1880 Belgium, from the point of view of
literature, was a desert. But in 1879 certain noisy students at the
University of Louvain (Verhaeren, Gilkin, Giraud, Ernest van Dyck,[1]
Edmond Deman,[2] and others) put their heads together and founded a
bantam magazine, _La Semaine des Etudiants_.[3] This magazine was the
beginning of the modern movement in Belgian literature. In October of
the "following year, another student, who, when his identity was
disclosed, turned out to be Max Waller, brought out a hostile magazine,
_Le Type_; and the fight between the rivals became so merciless that the
University authorities suppressed them both. Max Waller, however,
nothing daunted, went to Brussels, and acquired _La Jeune Belgique_, a
review that had been founded by students of Brussels University, made
friends with his antagonists of _La Semaine_, and associated them with
himself in the editing of his review. Georges Eekhoud, Georges
Rodenbach, and other writers joined them; and _La Jeune Belgique_ went
on with its task of fighting the Philistine. Max Waller died in 1889;
and when Gilkin became editor in 1891, it became the organ of the
Parnassians in Belgium, while the symbolists (French as well as Belgian)
enriched the pages of La Wallonie, which Albert Mockel had founded in
Liège in 1886.

We have seen, from Charles van Lerberghe's letter to Adolphe van Bever,
that Maeterlinck began by writing "short stories something like
Maupassant's." _The Massacre of the Innocents_ is realistic. Verhaeren,
too, had discovered himself when, a student at Louvain, he read
Maupassant's poems. His first book, _Les Flamandes_, made a critic say
that the poet had burst on the world like an abcess. And the Belgians
had in Camille Lemonnier a realist whose novels are as uncompromising as
those of Zola. At the time when Maeterlinck began to write Lemonnier
was, as they called him, the field-marshal of Belgian literature. In the
spring of 1883, the jury whose duty it was to award a prize for the best
work published during the last five years decided that no book had been
published which was sufficiently meritorious. It was felt that this was
an official insult to Belgian letters, and particularly to Camille
Lemonnier, who had published various works of striking merit in the five
years concerned. _A banquet de guerre_ to Lemonnier was arranged by _La
Jeune Belgique_, and there were two hundred and twelve subscribers. The
banquet took place on the 27th May, 1883, and this event may be said to
mark, not only the triumph of naturalism in Belgium, but also the fact
that the élite of the Belgians were now conscious of the renaissance of
their literature.[4] It will be Maeterlinck's task, after his return to
Belgium, to react against this naturalism, and to write works which
precipitate the decay of naturalism, not in Belgium only, but in the
whole world; he and other Belgians, until Belgian literature becomes, as
it was in the time of chivalry, "when the muse was the august sister of
the sword, and stanzas were like bright staircases climbed, in pomp and
epic fires, by verses casqued with silver like knights,"[5] the most
discussed, the most suggestive literature in Europe.[6]

In this reaction against naturalism in Belgium, Maeterlinck's work was
hardly more effective than the dreamy poetry of Georges Rodenbach. It
was not till 1887 that Rodenbach definitely left Belgium for Paris, and
by that time he was a force in Belgian literature. No doubt he
influenced Maeterlinck;[7] he too was a mystic and a poet of silence.
Rodenbach compares his soul with half-transparent water, with the water
shut up in an aquarium: "he stands in silent fear before the riddle of
this 'âme sous-marine,' surmising a deep and mysterious abyss, at the
bottom of which a priceless treasure of dreams is lying buried, under
the shimmering surface that quietly reflects images of the world. He
complains that the poor immensurable soul knows itself so little, knows
no more of its life than the water-lily knows of the surface it floats
on:

    "'Ah! ce que l'âme sait d'elle-même est si peu
     Devant l'immensité de sa vie inconnue!'

"Then he would fain descend into this unknown world, seek through the
dark deeps, dive for the treasures which slumber there perhaps.... But
it remains a longing, a wish, a dream:

    "'Je rêve de plonger jusqu'au fond de mon âme
     Où des rêves sombres ont perdu leur trésor."

"And so Rodenbach remains standing on the surface, staring at the deeps,
but without seeing anything in them other than the trembling reflection
of the things around him."[8]

Maeterlinck, as we shall see, is also the poet of the soul; he sees it
under a bell-jar as Rodenbach saw it in an aquarium; but Maeterlinck
does not stand gazing at the unknown waters: he dives into the deeps,
and brings back the treasures which Rodenbach surmised.



[1] The famous Wagner tenor.

[2] The Brussels publisher.

[3] The first number is dated Saturday, the 18th October, 1879, and
begins with "rimes d'avant poste" by "Rodolphe" (=Verhaeren).

[4] Iwan Gilkin, _Quinze années de littérature_.

[5] Albert Giraud, _Hors du Siècle_.

[6] In the thirteenth century in Germany, "Fleming" was synonymous with
"verray parfit, gentil knight." The Bavarian Sir Neidhart von Reuental,
for instance, refers to himself as a "Fleming."

[7] Cf. Rodenbach's;

"Je vis comme si mon âme avait été
 De la lune et de l'eau qu'on aurait mis sous verre"

with Maeterlinck's:

"On en a mis plusieurs sur d'anciens clairs de lune."

--_Serres Chaudes_, "Cloches de verre."

[8] G. van Hamel, _Het Letterkundige Leven van Frankrijk_, pp. 127-8.



CHAPTER III


In 1889 Maeterlinck published his first book: _Serres Chaudes_
(Hot-houses). We have seen that several of the poems which compose it
had already appeared in _La Pléiade_ and in _Le Parnasse de la Jeune
Belgique_.

The subject of this collection of verse, as, indeed, of the dramas and
the essays which were to follow, is _the soul_. Rodenbach, we remember,
saw the soul prisoned in an aquarium, "at the bottom of the ponds of
dream," reflected in the glass of mirrors; Maeterlinck sees it languid,
and moist, and oppressed, and helplessly inactive[1] in a hot-house
whose doors are closed for ever. The tropical atmosphere is created by
pictures (seen through the deep green windows of the hot-house) as of
lions drowned in sunshine, or of mighty forests lying with not a leaf
stirring over the roses of passion by night. But of a sudden (for it is
all a dream) we may find ourselves in the reek of the "strange
exhalations" of fever-patients in some dark hospital glooming a clogged
canal in Ghent.... Evidently not a book for the normal Philistine. In
Ghent it made people look askance at Maeterlinck. It branded him as a
decadent.

And that was a dreadful thing in Belgium. Nay, in that country, at that
time, and for long after, even to be a poet was a disgrace. It is only
by remembering this fact that one can understand the brutality of the
fight waged by the reviews, and by the poets in their books; and it is
perhaps owing to the hostility of the public that such a great mass of
good poetry was written. Year after year Charles van Lerberghe renewed
his futile application to the Government for a poor post as secondary
teacher, and on account of his first writings[2] Maeterlinck was refused
some modest public office for which he applied.

The contempt of the Belgians for young poets may be condoned to a
certain extent when one appreciates the absurdities in which some of
them indulged. It was not the _gaminerie_ of such poets as Théodore
Hannon and Max Waller which shocked the honest burghers; they were
rather horrified at the absurdities of the new style. Rodenbach, who was
a real poet, wrote crazy things; as, for instance, when he compared a
muslin curtain to a communicant partaking of the moon.[3] Even when the
absurdity is an application of the theories of the symbolists it is
often apt to raise a laugh, e.g., when Théodore Hannon, extending the
doctrine that perfumes sing, makes a perfume blare:

    "Opoponax! nom très bizarre
     Et parfum plus bizarre encor!
     Opoponax, le son du cor
     Est pâle auprès de ta fanfare!"

A goodly list of absurdities could be collected from _Serres Chaudes_
also, if the collector detached odd passages from their context:

    "Perhaps there is a tramp on a throne,
     You have the idea that corsars are waiting on a pond,
     And that antediluvian beings are going to invade towns."

And a scientist of Lombroso's type could easily, by culling choice
quotations, draw an appalling picture of a degenerate:

                 "Pity my absence on
                    The threshold of my will!
                  My soul is helpless, wan,
                    With white inaction ill."

So incoherent and strange have these poems[4] appeared to some people
who are ardent Maeterlinckians that they assume he may, for a period,
have been mentally ill.[5] If he had been, it would have been
historically significant. Verhaeren went through such a period of mental
illness. It might be asserted that the modern man must be mad. The life
of to-day, especially in cities, with its whipped hurry, its dust and
noises, is too complex to be lived with the nerves of a Victorian. But
the human organism is capable of infinite assimilation; and the period
we live in is busy creating a new type of man.[6] It is the glory of
Verhaeren to have sung the advent of this new man; it is the glory of
Maeterlinck, as we shall see, to have proved that a species forcibly
adjusts itself to existing conditions.

To a Victorian the poems in _Serres Chaudes_ must of necessity seem
diseased; just as the greater part of Tennyson's poetry must of
necessity seem ordinary to us. How many "Dickhäuter" have called
Hoffmansthal's poetry diseased? If it is, so is Yeats's. Turn from
Robert Bridges's poems of outdoor life--the noble old English style--to
Yeats's dim visions, or to Arthur Symons's harpsichord dreaming through
the room, and you have the difference between yesterday and to-day.

At all events _Serres Chaudes_, whether mad or not, is bathed in the
same atmosphere as the dramas soon to follow. As to the relative value
of the book from the point of view of art, opinion differs. Some good
critics who are not prone to praise think highly of it; but the general
impression seems to be that these poems are chiefly of interest as
marking a stage in the author's development. If Maeterlinck had written
nothing more he would have been quite forgotten, or only remembered
because, for instance, Charles van Lerberghe wrote some poetry in the
form of a criticism of the book. Compared with other Belgian lyric
verse, Verhaeren's, or Charles van Lerberghe's, or Max Elskamp's, it is
inferior work. Not that there are no good poems; some of them, indeed,
are excellent, and not seldom the poet is on the track of something
fine:

  "Attention! the shadow of great sailing-ships passes
     over the dahlias of submarine forests;
   And I am for a moment in the shadow of whales
     going to the pole!"

Whatever value the book may have as poetry, the rhymeless poems in it
have, as we have seen, considerable importance as being attempts to
reproduce Walt Whitman's manner. They are interesting, too, because they
attempt to create a mood by the use of successive images.[7] Perhaps,
elsewhere (Tancrède de Visan suggests the Song of Solomon) this method
has been applied successfully. The poems in _Serres Chaudes_ are
experiments.



[1] Cf. Rodenbach, _Le Règne du Silence_, p. 1:

    "Mais les choses pourtant entre le cadre d'or
     Ont un air de souffrir de leur vie inactive;
     Le miroir qui les aime a borné leur essor
     En un recul de vie exigüe et captive..."

]


[2] Gérard Harry, p. 19. _Le Masque_, Série ii, No. 5: "jeune encore, il
avait sollicité les fonctions de juge de paix, mais le gouvernement
belge, prévoyant son destin de poète, les lui avait généreusement
refusées, et pour reconnaître ce service, Maeterlinck ne lui rend que
mépris et dédain et refuse même les distinctions honorifiques les plus
hautes, celles qu'on n'accorde généralement qu'aux très grands
industriels ou aux très vieux militaires ou politiciens."

[3]

    "Chambres pleines de songe! Elles vivent vraiment
     En des rêves plus beaux que la vie ambiante,
     Grandissant toute chose au Symbole, voyant
     Dans chaque rideau pâle une Communiante
     Aux falbalas de mousseline s'éployant
     Qui communie au bord des vitres, de la Lune!"
                 --_Le Règne du Silence_, p. 4.



[4] They make one think of what Novalis wrote: "poems unconnected, yet
with associations, like dreams; poems, melodious merely and full of
beautiful words, but absolutely without sense or connection--at most
individual sentences intelligible--nothing but fragments, so to speak,
of the most varied things."

[5] See Schlaf's _Maeterlinck_, p. 12; _ibid._, p. 30; and Monty Jacobs'
_Maeterlinck_, p. 39. But Maeterlinck's brain was always as healthy as
his body. At the time he wrote _Serres Chaudes_ disease was fashionable,
that is all; and, beside the main influence of Baudelaire, there was the
fear of death instilled by the Jesuits.

[6] Verhaeren, in his monograph on Rembrandt (1905), has suggested that
the man of genius may, "in specially favourable conditions, create a new
race, thanks to the happy deformation of his brain fixing itself first,
by a propitious crossing, in his direct descendants, to be transmitted
afterwards to a whole posterity."

[7] See Tancrède de Visan's interpretation in _L'Attitude du Lyrisme
contemporain_, pp. 119 ff.



CHAPTER IV


Some of the most eminent symbolists were strongly influenced by the
pessimistic philosophy of Schopenhauer[1] and Eduard von Hartmann. Their
outlook on the world is not a whit more rosy than that of the
naturalists. Vielé-Griffin did, it is true, preach the doctrine that the
principle of all things is activity; and that, since every "function in
exercise" implies a pleasure, there cannot be activity without joy, even
grief being good, for grief, too, is a spending of energy. Albert
Mockel's doctrine of aspiration, moreover--his theory that the soul,
constantly changing like a river, runs like a river to some far ocean of
the future--is elevating and consoling; and is a step onward to the
complete victory won over pessimism by Verhaeren and Maeterlinck. But
when we read the first plays of Maeterlinck we must not forget that he
is still a prisoner in the dark cave, with his back to the full light
of the real which he was to turn round to later.

The first of these plays out of the darkness, _La Princesse Maleine_
(The Princess Maleine), a drama in five acts, came out in 1889 in a
first edition of thirty copies which Maeterlinck himself, with the help
of a friend, had printed for private circulation on a small hand-press.

Iwan Gilkin, to whose _Damnation de l'Artiste_, published in 1890,
Maeterlinck was to dedicate his first critique, was the first to analyse
it in _La Jeune Belgique_; and he was not wrong when he called it "an
important work which marks a date in the history of the contemporary
theatre." But it was Octave Mirbeau's famous article in _Figaro_ which
made Maeterlinck. Literally, he awoke and found himself famous. The
trumpet-blast that awoke the world and frightened Maeterlinck into
deeper shyness, was this:

     "I know nothing of M. Maurice Maeterlinck. I know not whence he is
     nor how he is. Whether he is old or young, rich or poor, I know
     not. I only know that no man is more unknown than he; and I know
     also that he has created a masterpiece, not a masterpiece labelled
     masterpiece in advance, such as our young masters publish every
     day, sung to all the notes of the squeaking lyre--or rather of the
     squeaking flute of our day; but an admirable and a pure eternal
     masterpiece, a masterpiece which is sufficient to immortalise a
     name, and to make all those who are an-hungered for the beautiful
     and the great rise up and call this name blessèd; a masterpiece
     such as honest and tormented artists have, sometimes, in their
     hours of enthusiasm, dreamed of writing, and such as up to the
     present not one of them has written. In short, M. Maurice
     Maeterlinck has given us the greatest work of genius of our time,
     and the most extraordinary and the most simple also, comparable,
     and--shall I dare to say it--superior in beauty to whatever is most
     beautiful in Shakespeare. This work is called _La Princesse
     Maleine_. Are there in all the world twenty persons who know it? I
     doubt it."[2]

The Pre-Raphaelite atmosphere of the play will escape no one. At the
time he wrote it Maeterlinck had covered the walls of his study with
pictures taken from Walter Crane's books for children; and he had
enhanced their effect by framing them under green-tinted glass. He found
his source in the English translation of one of Grimm's fairy-tales,
that which tells of the fair maid Maleen.[3] He has changed the Low
German atmosphere of the tale to one suggested vaguely by Dutch,
Scandinavian, and English names. He has imported, as the instigator of
all the evil, a copy of Queen Gertrude in Hamlet. This is Anne, the
dethroned Queen of Jutland, who has taken refuge at the Court of King
Hjalmar at Ysselmonde. She soon has the old king in her power; and at
the same time she lays traps for his son, Prince Hjalmar. The latter is
betrothed to Princess Maleine, the daughter of King Marcellus; but at
the banquet to celebrate the betrothal a fierce quarrel between the two
kings breaks out, the consequence of which is a war in which King
Hjalmar kills Marcellus and lays his realm waste. Before the outbreak of
the war, however, Marcellus had immured Maleine, because she would not
forget Prince Hjalmar, together with her nurse, in an old tower from
which the two women, loosening the stones with their finger-nails,
escape. They go wandering until they arrive at the Castle of Ysselmonde;
and here Maleine becomes serving-woman to Princess Uglyane, the daughter
of Queen Anne. Uglyane is about to be married to Prince Hjalmar; but
Maleine makes herself known to him, and he is so happy that he believes
he is "up to the heart in Heaven." At a Court festival a door opens and
Princess Maleine is seen in white bridal garments; the queen pretends to
be kind to her, makes an attempt to poison her which is only half
successful, and finally strangles her. Prince Hjalmar finds the corpse,
and stabs the queen and himself; and the old king asks whether there
will be salad for breakfast.

It is not astonishing that Octave Mirbeau thought the play was in the
Shakespearian style. The resemblance is striking. Hjalmar is clearly
modelled on Hamlet. The nurse is a mere copy of the nurse in _Romeo and
Juliet_. There is a clown. There is the same changing of scenes as in
Shakespeare. Dire portents accompany the action: there is a comet
shedding blood over the castle, there is a rain of stars; there is the
same eclipse of the moon as heralded the fall of Cæsar; and if the
graves are not tenantless, as they were in Rome, someone says they are
going to be. It would be easy to draw up a list of apparent
reminiscences. Notwithstanding this René Doumic is quite wrong when he
talks of the drama being made with rags of Shakespeare. Maeterlinck has
simply taken his requisites from Shakespeare. There are two things in
which Maeterlinck is quite original: the dialogue, and the æsthetic
intention.

Shakespeare flows along in lyrical and rhetorical sentences.
Maeterlinck's sentences are short, often unfinished, leaving much to be
guessed at; and they are the common speech of everyday life, containing
no archaic or poetic diction. It is no doubt quite true that French
people do not talk in this style; but, as van Hamel points out, it is
the language of the taciturn Flemish peasants among whom the poet was
living when he wrote the play. Maeterlinck has himself[4] criticised
"the astonished repeating of words which gives the personages the
appearance of rather deaf somnambulists for ever being shocked out of a
painful dream."...

"However," he continues, "this want of promptitude in hearing and
replying is intimately connected with their psychology and the somewhat
haggard idea they have of the universe." It is already that _interior
dialogue_ of which he showed such a mastery in his next plays: the
characters grope for words and stammer fragments, but we know by what
they do not say what is happening in their souls. "It is closely
connected with what Maeterlinck has written about Silence.[5] This
second, unspoken dialogue, which, as a matter of fact, for our poet is
the real one, is made possible by various expedients: by pauses,
gestures, and by other indirect means of this nature. Most of all,
however, by the spoken word itself, and by a dialogue which in the whole
course of dramatic development hitherto has been employed for the first
time by Maeterlinck and, beside him, by Ibsen. It is a dialogue marked
by an unheard-of triviality and banality of the flattest everyday
speech, which, however, in the midst of this second, inner dialogue, is
invested with an indefinable magic."[6]

If the dialogue points forward to the theories propounded in _The
Treasure of the Humble_, the melodrama of some of the scenes and the
bloody catastrophe to which they tend is directly opposed to these
theories. Too transparently throughout the play the intention of the
poet is to horrify. Apart from the comets and other phenomena which
portend ruin, he is constantly heightening the mystery by something
eerie, all of it, no doubt, on close inspection, attributable to natural
causes, but, if the truth must be told, perilously near the ridiculous.
The weeping willows, and the owls, and the bats, and the fearsome swans,
and the croaking ravens, and the seven _béguines_, and the cemetery, and
the sheep among the tombs, and the peacocks in the cypresses, and the
marshes, and the will-o'-the-wisps are an excessive agglomeration. But
the atmosphere is finely suggested:

     MALEINE: I am afraid!...

     HJALMAR: But we are in the park....

     MALEINE: Are there walls round the park?

     HJALMAR: Of course; there are walls and moats round the park.

     MALEINE: And nobody can get in?

     HJALMAR: No;--but there are plenty of unknown things that get in
     all the same.

In the murder scene[7] the falling of the lily in the vase, the
scratching of the dog at the door, are some of the things that are
effective. And if Webster's manner is worth all the praise it has had,
surely the murder in this play is tense tragedy.

This scene is only by its bourgeois language different from the accepted
Shakespearian conception of tragedy. But, as we have said, Maeterlinck's
intention differs from that of Shakespeare, from whom he has borrowed
most: Shakespeare's intention, in his tragedies, was to move his
audience by the spectacle of human beings acting under the mastery of
various passions; Maeterlinck's intention is to suggest the helplessness
of human beings, and the impossibility of their resistance in the hands
of Fate. Maleine--who is no heavier than a bird--who cannot hold a
flower in her hand--is the poor human soul, the prey of Fate. The King
and Hjalmar also are the prey of Fate; Queen Anne not less so, for
crime, like love, is one of the strings by which Fate works her puppets.
Each is helpless; they feel, dimly, that something which they do not
understand is moving them: hence their groping speech.

And the essential tragedy is this: the perverse and the wicked and the
good and the pure alike are moved to disaster, as though they were
dreaming and wished to awaken but could not, by unseen powers. Life is
a nightmare. In Grimm's tale the wicked princess had her head chopped
off; but the fairy-tale was a dream dreamt in the infancy of the soul;
now the soul is awakening to the consciousness of its destiny; and we
are beginning to feel that there is no retribution and no reward, that
there is only Fate. And it is the young and the happy and the good and
pure that Fate takes first, simply because they are not so passive as
the unhappy and the wicked.[8]

Given the intentions of the dramatist, one should not ask for
characterisation in the accepted sense. Characters!--Maeterlinck himself
told Huret that his intention was to write "a play in Shakespeare's
manner for a marionette theatre." That is to say, the real actors are
behind the scenes, the forces that move the marionettes. In a Punch and
Judy show, of course, you can guess at the character of the showman by
the voice he imputes to the dolls; but when the showman is Death, or
Fate, or God, or something for which we have no name, there is no
possibility of characterisation--we can only judge by what the showman
makes the dolls do whether he is a good or an evil being. The fact that
Hjalmar is modelled on Hamlet, and Queen Anne on Queen Gertrude only
proves that the dramatist is not yet full master of his own powers; and,
if we look closely, we shall find that the unconscious puppets resemble
their living patterns only as shadows resemble the shapes that cast
them. We need not expect from characters that shadow forth states of
mind--feelings of helplessness, terror, uneasiness, "blank
misgivings..." sadness--the deliberate or headlong action we are
accustomed to in beings of flesh and blood. What action there seems to
be is illusory--if Maleine escapes from the tower, it is only to fall
deeper into the power of her evil destiny; if, by a move as though a
hand were put forth in the dark, a faint stirring of her passivity, she
wins back her lover, it is only to lose him and herself the more. We
shall see that Maeterlinck in some of his next dramas dispenses with
seen action altogether: in _The Intruder_, for instance, the only
action, the death of the mother, takes place behind the scenes; in _The
Interior_ the action, the daughter's suicide, has taken place when the
play opens.

There is, however, some rudimentary characterisation in _Princess
Maleine_. The doting old king is not an original creation; but the
drivelling of his terror-stricken conscience should be effective (as
melodrama) on the stage. "Look at their eyes!" he says, pointing to the
corpses which strew the stage, "they are going to leap on me like
frogs." And his longing for salad is probably immortal....



[1] Maeterlinck told Huret that he had been influenced by Schopenhauer
"qui arrive jusqu'à vous consoler de la mort."

[2] Figaro, 24th August, 1890.

[3] Pronounced in German like the French _Maleine_.

[4] Preface to _Théâtre_, p. 2.

[5] In Swedenborg's mysticism, the literal meanings of words are only
protecting veils which hide their inner meanings. See "Le Tragique
Quotidien" (in _Le Trésor des Humbles_) pp. 173-4. That Maeterlinck was
meditating the famous chapter on "Silence" in _The Treasure of the
Humble_ when he wrote _Princess Maleine_ may be inferred from Act ii.
sc. 6: "I want to see her at last in presence of the evening.... I want
to see if the night will make her think. May it not be that there is a
little silence in her heart?"

[6] Schlaf's _Maeterlinck_, p. 31.

[7] Suggested, perhaps, by the strangling of Little Snow-white in
Grimm's story.

[8] Preface to _Théâtre_, pp. 4-5.



CHAPTER V


According to the accepted dramatic canons, a play is a tragedy when
death allays the excitement aroused in us by the action, the whole
course of which moves onward to this inevitable end. In such tragedies
death is a relief from the stormy happenings which bring it; it is not
in itself represented as profoundly interesting--it is not an aim, but a
result, "it is our death that guides our life," says Maeterlinck, "and
life has no other aim than our death."[1] Not only the careers, crowded
with events, of the great, but also the simple, quiet lives of lowly
people are raised into high significance by this common bourne. Death is
not so much a catastrophe as a mystery. It casts its shadow over the
whole of our finite existence; and beyond it lies infinity.

Death, however, is only one of the mighty mysteries, the unknown powers,
"the presences which are not to be put by," which rule our destinies.
Love is another. To these two cosmic forces are devoted a series of
dramas which were in 1901-2 collected by Maeterlinck in three volumes
under the title of _Théâtre_. In the preface[2] to the collection
Maeterlinck has himself interpreted the plays with a clearness and
fullness which leaves the reader in no doubt as to his aims.

     "In these plays," he says, "faith is held in enormous powers,
     invisible and fatal. No one knows their intentions, but the spirit
     of the drama assumes they are malevolent, attentive to all our
     actions, hostile to smiles, to life, to peace, to happiness.
     Destinies which are innocent but involuntarily hostile are here
     joined, and parted to the ruin of all, under the saddened eyes of
     the wisest, who foresee the future but can change nothing in the
     cruel and inflexible games which Love and Death practise among the
     living. And Love and Death and the other powers here exercise a
     sort of sly injustice, the penalties of which--for this injustice
     awards no compensation--are perhaps nothing but the whims of
     fate....

     "This Unknown takes on, most frequently, the form of Death. The
     infinite presence of death, gloomy, hypocritically active, fills
     all the interstices of the poem. To the problem of existence no
     reply is made except by the riddle of its annihilation."

There is another thing to be remembered (this is a repetition, but it is
necessary) in reading Maeterlinck's early plays. Behind the scene which
he chooses with varying degrees of clearness, lies Plato's famous
image--the image of a cavern on whose walls enigmatic shadows are
reflected.[3] In this cavern man gropes about in exile, with his back to
the light he is seeking.

The mysterious coming of death is the theme of _The Intruder_, a play by
Maeterlinck which was published in 1890. It appeared as the first of two
plays in a volume called _Les Aveugles_ (The Sightless). This is the
name of the second play in the book; but the grandfather in _The
Intruder_ too is blind, and through both plays runs the idea that we are
blind beings groping in the dark (in Plato's cavern), and that those who
see least see most.

The subject of _The Intruder_ can be told in a few words. In a dark room
in an old castle are sitting the blind grandfather, the father, the
uncle, and the three daughters. In the adjoining room lies the mother
who has recently been confined. She has been at death's door; but at
last the doctors say the danger is over, and all but the grandfather are
confident. He thinks she is not doing well.... he has heard her voice.
They think he is querulous. The uncle is more anxious about the child:
he has scarcely stirred since he was born, he has not cried once, he is
like a wax baby. The sister is expected to arrive at any minute. The
eldest daughter watches for her from the window. It is moonlight, and
she can see the avenue as far as the grove of cypresses. She hears the
nightingales. A gentle breeze stirs in the avenue; the trees tremble a
little. The grandfather remarks that he can no longer hear the
nightingales, and the daughter is afraid someone has entered the garden.
She sees no one, but somebody must be passing near the pond, for the
swans are afraid, and all the fish dive suddenly. The dogs do not bark;
she can see the house-dog crouching at the back of his kennel. The
nightingales continue silent--there is a silence of death--it must be a
stranger frightening them, says the grandfather. The roses shed their
leaves. The grandfather feels cold; but the glass door on to the terrace
will not shut--the joiner is to come to-morrow, he will put it right.
Suddenly the sharpening of a scythe is heard outside--it must be the
gardener preparing to mow the grass. The lamp does not burn well. A
noise is heard as of someone entering the house, but no one comes up the
stairs. They ring for the servant. They hear her steps, and the
grandfather thinks she is not alone. The father opens the door; she
remains on the landing. She is alone. She says no one has entered the
house, but she has closed the door below, which she had found open. The
father tells her not to push the door to; she denies that she is doing
so. The grandfather, who, though he is blind, is conscious of light,
thinks they are putting the lamp out. He asks whether the servant, who
has gone downstairs, is in the room: it had seemed to him that she was
sitting at the table. He cannot believe that no one has entered. He asks
why they have put the light out. He is filled with an unendurable desire
to see his daughter, but they will not let him--she is sleeping. The
lamp goes out. They sit in the darkness. Midnight strikes, and at the
last stroke of the clock they seem to hear a noise as of someone rising
hastily. The grandfather maintains that someone has risen from, his
chair. Suddenly the child is heard crying, crying in terror. Hurried
steps are heard in the sick woman's chamber. The door of it is opened,
the light from it pours into the room, and on the threshold appears a
Sister of Charity, who makes the sign of the Cross to announce the
mother's death.

Already in _The Princess Maleine_ the miraculous happenings could all be
explained by natural causes. Still more so in _The Intruder_. It was not
the reaper Death who was sharpening his scythe, but the gardener. If the
lamp goes out, it is because there is no oil in it. Accompanying the
naturalness of the atmosphere (the atmosphere that is natural when a
patient is in danger of dying), there is the naturalness of the
dialogue. The family is worn out with anxious watching: how natural
then is the sleepy tone of the talking, which is only quickened somewhat
by the apparent irritability of the grandfather:

     THE FATHER: He is nearly eighty.

     THE UNCLE: No wonder he's eccentric.

     THE FATHER: He's like all blind people.

     THE UNCLE: They think too much.

     THE FATHER: They've too much time on their hands.

     THE UNCLE: They've nothing else to do.

     THE FATHER: It's their only way of passing the time.

     THE UNCLE: It must be terrible.

     THE FATHER: I suppose you get used to it.

     THE UNCLE: I dare say.

     THE FATHER: They are certainly to be pitied.

In this play, as also in _The Sightless_, and later on in _The Life of
the Bees_, Maeterlinck shows himself a master of irony. The passage just
quoted is an example.

To Maeterlinck, with reference to _The Intruder_, has been applied what
Victor Hugo said to Baudelaire after he had read _The Flowers of Evil_:
"You have created a new shudder." Certainly, the new _frisson_ is there;
but was it Maeterlinck who created it? It will be well to go into this
question; for Maeterlinck, in connection with _The Intruder_, has been
charged with plagiarism.

The Intruder first appeared in _La Wallonie_ for January, 1890. In the
same periodical for January, 1889, that is, exactly a year before, had
appeared _Les Flaireurs_, a drama in three acts by Maeterlinck's friend,
Charles van Lerberghe. It is dedicated "to the poet Maurice
Maeterlinck." The title is annotated: "Légende originale et drame en 3
actes pour le théâtre des fantoches." Here, to begin with, we have a
"drama for marionettes." Maeterlinck seems to have first used the word
"marionette" in connection with his plays when undergoing
cross-examination by Jules Huret, whose _Enquête_ was published in 1891:
when writing _Princess Maleine_, he said, he had wanted to write "a play
in Shakespeare's manner for marionettes." Maeterlinck and van Lerberghe
were seeing each other nearly every day at the time _Les Flaireurs_ was
being written; and there is nothing to show that they did not discuss
their theories of the drama; it is only certain that with regard to the
idea, superb irony, of a theatre for marionettes, the _published_
priority rests with van Lerberghe. Van Lerberghe, however, was charged
with having imitated Maeterlinck; and it was only when Maeterlinck
himself proclaimed the priority of _Les Flaireurs_[4] that the charge of
plagiarism was turned against him. Now the fact is that Maeterlinck, to
a certain extent, collaborated in _Les Flaireurs_.

The subject of the two plays is identical; both symbolise the coming of
death to a woman. But each is entirely independent. In _Les Flaireurs_
death is expected; in _The Intruder_ it is not expected. In van
Lerberghe's play resistance is offered to visible personifications of
death; in Maeterlinck's play resistance is impossible, because death is
invisible. The first play is full of brawling noise, and peasant slang,
and the action is violent: the second is only a succession of whispers
tearing the web of silence;[5] nothing visible happens, there is only
expectancy. In short, one play is for the senses; the other is for the
soul. The charge of plagiarism is absolutely unfounded: it is only a
case of friendly rivalry in the working out of an idea--the tale indeed
goes that the idea occurred to the two friends simultaneously. If it
really was a game of skill, it would be hard to say who was victor: each
play is a masterpiece.

The scene of _Les Flaireurs_ is laid in a very poor cottage. It is a
stormy night; the rain whips the windows, the wind howls, and a dog is
barking in the distance. The room is lit by two candles. Loud knocking
at the door. A girl jumps out of the bed with gestures of terror. She is
in her night-shirt; her fair hair is unbound. She asks: "Who is there?"
and "The Voice," after some beating about the bush, answers: "I'm the
man with the water." The voice of the mother, who thinks it is Jesus
Christ, is heard from the bed urging the daughter to let Him in. She
refuses, and the man answers that he will wait. Ten o'clock sounds, and
the daughter puts the two candles out. ACT II. Knocking at the door
again. The two candles are relit, and the daughter is seen standing
against the bed, at watch, with her face turned towards the door. A
voice is heard demanding admittance. "You said you would wait," says the
girl. "Why, I've only just come!" answers the voice. She asks who he is,
and he replies, "The man with the linen." The mother again urges her to
open the door--she thinks it is the Virgin Mary. The daughter is
obstinate, and the voice cries, "All right, I'll wait." ACT III. Louder
knocks, and a voice again. This time it is "The man with the ...
thingumbob." The mother still thinks it is the Virgin Mary. She bids her
daughter raise the curtain: and the shadow of the hearse is projected on
the wall. The mother asks what the shadow is; the daughter drops the
curtain. The voice now answers brutally: "I'm the man with the coffin,
that's what _I_ am." The neighing of horses is heard. The girl dashes
herself against the door, but it is beaten in. An arm is seen putting a
bucket into the room. Midnight strikes. The old woman utters a hoarse
cry; the daughter, who had been holding the door back, rushes to the
bed; the door falls with a mighty din, and extinguishes the two candles.

It will be seen that whereas in _The Intruder_ there is nothing which
cannot be explained by natural causes, the symbolism of _Les Flaireurs_
is untrue--death does _not_ come with bucket, linen, and coffin. Death
does _not_ break the door in. This only amounts to saying that
Maeterlinck's method is less romantic than that of his friend.
Maeterlinck's close realism, however, does give him certain
advantages--the helplessness of the grandfather, for instance, is far
more pathetic than the spectacle of the girl dashing herself against the
door, though it does not move us so directly.

_The Intruder_ was first acted in French at Paul Fort's Théâtre d'Art in
Paris, on the 20th May, 1891, at a historic performance of this and
other playlets for the benefit of Paul Verlaine and the painter, Paul
Gauguin.

In the second play of the 1890 volume, _The Sightless_, which was first
acted on the 7th December, 1891, at the Théâtre d'Art, we have again
the mystery of death; but the main theme would seem to be the mystery of
human life--"this earthly existence is conceived as a deep, impenetrable
night of ignorance and uncertainty."[6] The fable is this:

In a very ancient forest in the north, under a sky profoundly starred,
is sitting a very agèd priest, wrapped in an ample black cloak. He is
leaning his head and the upper part of his body against the bole of a
huge, cavernous oak. His motionless face has the lividity of wax; his
lips are violet and half open. His eyes seem bleeding under a multitude
of immemorial griefs and tears. His white hair falls in rigid and scanty
locks over a face more illumined and more weary than all that surrounds
him in the attentive silence of the desolate forest. His emaciated hands
are rigidly joined on his thighs. To the right of him six blind old men
are sitting on stones, stumps of trees, and dead leaves. To the left,
separated from them by an unrooted tree and split boulders, six women
who are likewise blind sit facing the old men. Three of these women are
praying and moaning uninterruptedly. A fourth is extremely old; the
fifth, in an attitude of speechless madness, holds a sleeping baby on
her knees. The sixth is young and radiantly beautiful, and her hair
floods her whole being. Most of them sit waiting, with their elbows on
their knees, and their faces in their hands. Great funereal trees, yews,
weeping willows, cypresses, cover them with faithful shadows. A cluster
of tall and sickly asphodel are in blossom near the priest. The darkness
is extraordinary, in spite of the moonlight which, here and there,
glints through the darkness of the foliage.

The blind people are waiting for their priest to return. He is getting
too old, the men murmur; they suspect that he has not been blest with
the Best of sight himself of late. They are sure he has lost his way and
is looking for it. They have walked a long time; they must be far from
the asylum. He only talks to the women now; they ask them where he has
gone to. The women do not know. He had told them he wanted to see the
island for the last time before the sunless winter. He was uneasy
because the storms had flooded the river, and because all the dikes
seemed ready to burst. He has gone in the direction of the sea, which is
so near that when they are silent they can hear it thudding on the
rocks. Where are they? None of them know. When did they come to the
island? They do not know, they were all blind when they came. They were
not born here, they came from beyond the sea. They hear the asylum clock
strike twelve; they do not know whether it is noon or midnight. They are
frightened at noises which they cannot understand. Suddenly the wind
rises in the forest, and the sea is heard bellowing against the cliffs.
The sea seems very near; they are afraid it will reach them. They are
about to rise and try to go away when they hear a noise of hasty feet in
the dead leaves. It is the dog of the asylum. It puts its muzzle on the
knees of one of the blind men. Feeling it pull, he rises, and it leads
him to the motionless priest. He touches the priest's cold face ... and
they know that their guide is dead. The dog will not move away from the
corpse. A squall whirls the dead leaves round. It begins to snow. They
think they hear footsteps ... The footsteps seem to stop in their
midst....

_The Sightless_ is a notable example of clear symbolism. The dead priest
is religion. Religion is dead now in the midst of us; and we are without
a guide and groping in the dark. "There is something which moves above
our heads, but we cannot reach it." We are prisoners in a little finite
space washed round by the Ocean of Infinity, whose mighty waters we can
hear in our calm seasons. Above the dense forest somewhere rises a
lighthouse (Wisdom). We have strayed from the asylum (that goodness
which religion instilled in us when it was alive). The baby alone can
see; but it cannot speak yet (the future will reveal).

The virtues and failings of humanity are hinted at with gentle irony.
One blind man, when he goes out in the sunshine, suspects the great
radiances; another prefers to stay near the good coal fire in the
refectory.... The oldest blind woman dreams sometimes that she sees; the
oldest blind man only sees when he dreams.... The young beauty smells
the scent of flowers around them (the promptings of sense guide us; and
the beautiful are the sensuous); one who was born blind only smells the
scent of the earth (Philistines).... Heaven is mentioned, and all raise
their heads towards the sky, except the three who were born blind--they
keep their faces bent earthwards....

Lessing thought no man could write a good tragedy till he was thirty.
Here are two written by a man of twenty-eight.


[1] "Les Avertis" (in _Le Trésor des Humbles_), p. 53.

[2] Cf. also "L'Evolution du Mystère" (in _Le Temple Enseveli_) Chapters
V., XXI., and XXII.

[3] See Chapter XXVIII. of _L'Intelligence des Fleurs_.

[4] In a letter inserted in the programme when _Les Flaireurs_ was
staged by Paul Fort at the Théâtre d'Art (after _The Intruder_ had gone
over the same boards). This statement of Maeterlinck's is a noble
defence of his friend, and, as such, not to be trusted.

[5] But Death, in _The Intruder_, is understood to have made some noise
while coming upstairs.

[6] Is. van Dijk, _Maurice Maeterlinck_, pp. 81-82.



CHAPTER VI


Few men entirely outgrow the influences of their education: the mind is
made by what it is fed on while it is growing just as much as the body
is. Carlyle was always more or less of a Scotch preacher threatening the
world with hell. Gerhart Hauptmann (who, by the way, was born in the
same year as Maeterlinck) never got over his Moravian upbringing.
Maeterlinck came to hate the Jesuits; but his monastic training lingered
in his love of the mystics. Mysticism is in any case a Flemish _trait_;
and it is one of the outstanding features of Flemish literature as it is
of Flemish painting. It is not astonishing, then, that Maeterlinck
should have felt drawn to the most famous of Flemish mystics. He
published, in 1891, _L'Ornement des Noces spirituelles_, a translation,
illuminated by a preface, of Jan van Ruysbroeck's _Die Chierheit der
gheesteleker Brulocht_. The "doctor ecstaticus" was born in 1274 at the
little village of Ruysbroeck, near Brussels. He was a curate in the
Church of Sainte Gudule in Brussels; but in his old days he with
several friends founded the Monastery of Groenendal (Green Dale) in the
Forêt de Soignes, two miles from Brussels. The fame of his piety
attracted many pilgrims to his retreat, among others the German mystic,
Johannes Tauler, and the Dutch scholar who founded the Brotherhood of
the Common Life, Geert Groote. He died in 1381. His contemporaries
called him "the Admirable."

Maeterlinck warns us in his preface to _The Ornamentation of the
Nuptials of the Spirit_, the subject of which is the _unio mystica_, the
mystic union of the soul with God, that we must not expect a literary
work; "you will perceive nothing," he says, "save the convulsive flight
of a drunken eagle, blind and bleeding, over snowy summits." He only
made the translation for the benefit of a few Platonists. But, apart
from the translation itself, the preface is of value as showing how
deeply read in the mystics Maeterlinck already was at this time, and the
importance he attached to their teaching. "All certainty is in them
alone," he says, paradoxically. Their ecstasies are only the beginning
of the complete discovery of ourselves; their writings are the purest
diamonds in the prodigious treasure of humanity; and their thoughts have
the immunity of Swedenborg's angels who advance continually towards the
springtide of their youth, so that the oldest angels seem the youngest.
Embedded in the preface are gems from Ruysbroeck's other writings. Here
is one of them:

     "And they (the doves) will tarry near the rivers and over the clear
     waters, so that if any bird should come from on high, which might
     seize or injure them, they may know it by its image in the water,
     and avoid it. This clear water is Holy Writ, the life of the
     Saints, and the mercy of God. We will look upon our image therein
     whenever we are tempted; and in this way none shall have power to
     harm us. These doves have an ardent disposition, and young doves
     are often born of them, for every time that to the honour of God
     and our own beatitude we consider sin with hatred and scorn, we
     bring young doves into the world, that is to say new virtues."

The translation of the mystic was followed, in 1891, by a playlet in one
act, _Les Sept Princesses_ (The Seven Princesses). It is "the angel"
among Maeterlinck's productions, a weakling which no fostering can save.
Few critics have a good word for it. "A girl's unpleasant dream,"
interprets Mieszner. "An indecipherable enigma," says Adolphe Brisson.
"The piece is something _seen_, purely pictorial," says Anselma Heine,
"a transposition of paintings by Burne-Jones." "Can only claim the rank
of an intermezzo," says Monty Jacobs, "an unfinished sketch." "We must
not seek a literal signification," says Beaunier, "its signification is
in its very strangeness." "Perhaps the weakest thing in Maeterlinck,"
says Oppeln von Bronikowski, "a sketch, or a testing of mystico-symbolic
apparatus." "_Passons_," says Adolphe van Bever. The Princesses have,
however, found a friend in a Dutch critic, Dr Is. van Dijk, whose book
on Maeterlinck is suggestive. His analysis and interpretation of the
play runs somewhat as follows:

     "In a spacious marble hall, decorated with laurel bushes, lavender
     plants, and lilies in porcelain vases, is a white marble staircase
     with seven steps, on which seven white-robed princesses are lying,
     one on each step, sleeping on cushions of pale silk. Fearing lest
     they should awaken in the dark, they have lit a silver lamp, which
     casts its light over them. The lovely princesses sleep on and on;
     they must not be wakened, they are so weak! It is their weakness
     that has sent them to sleep. They have been so listless and weary
     since they came here; it is so cold and dreamy in this Castle in
     the North. They came hither from warm lands; and here they are
     always watching for the sun, but there is hardly any sun, and no
     sweet heaven over this level waste of fens, over these green ponds
     black with the shadows of forests of oaks and pines, over this
     willow-hung canal that runs to the rounded grey of the horizon. It
     is home-sickness that has sunk them in sleep. They sleep forlorn.
     Everything around them is so very old. Their life is so dreary with
     their long, long waiting; they are aweary, aweary.... They are
     waiting for the comrade of their youth; always they are looking for
     his ship on the canal between the willows; but, 'He cometh not,'
     they say. Now at last he is come while they are sleeping, and they
     have bolted the door from the inside. They cannot be wakened. With
     sick longing the Prince gazes at the seven through the thick
     window-panes. His eyes rest longest on the loveliest, Ursula, with
     whom he had loved best to play when he was a boy. Seven years she
     has looked for his coming, seven years, by day and by night. He
     sees them lying with linked hands, as though they were afraid of
     losing each other.... And yet they must have moved in their sleep,
     for the two sisters on the steps above and below Ursula have let go
     her hand; she is holding her hands so strangely.... At last the
     Prince makes his way into the room by an underground passage, past
     the tombs of the dead. The noise of his entrance awakens six of the
     Princesses, but not Ursula. The six cry: 'The Prince has come!' But
     she lies motionless, stiff.... She has died of her long, long
     waiting, of the deep, unfulfilled longing of her soul...."

Dr van Dijk is indignant at the criticism of René Doumic, who, in an
article on Maeterlinck, dismisses _Les Sept Princesses_ with these few
words: "As for _The Seven Princesses_, the devout themselves confess
they can find no appreciable sense in the play. All that I can say of
it, now that I have read it, is that it is a thin volume published in
Brussels, by Lacomblez."[1] "Let me have this French critic in my
tuition six months," continues Dr van Dijk. "My curriculum would then be
as follows: The first month he should learn by heart, in Greek and
French, Plato's myth concerning _The Chariot of the Soul_, with the
obligation of course to ponder on it. The following month he should
learn by heart, in Greek and French, Plato's myth of _The Cave_, with
the obligation of course to ponder on it. Then he should impress the
well-known fable of _Amor and Psyche_ on his mind, so as to accustom
himself to the atmosphere of fables. Then he should ponder for a month
on the sovereign freedom of a poet to remould a fable wholly or in part.
Another month he should spend in reflecting over the fact that in order
to understand a whole one does not need to know all the parts. And the
last month he should be left to himself to try and find whether there
was anything in his own soul which in any way could be said to resemble
unfulfilled longing."

Another plausible interpretation is that of another Dutch critic, G.
Hulsman, in his _Karakters en Ideeën_. He quotes the following poem from
Paul Bourget's _Espoir d'aimer_:

    "Notre âme est le palais des légendes, où dort
       Une jeune princesse en robe nuptiale,
     Immobile et si calme!... On dirait que la Mort
       A touché son visage pâle.

     Elle dort, elle rêve et soupire en rêvant;
       Une larme a roulé lentement sur sa joue.
     Elle se rêve errante en barque au gré du vent
       Sur l'Océan, qui gronde et joue.

    "Elle ne le voit pas, le beau Prince Charmant
       Qui chevauche, parmi les plaines éloignées
     Et s'en vient éveiller sa belle au bois dormant
       De son sommeil de cent années"--

and continues:

     "Our heart is this palace, and in this palace lies our soul, a
     beautiful sleeper. It sleeps, and dreams, and waits for the coming
     of the ideal hero, who shall awaken it out of its slumber and
     cherish it with the warmth of his love. And these seven princesses
     are the different qualities of the human soul."

Hulsman thinks that Maeterlinck must have thought of the Buddhistic
idea, according to which the human soul consists of: the breath of God,
the word, the thought, Psyche, the power of living, appearance, and the
body.

     "Ursula, the middle sister, is Psyche, that is, the real self, the
     deepest, the essential in our being. This real self is unconscious
     and unknowable. Let the ideal come, no ideal can unveil the
     deepest. It is dead to us."

Maeterlinck's imagination has been compared "to a lake with desolate and
stagnant waters, unceasingly reflecting the same black landscapes, on
whose banks the same suffering personages for ever come to sit." The
same old castle, the same subterranean caverns, the same dark forests,
another old tower, are the scenes of _Pelléas et Mélisande_ (Pelleas and
Melisanda) which was published at Brussels in 1892, and performed at
the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens in Paris on the 16th May, 1893. The
scene is the same; but there is a difference between this play and those
which preceded it--here for the first time we have characters almost of
flesh and blood; "the asphodelic shadows and marionettes begin to colour
themselves with blood-warm humanity."[2] We have personages who
represent the same ideas as those of the previous plays--Melisanda is
again the soul--but here the puppets are moved by Love, not Death. In
_Princess Maleine_ love is one of the means by which Fate moves the
puppets to death; in Pelleas and Melisanda death is the bourne to which
Love drives his sheep. The sheep do not know whither they are being
driven; when they come to cross-roads they do not know which to take;
but they do feel, dimly, that they are not on the road to the fold.
Hence the tragedy of their emotions; and it is the state of the soul
filled with love, as tragic and as mystical a consciousness or
subconsciousness as that of the soul in the clutch of fate or in the
shadow of death, that Maeterlinck projects into _Pelleas and Melisanda_
as into _Alladine and Palomides_ and _Aglavaine and Selysette_.

We have nothing to do here with morality or the laws which regulate
marriage. The soul knows nothing of such things; is unconscious even of
the sins of the body.[3] The soul is subject only to such laws as are
inherent in itself: "the secret laws of antipathy or of sympathy,
elective or instinctive affinities."[4] The soul, remembering the fair
sunny clime from which it came, pining in the cold air of the
marshlands, groping about helplessly in the dark, always meeting closed
doors, always gazing through glass at the unattainable, is an eternal
searcher for the light; and if it meets a comrade who has the key to the
closed door of its happiness, or who holds the lamp to light its path,
it will follow the gleam blindly. It must do, for that is the law of its
being. The tragedy lies in this: that it follows the gleam blindly, and
the gleam leads it--at all events at present, because alien souls come
athwart the path it is following--into the abyss of night.

Civic laws were made to fetter the body; but the soul has no
consciousness of the body, of the senses, and cannot therefore be
fettered by civic laws. So long as you hold that love is a function of
the soul, and not of the senses, you cannot call Francesca da Rimini or
Melisanda faithless wives. In your philosophy they are not on the road
to adultery, but to the happiness for which their soul cries out, and to
which it has inalienable right.

The story of _Pelleas and Melisanda_ is as old as love: it is the story
of Francesca da Rimini; it is Sudermann's _Geschichte der stillen
Mühle_. Golaud,[5] a prince of blood and iron, whose hair and beard are
turning grey, losing his way while hunting in a forest, comes upon a
lovely being whose dress, though torn by brambles, is princely. She is
weeping by the side of a spring, into which her crown (the symbol of her
royal birth; all souls are royal) has fallen. Somebody has hurt
her--who? All of them, all of them. She has fled away, she is lost ...
she was born far away. Golaud marries her, and takes her to the Castle,
where his grandfather, King Arkel, holds rule over a famine-stricken
land by a desolate sea. Here dwells also Pelleas, his young brother.

Pelleas is very anxious to depart on a long journey to see a friend who
is dying. If he had done so, the tragedy might have been, if not
prevented, at all events retarded. But his father is lying dangerously
ill in the Castle (the only use for this father in the economy of the
play is to be ill); filial duty chains him there. This is in the nature
of an accident; and by the canons of dramaturgy accidents must not
precipitate tragedy, but Maeterlinck's plays proudly ignore the canons
of dramaturgy. (Maeterlinck would say the accident was arranged by
Fate.) Pelleas and Melisanda meet on a high place overlooking the sea.
They watch a great ship--the ship that has brought Melisanda--sailing
across the strip of light cast by the lighthouse, sailing out into the
great open spaces where the soul is at home. A few words of common
speech tell us what perilous life is awakening in these two sister souls
that till now had not lived:

     PELLEAS: Let us descend here. Will you give me your hand?

     MELISANDA: You see I have my hands full of flowers and leaves....

     PELLEAS: I will hold you by the arm, the path is steep, and it is
     very dark here.... I am going away to-morrow perhaps....

     MELISANDA: O, why are you going away?

We find them again under an old lime-tree in the dense, discreet forest,
at the "Fountain of the Blind." (They are the blind.) Melisanda would
like to plunge her two hands into the water ... it seems to her that her
hands are ill. Her hair, which is longer than her body (what poetry
Maeterlinck has dreamed into hair and hands!) falls down, and touches
the water (a Burne-Jones). She tosses her wedding-ring into the air (as
the Princess at the fountain under the lime-tree in the dark forest near
the King's castle in _The Frog Prince_[6] tosses a golden ball), and
just as noon is striking it falls into the water. She had cast it too
high towards the sunlight.... We hear soon that at the twelfth stroke of
noon Golaud's horse, taking fright in the forest, had dashed against a
tree, and seriously injured its rider. While Melisanda is at her
husband's bedside, he notices that her ring is gone. She lies to him;
she has lost it in a cave, she says. Does she lie? Her union with Golaud
is an external bond; but her soul knows nothing of things external, her
soul is innocent of whatever her mouth may say to a man who is a
stranger to her soul. He sends her to the cave to look for the ring, in
the dark--with Pelleas. She is frightened by the noise of the cave--is
it the noise of the night or the noise of silence? Later on Pelleas
finds Melisanda combing her hair at the casement of a tower. She leans
over; he holds her hand; her golden hair falls down and inundates him
(another Burne-Jones):

     PELLEAS: O! O! what is this?... Your hair, your hair comes down to
     me!... All your hair, Melisanda, all your hair has fallen from the
     tower! I am holding it in my hands, I am touching it with my
     lips.... I am holding it in my arms, I am putting it round my
     neck.... I shall not open my hands again this night....

Doves (the doves of the body's chastity, perhaps) come out of the tower
and fly around them. Golaud surprises the pair, and tells them they are
children. What he suspects, however, we know from a scene in the caverns
under the Castle, when he is on the point of pushing his brother over a
ledge of rock into a stagnant pool that stinks of death. But his
jealousy has not yet grown sufficiently to force him to murder, and he
contents himself with warning Pelleas. There follows a scene which
brings the house down whenever the play is acted: Golaud questions his
little son by a former marriage as to how the pair behave when they are
alone; and lifts the little boy up so that he may peep in at the window
of the tower and tell him what they are doing in the room. Golaud in his
anguish digs his nails into the child's flesh, but he finds nothing to
justify his suspicions; nevertheless in a following scene he loses his
self-control, and, in the presence of his grandfather, ill-treats
Melisanda. In the meantime the father is declared to be out of danger
(Fate needs the father's recovery now to precipitate the tragedy);
Pelleas is free to go away, and he asks Melisanda for a last meeting, by
night, in the forest. She leaves her husband asleep, and the lovers meet
in the moonlight. "How great our shadows are this evening!" says
Melisanda. "They enlace each other to the back of the garden," replies
Pelleas. "O! how they kiss each other far from us." Here Melisanda sees
Golaud behind a tree, where their shadows end. They know they cannot
escape; they fall into each other's arms and exchange their first guilty
kiss. Golaud kills Pelleas, wounds Melisanda, and stabs himself. But
Melisanda, ere she dies (of a wound which would not kill a pigeon) gives
birth to a daughter, "a little girl that a beggar woman would be ashamed
to bring into the world." On her death-bed Golaud implores her to tell
him the truth--has she loved Pelleas with a guilty love? But she can
only whisper vague words.

The child-wife dies; and King Arkel, the wise old man of the play,
closes it by a few fatalistic sentences:

     "She was so tranquil, so timid, and so silent a little being....
     She was a mysterious little being like everybody else.... She lies
     there as though she were the big sister of her child.... Come away,
     come away.... My God! My God!... I shall not be able to understand
     anything any more.... Don't let us stay here.--Come away; the child
     must not stay in this room.... It must live now, in its turn....
     It's the poor little one's turn now...."


[1] _Les Jeunes_, p. 230.

[2] Johannes Schlaf's _Maeterlinck_, p. 32.

[3] See chapter "La Morale mystique" in _Le Trésor des Humbles_. This is
the doctrine for which quietism was condemned. I find the following
definition of the soul quoted in _La Wallonie_ for February to March,
1889; "Qu'est-ce donc que l'âme? Une _possibilité idéale_ qui réside en
nous comme la substance réelle de nous-mêmes, que les erreurs et les
tâches de la vie ne peuvent entamer, que ses découragements ne peuvent
abattre et qui les contemple avec sérénité dans l'extériorité réelle, et
séparés, pour ainsi dire de sa propre essence."--JOHNSON.

[4] "Le Réveil de L'Ame" (in _Le Trésor des Humbles_), p. 38.

[5] Perhaps a Gallicised form of Golo, the lover of Genoveva. The name
of Golaud's mother is Geneviève.

[6] M.G.M. Rodrigue, of _Le Thyrse_ tells me (and Grégoire Le Roy told
him) that Maeterlinck at the time he wrote his early dramas drew
inspiration from Walter Crane's picture-books. _The Frog Prince_ was one
of them. Perhaps Maeterlinck had Grimm's _Household Stories_, done into
pictures by Walter Crane (Macmillan, 1882).



CHAPTER VII


It is natural that an artist should wish to recreate something he has
attempted and not completed to his satisfaction, or which, when his mind
is more mature, he thinks he could do better. The three plays which
Maeterlinck published together in 1894 are such attempts at
reconstruction. _Alladine and Palomides_ is a love story which has much
in common with _Pelleas and Melisanda_: "both dramas are dominated by
the idea of the enigmatic in our deeds" (van Hamel), and in both the
love that is given is taken from its lawful owner. _Interior_ is clearly
a version of _The Intruder_. In _The Death of Tintagiles_ we have again,
but more concentrated, the physical anguish of _The Princess Maleine_.

The three plays had for their secondary title "trois petits drames pour
marionettes" (three little dramas for marionettes). But we have seen
that Maeterlinck had described his very first play as a drama for a
marionette theatre; and the three 1894 plays are not a whit less adapted
for the ordinary stage than those which preceded them. Perhaps in
deliberately ticketing his plays with this ironic label Maeterlinck
wished to indicate that they were unsuited for the garish light and the
artificial voices of the present-day tragedy style on the stage. It is
more probable, however, that he would not have dreamt of suggesting a
slight on his actor friends. The characters are described as
marionettes, it is likely, because the scene is spiritualised by
distance. We look down on the movements of the puppets as from a higher
world--we are richer by an idea than they are: we see what Player is
pulling the strings, the strings of which they are only half conscious.
Our position in all these plays is the same as that of the greybeard,
the stranger, the two girls, and the crowd in _The Interior_, and the
acting of the family in this play is an example of the "active silence"
which Maeterlinck in his essay, "Everyday Tragedy," was to suggest for
the theatre when the actor is become an automaton through which the soul
speaks more than words can say.

In _Alladine and Palomides_ there is more than one scene in which
silence is the principal speaker; so, for instance, when Alladine and
Palomides meet on the bridge over the castle moat, and the girl's pet
lamb escapes from her hands, slips, and rolls into the water:

     ALLADINE: What has he done? Where is he?

     PALOMIDES: He has slipped! He is struggling in the middle of the
     whirlpool. Don't look at him; there is nothing we can do....

     ALLADINE: You are going to save him?

     PALOMIDES: Save him? Why, look at him; he is already in the suck of
     the whirlpool. In another minute he will be under the vaults; and
     God himself will not see him again....

     ALLADINE: Go away! Go away!

     PALOMIDES: What is the matter?

     ALLADINE: Go away! I don't want to see you any more!...

     [_Enter_ ABLAMORE _precipitately; he seizes_ ALLADINE _and drags
     her away roughly without saying a word_.]

Perhaps such a scene as this, with its prattling as of children, would
be better in perfect than active silence, that is, as pantomime. (That
pantomime may fascinate a modern audience has been proved by Max
Reinhardt.) But to relate our story: Alladine's pet lamb, a symbol of
her peace of mind or maiden apathy, had been frightened by Palomides'
charger when the two first met. He had come to the castle (gloomy, etc.)
of King Ablamore, to wed the latter's daughter Astolaine. Here he finds
Alladine, who has come from Arcady.

Ablamore has been surnamed "The Wise";[1] he was wise because nothing
had happened to him, because hitherto he had lived

    "In apathy of life unrealised,
     And days to Lethe floating unenjoyed."

But now he stands on his turrets and summons the events which had
avoided him. They come--and they overpower him. It is love that brings
the events. "How beautiful she is," he says, bending over Alladine while
she is asleep. "I will kiss her without her knowing it, holding back my
poor white beard." He would fain make her his queen; but she returns the
love which Palomides, untrue to Astolaine, conceives for her. Astolaine
discovers the truth; but she, the first of Maeterlinck's strong,
emancipated women, feels no jealousy. Her behaviour is similar to that
of Selysette in a later play; but her character is identical with
Aglavaine's in that play: the rôles of the women in _Aglavaine and
Selysette_ are reversed. It is Aglavaine's beautiful soul for the sake
of which Méléandre is untrue to Selysette. Palomides recognises, when
his love turns from the woman to the child, "that there must be
something more incomprehensible than the beauty of the most beautiful
soul or the most beautiful face"; and something more powerful too, for
he cannot help obeying it. Palomides is quite aware that Astolaine is a
type superior to Alladine. He loves her even when he is faithless. "I
love you," he says to her, "more than her I love." (The situation is the
same in Grillparzer's _Sappho_: Phaon prefers Melitta, also a little
Greek slave, to the renowned and noble poetess.) "She has a soul,"
Palomides says of Astolaine, "that you can see round her, that takes you
in its arms as though you were a suffering child, and which, without
speaking, consoles you for everything...." This doctrine of the soul's
fluidity appears in the scene in which Astolaine tells her father that
she has ceased to love Palomides:

     ABLAMORE: Come hither, Astolaine. It is not so that you were
     accustomed to speak to your father. You are waiting there, on the
     threshold of a door that is hardly open, as though you were ready
     to run away; and with your hand on the key, as though you wished to
     close the secret of your heart on me for ever. You know well that I
     have not understood what you have just said, and that words have no
     meaning when souls are not within reach of each other. Come nearer,
     and speak no more. (ASTOLAINE _comes slowly nearer_.) There is a
     moment when souls touch and know everything without there being any
     need of moving the lips. Come nearer.... Our souls do not reach
     each other yet, and their ray[2] is so dim around us!...
     (ASTOLAINE _holds still_.) You dare not?--You know then how far one
     can go? Very well then, I will come to you.... (_With slow steps he
     comes near_ ASTOLAINE, _then stops, and looks at her long_.) I see
     you, Astolaine....

     ASTOLAINE: My father!... (_She sobs and embraces the old man_.)

     ABLAMORE: You see that it was useless ...

Palomides promises Alladine that he will take her away from this cold
clime where the sky is like the vault of a cave to a land where Heaven
is sweet, where the trees are not a wilderness of boughs blackening the
steep hill-sides like carrion ribs, but a wind-waved sea of rustling
shade.... They are both poor little wandering souls aweary in exile.
While they are preparing their flight, the events Ablamore has summoned
drive him mad; and now, with golden keys in his hand (gold glinting
against white walls, no doubt, another Pre-Raphaelite picture), he

    "Wanders along the marble corridors
     That interlace their soundless floors around
     And to the centre of his royal home,"

singing a dirge with a refrain which is Maeterlinck's best lyric line:
_Allez où vos yeux vous mènent_. He thwarts the lovers' plans by
shutting them up, blindfolded and pinioned, in the vast caverns under
the castle. "These caverns," comments Mieszner, "are the place we all
dream in, the place where our longing for the light leads us astray into
strange, contradictory deeds." The symbolism of the play is concentrated
in these scenes below the ground: the thought that life is sublimated in
moments of enchantment which pitiless light soon dispels. The prisoners
break their bonds. When their eyes get used to the light, it seems to
them that they are in a great blue hall, whose vault, drunken with
jewels, is held aloft by pillars wreathed by innumerable roses. They see
below them a lake so blue that the sky might have flowed thither.... It
is full of strange and stirless flowers.... They think they are
embracing in the vestibules of Heaven.... But suddenly they hear the din
of iron ringing on the rock above them.... Stones fall from the roof;
and as the light pours in through the opening, "it reveals to them
little by little the wretchedness of the cave they had deemed wonderful;
the miraculous lake grows dull and sinister; the jewels lose their
light; and the glowing roses are seen to be the stains of rubbish
phosphorescent with decay."

Ablamore has fled raving into the land; and the good Astolaine (this
woman of Maeterlinck we love) has come to rescue the forsaken lovers.
She comes too late--they have been poisoned by the deadly reek of the
unreal in the caverns they dreamed in; and they die moaning piteously to
each other across the corridor that parts their beds:

     ALLADINE'S VOICE: They were not jewels....

     PALOMIDES' VOICE: And the flowers were not real....

The passion of love may break the bonds of custom, and for a swift space
the world may seem lit by a magic light; but the awakening comes, and
the poison works, and in the cold wretchedness of reality even love will
die. Love (sensual love) is a short dream of fair things that fade....

_Interior_, which was performed at the Théâtre de l'Œuvre in March,
1895, is better than _The Intruder_ in so far as the coming of death is
not indicated by suspicious signs (which turn out to be from natural
causes) and dim forebodings (which might possibly be the drivelling of
old age). Here everything is taken absolutely from life. _Interior_,
too, shows a great mastery of "active silence": some of the scenes in
_Alladine and Palomides_ approach pantomime; in _Interior_ we have
actual pantomime--the family whom the tragedy befalls are seen sitting
in the lamplit room of their house, mute characters, and the spectators,
together with the speaking characters, see them, through the three
windows, resting from their day's toil. There are three daughters in the
family, as in _The Intruder_; but one of them has drowned herself.

     "She was perhaps one of those who won't say anything, and everybody
     has in his mind more than one; reason for ending his life.... You
     can't see into the soul as you see into that room. They are all the
     same.... They only say the usual things; and nobody suspects
     anything.... They look like dolls that don't move, and such a lot
     of things are happening in their souls.... They don't know
     themselves what they are.... No doubt she lived as the others
     live.... No doubt she went on saying to the day of her death: 'It's
     going to rain to-day'; or, it may be: 'The fruit isn't ripe yet.'
     They talk with a smile of flowers that have withered, and in the
     dark they cry...."

"The Stranger" has waded into the river, and brought the body to the
shore; and now he, with "The Greybeard," a friend of the family, is in
the old garden planted with willows. The Greybeard is to tell the bad
news before the crowd arrives with the corpse. But while he looks at the
peaceful idyll in the lamplight--the mother with the baby sleeping on
her left shoulder, not moving lest it should awake, the sisters
embroidering, the father by the fire--his courage sinks, and it is only
when the crowd with the body arrive that he enters the house. We see the
father rising to greet the visitor, and one of the girls offering him a
chair. By his gestures we know he is speaking. Suddenly the mother
starts and rises. She questions the Greybeard. The whole family rush out
at the door. The room is left empty, except for the baby, which sleeps
on in the arm-chair where the mother has put it down.

_Interior_ needs no interpretation. It is one of the simplest, as it is
one of the most terrible, masterpieces in all literature. Some critics
consider it the best thing Maeterlinck has written.

In _The Death of Tintagiles_ the tragedy takes place behind a closed
door. ("Victor Hugo said that nothing is more interesting than a wall
behind which something is happening," Jules Lemaître reminds us.[3]
"This tragic wall is in all M. Maeterlinck's poems," he continues; "and
when it is not a wall, it is a door; and when it is not a door, it is a
window veiled with curtains.") Behind the closed door, in an enormous
tower which still withstands the ravages of time when the rest of the
castle is crumbling to pieces, dwells the Queen (Death). The castle is
stifled by poplars. It is sunk deep down in a girdle of darkness. They
might have built it on the top of the mountains that take all the air
from it.... One might have breathed there, and seen the sea all round
the island. The Queen never comes down from her tower, and all the doors
of it are closed night and day. But she has servants who move with
noiseless feet. The Queen has a power that none can fathom; "and we live
here with a great pitiless weight on our soul." "She is there on our
soul like a tombstone, and none dares stretch out his arm." Ygraine
explains this to her little brother Tintagiles, whom the Queen has sent
for from over the sea. There is some talk of the boy's golden crown, as
there was of Melisanda's; every soul is royal, and comes from far away,
you remember. Bellangère, the boy's other sister, has heard the Queen's
servants whispering. They know that the Queen has sent for the boy to
kill him. The only friend the two sisters and the boy have is Aglovale,
a greybeard, who, like Arkel, has long since renounced the vanity of
resisting fate and having a will of his own. "All is useless," he says;
but now he is willing to defend the boy, since they hope. He sits down
on the threshold with his sword across his knees. The Queen's servants
come with stealthy feet, and Aglovale's sword snaps when he tries to
prevent them from opening the door. But this time the servants, meeting
resistance, withdraw, only to return when Aglovale and the sisters are
asleep. Tintagiles is sleeping too, between the sisters, with his arms
round their necks; and their arms are round him. His hands are plunged
deep into their hair; he holds a golden curl tight between his teeth.
The servants cut the sisters' hair, and remove the boy, still sleeping,
with his little hands full of golden curls. At the end of the corridor
he screams; Ygraine awakes, and rushes in pursuit. Bellangère falls in a
dead faint on the threshold. The fifth act is a picture of unendurable
anguish. "A great iron door under very dark vaults." Ygraine enters with
a lamp in her hand. Faint knocking is heard on the other side of the
door; then the voice of Tintagiles. Ygraine scratches her finger-nails
out on the iron door, and smashes her lamp on it. The boy cries out that
hands are at his throat. "The fall of a little body is heard behind the
iron door." Ygraine implores, curses, sinks down exhausted.

It is probably wrong to look on _The Death of Tintagiles_ as,
principally, a picture of physical anguish. That would be dramatic, and
therefore, in Maeterlinck's idea at the time he wrote the play, vulgar.
The play is rather based, like _The Sightless_, on the sensations of
fear we have when we awaken from the poisoned apathy, which is the
safeguard of the peace of mind of most people, in the stifling air of
the Valley of the Shadow of Death. (The Queen's Tower overshadows all
the rest of the castle.) Everything is plunged in darkness here....
Only the Queen's Tower is lit.... We know, but we do not understand....

     TINTAGILES: What do you know, sister Ygraine?

     YGRAINE: Very little, my child.... My sister and I, since we were
     born, have trailed our existence here without daring to understand
     anything of all that happens.... I have lived for a very long time
     like a blind woman in this island; and everything seemed natural to
     me.... I saw no other events here except a bird that was flying, a
     leaf that was trembling, a rose that was opening.... Such a silence
     reigned here that a ripe fruit falling in the park called faces to
     the windows.... And nobody seemed to have any suspicions ... but
     one night I found out that there must be something else.... I
     wanted to run away and I couldn't....

We cannot flee from our exile; and "we have got to live while we wait
for the unexpected," as Aglovale says.


[1] Ablamore was not really wise, according to the theories propounded
in _Wisdom and Destiny_. A wise man is one who knows himself; but he is
not wise if he does not know himself in the future as well as in the
present and in the past. He knows a part of his future because he is
himself already a part of this future; and, since the events which will
happen to him will become assimilated to his own nature, he knows what
these events will become (Chapter VIII).

[2] Cf. in Strindberg's _Legends_, "The soul's irradiation and
dilatability": "The secret of a great actor lies in his inborn capacity
to let his soul ray out, and thereby enter into touch with his audience.
In great moments there is actually a radiance round a speaker who is
full of soul, and his face irradiates a light which is visible even to
those who do not believe." The idea is more or less of a commonplace.

[3] _Impressions de Théâtre_, huitième série, p. 153.



CHAPTER VIII


In 1895 Maeterlinck published _Annabella_, a translation of John Ford's
_'Tis Pity She's a Whore_. It had been acted at the Théâtre de
l'Œuvre on the 6th of November, 1894. The published play is preceded
by some entertaining gossip concerning Webster (whose _Duchess of Malfi_
Georges Eekhoud translated) and Cyril Tourneur, "les deux princes noirs
de l'horreur ... les deux tragiques mercuriels, compacts comme la
houille et infernalement vénéneux, dont le premier surtout a semé à
pleines mains des fleurs miraculeuses dans les poisons et les ténèbres";
concerning also "Jhon Fletcher" and "Jonson, le pachydermique, l'entêté
et puissant Ben Jonson, qui appartient à la famille de ces grands
monstres littéraires où rayonnent Diderot, Jean Paul et l'autre Jhonson,
le Jhonson de Boswel." Interesting, too, is the way Maeterlinck reads
his own theories into the Elizabethans. Ford, he finds, was a master of
"interior dialogue":

     "Ford is profoundly discreet. Annabella, Calantha, Bianca, Penthea
     do not cry out; and they speak very little. In the most tragical
     moments, in those most charged with misery, they say two or three
     very simple words; and it is, as it were, a thin coating of ice on
     which we can rest an instant to see what there is in the abyss."

There are some quaint passages inspired by mysticism; as this, with
reference to the "great cyclone of poetry which burst over London
towards the end of the sixteenth century":

     "You seem to be in the very midst of the human soul's miraculous
     springtime. These were really days of marvellous promise. You would
     have said that humanity was about to become something else.
     Moreover, we do not know what influence these great poetic
     phenomena have exercised on our life; and I have forgotten what
     sage it was who said that if Plato or Swedenborg had not existed,
     the soul of this peasant who is passing along the road and who has
     never read anything would not be what it is to-day. Everything in
     the spiritual regions is connected more closely than people
     believe; and just as there is no malady which does not oppress all
     humanity and does not invisibly affect the healthiest man, so the
     most undeniable genius has not one thought which does not modify
     something in the inmost soul of the most hopeless idiot in the
     asylum."

It is in this style that Maeterlinck discusses mysticism in the
introduction to _Les Disciples à Saïs et les Fragments de Novalis_ (The
Disciples at Saïs and the Fragments of Novalis), published also in
1895.

     "All that one can say," he discourses, "is nothing in itself. Place
     in one side of a pair of scales all the words of the greatest
     sages, and in the other side the unconscious wisdom of this child
     who is passing, and you will see that what Plato, Marcus Aurelius,
     Schopenhauer, and Pascal have revealed to us will not lift the
     great treasures of unconsciousness by one ounce, for the child that
     is silent is a thousand times wiser than Marcus Aurelius
     speaking."[1]

Some of the things he says here prepare the way for his dramatic
theories:

     "Open the deepest of ordinary moralists or psychologists, he will
     speak to you of love, of hate, of pride, and of the other passions
     of our heart; and these things may please us an instant, like
     flowers taken from their stalk. But our real and invariable life
     takes place a thousand leagues away from love and a hundred
     thousand leagues away from pride. We possess an _I_ which is deeper
     and more inexhaustible than the _I_ of passions or of pure reason.
     It is not a matter of telling us what we feel when the woman we
     love abandons us. She goes away to-day; our eyes weep, but our soul
     does not weep. It may be that our soul hears of the event and
     transforms it into light, for everything that falls into the soul
     irradiates. It may be too that our soul knows not of it; and if
     that be so what use is it to speak of it? We must leave these petty
     things to those who do not feel that life is deep....

       *       *       *       *       *

     "I may commit a crime without the least breath inclining the
     smallest flame of this fire" (the great central fire of our being);
     "and, on the other hand, one look exchanged, one thought which
     cannot unfold, one minute which passes without saying anything, may
     stir it up in terrible whirlpools at the bottom of its retreats and
     cause it to overflow on to my life. Our soul does not judge as we
     do; it is a capricious, hidden thing. It may be reached by a breath
     and it may be unaware of a tempest. We must seek what reaches it;
     everything is there, for it is there that we are."

Maeterlinck has striking things to say concerning the German
romanticist. "He is the clock," he says, "that has marked several of the
most subtle hours of the human soul." In the following passage he shows
him to be a forerunner of the symbolists,[2] one of whose chief
doctrines is that things are bound together by mysterious
correspondences:

     "Perhaps he is the man who has most deeply penetrated the intimate
     and mystical nature and the secret unity of the universe.... 'He
     sees nothing isolated,' and he is above all the amazed teacher of
     the mysterious relations there are among all things. He is for ever
     groping at the limits of this world, where the sun shines but
     rarely, and, on every hand, he suspects and touches strange
     coincidences and astonishing analogies, obscure, trembling,
     fugitive, and shy, that fade before they are understood."

The fragmentary style of Novalis, though it provided Maeterlinck with
ideas, did not influence his prose as much as that of Emerson did. He
had written a preface for I. Will's translation of seven of Emerson's
essays which Paul Lacomblez brought out in Brussels in 1894. This
preface and the introductions to Ruysbroeck and Novalis are reprinted in
abridged form in _Le Trésor des Humbles_ (_The Treasure of the Humble_),
which the _Mercure de France_ issued in 1896. These essays are clearly
modelled on Emerson's. He calls Emerson "the good morning shepherd of
the pale green pastures of a new optimism." He came for many of us,
Maeterlinck thinks, just at the right time. This points forward already
to _Wisdom and Destiny_. The heroic hours which Carlyle glorified are
less apparent than they were:

     "All that remains to us is our everyday existence, and yet we
     cannot live without greatness.... You must live; all you who are
     crossing days and years without actions, without thoughts, without
     light, because your life after all is incomprehensible and
     divine.... You must live because there are no hours without the
     deepest miracles and the most unspeakable meanings.... Emerson came
     to affirm the secret grandeur which is the same in every man's
     life. He has surrounded us with silence and with admiration. He
     has set a ray of light under the feet of the artisan coming from
     the workshop.... He is the sage of ordinary days, and ordinary days
     make up the substance of our being...."

Emerson's gospel of everyday life harmonises admirably with the theory
of the tragic advanced in another essay of the book, "_Le Tragique
Quotidien_" ("Everyday Tragedy").

     "Is it really dangerous to assert," asks the essayist, "that the
     veritable tragedy of life ... only begins the moment what are
     called adventures, griefs, and dangers are passed?... Are there not
     other moments when one hears more permanent and purer voices?...
     Nearly all our writers of tragedies only perceive the life of olden
     time; and one may assert that our whole theatre is an
     anachronism.... I admire Othello, but he does not seem to me to
     live the august, everyday life of a Hamlet, who has the time to
     live because he does not act. Othello is admirably jealous. But may
     it not be an ancient error to think that it is at the moments when
     we are possessed by such a passion, or by others of equal violence,
     that we really live? I have come to think that an old man sitting
     in his arm-chair, simply waiting in the lamplight, listening
     without knowing it to all the eternal laws which reign around his
     house, interpreting, without understanding it, all that there is in
     the silence of the doors and the windows and in the low voice of
     the light, undergoing the presence of his soul and of his destiny,
     inclining his head a little, without suspecting that all the powers
     of this world intervene and hold watch in the room like attentive
     servants, not knowing that the sun itself sustains the little table
     on which he leans his elbows over the abyss, and that there is not
     one star of the sky nor one power of the soul which is indifferent
     to the movement of an eyelid that falls down or of a thought that
     rises--I have come to think that this motionless old man is living,
     in reality, with a deeper, more human, and more general life than
     the lover who strangles his mistress, the captain who wins a
     victory, or 'the husband avenging his honour.'"

This eloquent passage has made many critics shake their heads. "Put a
vivisectional rabbit in the arm-chair," says one, "and all that is said
still holds good."

It is in Emerson's "spiritual brother," Carlyle, that Maeterlinck finds
his mainstay in the opening essay of the book, that on "Silence." This
chapter is perhaps the most famous of his essays; and it must be
understood if much in Maeterlinck's other work is not to remain obscure.
He distinguishes between active silence and passive silence. The latter
is only the reflex of sleep, death, or non-existence:

     "It is silence sleeping; and while it is sleeping, it is less
     redoubtable even than speech; but an unexpected circumstance may
     awaken it of a sudden, and then its brother, the great active
     silence, seats itself on the throne. Be on your guard. Two souls
     are going to reach each other...."

What practical value such theories may have is seen from the dramas for
marionettes, in which something never before attempted has been done.
Maeterlinck has indeed used silence to make the soul speak. But it may
be questioned whether it is a doctrine solid enough to build with. It
might, logically, lead to Max Reinhardt's wordless plays; but the
latter, so far as they have yet been produced, have rather the reverse
effect to that which Maeterlinck aimed at--Reinhardt spreads a feast for
the eyes, and the silence of his pantomimes is only to enhance the
spectacular appeal. Be that as it may, there are many astonishing things
in Maeterlinck's mysticism, as there are in all mysticism. Many of them,
no doubt, could be explained by the philosopher's "doctrine of
identity."[3] From a practical point of view, however, Maeterlinck
might seem to be teaching that when we say "fine weather to-day," or
"pass me the salt" (these are common words, but what "interior dialogue"
may there not be behind them?) we are expressing our souls; but that
when we speak in the full heat of passion, or with that eloquence which
pours from us in the brighter moments of our brains, we are expressing
nothing. When the old King in _Princess Maleine_ asks whether there will
be salad for breakfast, he expresses admirably the state of a foundered
soul; when Golaud finds Pelleas playing with Melisanda's hair in the
dark, and, instead of bursting into a torrent of speech, says simply:
"You are children.... What children!... What children!" his taciturnity,
or, if you like, his active silence, renders to perfection his pained
surprise, the confused feelings which he is forcing himself to restrain
till he can be sure of his ground--but to pick out a few effective
instances like these only proves that the theory will stand examination,
not that it is universally valid. Golaud, for instance, is taciturn and
slow to believe, and therefore the few words he speaks in the scene
mentioned are well motived; but put a man in his place whose passions
are nearer the surface--a character of equal use to the dramatist,
though of course less profound--and a torrent of words would have been
more natural and equally effective.

If we cultivated silence more, we should perhaps discover, with
Maeterlinck, that the period we live in is one of the soul's awakening.
"The soul," he says in another of these essays, "is like a sleeper who,
under the weight of her dreams, is making immense efforts to move an arm
or lift an eyelid." The soul is becoming visible almost: it does not
shroud itself now in the same number of veils as it used to do. And "do
you know--it is a disquieting and strange truth--do you know that if you
are not good, it is more than probable that your presence proclaims it
to-day a hundred times more clearly than it would have done two or three
centuries ago." (If the essayist had added here that this is because our
sensibilities are more refined, it would have been an evident truth; but
he goes on to say: "Do you know that if you have made a single soul sad
this morning, the soul of the peasant you are going to exchange a few
words with about the storm or the rain was informed of it before his
hand had half opened the door....")

The soul's awakening is seen best in those whom he calls _Les Avertis_
(those who are forewarned), and in women. "The forewarned" are
precocious children, and those doomed to die young. As to women,
Maeterlinck sees in them what Tacitus saw in the women of the Germans,
something divinely prophetic. "It seems," he says, "that woman is more
subject than we are to destinies. She undergoes them with a much greater
simplicity. She never sincerely struggles against them. She is still
nearer to God, and she surrenders herself with less reserve to the pure
action of mystery." His description of woman's ennobling effect on man
(the main belief of the Minnesingers) is like the woman-worship in John
Masefield's poem _Imagination_:

    "All the beauty seen by all the wise
     Is but body to the soul seen by your eyes.

    "Woman, if my quickened soul could win you,
     Nestle to the living soul within you--,
     Breathe the very breathing of your spirit,
     Tremble with you at the things which stir it,

       *       *       *       *       *

     "I should know the blinding, quick, intense
     Lightning of the soul's spring from the sense,
     Touch the very gleam of life's division.
     Earth should learn a new soul from the vision."

In the chapter headed "The Star" Maeterlinck discusses fatalism. His
conception of it, as might be expected from the dramas already
discussed, is identical with pessimism. "There is no destiny of joy," he
says, "there is no fortunate star." He explains the Scotch word "fey,"
and thinks it might be applied to all existences.

In the chapter on "La Morale Mystique"--one which has been sharply
criticised by Christians--Maeterlinck sunders the soul from the
conscious acts of the body.

     "What would happen," he asks, "if our soul suddenly became visible
     and had to advance in the midst of her assembled sisters, despoiled
     of her veils, but charged with her most secret thoughts, and
     trailing behind her the most mysterious acts of her life that
     nothing could express? What would she blush for? What would she
     wish to hide? Would she, like a modest woman, cast the long mantle
     of her hair over the numberless sins of the flesh? She knew nothing
     of them, and these sins have never reached her. They were committed
     a thousand leagues away from her throne, and the soul of the
     Sodomite even would pass through the midst of the crowd without
     suspecting anything, and bearing in its eyes the transparent smile
     of a child. It had taken no part in the sin, it was pursuing its
     life on the side where light reigns, and it is this life alone that
     it will remember."

This might comfort a criminal; but it is nothing more than a pure
worship of the spirit. Maeterlinck might reply to his Christian
traducers that they in their creed have forgotten the soul, or found it
hard to think of it as independent of the body; and that it might have
been better for them had they concentrated their worship on the Holy
Ghost (as he does, on the Holy _Spirit_), for their worship of Christ is
a species of idolatry, the worship of a graven image, an image graven in
flesh.

It is especially the "interior beauty," of which Maeterlinck treats in
the last essay in the collection, which fills the play _Aglavaine and
Selysette_, published in the same year. It is a competition between two
women for the greater beauty of soul, a competition in which simplicity
gains the victory over wisdom.

In a castle by the sea live Méléandre and his wife Selysette. They have
been married four years. They have been happy, though sometimes the
husband has asked himself whether they have lived near enough to each
other. Now they are joined by Aglavaine, the widow of Selysette's
brother, who has been unhappy in her marriage. Before she has been eight
days in the castle, Méléandre cannot imagine that they were not "born in
the same cradle" [_sic_].

Aglavaine on her part does not know whether he is her radiance or
whether she is becoming his light. Everything is so joined in their
beings that it is no longer possible to say where the one begins and
where the other ends. (Pure love, according to the essays, is "a furtive
but extremely penetrating recollection of the great primitive
unity."[4]) They think of loving each other like brother and sister; but
they know in their hearts that it will not be possible. (The senses are
beginning to intrude into Maeterlinck's writings.) Nor can they run away
from each other, or, at least, they make out they cannot: "A thing so
beautiful," says Méléandre, "was not born to die; and we have duties
towards ourselves." They kiss; a cry of pain is heard among the trees,
and Selysette is seen fleeing, disheveled, towards the castle.

This wounded wife has less control over her natural feelings than
Astolaine had in similar circumstances; but Aglavaine, in several pages
of parchment speech, shows herself so wise and strong a woman that
Selysette's jealousy of her is turned into love. Now all three dream of
a triangular love of equal magnitudes. "We will have no other cares,"
says Aglavaine, "save to become as beautiful as possible, so that all
the three of us may love one another the more.... We will put so much
beauty into ourselves and our surroundings that there will be no room
left for misfortune and sadness; and if these would enter in spite of
all they must perforce become beautiful too before they dare knock at
our door." They dream of a _unio mystica_ of souls: "It seems to me,"
says Méléandre to Aglavaine, "as though my soul and my whole being and
all they possess had changed their abode, as though I were embracing,
with tears, that part of myself which is not of this world, when I am
embracing you."

But Méléandre, though he loves Selysette's awakened soul more than in
old days he loved her girlish body, cannot help loving Aglavaine more.
"Is it not strange?" Aglavaine asks Selysette, "I love you, I love
Méléandre, Méléandre loves me, he loves you too, you love us both, and
yet we cannot be happy, because the hour has not yet come when human
beings can be united so."

It is clear that one of the two women must go. In spite of her duty to
herself Aglavaine, in a fit of generosity, decides to sacrifice herself;
but Selysette makes her promise not to go till she herself tells her she
may. She talks mysteriously to Aglavaine of a plan she has conceived for
putting things right; and it is the great weakness of the drama that the
wise woman, who can read souls so easily, cannot guess the truth in this
one instance. A fool would have known that Selysette was contemplating
suicide; but Aglavaine could not be allowed to wreck the tragedy....

There is an old abandoned lighthouse tower that the seagulls scream
round. It is crumbling away at the top. Méléandre had only climbed it
once, and then he was dizzy.... Here comes Selysette with her little
sister, Yssaline, for whom she has promised to catch a strange bird with
green wings that has been seen flying round the tower.... She thinks it
has built its nest in a hole in the wall just where she can lean
over.... She leans over to seize it, and the top of the wall gives way.
She is precipitated on to the sands below. She would be killed if it
were not for the fifth act; but she lives long enough to make out that
it was a pure accident, so that the two surviving lovers may be happy
ever after with a clear conscience.

In spite of great beauties, the play as a whole is disappointing. The
fourth act, indeed, is perfect. In the first four acts we have the
doctrine of silence, as well as various other doctrines, dinned into our
ears. Méléandre is a milksop; Aglavaine is a bore; but Selysette is a
beautiful creation--the only one of Maeterlinck's women, perhaps, who is
absolutely natural. She is "unconscious goodness," says a critic,
whereas Aglavaine is "conscious goodness"; and no doubt she does
represent an idea;[5] but she is nevertheless a real, created woman.
Méligrane, the spiteful old grandmother, is in the main the same idea
(wisdom is in babes and the very old) as the greybeards of other plays;
but there is not very much of her, and she must be remembered for saying
this (to her granddaughter, Selysette):

     "And so it is thanks to you that I was a mother for the second
     time, when I had ceased to be beautiful; and you will know some day
     that women are never tired of being mothers, and that they would
     rock death itself, if death came to sleep on their knees."

_Aglavaine and Selysette_ is at all events important as being a
turning-point in Maeterlinck's development. We have seen that he had
applauded Emerson's sturdy individualism. There is as much individualism
as fatalism in this play. It is true that love is fatal to Selysette,
but that is because Aglavaine is a monstrosity, not because love is a
_dark_ power--in this play it is distinctly painted as a _bright_ power.
Death is only called in as a saviour from an intolerable situation:
Selysette dies, but she dies with a clear mind, and with a smile.

_Aglavaine and Selysette_ is legendary in its setting only; and it is
not vague, but a clear handling of a problem which is a favourite with
contemporary dramatists--another notable example is Gerhart Hauptmann's
_Einsame Menschen_ ("Lonely Lives"). Hauptmann, like Maeterlinck,
simplifies the complexity by the suicide of the most sensitive member
of the group: both dramatists come to the conclusion that the time is
not yet ripe for reorganising cohabitation on a plural basis, and that
(to quote Dryden) one to one must still be cursedly confined. What
Maeterlinck has contributed to the problem is that he makes the two
women love each other as well as the man they sandwich....

There is nothing of this awakening courage to live in the collection of
poems modelled on folksong (the symbolists generally learned much from
folksong) which Maeterlinck published in this year of 1896. In _Douze
Chansons_ (Twelve Songs) which are now included in _Quinze Chansons_
(Fifteen Songs) at the end of _Serres Chaudes_, the poor human soul is
still groping in surrounding dark, and only catching rare glimpses of
the light. In one poem the soul has been wandering for thirty years,
seeking her saviour; he was everywhere, but she could not come near him.
Now, in the evening of her days, she bids her sister souls of sixteen
years take up her staff and seek him; they also, far away. Les _Filles
aux Yeux bandés_ and _Les sept Filles d'Orlamonde_[6] are sketches of a
motive which was worked out in _Ardiane and Bluebeard_.

The poems are so beautifully illustrated by Charles Doudelet's woodcuts
that it is hard to say whether the pictures illuminate the poem or the
poems the pictures. Maeterlinck's Tower is there, hauntingly desolate, a
nightmare, set against _The three blind sisters_. You know the meaning
of _She had three diadems of gold_ when you have seen the picture to it:
the love you bestow on a person is a net wherewith that person imprisons
you. The most desolating imprisonment of all is that in which a mother
is plunged by her children (for there is no love so _deep_ as hers):
Doudelet shows us a woman chained up in a hole whelmed with snow.

To dream over this rare volume for an after-noon, stretching out its
leaves before you like the wings of a bird, is to be borne into the
atmosphere of the soul. And when you come to the last picture and the
last poem "_You have lighted the lamps_"--

    "The other days are wearisome,
       The other days are also shy,
     The other days will never come,
       The other days shall also die,
       We too shall die here by and bye"--

you would like to bury your head in your hands and sob like a
woman--without knowing why....


[1] See note, p. 88.

[2] One of the features which distinguish the poetry of the symbolists
is the mixing of _genres_. Cf. the following fragment (p. 103 in
Maeterlinck's translation): "One ought never to see a work of plastic
art without music, nor listen to a work of music anywhere save in
beautifully decorated halls."

[3] Cf. Dr van Dijk, _Maeterlinck_, pp. 26 ff.; "Now in order to find
the life interior you must be at the other end of all your agitations,
you must be behind your conscious thoughts, words, and deeds. Behind all
that makes you finite, keeps you finite, lies the infinite; the ocean of
the infinite flows round you there, and there lie the ice-fields of
mystery, the great treasures of the unconscious, there are the deeps of
the interior sea. _There_ is no longer that which has an end, a bound, a
limit, that which is shared and divided, that which is joined and
separated, _there_ is perfect identity of all things, _there_ is
everywhere and always identical mystery, _there_ God is. There it is,
too, says Maeterlinck, that we first understand each other, for subtle,
tender bonds are there between all souls.... When you now, with
Maeterlinck, turn your back on the conscious in every form, it follows
that even the best word will always be a more or less disturbing
wrinkle, a wrinkle that darkens the unmoving silent waters of the
unconscious. Think and put your thoughts into words, and you must move
further and further in the direction of the conscious; that is, in the
direction of that which is limited and the limiting." Cf. one of the
opening sentences of the essay "La Morale mystique": "As soon as we
express something, we diminish it strangely. We think we have dived to
the depth of the abysses, and when we reach the surface again the drop
of water glittering at the end of our pale fingers no longer resembles
the sea it came from."

[4] In _The Invisible Goodness_.

[5] According to Mieszner, Aglavaine is a "Mannweib," Selysette a
"Nurweib."

[6] Is the name from the German _Volkslied_ "Herzogin von Orlamünde"?



CHAPTER IX


Towards the end of 1896 Maeterlinck settled in Paris. His life here was
no less retired than it had been in Ghent. A new light had come into his
life. _The Treasure of the Humble_ had been dedicated to a Parisian
lady, Georgette Leblanc. To her also he dedicates _Sagesse et Destinée_
(Wisdom and Destiny), in 1898, in these words:

     "To you I dedicate this book, which is, so to speak, your work.
     There is a higher and a more real collaboration than that of the
     pen--that of thought and example. I have not been constrained to
     imagine painfully the resolutions and the actions of an ideal sage,
     or to draw from my heart the moral of a beautiful dream perforce a
     little vague. It has sufficed me to listen to your words. It has
     sufficed me to let my eyes follow you attentively in your life;
     they were then following the movements, the gestures, the habits of
     wisdom itself."

The book was a great surprise for Maeterlinck's already world-wide
community. "By the side of _The Treasure of the Humble_," wrote van
Hamel, "it gives you the impression of a catechism by the side of a
breviary." Not the unconscious, but the conscious, occupies the first
place. The earlier philosophy is directly contradicted.[1] Whereas in
_The Treasure of the Humble_ we read of "the august, everyday life of a
Hamlet ... who has the time to live because he does not act," we now
hear of "the miserable blindness of Hamlet," who, though he had more
intelligence than all those around him, was no wise man, for he did not,
by exercising will-power, prevent the horrible tragedy. In the first
book of essays action hinders life; in the second, to act is to think
more rapidly and more completely than thought can do. To act is to think
with one's whole being, not with the brain alone.

"It is our death that guides our life, and our life has no other object
than death," Maeterlinck had said. Now he can write: "When shall we give
up the idea that death is more important than life, and that misfortune
is greater than happiness?... Who has told us that we ought to measure
life by the standard of death, and not death by the standard of
life?"[2]

That a great change had taken place in Maeterlinck's conception of the
universe would be clear to anyone who read his works consecutively. He
himself wrote to G. van Hamel, soon after the publication of _Sagesse et
Destinée_, to this effect. Van Hamel does not give the exact words, but
reports the gist of the letter as follows:

     "The mysterious seems to have lost a great deal of its attraction
     for him. Only the great, the 'metaphysical mystery,' 'the
     unknowable essence of reality,' continues to chain him. But the
     many mysteries which have dominated the mind and the life of men,
     and which possess no sufficient reality, he would now banish from
     art as well. Fate, divine justice, and all those other obsolete
     ideas have no longer the power to dominate even the imagination.
     Life, the life of the artist too, must be cleansed of all that is
     unreal."

Maeterlinck added to the above (these words are quoted in French):

     "I do not know whether I am doing better or worse; all I do know is
     that I want to express things more and more simple, things more and
     more human, less and less brilliant, more and more true."[3]

The change in Maeterlinck is generally ascribed to the inspiration of
Mme Georgette Leblanc. He has himself drawn her portrait in a chapter
of a later book, _Le double Jardin_. In 1904 she published a novel, _Le
Choix de la Vie_; it is full of the words "beauty" and "happiness."

Happiness is what humanity was made for, Maeterlinck teaches in _Wisdom
and Destiny_. Misery is an illness of humanity, just as illness is a
misery of man. We ought to have doctors for human misery, just as we
have doctors for illness. Because illness is common, it does not follow
that we ought never to talk of health; and the fact that we live in the
midst of misery is no reason why the moralist should not make happiness
his starting-point. To be wise is to learn to be happy.

To be happy is only to have freed our soul from the unrest of
unhappiness. To be happy we must learn to separate our exterior destiny
from our moral destiny. Nothing happens to men except what they will
shall happen to them. We have very little influence over a certain
number of exterior events; but we have a very powerful action on what
these events become in ourselves. It is what happens to most men that
darkens or lightens their life; but the interior life of good men itself
lightens all that happens to them. If you have been betrayed, it is not
the treason that matters; it is the forgiveness that has come of it in
your soul. Nothing happens which is not of the same nature as ourselves.
Climb the mountain or descend to the village, you will find none but
yourself on the highroads of chance.

In proportion as we become wise, we escape from some of our instinctive
destinies. Every man who is able to diminish the blind force of instinct
in himself, diminishes around him the force of destiny. Destiny has
remained a barbarian; it cannot reach souls that have grown nobler than
itself. That is why tragic poets rarely permit a sage to appear on the
scene; no drama ever happens among sages, and the presence of the sage
paralyses destiny. There is not a single tragedy in which fatality
reigns; what the hero combats in all of them is not destiny, but wisdom.
If predestination exists, it only exists in character; and character can
be modified. Fatality obeys those who dare give it orders, and therefore
there is no inevitable tragedy.

The shadow of destiny casts an enormous shadow over the valley it seems
to drown in darkness, and in this shadow we are born; but many men can
travel beyond it; and those who cannot may find happiness in wisdom
which no catastrophe can reach.

But what is wisdom? Consciousness of oneself; knowledge of oneself. It
is not reason: reason opens the door to wisdom. It is from the threshold
of reason that all sages set out; but they travel in different
directions. Reason gives birth to justice; wisdom gives birth to
goodness. There is no love in reason; there is much in wisdom. Not
reason, but love, must be the glass in which the flower of genuine
wisdom is cultivated. It is true that reason is found at the root of
wisdom; but wisdom is not the flower of reason. Wisdom is the light of
love; love, and you will be wise.

And does the sage never suffer? He suffers; and suffering is one of the
elements of his wisdom. It is not suffering we must avoid, but the
discouragement--it brings to those who receive it like a master. People
suffer little by suffering itself; they suffer enormously by the way
they accept it. Misfortune comes to us, but it only does what it is
ordered to do.

What is it that decides what suffering shall bring to us? Not reason,
but our anterior life, which has formed our soul. Nothing is more just
than grief; and our life waits till the hour strikes, as the mould
awaits the molten bronze, to pay us our wage.

What if it be true that the sage be punished instead of being rewarded!
What soul could be called good if it were sure of its reward? And who
shall measure the happiness or unhappiness of the sage? When we put
unhappiness in one side of the scales, each one of us lays down in the
other the idea he has of happiness. The savage will lay alcohol,
gunpowder, and feathers there; the civilised man gold and days of
intoxication; but the sage will lay down a thousand things that we do
not see, his whole soul perhaps, and even the unhappiness which he will
have purified.

Let us be loath to welcome the wisdom and the happiness which are
founded on the scorn of anything. Scorn, and renunciation, which is the
infirm child of scorn, open to us the asylum of the old and weak. We
should only have the right to scorn a joy when it would not even be
possible for us to know that we scorned it. Renunciation is a parasite
of virtue. As long as a man knows that he renounces, the happiness of
his renunciation is born of pride. The supreme end of wisdom is not to
renounce, but to find the fixed point of happiness in life. It is not by
renouncing joys that we shall become wise; but by becoming wise we shall
renounce, without knowing it, the joys that cannot rise to our level.
Certain ideas on renunciation,[4] resignation, and sacrifice exhaust the
noblest moral forces of humanity more than great vices and great crimes.
Infinitely too much importance, for instance, is attached to the triumph
of the spirit over the flesh;[5] and these alleged triumphs are most
often only total defeats of life. It is sad to die a virgin. But there
must be no satisfaction of base instincts. Not _I would like_, but _I
will_ must be the guiding star.

When the just is punished, we are troubled by the negation of a high
moral law; but from this very negation a higher moral law is born
immediately. With the suppression of punishment and reward is born the
necessity of doing good for the sake of good. So teaches the book.

There is still mysticism in the kernel of this philosophy: the identity
of the soul with the divine; but in its practical results it is a
positivist, a realist philosophy. "There is nothing to hope for," we are
told, "apart from truth. A soul that grows is a soul that comes nearer
to truth." Death and the other mysteries are now only the points where
our present knowledge ends; but we may hope that science will dispel our
ignorance. In the meantime if we seclude ourselves from reality to dream
of loveliness, the fair things we see will turn into ashes, like the
roses that Alladine and Palomides saw in the caverns, at the first
inrush of light. The most fatal of thoughts is that which cannot be
friend with reality.

The book is strongly anti-Christian in its rejection of what are called
parasitic virtues--arbitrary chastity, sterile self-sacrifice,
penitence, and others--which turn the waters of human morality from
their course and force them into a stagnant pool. The saints were
egotists, because they fled from life to shelter in a narrow cell; but
it is contact with men which teaches us how to love God.[6] It is
anti-ascetic too. Maeterlinck has the courage to say that a morbid
virtue may do more harm than a healthy vice.[7] In this connection one
might say of him what Stefan Zweig has said of Verhaeren:

     "His whole evolution--which in this respect coincides with that of
     the great German poets, with Nietzsche and Dehmel--tends, not to
     the limitation of primordial instincts, but to their logical
     development."[8]

Perhaps the most tangible doctrine in _Wisdom and Destiny_ is that of
salvation by love. Love is wisdom's nearest sister. Love feeds wisdom,
and wisdom feeds love; and the loving and the wise embrace in their own
light. "Ceux qui vivent d'amour vivent d'éternité," Maeterlinck might
have said with Verhaeren.[9] The main difference between Maeterlinck's
final philosophy and that of his great countryman is this: that whereas
Maeterlinck, like Goethe, brings his disciple to the shores of the sea
of serenity and leaves him in a state of calm, Verhaeren sees
spiritualising forces in passion, in exaltation, in paroxysm, and
teaches that to be calm is to diminish oneself.

_Wisdom and Destiny_ contains few of the apparent absurdities which
confuse the reader of _The Treasure of the Humble_; but whether all the
ideas will escape contradiction in independent minds may be questioned.
To give an instance: it is no doubt true that a man may fight destiny;
but if a man does fight destiny, it might be argued that it is only
because it is his destiny to fight destiny. Louis XVI. is given as an
example of a victim of destiny. He was the victim of destiny because of
his feebleness, blindness, and vanity. But why was he weak, blind, and
vain? According to the creed abandoned by Maeterlinck, it was his fate
to be weak, blind, and vain. In _Wisdom and Destiny_ the argument is: If
he had been _wise_ ... But how _can_ a weak, blind, and vain man be
wise? No wisdom on earth can make a fool anything but a fool. Character
can be modified, urges Maeterlinck; and we must be content with that.
Not a few of us, too, must feel that the stoic fortitude Maeterlinck
would have us show when our loved ones die will seem less divine than
the passionate despair once breathed into tearful numbers for lost
Mystes.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The destinies of humanity are contained in epitome in the existence of
the humblest little animals," is a thought of Pascal which might well
have suggested Maeterlinck's _La Vie des Abeilles_ (The Life of the
Bee). It appeared in 1901. Maeterlinck had kept bees for years; and
continued to do so when he set up his abode at a villa in
Gruchet-Saint-Siméon in Normandy.

_The Life of the Bee_ is not a scientific treatise, though it is
scientifically correct; it does not claim to bring new material; it is a
simple account of the bees' short year from April to the last days of
September, told by one who loves and knows them to those who, he
assumes, have no intimate knowledge. His intention is to observe bees
and see if his observations can throw light on the destinies of
humanity.

To begin with, bees are incessantly working, each at a different trade.
Those that seem most idle, as you watch them in an observation hive,
have the most mysterious and fatiguing task of all, to secrete and form
the wax; just as there are some men (the thinkers) who appear useless,
but who alone make it possible for a certain number of men to be
useful.[10]

The bee is a creature of the crowd: isolate her and she will die of
loneliness. From the city she derives an aliment that is as necessary to
her as honey. (We remember that in _Wisdom and Destiny_ saints were
called egotists because they fled from their fellow-men.) In the hive
the individual is nothing. The bees are socialists, we shall find; they
are as united as the good thoughts that dwell in the same soul; they
have a collectivist policy. This was not always so; and even to-day
there are savage bees who live in lonely wretchedness. The hive of
to-day is perfect, though pitiless; it merges the individual in the
republic, and the republic itself is regularly sacrificed to the
abstract, immortal city of the future. The will of Nature clearly tends
to the improvement of the race, but she shows at the same time that she
cannot obtain this improvement except by sacrificing the liberty of the
individual to the general interest. First, the individual must renounce
his vices, which are acts of independence. Whereas the workers among the
humble-bees, a lower order, do not dream of renouncing love, our
domestic bee lives in perpetual chastity.

It is the "spirit of the hive" that rules the bees and all they do. It
decrees that when the hour comes they shall "swarm." This desertion of
the hive was previously thought to be an attack of fatal folly (we are
in the habit of ascribing things we do not understand to "fatality");
but science has discovered (what may not science discover?) that it is a
deliberate sacrifice of the present generation to the future generation.
The god of the bees is the future. To this future everything is
subordinated, with astonishing foresight, co-operation, and
inflexibility. It is clear that the bees have will-power. You may see
where this will-power, which is the "spirit of the hive," resides, if
you place the careworn head of a virgin worker under the microscope:
within this little head are the circumvolutions of the vastest and the
most ingenious brain of the hive, the most beautiful, the most
complicated brain which is in nature after that of man. Here again, as
everywhere else in the world, where the brain is there is authority, the
real strength, wisdom, and victory. Here again it is an almost invisible
atom of that mysterious substance that organises and subjugates matter,
and is able to create for itself a little triumphant and durable place
amid, the stupendous and inert powers of nothingness and death.

The description of the swarming is very beautiful. When the beekeeper
is collecting the bees from the bough they have settled on, he need not
fear them. They are inoffensive because they are happy, and they are
happy without knowing why: they are fulfilling the law. All creatures,
great and small, have such a moment of blind happiness when Nature
wishes to accomplish her ends. The bees are Nature's dupes; so are we.

Some observers, Lord Avebury for instance, do not estimate the
intelligence of the bee as highly as Maeterlinck does; but the
experiments on which they base their conclusions do not seem to
Maeterlinck to be more decisive than the spectacle of the ravages of
alcohol, or of a battlefield, would be to a superhuman observer trying
to fix the limits of human intelligence. And then, think of the
situation of the bee in the world: by the side of an extraordinary being
who is always upsetting the laws of its nature. How should we behave if
some Higher Being should foil our wisdom? And how do we know there is no
such Higher Being, or more than one, who might be to us as
indistinguishable as man, the great ape, and the bear are to the bee? It
is certain that there are within us and around us influences and powers
as dissimilar and as indistinguishable.

It is as interesting and as important to us to discover signs of
intellect outside ourselves as it was to Robinson Crusoe to find the
imprint of a human foot other than his own on the sandy beach of his
island. When we study the intelligence of bees we study what is most
precious in our own substance, an atom of that extraordinary matter
which has the property of transfiguring blind necessity, of organising
and multiplying life and making it more beautiful, of checking the
obstinate force of death and the great irresponsible wave that rolls
round in earth's diurnal course all eternally unconscious things.

This intelligence is the devouring force of the future. Do not say that
mankind is deteriorating. Alcohol and syphilis, for instance, are
accidents that the race will overcome; perhaps they are tests by which
some of our organs, the nervous organs for instance, will profit, for
life constantly profits by the ills it surmounts. A trifle may be
discovered to-morrow which will make them innocuous. Confidence in life
is the first of our duties. We have everything to hope from evolution.
It will lessen exertion, insecurity, and wretchedness; it will increase
comfort. To this end it will not hesitate to sacrifice the individual.
And let us note that progress recorded by nature is never lost. Life is
a constant progression, whither, we do not know.

The whole book is a powerful epic of brain force. It is easy,
Maeterlinck concludes his message, to discover the preordained duty of
any being. You can read it in the organ which distinguishes it, and to
which all its other organs are subordinated. Just as it is written on
the tongue, in the mouth, and in the stomach of the bee that its duty is
to produce honey, so it is written in our eyes, our ears, our marrow, in
every lobe of our head, in the whole nervous system of our body, that we
have been created to transform what we absorb from the things of the
earth into that strange fluid we call brain power. Everything has been
sacrificed to that. Our muscles, our health, the agility of our limbs,
bear the growing pain of its preponderance.

Now in this cult of the future and of the human brain which is to make
man God, Maeterlinck is not alone. By a different route he has reached
the same goal as Verhaeren. The "futurists" have based their manifesto
on what these two Flemings teach; and though the futurists go to
scandalous extremes they will do some good if they shock those good
people who feed on classic lore into a suspicion that new ideals have
sprung into being:

    "Voici l'heure qui bout de sang et de jeunesse ...

       *       *       *       *       *

     Un vaste espoir, venu de l'inconnu, déplace
     L'équilibre ancien dont les âmes sont lasses;
           La nature paraît sculpter
     Un visage nouveau à son éternité."[11]


[1] Schrijver in his _Maeterlinck_, pp. 54 ff., collects passages in
_The Treasure_ which point forward to _Wisdom and Destiny_.

[2] _Sagesse et Destinée_, p. 122. Cf. Verhaeren, "Un Matin" (_Les
Forces Tumultueuses_):

    "Il me semble jusqu'à ce jour n'avoir vécu
     Que pour mourir et non pour vivre."

]

[3] _Het Letterkundig Leven van Frankrijk_, pp. 180-181. Cf. also
Chapter VII of "L'Evolution du Mystère" in _Le Temple Enseveli_.

[4] In the _Buried Temple_, Chapter XXI, Maeterlinck says: "Nature
rejects renunciation in all its forms, except that of maternal love."

[5] Cf. Chapter XXI of L'Inquiétude de notre Morale (in _L'Intelligence
des Fleurs_): "We are no longer chaste, now that we have recognised that
the work of the flesh, cursed during twenty centuries, is natural and
legitimate. We no longer go out in search of resignation, of
mortification, of sacrifice; we are no longer humble in heart nor poor
in spirit."

[6] "Man is created to live in harmony with others; it is in society and
not in solitude that he finds numerous opportunities of practising
Christian charity to his neighbours."--Swedenborg.

[7] In "Portrait de Femme" (_Le double Jardin_) Maeterlinck
distinguishes between virtue and vice: they are the same forces, he says
... a virtue is only a vice that rises instead of falling.

[8] _Verhaeren_, p. 298.

[9] _Les Heures d'après-midi_.

[10] _Wisdom and Destiny_, Chapter I.

[11] Verhaeren, "La Foule" (_Les Visages de la Vie_).



CHAPTER X


Of _Ariane et Barbe-Bleue_ (Ardiane and Bluebeard) and _Sœur
Béatrice_ (Sister Beatrice) which are contained in the third volume of
_Théâtre_ (1901) Maeterlinck has said that they were written as libretti
for musicians who had asked for them, and that they contain no
philosophical or poetical _arrière-pensée_.[1] Critics, however, seem to
be agreed in reading considerable meaning into both plays. The fact that
of the six wives of Bluebeard five bear the names of Maeterlinck's
previous heroines--Melisanda, Alladine, Ygraine, Bellangère, and
Selysette--at once suggests a symbolic intention, which we are the more
inclined to suspect when we find that Ardiane, though a new name, is in
reality the same person, or the same idea, as both Astolaine and
Aglavaine.

The drama was written under the direct inspiration, and probably
collaboration, of Mme Leblanc, whose ideas, as expressed in _Le Choix
de la Vie_, are emphasised in the second act, which, apart from its
doctrine, is beautiful.

The five child-like wives have been thrust by Bluebeard into the
familiar dark caverns under his castle; and, since they are the passive
creatures of the former plays, they endure their incarceration without
the least attempt to effect an escape. They merely wait, praying,
singing, and weeping. They could not flee, they say; they have been
forbidden to.

They are joined by Ardiane, the strong, wise woman of Maeterlinck's
second period; and she delivers the poor little limp creatures. When
they have the monster at their mercy, however, they are more inclined to
fondle him than to harm him; and when Ardiane throws the door open,
announces her intention of returning to freedom, and invites them to
follow her, they remain at Bluebeard's side. The play has for its
sub-title _La Délivrance inutile_ (The Vain Deliverance); and it is to
be interpreted as meaning that women are in great need of
emancipation,[2] but that it is their nature to cling to the brute who
oppresses them.

An unmistakable motive of the play is that sanctification of the flesh
which emblazons the breviary of the second Maeterlinck. Ardiane bares
the arms and shoulders of the timid wives. "Really, my young sisters,"
she says, "I do not wonder that he did not love you as he ought to have
done, and that he wanted a hundred wives ... he had not one.... We shall
have nothing to fear if we are very beautiful."[3]

_Sister Beatrice_ is another work which is variously interpreted. To
Mieszner, Sister Beatrice represents "the human soul prisoned in
prejudice." To many who have read _The Treasure of the Humble_ it will
suggest itself that we have here a spectacle of the human soul remaining
pure while the body it dwells in is steeped in sin. To Anselma Heine,
the nun is "one who has been made richer, one who has lived"; and it may
indeed be the poet's intention to show us that the flesh is holy and is
not contaminated by fulfilling its functions. If the latter
interpretation is correct, Maeterlinck has not enforced his meaning so
convincingly as Gottfried Keller, the great Swiss writer, did in his
short story "Die Jungfrau und die Nonne" (one of his _Sieben Legenden_).

In Maeterlinck's play the nun flees from the convent, seeks love and
finds degradation, and returns, after twenty-five years, to find that
her duties have all the time been performed by the Virgin Mary. In
Gottfried Keller's story, Beatrice, the door-keeper of the monastery,
feels her heart turn sick with longing for the world outside. "When she
could no longer hold back her desire, she arose in a moonlit night of
July ... and said to the statue of the Virgin Mary: 'I have served You
many a long year, but now take the keys, for I cannot endure the heat in
my heart any longer.'"

She goes out, and rests till dawn in a dim glade in an oak-forest. When
the sun rises, a knight in armour comes riding along. He asks her
whither she is bound, and she can only tell him that she has fled from
the cloister "to see the world." He laughs at this, and offers, if she
will go with him, to put her on the way. He lifts her on to his saddle,
and merrily they gallop along; and when they come to his castle,
Beatrice lies with him and stills her longing, and after some time he
makes her his lawful wife, and she bears him eight sons.

But when the eldest son is eighteen, she arises one night from her
husband's side, goes to the beds of her sons, and kisses them gently one
after the other; she kisses her sleeping husband also; then she shears
the long hair that had once folded him in flame, dons the nun's gown in
which she had come to the castle so many years ago, and wanders in the
howling wind and through the whirling autumn leaves to the convent. Here
the statue of the Virgin tells her that She Herself has taken her place
all the time; she has only to take up her keys and resume her duties
where she had laid them down when she fled.

Ten years after her return the nuns make preparations for a great
festival, and agree together that each one shall bring an offering to
the Virgin. One of them embroiders a church banner, another an
altar-cloth. One composes a Latin hymn, and another sets it to music.
They who can do nothing else stitch a new shirt for the Christ-child,
and the sister who is cook bakes Him a dish of fritters. Beatrice alone
gets nothing ready: she is tired of life, and living more in the past
than in the present. But when the festive day arrives and the nuns begin
their chant, it happens that a grey-haired knight comes riding past the
convent door with his eight stalwart sons, all on their way to the
Emperor's wars. Hearing the service in the chapel, he bids his sons
dismount, and enters with them to offer up a prayer to the Virgin. In
the iron old man and the eight youths like so many angels in armour,
Beatrice recognises her husband and her sons, and runs to them in the
presence of all; and when she has confessed her story all agree that her
gift to the Virgin is the richest offered that day.

Gottfried Keller's story is a glorification of family life. His nun is a
healthy girl who needs children; and so does Heaven if the truth were
known. In his story Beatrice never "falls." Her only mistake is when,
driven by morbid superstition, she deserts her real duties to return to
her imaginary ones. We never lose our respect for her. Maeterlinck's
heroine, on the other hand, sinks lower than harlotry: when her body is
beyond buying she sells her hand. She is a depraved being. It would be
humbug to make out that the depravity of men forced her into such dirt.
If she had been good, she could have died; if she is not good, what
feelings is the drama to awaken in us? Feelings of pity perhaps, but not
of sympathy; and when we have no sympathy for the subject of a drama,
the drama is wasted. To glorify this woman's debasement, as
Maeterlinck's play might seem to do, would be to wallow in morbid
Christianity. But that would be a strange charge to bring against so
anti-Christian a writer; and it is no doubt preferable to interpret the
play by the theory of the soul's immunity from the body's pitch.

Maeterlinck's immediate source may have been a translation of the old
Dutch version of the legend by L. Simons and Laurence Housman, which
appeared in _The Pageant_ for 1896, the year in which this now extinct
magazine printed the poem _Et s'il revenait_ and Sutro's translation of
the _Death of Tintagiles_. Adelaide Anne Procter had made a poem out of
the legend; John Davidson's splendid ballad (worth all Maeterlinck's
play) is well known. The story was brought home to tens of thousands of
spectators in London in 1911-12 by Max Reinhardt's staging of Karl
Gustav Vollmoeller's wordless play _The Miracle_.

As a reading play _Sister Beatrice_ is ruined by the species of blank
verse in which it is said to be written. Typographically it is arranged
in prose form; but palpable verses of this kind madden the reader:

     "Il est prudent et sage; et ses yeux sont plus doux Que les yeux
     d'un enfant qui se met à genoux."

One of the things that Maeterlinck had treated in _Wisdom and Destiny_
was the principal of justice. In _Le Temple Enseveli_ (The Buried
Temple) he deals with the subject exhaustively. He asks whether there is
a justice other than that organised by men, and he finds it where he
found fate, in their own breast. He proves that there is no physical
justice coming from moral causes. Excess and imprudence have often a
cause which we call immoral; but excess and imprudence may have an
innocent or even heroic cause. Drunkards and debauchees are not
necessarily criminals; they may be drawn into excess because they are
weak and amiable (we all know very charming men who like drink; and
what excellent uncles city bachelors often make). You are imprudent if
you jump into the water in very cold weather to save somebody, and the
consequences, let us say consumption for yourself and your children, are
the same for you as for the villain who falls into the water while
trying to throw somebody in. There is the same ignorance of moral causes
in nature, the same indifference in heredity.[4] Why should the
offspring of amiable drunkards be punished while the children of
parricides and poisoners go scot-free? As to debauch, justice strikes
according as precautions are taken or not, and never takes account of
the victim's state of mind.

But we should be wrong to complain of the indifference of the universe.
We have no right to be astonished at an injustice in which we ourselves
take a very active part. Look at poverty, for instance--we class it with
ills that cannot be helped, such as pestilence and shipwreck, but it is
surely a result of the injustice of our social organisation. We shudder
from one end of the world to the other when a judicial error is
committed (Dreyfus affair); but the error which condemns the majority of
our fellowmen to wretchedness we attribute to some inaccessible,
implacable power. Again (this argument is in the section "La Chance,"
Chapter VII), look at animals. Compare the fate of the pampered
race-horse with that of the tortured cab-horse: for all your talk of
predestination, it is a case of injustice. But to the animals we work to
death we are as the powers behind Nature are to us. Should we then
expect more justice from Nature than we mete out to animals? Let us not
condone our culpability by any appeal to Nature: Nature is not concerned
with justice; her one aim, as was shown in _The Life of the Bee_, is to
maintain, renew, and multiply life. Nature is not just with regard to
us; but she may be just with regard to herself. When we say that Nature
is not just, it comes to the same thing as saying that she takes no
notice of our little virtues; it is our vanity, not our sense of
justice, that is wounded. But because our morality is not proportionate
to the immensity of the universe, it does not follow that we ought to
give it up; it is proportionate to our stature and to our restricted
destiny. Justice is identical with logic. It is in himself, not in
Nature, that man must find an approbation of justice.

The second part of the book, which has much in common with _The Life of
the Bee_, is devoted to the "reign of matter." Maeterlinck here (Chapter
V) takes the opportunity of praising vegetarianism, which he is said to
have tried. He says:

     "It is not my intention to go deeply into the question of
     vegetarianism, nor to meet the objections that can be made to it;
     but it must be recognised that few of these objections withstand a
     loyal and attentive examination; and it may be asserted that all
     those who have tried this diet have recovered or fortified their
     health, and felt their mind grow brighter and purer, as though they
     had been freed from an immemorial, nauseating prison."

The admirers of Maeterlinck's mysticism were more astonished when, in
1902, _Monna Vanna_ appeared than they had been on reading those
worldly-wise essays in _Wisdom and Destiny_. Why here was a real play! A
play in the theatrical sense, with action, attempted murder, conflict,
tension, "honour," and all the rest of it. A play with characterisation
at least attempted; for, though Marco is that wise old man we know so
well by this time (the most awful version of him was in reserve for
_Mary Magdalene_), though Guido Colonna is Golaud _redivivus_;
Prinzivalle is at all events a passable shadow of Othello, and Monna
Vanna is a heroine who positively develops (let us admit that Selysette
had developed too). A play rhetorical in style; pictorial even--a city
lit up by fireworks, the Leaning Tower of Pisa all aflame "your
Hugo-flare against the night," (William Watson might have jeered). A
play with a situation which might have been written specially for that
dear old lady, Mrs Grundy; a situation which makes a licence for its
performance quite out of the question in Mrs Grundy's England.[5] And
when the play proves a great success in Paris and Germany, and more
especially when the great dramatist goes on tour with it and Mme
Leblanc,[6] who plays the title-rôle, Maeterlinck's old guard call him a
renegade to himself, to the Maeterlinck who had once held forth the
exciting prospect of a stage without actors and without action. But why
should a writer not change his views?

_Monna Vanna_ is written, partly, in the same kind of blank verse as
_Sister Beatrice_--very poor stuff considered as poetry, and very
troublesome to read as prose. From the point of view of style it is
quite impossible to consider it as a great work of art. Dramatically,
however, it is one of the most interesting plays produced so far in the
twentieth century.

This is the first of Maeterlinck's plays which has not some legendary
Weisznichtwo for its scene. These are not shapes seen vaguely through a
gloaming of romance; they move in the full light of reality. _Monna
Vanna_, in short, is a historical drama, a species of drama which, as
we shall see, Maeterlinck rejects in a chapter of _The Double Garden_.

Perhaps, however, those critics are right who deny to _Monna Vanna_ the
title of a genuine historical drama. It is at all events evident that
the chief interest lies in the soul's awakening in love of Monna and of
Prinzivalle. It is concerned, too, with truth: no marriage can be moral
in which either party doubts anything the other party says--if you love,
you must believe. Historically, the characters are untrue: Marco could
not have read Maeterlinck at the time he lived, and, not having read
Maeterlinck, he could not be so wise as he is; Monna Vanna could not
have read either Maeterlinck or Ibsen, and therefore she could not have
had such ideas as she has. But why should a modern play be truly
historical? Friedrich Hebbel, a far greater dramatist than Maeterlinck,
said something to the effect that a play may be historical if it keeps
fresh long enough for our descendants to see from it how we, at our
period of history, conceived the past.

However, when the curtain rises we find ourselves in Pisa at the end of
the fifteenth century. The town is being besieged by Prinzivalle, the
general of the army of Florence. The inhabitants are starving, and the
city can hold out no longer. Guido Colonna, the commandant of the
garrison, has sent his father, Marco, to Prinzivalle, and the envoy's
return is awaited. He comes with this message: Florence has decided to
annihilate Pisa. There is to be no question of a capitulation; the town
is to be taken by assault, and the citizens butchered. Florence is
pressing Prinzivalle to deliver the final assault; but he has
intercepted letters by which it appears that he is unjustly accused of
treachery. Death awaits him at Florence after his victory. He
undertakes, therefore, to introduce a huge convoy of munition and
provisions into the starving city, and to join the besieged army with
the pick of his mercenaries. His condition is this: Monna Vanna, Guido's
wife, shall come to his tent for the night, and she shall be naked under
her cloak.

Guido is furious; but Monna Vanna decides to go. She has it in her power
to save a whole city; and she thinks, as her father-in-law does, that
two people have no right, by considering themselves, to ensure the
destruction of so many thousands. There is no attempt on the dramatist's
part to belittle the sacrifice she is willing to make; she has, at the
time she makes up her mind, the time-honoured idea as to the importance
of the sexual act. But she is an altruist, like the bees: it is not she,
it is not her husband, it is the community that matters. Guido, however,
is an egotist of the old school; he clings to his "honour" to such an
extent that he thinks Pisa should be butchered to keep it intact. Monna
Vanna goes....

ACT II.--Prinzivalle's tent. Sumptuous disorder. Hangings of silk and
gold. Weapons, heaps of precious furs, huge coffers half open,
overflowing with jewels and gorgeous raiment. Interview with Trivulzio,
Commissary of the Republic of Florence; a copy of Cassius in _Julius
Cæsar_--the emaciated man of thought, "the clear, fine intellect, the
cold, acute, instructed mind"--"believes in Florence as the saint tied
to the wheel believes in God." Prinzivalle on the other hand is an utter
alien, a Basque or a Breton; but his victories have made him popular in
Florence, and he might make himself dictator; Trivulzio, therefore, has
denounced him to "the grey-headed, toothless, doting fools at home."
Prinzivalle unmasks Trivulzio, who attempts to stab him, but only
succeeds in gashing his face. Trivulzio very noble in his way; all for
Florence. Excitement of the audience: will Vanna come? She comes; is she
naked under her cloak? She has been wounded on the shoulder by a stray
shot; just a scratch, but enough to serve as an excuse for exciting the
audience. Prinzivalle tells her to show him the wound, and she half
opens her cloak. He asks her directly: "You are naked under your cloak?"
She answers "Yes," makes a movement to throw her cloak off (great
tension), but he "stops her with a gesture." Now follows the great
love-scene, in every way one of the finest things in modern drama. It
turns out that they had played together as boy and girl in Venice. He
has loved her ever since. He loves her now; and for that reason there is
no question of her removing her cloak. Love triumphs over luxury. She
goes back to Pisa, taking him with her, to save him from the
Commissaries of Florence.

ACT III.--Convoy arrived, Pisa rejoicing, Guido cursing. Vanna comes,
deliriously acclaimed. She has the great news for Guido that she returns
unscathed. He refuses to believe it. Everybody refuses to believe it
except Marco. She introduces Prinzivalle; and Guido persuades himself
that she has trapped the brute, and brought him for private butchery.
Since Guido will not credit the truth, she gives him the lie he asks
for: "Il m'a prise," she cries out. But she claims Prinzivalle as her
own prey, and has him conducted to the dungeons on the understanding
that she will end his life herself. The spectators, however, who have an
advantage over Guido in that they hear various asides, understand that
she will rescue the Florentine general and elope with him. Guido can
believe she could lie, therefore he does not love her--he only loves his
"honour"; therefore she cannot love him, Prinzivalle, on the other
hand, had been most undisguisedly frank in his private interview with
her. It is clear he loves her; and since she is no longer bound to love
her husband, she is free to love Prinzivalle. "It was an evil dream,"
she says; "the beautiful is going to begin...."

To some critics the weak point in the drama might seem to be this: Monna
Vanna goes out to Prinzivalle although she has no reliable information
as to what manner of man he is. There was the greatest likelihood, Guido
might have urged, that the man who makes such an infamous condition will
not dream of keeping his promise. But the dramatist makes the heroine
tell Prinzivalle that the one man who could have given her a favourable
account of his character (and who, as we know, had given a favourable
account of it to Guido) had told her nothing about him; possibly
Maeterlinck desired in this way to emphasise the motive that Monna Vanna
goes to sacrifice her honour _on the mere chance_ of saving the city.

The scene between Prinzivalle and Trivulzio in the second act has points
of similarity with the argument of Browning's _Luria_. This was pointed
out by Professor William Lyon Phelps of Yale in an article in the _New
York Independent_ of the 5th March, 1903. Browning's play, too, is set
in the fifteenth century on the eve of a battle between Pisa and
Florence; and, like Prinzivalle, "Luria holds Pisa's fortunes in his
hand." Both Luria and Prinzivalle are "utter aliens "; and both are
modelled on Othello (Luria is a Moor; Prinzivalle is "a Basque or a
Breton," but he has served in Africa). The character of the two
Commissaries in the plays is identical. Maeterlinck wrote as follows to
Professor Phelps:

     "You are quite right. There is a likeness between [Browning's play
     and] the scene in the second act, in which Prinzivalle unmasks
     Trivulzio. I am surprised nobody has noticed it before, the more so
     as I made no attempt to conceal it, for I took exactly the same
     hostile cities, the same period, and almost the same characters;
     although of course it would have been very easy to alter the whole.
     I admire Browning, who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest of
     English poets. For that reason I regarded him as belonging to
     classic and universal literature, and as a poet whom everybody
     ought to know; and I thought I was entitled to borrow a situation,
     or rather the fragment of a situation, from him, a thing which
     occurs every day with Æschylus, Sophocles, and Shakespeare. Such
     borrowings take place _coram populo_, and are in the nature of a
     public homage. I regard the scene as a passage which I have piously
     dedicated to the poet who created in me the atmosphere in which
     _Monna Vanna_ was written."

With this naïve and sincere letter Maeterlinck clears himself of any
charge of plagiarism. If he was a plagiarist in _Monna Vanna_, he was a
plagiarist, too, in _Joyzelle_ (1903), for in a postscript of his
letter to Professor Phelps he confesses that this play was written in
the atmosphere of Shakespeare's _Tempest_.

_Joyzelle_, another dramatised essay, is again written in the irritating
blank verse which Maeterlinck at this stage of his career seems to have
grown perversely fond of. To Merlin (Prosper rechristened) on his
enchanted island comes his long-lost son Lancéor. The first person the
newcomer meets is Joyzelle, who is destined to be his bride if she
stands the trials prepared for her. The young couple fall in love with
each other at first sight; but Merlin, who is attended by Arielle, his
disembodied genius (his interior force, the forgotten power that sleeps
in every soul), is also in love with Joyzelle.

Merlin, being a magician, is able to set traps for the lovers. He clouds
the brain of Lancéor, and delivers him up to instinct, so that he
compromises himself with Arielle, who for the purpose of playing the
tempter has become visible, has half opened the veils that invest her,
and unbound her long hair. (Men always fall into traps when their
instinct leads them, their frailties being necessary for the designs of
life.) Joyzelle discovers her lover in the act of embracing the supposed
lady; but, with that nobility above jealousy which distinguishes the
heroines of Maeterlinck after Astolaine, she continues to love him. She
reveals to Lancéor, in curious language, the depth of her affections:

     "When one loves as I love thee, it is not what he says, it is not
     what he does, it is not what he is that one loves in what one
     loves; it is he, and nothing but him, and he remains the same,
     through the years and misfortunes that pass.... It is he alone, it
     is thou alone, and in thee nothing can change without making love
     grow.... He who is all in thee; thou who art all in him, whom I
     see, whom I hear, whom I listen to without pause, and whom I love
     always.... We have to fight, we shall have to suffer; for this is a
     world which seems full of traps.... We are only two, but we are all
     love!..."

"Men are victimised by every beautiful woman," comments Mieszner, "and
only the woman to whom they surrender themselves blindly can educate
them to a higher love. This is the idea that clearly shines through the
action ... woman rescuing sensual man from his sensuality."

Merlin now instils a subtle poison into Lancéor's veins, confirms
Joyzelle's suspicions that her lover is on the point of death, but
offers to save his life if she will give herself to him. "You would not
need to tell him," the old swine suggests. "But I should have to tell
him, because I love him," she answers. (Moral again: love cannot lie.)
Joyzelle is not willing to do for one human being, though he is the
being she loves best on earth, what Monna Vanna was willing to do for
hundreds of strangers. She feigns consent, however, and promises to
come at night; but she makes Merlin restore Lancéor there and then. When
she comes to the old man's couch, it is with a dagger ready; she finds
him sleeping, and lifts the dagger, but Arielle prevents the blow. Her
trials are over; she has stood the last test. Merlin explains matters to
his son: "She might have yielded," he says, "might have sacrificed
herself, her love; she might have despaired--and then she would not have
been the one love craves." To Joyzelle he says that it was written that
she and those who resemble her should have a right to the love fate
shows them; and that this love (the one love in life) must break
injustice down. As to his own love for the girl, he bids Arielle kiss
her; it seems to her then that flowers she cannot gather are touching
her brow and caressing her lips, and Merlin tells her not to brush them
aside, they are sad and pure--a symbolisation, perhaps, of intellectual
love which renounces sensuality.

_Joyzelle_ was first performed, with Mme Leblanc in the title-rôle, at
the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris on the 20th May, 1903. In the same year
Maeterlinck's comedy, _Le Miracle de St Antoine_ (The Miracle of St
Antony) was performed at Geneva and Brussels. It has been published in
German, but not yet in French or English.


[1] Preface to _Théâtre_, p. XVIII. The interpretation given on the
following page is his own, as given to a friend.

[2] Cf. _Le Temple Enseveli_, Chapters XXVI and XXVII.

[3] "Aus unseren Zierpuppen und aus unseren Blaustrümpfen werden erst
Vollmenschen, nachdem die Mädchen und Frauen ihre natürlichen Reize
entdeckt haben und sie selbst gebrauchen lernen."--Mieszner,
_Maeterlinck's Werke_, p. 48.

[4] Cf. also Chapters XXVIII and XXIX of _L'Evolution du Mystère_ in
this volume.

[5] It was performed in December, 1911, by the Players' Club in Dublin.

[6] The play (the symbol of the fates of the poet and Mme Leblanc,
according to Oppeln-Bronikowski, the German translator of Maeterlinck's
works--_Bühne und Welt_, November-Heft 2, 1902) had been specially
written for her. As Monna Vanna, she made her debut as an actress--she
had previously been an opera-singer.



CHAPTER XI


Maeterlinck's essays do not centre round himself. His vision is cosmic;
the subject of his essays is the universe. But _Le double Jardin_ (The
Double Garden), a collection of essays strung together and published in
1904, is more personal than his other books, though it is still
concerned with presenting a cosmic philosophy. Here he gives us glimpses
into his life; we see him as a lover of dogs and flowers; on his travels
in the south of Europe; as an automobilist; as an amateur of fencing.

The first essay is that famous one--"On the Death of a little Dog."
Those who fight shy of Maeterlinck because they credit the report,
sufficiently widespread, that he is a platitudinarian, might be advised
to sample him in this essay. If, when they have read it, they are unable
to admit his charm and originality, they may be considered cases of
obstinacy. It is not written with any ostentation of style; its style,
in these days of fine writing by intellectual acrobats, is not even
brilliant. It is written so simply that you would say it had been
written for children; and it is as touchingly beautiful and as full of
meaning as that other sublimely simple story about the ugly duckling.

It is the life-story of a little bull-dog that died of distemper when he
was six months old. He had a great bulging forehead, like Verlaine's. He
was as beautiful as a beautiful natural monster. Life was as full of
problems for him as it is for the burdened brains of the children of
men. He had to resign himself, like any other mystic, to the mystery of
closed doors; he had to admit that the essential bounties of existence,
generally imprisoned in pots and pans, are inaccessible. What a lot of
orders, prohibitions, and perils he had to class in his memory; and how
was he to conciliate them all with other more vast and imperious laws
implanted in him by instinct, laws which rise and grow from hour to
hour, which come from the beginning of time and of the race, which
invade the blood, the muscles, and the nerves, and of a sudden assert
themselves, more irresistible and more powerful than pain, and even than
the master's order and the pain of death? And then the stolen
joys--first and foremost the refuse-tin! He sees the cook cleaning a
fish--but he does not appear curious as to where those delicacies go; he
bides his time.

The only animal that has made a compact with man is the dog. To the dog
man is God--ideas soon to be made visible in _The Blue Bird_.

There is a beautiful essay on old-fashioned flowers--those which are
being ousted out of our modern gardens by such flowers as
tuberous-rooted begonias, with their red combs always crowing like so
many cocks; and one on chrysanthemums, a symbol of the onward march of
culture. (We know from _The Blue Bird_ that our descendants are to have
daisies as big as tables, grapes as big as pears, blue apples as big as
melons, and melons as big as pumpkins: all the beauty, all the bounties
of the future are only waiting for the intellect of man to awaken them.)
In "The Olive Boughs" the teaching of the volume is concentrated:

     "Hitherto the pivot of the world seemed to us to be formed of
     spiritual powers; to-day we are convinced that it is composed of
     purely material energies."

It is by the study of concrete things--the mechanism of an automobile,
the adaptability of dogs to climate and occupation,[1] the evolution of
flowers--that we shall learn to solve the riddle of existence. This
teaching, like that of _The Life of the Bee_, is absolutely identical
with Verhaeren's.

An important essay is that on "The Modern Drama." Maeterlinck has some
hard things to say about historical dramas, "those necessarily
artificial poems which are born of an impossible marriage between the
past and the present." The passions and feelings that a modern poet
reads into a past age must of necessity be modern, and cannot live in an
alien atmosphere. The modern drama "unfolds itself in a modern house,
among men and women of to-day." The task of the modern dramatist is to
go deeper into consciousness than was the custom of old: the drama of
to-day cannot deck itself out in gaudy trappings, the ermines and sables
of regal pomp, the show of circumstance; it cannot appeal to divinity;
it cannot appeal to any fixed fatality; it must try to discover, in the
regions of psychology, and in those of moral life, the equivalent of
what it has lost in the exterior life of epic times. And the sovereign
law of the theatre will always be _action_. No matter how beautiful, no
matter how deep the language is, it is bound to weary us if it changes
nothing in the situation, if it does not lead to a decisive conflict, if
it does not hurry on to a final solution.

_L'Intelligence des Fleurs_ (English translation: Life and Flowers),
published in 1907, is another collection of essays twining "the
instinctive ideal" round the solid pillars of reality. Maeterlinck
describes the vehement, obstinate revolt of flowers against their
destiny. They have one aim: to escape from the fatality that fixes them
to the soil, to invent wings, as it were, so that they may soar above
the region that gave them birth, and there expand in the light which is
their blossoming. Flowers set us a prodigious example of
insubordination, of courage, of perseverance, and of cunning. It is the
genius of the earth which is acting in them--the earth-spirit,
Maeterlinck might have said with Goethe. "The ideal of the earth-spirit
is often confused, but you can distinguish in it a multitude of great
lines which rise aloft to a life more ardent, more complex, more
nervous, more spiritual." Insects and flowers bring gleams of the light
without into the dark cavern in which we are prisoners. They, too, have
something of the fluid which religions called divine--the fluid to which
man, of all things on earth, offers the least resistance. Their
evolution should make us feel that man is on the way to divinity.

The chapter called "L'Inquiétude de notre Morale" strides over dead
religions to hold out a hand of welcome to the religion of the future.
Two main rivers of contemporary thought, whose sources are Tolstoy and
Nietzsche, flow with high waves far from the bogs and shallow pools
where those who are poisoned by dead religions lie stifling. One of
these rivers is flowing violently backwards to an illusory past; the
other roars foam-flecked in its fury to an improbable future. Between
these two rivers lies the broad plateau of reality; and we who are
Maeterlinck's disciples may add that we build our homesteads round the
placid lake his teaching forms on this broad plateau between the two
dangerous rivers....

The chapter "In Praise of Boxing," is not a literary exercise on a fancy
subject. Maeterlinck is a boxer who needs some beating. We have all read
in all the newspapers in the year of grace 1912 that a public match in
the interests of charity had been arranged between him and the
middleweight champion of Europe, Georges Carpentier.

Another section, "Our Social Duty," tends towards Socialism. "Extreme
opinion," we read, "demands immediately an integral sharing, the
suppression of property, obligatory work, etc. We do not know yet how
these demands can be realised; but it is at this moment certain that
very simple circumstances will make them some day seem as natural as the
suppression of primogenitureship and the privileges of the nobility....
Truth here is situated less in reason, which is always turned towards
the past, than in imagination, which sees farther than the future....
Let us only listen to the experience which urges us forward; it is
always higher than that which restrains us or throws us backward. Let us
reject all the counsels of the past which are not turned towards the
future.... It is above all important to destroy. In all social progress,
the great work, the only difficult work, is the destruction of the past.
We do not need to be anxious about what we shall set up in place of the
ruins. The force of things and of life will undertake the work of
reconstruction."

_L'Oiseau bleu_ (The Blue Bird) is an epitome of these and other
Maeterlinckian ideas. But this is no dramatised essay. The characters,
it is true, are still ideas personified; but this time they are
galvanised into life by a saving quality--humour. The humour that made
the essay "On the Death of a Little Dog" so irresistible makes this
presentation of Maeterlinck's philosophy for children a thing of pure
delight. It is, moreover, as easy to understand, and as sparkling to the
eyes in its magic changes, as a Christmas pantomime. And a child who has
seen this fairy tale on the stage has not only enjoyed itself immensely,
and had an experience it will never forget, but it has also learned, it
cannot fail to have learned, lessons that should have an immediate and
lasting effect on its character and behaviour. Maeterlinck has many
jewels in her crown; but the brightest is that which came to him for
having brought happiness and taught goodness to children.

_The Blue Bird_ was first produced at the Théâtre des Arts in Moscow on
the 30th September, 1908. This theatre, which had been supported for
years by a group of rich amateurs, first paid its way when _The Blue
Bird_ drew thousands to its boards. In December, 1909, Mr Herbert Trench
staged it, with a poet's understanding of a poet at the Haymarket
Theatre in London; it ran till June, and was revived for Christmas,
1910.

_The Blue Bird_, like another modern pantomime for children, Richard
Dehmel's demoniac _Fitzebutze_, is as entertaining to read as it is
fascinating to see. The two children of a woodcutter, a boy, Tyltyl, and
a girl, Mytyl, are sent out by a fairy in quest of "the blue bird, that
is to say, the great secret of things and of happiness." They are
accompanied by Light (whom the fairy conjures out of the lamp in the
cottage), the Dog, the Cat (a very nasty cat--cats must be nasty because
dogs, the friends of man, don't like them), Sugar (who breaks off his
fingers for them to eat when they are hungry), Bread (who slices his
paunch to add substance to the sugar), Fire (a red-faced lout), Water
(whom Fire keeps at a respectful distance because she has not brought
her umbrella), and Milk (a very shy, impressionable youth--as one might
say, a milksop). First the children pay a visit to their dead
grandparents in the misty Land of Memory. They find the old couple
asleep on a bench in front of the same old cottage they occupied on
earth; they awaken at the children's approach, and we are taught that
the dead awaken every time the loved ones whom they left behind think of
them. Before they leave, the old people make them a present of a
blackbird which is quite blue; but when they have left the Land of
Memory they find it has turned black. (It was not real, it was a dream,
and could not bear the light of reality.)

Continuing their wanderings they come to the Palace of Night. The Cat
has hurried on in advance to tell Mother Night, with whom he is in
league, of the coming of their enemy, Man, who is guided by Light. Night
is very much upset: already, she complains, Man has captured a third of
her mysteries, all her Terrors are afraid and dare not leave the house,
her Ghosts have taken flight, the greater part of her Sicknesses are
ill. The children arrive, and in the end capture a number of blue birds
behind one of the doors to which Night holds the key. But as soon as the
company have escaped from the Palace of Night, the birds are seen to be
dead. Like the roses in the cavern in _Alladine and Palomides_, they
could not live in the light of day.

They reach the enchanted palaces where all men's joys, all men's
happinesses are gathered together in the charge of Fate. First they meet
the Luxuries of the Earth, bloated revellers whose banqueting-hall is
separated from the cavern of the Miseries only by a thin curtain. The
Blue Bird is not here. Next they interview the Happinesses (the
Happiness of Home, the Happiness of Being Well, etc.) and the Great Joys
(the Joy of Maternal Love, the Joy of Understanding, etc.). In the end
they arrive at the Kingdom of the Future, an Azure Palace pretty high up
in the clouds. Here all unborn children, enough to last to the end of
the world, more than thirty thousand, are awaiting the hour of their
birth. When the fathers and mothers want children, Father Time throws
back the opalescent doors which open upon the quays of the Dawn, and
ships the babies off in a galley with White and gold sails; then are
heard the sounds of the earth like a distant music, and the song of the
mothers coming out to meet their children. Gliding about among the
children are taller figures, "clad in a paler and more diaphanous azure,
figures of a sovereign and silent beauty"--the race which shall inhabit
the earth when man has made way for his offspring the superman. The
babes unborn are pondering, while they wait:

                       "some little plan or chart,
    Some fragment from their dream of human life,"

the inventions they are to make, the happiness they are to confer, the
crimes they are to commit. Of a sudden Father Time discovers the
children, and comes towards them in a fury, asking them why they are not
blue; but Light tells the boy to turn the magic diamond which has
preserved them thus far, and she has just time to whisper that she has
got the blue bird, when down goes the curtain.

ACT VI. shows the children in their little cots, where they were when
the play opened; it has all been a dream.

For _The Blue Bird_ Maeterlinck was in 1912 awarded, for the third time
in succession, the Belgian "Triennial prize for dramatic literature."

In 1910 appeared his translation of _Macbeth_, and the English
translation of another play of his, _Mary Magdalene_. _Macbeth_ was
performed (a sensational event, and a triumph for Mme Maeterlinck) at
the Abbey of Saint Wandrille, the Benedictine cloister which Maeterlinck
saved from being turned into a chemical factory,[2] and which is now his
home. _Mary Magdalene_ was first performed at Leipsic and Hamburg; in
Great Britain it shares with _Monna Vanna_ the honour of being refused
an acting licence (because the voice of Jesus is heard in it!)

For _Mary Magdalene_ Maeterlinck borrowed two situations from a German
play, _Maria von Magdala_, by Paul Heyse--"namely, at the end of the
first act, the intervention of Christ, Who stops the crowd raging
against Mary Magdalene with these words, spoken behind the scenes: 'He
that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone'; and, in
the third, the dilemma in which the great sinner finds herself, of
saving or destroying the Son of God, according as she consents or
refuses to give herself to a Roman." Paul Heyse refused Maeterlinck his
authorisation to develop these two situations; whereupon Maeterlinck
decided that "the words of the gospel, quoted above, are common
property; and that the dilemma ... is one of those which occur pretty
frequently in dramatic literature." It was the very situation,
Maeterlinck claims, which he had himself imagined in the final trial of
Joyzelle.

The death of Christ is a tragedy which is waiting for a great dramatist
to master. Both Grillparzer and Hebbel pondered it. Maeterlinck has not
done what they left undone; he was not dramatist enough to do it.
Grillparzer would have spun his play round Judas as a type of an envious
man; Maeterlinck places Mary Magdalene in the centre, not the sinner,
but the convert--and this convert is the same character as Aglavaine, as
Monna Vanna--Maeterlinck's strong, wise woman. This tragedy is again in
the nature of a dramatised essay--another essay on wisdom. The idea is
that the wise, who are certain of their knowledge, cannot yield to what
is wrong. Joyzelle, we remember, would not sacrifice to save one man (it
is true she pretended to be willing to, but her pretence was foolish,
for she should have known it would be vain, seeing that Merlin was a
magician) what Monna Vanna was willing to sacrifice to save a multitude.
Mary Magdalene refuses to make the same sacrifice to save Christ: for
Christ has made her a wise and therefore a good woman, and she would be
untrue to Him in her if she were to rescue Him from Death--in other
words His teaching, the essence of His Soul, must not be soiled,
whatever torture be inflicted on His poor, human body. There would be
tense tragedy in the situation when she hears Him being led to
crucifixion, if we did not feel that she is no character but a wise
idea; and if, too, the Roman who has it in his power to save Christ were
not such a vulgar, melodramatic villain. Maeterlinck has been singularly
unsuccessful in this drama. As a courtesan Mary Magdalene is a bore; as
a convert she is still a bore.

It is not a human drama. If Jesus has the power to awaken the dead, and
to summon the living so that they walk as in sleep (Mary comes to Him in
this way), there is no human conflict. One might suspect sexual
attraction in Mary's conversion, but she gives one the impression of
being a sexless blue-stocking; we are forced to the conclusion that she
is mesmerised. Jesus is a mesmerist;[3] from a dramatic point of view.
He is no more convincing than Svengali. Maeterlinck's play is on a level
with those of Hall Caine; his Roman villain especially might have been
conceived by Hall Caine.

In 1911 appeared, in an English translation (the French original was not
published till 1913), another book of essays under the title of _Death_.
Maeterlinck takes up the thread of what he had said about death in his
previous writings, especially in the noble essay on Immortality in _Life
and Flowers_:

     "For us, death is the one event that counts in our life or in our
     universe. It is the point whereat all that escapes our vigilance
     unites and conspires against our happiness. The more our thoughts
     struggle to turn away from it, the closer do they press around it.
     The more we dread it, the more dreadful it becomes, for it battens
     but on our fears lie who seeks to forget it burdens his memory with
     it; he who tries to shun it meets naught else. But though we think
     of death incessantly, we do so unconsciously without learning to
     know death."

The book shocked many of its critics, who found one of Maeterlinck's
ideas repugnant--his plea that it is to no purpose to prolong the
agonies of the sick-bed.

     "Why should the doctors," asks the essayist, "consider it their
     duty to protract even the most excruciating convulsions of the most
     hopeless agony? Who has not, at a bedside, twenty times wished and
     not once dared to throw himself at their feet and implore them to
     show mercy?... One day this prejudice will strike us as barbarian.
     Its roots go down to the unacknowledged fears left in the heart by
     religions which have long since died out in the mind of men. That
     is why the doctors act as though they were convinced that there is
     no known torture but is preferable to those awaiting us in the
     unknown.... The day will come when science will turn against this
     error, and no longer hesitate to shorten our misfortunes."

Why should we fear death? It is not the nightmare which superstition has
made it out to be. It is not the arrival of death, but the departure of
life which is appalling.

     "Here begins the open sea. Here begins the glorious adventure, the
     only one abreast with human curiosity, the only one that soars as
     high as its highest longing. Let us accustom ourselves to regard
     death as a form of life which we do not yet understand; let us
     learn to look upon it with the same eye that looks upon birth; and
     soon our mind will be accompanied to the steps of the tomb with the
     same glad expectation that greets a birth."

It may be doubted whether men will ever grow so wise that they will look
forward to death as they look forward to a birth; in the meantime, as Mr
Basil de Sélincourt pointed out in the _Manchester Guardian_, they will
be getting toothless, bald, and blind, and "the logic of the mystics may
wish to assure us that these are processes of life and not of death; we
shall continue to think such an assurance rather sophistical and
insipid.... The fear of the moment of death and a passionate protest of
the soul against the idea of its finality are probably as normal in the
highest types of men as in the lowest."[4] And there is another
consideration, subtly suggested by Charles Bernard in an article in _Le
Masque_, Série ii, Nos. 7 and 8: the fear of the physical agony of death
and the decomposition that follows it intensifies the raptures of
health, and even all the moments of pleasure an ageing man can snatch
from his decay.

But the importance of the book does not lie in this discussion of the
physical facts of death. It lies in its investigation of ideas
concerning the immortality of our soul. Whatever the soul be--whether it
be that mysterious thing which cannot be definitely located, but which
we carry about with us like a mirror in a world whose phenomena only
take shape in so far as they are reflected in it,[5] or whether it be
the sum total of our intellectual and moral qualities fortified by those
of instinct and sub-consciousness[6]--Maeterlinck's suggestions, in his
various essays, of a solution brings us to something which strengthens
the spiritual, or if you like the intellectual, part of our nature.

"Is it not possible" he asks, "that the enjoyment of art for its own
sake, the calm and full satisfaction we are plunged into by the
contemplation of a beautiful statue or of a perfect monument, things
that do not belong to us and that we shall never see again, which excite
no sensual desire, which can profit us nothing--is it not possible that
this satisfaction may be the pale gleam of a different consciousness
filtering through a fissure of that consciousness of ours which is built
up of memories?"[7]

_Death_ appeared almost simultaneously with the news that Maeterlinck
had been awarded the Nobel prize for literature. The occasion was
celebrated by a public banquet offered to the poet by the City of
Brussels; official Belgium had at last awakened to the fact that its
poets were more honoured in the world than its rulers. As to the one
hundred and ninety thousand francs, he had no need of the money for
himself, and it was announced that his intention was to found a
"Maeterlinck prize with it," to be given every two years to the writer
of the most remarkable book published in that period in the French
language.


[1] He does not mention the soft mouth of the old English sheep-dog.

[2] The Abbé Dimnet, in an article in _The Nineteenth Century_ for
January, 1912, charges Maeterlinck with indelicacy for having occupied
the abbey so soon after its confiscation! The abbé does not mention the
chemical project.

[3]

     LAZARUS: Come. The Master calls you.

     [MAGDALENE _leaves the column against which she is leaning and
     takes four or five steps towards_ LAZARUS _as though walking in her
     sleep_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

     MAGDALENE: He fixed his eyes for but a moment on mine; and that
     will be enough for the rest of my life.

--(p. 72).

[4] I have re-translated from the French in which Mr de Sélincourt's
article was reproduced in _Le Thyrse_ for January, 1912.


[5] "L'Immortalité" (in _L'Intelligence des Fleurs_) p. 282.

[6] _Ibid._, p. 295.

[7] _Ibid._, p. 307.



CHAPTER XII


I have reported little of the gossip concerning Maeterlinck. Everybody
knows that he smokes denicotinised tobacco; that he resides in the
summer at Saint Wandrille and in the winter at his house "Villa des
Abeilles" at Nice (having now left his villa aux Quatre Chemins, near
Grasse in the south of France); and so forth. One little picture I would
like to contribute; I have it from a friend and admirer of his, and it
concerns a visit to the Villa Dupont, the house in the Rue Pergolèse
where Maeterlinck lived when he first settled in Paris:

     "His study was like a monk's cell, but very original in style. It
     was simply lime-washed; and this lime-wash was of a hard, raw blue
     in colour, approaching indigo. For furniture, a little
     looking-glass, a table of rough wood, and three chairs. No books at
     all. But the walls were covered with little white butterflies in
     flight. These were _thoughts_, and every one was fastened to the
     wall simply by a pin. The effect was singular, violently original
     at all events, but with nothing that gave you the idea of a pose.
     Maeterlinck at this period received no visitors, saw none of his
     friends. He had installed himself in surroundings as bare as
     possible, so that he might meditate; and to these surroundings he
     had given the colour he desired.

     "This room was empty when I was brought into it; and I beguiled the
     tedium of waiting for Maeterlinck by reading some of the thoughts
     on the slips of white paper pinned to the wall. Some of them were
     nothing very particular; others were obscure or appeared rather
     childish--isolated, as I read them;--but some were very beautiful.
     Maeterlinck coming into the room and finding me thus occupied,
     laughed heartily. But severely I pointed to the butterflies on the
     wall, and inquired about the name of each species. The names, I was
     told, were very great names indeed. I tried to guess one or two,
     but luck was against me, and I felt it a puzzle to set the right
     name to each bit of paper.

     "Maeterlinck, reading with me, smiled as he saw me attack a new
     battalion of thoughts. These were placed somewhat apart from the
     others. 'Are they yours?' I asked. 'Yes,' he answered modestly;
     'nothing more than studies for a book I am working at. But take
     notice of this one, please, and of this one, and of this one too.
     Are they not most beautiful?' Then, in a tone of jubilant
     admiration, he pronounced the name of their author--the name of a
     French lady who, some years afterwards, was to be Melisanda, Monna
     Vanna, and Ardiane on the stage. Several of these thoughts, I must
     say, seemed really worth attention; and I felt particularly
     surprised that a woman should have been able to compress them into
     three short lines, or even into five or six words."

As to Maeterlinck's personal appearance at the present time, the
following is the impression he made recently on Mr Frank Harris:

     "Maeterlinck is easily described: a man of about five feet nine in
     height, inclined to be stout; silver hair lends distinction to the
     large round head and boyish fresh complexion; blue-grey eyes, now
     thoughtful, now merry, and an unaffected off-hand manner. The
     features are not cut, left rather "in the rough" as sculptors say,
     even the heavy jaw and chin are drowned in fat; the forehead bulges
     and the eyes lose colour in the light and seem hard; still, an
     interesting and attractive personality."[1]

A few words must be devoted to the present position of Maeterlinck in
critical estimation. Since the award of the Nobel prize imposed him on
the public consciousness as one of the foremost of living writers,
voices have been raised in protest. The attack of the Abbé Dimnet in
_The Nineteenth Century and After_ for January, 1912, may be dismissed
as Jesuitical. Various opinions, mostly favourable, by celebrities, were
collected in the Brussels review _Le Thyrse_ for January, 1912, under
the heading, "Maeterlinck et le prix Nobel." One of these letters is
from Alfred Fouillée, who suggests that Maeterlinck's philosophy owes
much to that of Jean Marie Guyau. The old complaint that the dramas are
"childish" is rarely heard nowadays; but there is a vague feeling in the
air that the substance of the essays is a potpourri from earlier
writers. It is the easiest thing in the world to make such a charge; it
is far more difficult to substantiate it. Not one critic has given us
the exhaustive list of parallel passages which would be required to
shake our credit in Maeterlinck's essential originality. Typical is the
attitude of Mr Frank Harris in his too inaccurate and loosely written
but not negligible articles in the _Academy_: he finds nothing in the
essays which is not already contained in "Moralis" (does he mean
Novalis?) and the other somewhat recondite writers in whom he (Mr Frank
Harris) is obviously so deeply read. But even if it were proved that
Maeterlinck, like Molière, has taken his wealth where he found it, there
would be no more reason to think the less of him than there is to think
the less of any artist for melting old metal and re-casting it, or of
any thinker for sifting, rejecting, and re-stating old conclusions. It
is an effort of profound originality to take whatever is good from a
vast, and in some cases buried literature, and from this stock to polish
and set in currency ideas which have an immediate effect on the
spiritual or mental life of to-day, which fortify character, give us
confidence in the future, make us better men and force us to make our
children better men than we are ourselves.

By far the most scathing of Maeterlinck's detractors is a Belgian critic
born in Ghent, Louis Dumont-Wilden, a critic who, as he confesses, was
in his youth enchanted by the "morning charm" of _The Treasure of the
Humble_ with "its violent and sustained effort to soar to a kind of
philosophical lyrism," who has still a good word to say for the early
dramas, but who condemns "the adulterated æstheticism of _Monna Vanna_,
the cold allegory, the elementary philosophy of _Joyzelle_ and _The Blue
Bird_." Already in _La Nouvelle Revue Française_ for February, 1910,
Dumont-Wilden attempted to shatter the idol in the following terms:

     "Le succès permet toujours aux hommes de lettres le supporter très
     bien l'angoisse métaphysique, et Maeterlinck, grâce à ses
     admirateurs et à ses amis, était devenu un homme de lettres.
     Prisonnier de ses premiers livres, et de son premier public, il
     trouva l'art subtil d'accomoder les balbutiements effarés de
     Mélisande, le naturisme ingénu qui fait le fonds de sa sensibilité
     de flamand, et ce vague optimisme 'humanitaire,' ce socialisme
     esthétique et scientifard, qui règne aujourd'hui parmi ceux que
     Nietzsche appelle 'les philistins de la culture.' Il est vrai qu'un
     peu de mysticisme arrange tout; mais tout de même, quel
     chef-d'œuvre de 'literature': faire croire à Monsieur Homais
     qu'il appartient à l'élite, et à l'élite qu'elle peut se permettre
     les sentiments de M. Homais!

     "D'abord la prose de Maeterlinck, sauce merveilleusement onctueuse,
     fit passer ce singulier ragoût intellectuel, que le grand public
     international, le public des liseurs de magazines et des
     institutrices polyglottes continue à prendre pour le
     chef-d'œuvre de la cuisine française."

As to the last item in this fierce diatribe, it would appear to be true
that Maeterlinck's greatest public is composed of "the philistines of
culture." Maeterlinck is an antagonist of Christianity; and yet perhaps
the majority of his admirers are those who love him because he has such
beautiful things to tell them about their immortal souls. Like Voltaire,
he fights 'l'infâme'; and yet to many a Christian virgin his works are
an edifice which he might have inscribed with the device: _Deo erexit
Maeterlinck_. Again, he has prophesied the inevitable victory of
socialism; but has he helped the socialists? Is he counted one of the
paladins of socialism? It might be argued that he has not the zest in
hard fighting which alone can help a fighting cause: he stands apart
from the mêlée with a wise face imperturbable: he would persuade, not
fight, and he is too persuasive to persuade. Those who waver or resist
must be shattered into conviction, the fanatic might urge. In short,
Maeterlinck is a socialist much as Goethe was a patriot.

Well, probably the fact is that Maeterlinck is no more a "socialist"
than Goethe was a "patriot." All such terms may be interpreted
variously. Goethe _was_ a patriot if you consider that his fatherland
was the world. Maeterlinck _is_ a socialist if you look away from the
din of the mere present to the future his writings undoubtedly prepare.
Maeterlinck is first and foremost a _futurist_, a seer of the future.
Even as a dramatist (apart from his later dramas, which must, on the
whole, be rejected) he is a futurist. And in this sense he has his
public among the élite. M. Dumont-Wilden would not call Johannes Schlaf
a philistine of culture? And to Johannes Schlaf, as to me, Maeterlinck's
importance lies in the fact that he is _the_ perfect type of Nietzsche's
_New European_, in himself a prophecy of the race our descendants will
be when patriotism is: to be a citizen of the whole world, and religion
is: to be noble for nobility's sake. As for his Christian readers, why
should they not, if they can, find confirmation of their own creed in
the teaching of an enemy of it? The fact of Maeterlinck's vogue with
Christian readers only proves that Christianity has much in common with
the religion of the future.

In an article, which created a sensation, in La _Nouvelle Revue
Française_ for September, 1912, M. Dumont-Wilden compares Maeterlinck's
popularity with that of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre three generations ago.
He says:

     "La gloire de Bernardin n'est point négligeable, et la comparaison
     s'impose d'elle-même entre Maeterlinck et lui. En écrivant _Les
     Etudes de la Nature_, cet auteur vieilli dont on ne lit plus guère
     qu'une bluette charmante qu'il composa en se jouant, apportait une
     nourriture salutaire au public de son temps, à ce public moyen que
     Jean-Jacques dépassait. Son finalisme ingénu calmait les
     inquiétudes de ceux que la sécheresse d'une morale utilitaire et
     d'un matérialisme sans grandeur avait déçus et qui, pourtant, se
     refusaient à faire, même avec Chateaubriand, le voyage du pénitent
     vers les autels délaissés."

Now, if Jean-Jacques was to Bernardin de Saint-Pierre what Nietzsche is
to Maeterlinck, it would not be difficult to prove that Maeterlinck
appeals to Nietzscheans, and that his teaching has points of contact
with that of Nietzsche. To be quite short, Maeterlinck's man of the
future is essentially the superman. And even if it were true that
Maeterlinck's writings will be no more read in the future than are those
of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre to-day, that would not reduce him to the
rank of a minor writer. Voltaire's writings, which prepared a
revolution, are now little read; and yet how much of Voltaire's
thinking, or abstract of thinking (was Voltaire "original"?) is woven
into the fabric of the mental life of to-day? We cannot, it is true,
draw a close comparison between Voltaire and Maeterlinck, for
Maeterlinck has no venom, and no disposition to thrust himself forward
into the forefront of public interest; but it would be possible to
compare his present position with that of Goethe (another writer the
great mass of whose writings, as far as the non-German reading public is
concerned, is dead). What Goethe was to the élite of Europe in the
opening decades of the nineteenth century, Maeterlinck is to-day. His
position, too, was assailed by a younger school of authors; but they
could not shake it. Goethe, by the final moral of _Faust_, taught his
generation to channel their activities and, confident of the result, to
pour their strength into unselfish work; Maeterlinck teaches the same
doctrine, and it may be said again of him, as he has said of Goethe,
that he has brought us to the shores of the sea of serenity.

So much for Maeterlinck's philosophy. But his critics, especially M.
Dumont-Wilden, are apt to forget one thing--his poetry. It is possible,
of course, to state even his dramas in terms of philosophy; but when you
have interpreted the symbols, there still remains something that cannot
be set down in equations--the poetry. Granted that Maleine = the human
soul: does she not still remain a beautiful dream, a Sadist's dream of a
girl?[2] Against M. Dumont-Wilden's criticism



                      Albert Mockel, _La Wallonie_,
                        June and July, 1890.

it must be urged that Maeterlinck, besides being a thinker, is also a
poet--not a lyric poet, of course (his rank is low here), but a creator
of new things, a master of atmosphere and suggestion--in short, when all
deductions are made, a great writer. The philosophy will be absorbed by
everyday life and become commonplace; but _Interior_ and _The Sightless_
will always be the first-fruits of a new poetry and deathless works of
art.

There is one other thing to be said. There have been thinkers whose
private life did not bear comparison with the ideals proclaimed in their
writings. Of Maeterlinck the man nothing but good is known. The man he
is would stand unshaken if all his literary works withered like bindweed
round a tree at the first breath of winter. A eulogy of his character
based on the long list of his good deeds is impossible; for these are
unknown--suspected merely, or secrets of his friends and not to be
revealed without offending him. But the sage needs no approbation save
his own; and Maeterlinck's good deeds were done, not for praise, but
because he was Maeterlinck.



[1] _Academy_; 22nd June, 1912.

[2] "C'est une fillette de van Lerberghe si inconsciemment venue dans
les _Serres Chaudes_, et qui s'y meurt; étouffée en ce palais
empoisonné, elle s'y meurt, elle s'y meurt! Elle est claire, elle est
pure, d'une chasteté d'étrangère apparue,--et pourtant son haleine est
d'une malade, il sourd de sa poitrine des effluves angéliques et
pervers; elle est équivoque et triste, et nul ne saurait affirmer avec
certitude que tout cela existe, ni qu'elle-même _est_ bien là, devant
nous. C'est la Princesse, la Princesse ... Elle, ses paupières vagues et
toutes ses boucles en lianes; ses cheveux qui s'enrouleraient de
caresses vivantes, étrangement tièdes sinon de glace, un col irréel où
s'enlaceraient des malheurs,--un san Giovannino de Donatello parmi des
terreurs ambiguës, un Botticelli dans la Malaria."



INDEX

A.

"Academy, The," xiv.
Acting, present-day style of.
Action.
Adam, Paul.
Adultery.
Æschylus.
"Aglavaine et Selysette."
Ajalbert, Jean.
Alcohol.
"Alladine et Palomides."
Altruism, 111, 128, 131.
Andersen, Hans Christian.
"Anima vagula."
Animals.
"Annabella."
Anti-asceticism.
"Ardiane and Bluebeard," _see_ "Ariane et Barbe-Bleue."
"Ariane et Barbe-Bleue."
Art.
Artist.
Asceticism.
Aspiration.
Atmosphere.
Aurelius, Marcus.
Authority.
Avebury, Lord.
"Avertis, Les."
"Aveugles, Les."


B.

Barbey d'Aurevilly, Jules.
"Basoche, La."
Baudelaire, Charles, 44, 84, (doctrine of correspondences).
Bazalgette, Léon.
Beaunier, André.
Beauty.
Bees.
Bernard, Charles.
Bernardin de Saint-Pierre.
Bever, Adolphe van.
"Blue Bird, The," _see_ "Oiseau Bleu, L'."
Blue-stockings.
Boehme, Jakob.
Boswell. James.
Botticelli, Sandro.
Bourget, Paul.
Boxing.
Brain, the.
Breughels, The.
Bridges, Robert.
Brisson, Adolphe.
Brotherhood of the Common Life.
Browning, Robert.
Bruges.
Buddhism.
"Buried Temple, The," _see_ "Temple Enseveli, Le."
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward.

C.

Caine.
Calm.
Carlyle, Thomas.
Carpentier, Georges.
Cassius.
Cats.
Censor, the.
"Chance, La."

Character, 104, 110.
Characterisation, 37, 125, 142.
Chastity, 65, 94, 106-107, 108, 111, 162.
Chateaubriand, François-René de, 161.
Chaucer, Geoffrey, 21.
Children.
Christ.
Christianity.
Chrysanthemums.
Closed door, the.
Collectivism.
Communism.
Conscious, the.
Contradictions.
Convent life.
Correspondences, doctrine of,.
Crane, Walter
"Cravache, La."
Crime.
Crusoe, Robinson, 113.


D.

Darzens, Rodolphe.
Davidson.
"Death," _see_ "Mort.
Death.
"Death of a Little Dog, On the."
"Death of Tintagiles, The," _see_ "Mort de Tintagiles, La."
Debauch.
Decadents, the.
Defoe, Daniel.
Dehmel, Richard.
Delia Rocca de Vergalo.
Deman, Edmond.
Destiny, _see_ Fate.
Destiny, exterior and moral.
Development.
Development of Maeterlinck.
Diderot, Denis.
Dijk, Is. van.
Dimnet, the Abbé.
"Disciples à Saïs, Les, et les Fragments de Novalis."
Doctors, the.
Dogs, 136-138.
Donatello, 163.
"Double Garden, The," _see_ "Double Jardin, Le."
"Double Jardin, Le."
Doudelet, Charles.
Doumic, René.
"Douze Chansons."
Drama, Maeterlinck's theories of.
Dramaturgy.
Dreyfus affair.
Dryden, John.
"Duchess of Main, The."
Dumont-Wilden, Louis.
Dupont, Villa.
Dyck, Ernest van.


E.

Eekhoud, Georges.
Egoism, 108, in.
"Einsame Menschen."
Elective affinities.
Elizabethans, the.
Elskamp, Max.
Emancipation.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo.
Everyday life, gospel of.
Evolution.
"Evolution du Mystère, L'."
Evolution of Maeterlinck.


F.

Family life.
Fatalism.
Fate.
"Faust".
Feminism.
"Figaro."
"Fitzebutze."
"Flaireurs, Les."
Flaubert, Gustave.
Flemish features.
Flesh, the.
Fletcher, John.
Flowers.
Ford, John.
Fort, Paul.
Fouillée, Alfred.
Francesca da Rimini.
"Frog Prince, The."
Future, the.
Futurism.
Futurists, the.


G.

Gauguin, Paul.
Genius.
Genoveva, story of.
_Genres_, mixing of, 84-85..
Ghent.
Ghil, René.
Gilkin, Iwan.
Giraud, Albert.
God, 37.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang.
Goodness.
Grasse.
Grillparzer, Franz.
Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Groote, Geert.
Gruchet-Saint-Siméon.
Grundy, Mrs.
Guyau, Jean Marie.


H.

Hamel, Gustav van.
"Hamlet."
Hannon, Théodore.
Happiness.
Harlotry.
Harris, Frank.
Harry, Gérard.
Hartmann, Eduard von.
Hauptmann, Gerhart.
"Haymarket Theatre."
Hebbel, Friedrich.
Heine, Anselma.
Heredia, José Maria de.
Heredity.
Heyse, Paul.
Historical drama.
Hoffmansthal, Hugo von.
"Honour."
Horace.
Horses.
Housman, Laurence.
Hugo, Victor.
Hulsman, G.
Humility.
Humour, 142.
Huret, Jules.


I

Ibsen, Henrik.
Identity, doctrine of.
Immortality.
Individualism.
Injustice.
"Inquiétude de notre Morale, L'."
Instinct.
Intellect, the, _see_ Brain.
"Intelligence des Fleurs, L'."
"Intérieur, L'."
"Interior," _see_ "Intérieur, L'."
Interior beauty, the.
Interior dialogue.
"Intruder, The," _see_ "Intruse, L'."
"Intruse, L'."
Irony.


J.

Jacobs, Monty.
Jealousy, 71, 86-87, 94, 133..
Jean Paul [Richter].
Jesuits.
"Jeune Belgique, La."
Johnson, Dr Samuel.
Jonson, Ben.
"Joyzelle."
"Julius Cæsar."
Justice.


K.

Kahn, Gustave.
Keller, Gottfried.
Kryzinska, Marie.


L.

Lacomblez, Paul.
Laforgue, Jules.
Leblanc, Mme Georgette.
Lemaître, Jules.
Lemonnier, Camille.
Lerberghe, Charles van.
Le Roy, Grégoire.
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraïm.
Liberty.
Libretti.
"Life and Flowers," _see_ "Intelligence des Fleurs, L'."
Life, contrasted with death.
"Life of the Bee, The," _see_ "Vie des Abeilles, La."
Logic.
Lombroso, Cesare.
"Lonely Lives," _see_ "Einsame Menschen."
Louis XVI..
Love.
Lubbock, Sir John, _see_ Avebury, Lord.
"Luria."
Luxury.


M.

"Macbeth," Maeterlinck's translation of.
Madness.
Maeterlinck, Maurice, his hatred of interviews, ix;
  birth and family, pronunciation of name;
  education at the Collège de Sainte-Barb;
  first poem printed;
  wishes to study medicine;
  studies law at the University of Ghent;
  practises as _avocat_;
  stay in Paris;
  introduced to the founders of "La Pléiade,";
  "Le Massacre des Innocents" read to the circle;
  printed in "La Pléiade;
  as he appeared about 1886-7, and his first attempts at writing;
  meets Mallarmé;
  meets Rodenbach and the directors of "La Jeune Belgique";
  "Serres Chaudes";
  his robust mental and physical health;
  "La Princesse Maleine";
  "Les Aveugles";
  "L'Intruse" and "Les Aveugles" performed at Paris;
  "L'Ornement des Noces Spirituelles";
  "Les Sept Princesses";
  "Pelléas et Mélisande";
  "Alladine and Palomides," "Interior," and "The Intruder";
  "Annabella";
  "Les Disciples à Saïs et les Fragments de Novalis";
  "Le Trésor des Humbles";
  "Aglavaine and Selysette";
  "Douze Chansons";
  settles in Paris;
  "Sagesse et Destinée," dedicated to Georgette Leblanc;
  "La Vie des Abeilles";
  "Ariane et Barbe-Bleu" and "Sœur Béatrice";
  "Le Temple Enseveli";
  "Monna Vanna";
  "Joyzelle";
  "Le Miracle de St Antoine";
  "Le Double Jardin";
  "L'Intelligence des Fleurs";
  "L'Oiseau Bleu";
  translation of "Macbeth";
  "Mary Magdalene";
  settles at St Wandrille;
  quarrel with Paul Heyse;
  "La Mort";
  awarded Nobel prize for literature;
  founds Maeterlinck prize.
Magnificisme, Le.
Mallarmé, Stéphane.
Malthusianism.
Man, purpose of his life.
Man shall be God.
"Manchester Guardian".
Marcus Aurelius.
"Maria von Magdala".
Marionettes, plays for.
Marriage.
"Mary Magdalene."
Masefield, John.
"Masque, Le."
"Massacre des Innocents, Le."
Maternity, _see_ Motherhood.
Matter, reign of.
Maupassant, Guy de.
Maurier, George du.
Medical science.
Melodrama.
Mendès, Catulle.
"Mercure de France, Le."
Merrill, Stuart.
Mieszner, W.
Mikhaël, Ephraïm.
Minnesingers, The.
"Miracle, The."
"Miracle de St Antoine, Le."
Mirbeau, Octave.
Misery.
Mockel, Albert.
Molière, Jean Poquehn.
"Monna Vanna."
"Morale Mystique, La."
Morality.
Moréas.
"Mort, La."
"Mort de Tintagiles, La."
Motherhood.
Mystery.
Mysticism.
Mystics.


N.

Naturalism.
Nature.
Neidhart von Reuental, Sir.
Nerves, the.
Nietzsche, Friedrich W.
"Nineteenth Century and After."
Nobel prize for literature.
Nobility, the.
Nordau, Max (by inference).
"Nouvelle Revue Française, La."
Novalis.


O.

"Oiseau Bleu, L'."
"Olive Boughs, The."
Oostacker.
Oppeln von Bronikowski, Friedrich Freiherr von.
Optimism.
"Ornement des Noces Spirituelles, L'."
"Othello."


P.

"Pageant, The."
Pantomime.
Parasitic virtues.
"Parnasse de la Jeune Belgique, Le."
Parnassians, the.
Paroxysm.
Pascal, Blaise.
Passion.
Passivity.
Past, the.
"Pelléas et Mélisande."
Penitence.
Pessimism.
Phelps, Professor William Lyon.
Philistine, the.
Plagiarism, unjust charge of.
Plato.
"Pléiade, La" (Parisian review).
"Pléiade, La" (Brussels review).
"Plume, La,".
"Portrait de Femme"
Positivism.
Poverty.
Predestination.
Pre-Raphaelites, The.
Present, the.
Pride.
Primogenitureship.
"Princesse Maleine, La."
Procter, Adelaide Anne.
Prosody, Maeterlinck's.
Psychology.
Purity.


Q.

Quatre Chemins, aux.
Quietism.
Quillard, Pierre.


R.

Realism.
Reality.
Reason.
"Recollections of Immortality from Childhood."
Régnier, Henri de.
Remhardt, Professor Max.
Religion.
Rembrandt.
Renunciation.
"Réveil de l'Ame, Le."
"Revue Blanche, La."
"Revue des deux Mondes."
"Revue Indépendante, La."
Richter, Jean Paul.
Riddle of existence, the.
Rimbaud, Arthur.
Rimini, Francesca da.
Rinder, Edith Wingate.
Rodenbach, Georges.
Rodrigue, G.M.
Roman Catholicism.
"Romeo and Juliet."
Rossetti, William M.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques.
Roux, Paul, _see_ Saint-Pol-Roux le Magnifique.
Ruysbroeck, Jan.


S.

Sacrifice.
"Sagesse et Destinée."
Sainte-Barbe, Collège de.
Saint-Pol-Roux le Magnifique.
Saints, the.
Saint Wandrille.
Salvation, 108.
Scenery of dramas.
Schlaf, Johannes.
Schopenhauer, Artur.
Schrijver, J..
Science.
Scorn.
Self-sacrifice.
Sélincourt, Basil de.
"Semaine des Etudiants, La."
Senses, the.
Sensuality.
"Sept Princesses, Les."
Serenity.
"Serres Chaudes."
"Seven Princesses, The," _see_ "Sept Princesses, Les."
Sex questions.
Shakespeare.
"Sightless, The," _see_ "Aveugles, Les."
Silence.
Silence, active and passive.
Simons, L.
Simplicity.
"Sin."
"Sister Beatrice," _see_ "Sœur Béatrice."
Socialism.
Sodomy.
"Sœur Béatrice."
Song of Solomon.
Sophocles.
Soul, the.
Spirit, the.
Spirit of the hive, the.
Stoicism.
Strindberg, August, viii.
Style of Maeterlinck.
Subconscious, the.
Sudermann, Hermann.
Suffering.
Suicide.
Superman, the.
Superstition.
Sutro, Alfred.
Svengali.
Swedenborg.
Symbolism.
"Symboliste, Le."
Symbolists, the.
Symons, Arthur.
Syphilis.


T.

Tacitus.
Tauler, Johannes.
"Tempest, The"
"Temple Enseveli, Le."
Tennyson, Alfred.
Theatre, the contemporary.
"Théâtre d'Art."
"Théâtre de l'Œuvre."
"Théâtre des Arts," Moscow.
"Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens."
"Théâtre du Gymnase."
Thinkers, the.
Thought, contrasted with action.
"Thyrse, Le."
"'Tis Pity She's a Whore."
Tolstoy, Count Leo.
Tourneur, Cyril.
"Treasure of the Humble," _see_ "Trésor des Humbles."
"Tragique Quotidien, Le."
Trench, Herbert.
"Trésor des Humbles, Le.".
Truth.
"Type, Le."


U.

Unconscious, the.
Unhappiness.
_Unio mystica_.
Unknown, the.


V.

Vegetarianism.
Vergalo, Delia Rocca de.
Verhaeren, Emile.
Verlaine, Paul.
_Vers libres_.
Vices.
Victorian, the.
"Vie des Abeilles, La."
Vielé-Griffin, Francis.
Villa Dupont.
Villiers de L'Isle-Adam.
Virgin Mary.
Virginity.
Virtues.
Visan, Tancrède de.
"Vogue, La."
Vollmoeller, Karl Gustav.
Voltaire, François Marie Arouet de.


W.

Waller, Max.
"Wallonie, La."
War.
Watson, William.
Webster, John.
Whitman, Walt.
Will, I..
Will-power.
Wisdom.
"Wisdom and Destiny," _see_ "Sagesse et Destinée."
Woman, the new.
Women.
Wordless plays.
Wordsworth, William.


Y.

Yeats, W.B., 27.


Z.

Zola, Emile, 20.
Zweig, Stefan, 3, 108.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


I. WORKS.
II. SELECTIONS.
III. PREFACES.
IV. APPENDIX.

Biography, Criticism, Works set to Music, etc., Newspaper Articles.

V. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF WORKS.



WORKS.


_Serres Chaudes._ Poèmes, frontispice et culs-de-lampe de Georges Minne.
Paris: Vanier, 1889, 155 copies.

----Another Edition. Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1890 and 1895.

----Suivies de quinze chansons, nouvelle édition. Brussels: P.
Lacomblez, 1900.

_La Princesse Maleine_. Twenty-five copies on vellum and five on
Holland, printed on a hand-press by Maeterlinck for private circulation.

----Drame en cinq actes (couverture et fig. de Georges Minne). Ghent:
Imprimerie Louis van Melle, 1889.

----Second Edition. Ghent: Imprimerie Louis van Melle, 1889, 155 copies.

_La Princesse Maleine._ Third Edition. Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1890.

_The Princess Maleine._ Translated by Gérard Harry. London: Heinemann,
1890.

_Les Aveugles_ ["L'Intruse" (1). "Les Aveugles" (2).] Brussels: P.
Lacomblez, 1890, 150 copies.

----Second Edition. Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1891.

_L'Ornement des Noces spirituelles de Ruysbroeck l'Admirable._ Traduit
du flamand et accompagné d'une introduction. Brussels: P. Lacomblez,
1891.

----Second Edition. Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1900.

_Les sept Princesses._ Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1891.

_Blind._ _The Intruder._ Translated from the French of Maurice
Maeterlinck by Mary Vielé.[1] Washington: W.H. Morrison, 1891.

_The Princess Maleine_ and _The Intruder_. With an Introduction by Hall
Caine. London: Heinemann, 1892. (_The Princess Maleine_, translated by
Gérard Harry; _The Intruder_, "based upon a rough sketch of a
translation by Mr Wm. Wilson.")

_Pelléas et Mélisande._ Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1892.

----Nouvelle édition, modifiée conformément aux représentations de
l'Opéra-Comique. Brussels: P. Lacomblez, 1902.

_Pelleas and Melisanda_ and _The Sightless_. Translated by Laurence Alma
Tadema. London: Walter Scott (1892). The Scott Library.

_Alladine et Palomides_, _Intérieur_, et _La Mort de Tintagiles_. Trois
petits drames pour marionettes, et culs-de-lampe par Georges Minne.
Brussels: Collection du "Réveil," chez Ed. Deman, 1894.

_Ruysbroeck and the Mystics_, with selections from Ruysbroeck by Maurice
Maeterlinck. Translated by Jane T. Stoddart. London: Hodder & Stoughton,
1894.

_Pelléas et Mélisande_. Translated by Ewing Winslow. New York: Thomas Y.
Crowell & Co., 1894.

_Annabella_ ("'Tis Pity she's a Whore"). Drame en cinq actes de John
Ford. Traduit et adapté pour le Théâtre de l'Œuvre. Paris:
Ollendorff, 1895.

_Les Disciples à Saïs et les Fragments de Novalis._ Traduits de
l'allemand et précédés d'une introduction. Bruxelles: P. Lacomblez,
1895.

_The Massacre of the Innocents and other Tales by Belgian Writers._
Translated by Edith Wingate Rinder. Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1895.

_Le Trésor des Humbles._ Paris: Société du Mercure de France, 1896.

_Douze Chansons._ Illustrées par Charles Doudelet. Paris: P.V. Stock,
1896. Tirage 600 exemplaires sur papier Ingres. (Reprinted with
alterations at the end of _Serres Chaudes_. Brussels: P. Lacomblez,
1900.)

_Aglavaine et Selysette._ Paris: Société du Mercure de France, 1896.

_Aglavaine and Selysette._ A drama in five acts, translated by Alfred
Sutro, with an Introduction by J.W. Mackail. First Edition published by
Grant Richards (1897); all subsequent Editions by George Allen & Sons,
London.

_The Treasure of the Humble._ Translated by A. Sutro. With an
Introduction by A.B. Walkley. London: Geo. Allen, 1897.

----(Reprinted from the translation of Mr Alfred Sutro.) London: Arthur
L. Humphreys, 1905.

_Aglavaine and Selysette._ Acting Version. London: George Allen, 1904.

_Aglavaine and Selysette._ Pocket Edition, 1908.

_La Sagesse et la Destinée._ Paris: Fasquelle, 1898. Wisdom and Destiny.
Translated by A. Sutro. London: George Allen, 1898.

----Pocket Edition. London: George Allen, 1908.

_Alladine and Palomides._ _Interior._ _The Death of Tintagiles._ Three
little dramas for marionettes. London: Duckworth & Co., 1899. (Modern
Plays, edited by R. Brimley Johnson and N. Erichsen.) (_Alladine and
Palomides_ and _The Death of Tintagiles_, translated by Alfred Sutro.
_Interior_ by Wm. Archer. _Interior_ had appeared in the _New Review_
for Nov., 1894; _The Death of Tintagiles_ in _The Pageant_ for Dec,
1896.)

_Schwester Béatrix._ Translated from the manuscript by Fr. von
Oppeln-Bronikowski. Berlin and Leipzig, 1900.

_La Vie des Abeilles._ Paris: Fasquelle, 1901.

_The Life of the Bee._ Translated by A. Sutro. London: George Allen,
1901.

----Illustrated by E.J. Detmold. London: George Allen, 1911.

_Sister Beatrice_ and _Ardiane and Barbe-Bleue_. Two plays translated
into English verse from the manuscript of Maurice Maeterlinck by Bernard
Miall. London: George Allen, 1901.

----American Edition. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1902.

_Théâtre I._ _La Princesse Maleine._ _L'Intruse._ _Les Aveugles._
_Aglavaine et Selysette._ _Ariane et Barbe-Bleue._ _Sœur Béatrice._
Bruxelles: P. Lacomblez, 1901, 2 vols. _Théâtre II._ _Pelléas et
Mélisande._ _Alladine et Palomides._ _Intérieur._ _La Mort de
Tintagiles._ Bruxelles: P. Lacomblez, 1902.

_Le Temple Enseveli._ Paris: Fasquelle, 1902.

_The Buried Temple._ Translated by A. Sutro. With portrait. London:
George Allen, 1902.

_Monna Vanna._ Pièce en trois actes, représentée pour la première fois
sur la scène du Théâtre de l'Œuvre, le 17 mai 1902. Paris: Fasquelle,
1902.

_Théâtre_ de Maurice Maeterlinck (_La Princesse Maleine._ _L'Intruse._
_Les Aveugles._ _Pelléas et Mélisande._ _Alladine et Palomides._
_Intérieur._ _La Mort de Tintagiles._ _Aglavaine et Selysette._ _Ariane
et Barbe-Bleue._ _Sœur Béatrice_), avec une préface inédite de
l'auteur, illustré de 10 compositions originales lithographiées par
Auguste Donnay. Bruxelles: Ed. Deman, 1902, 3 vols., 8vo. [100 copies
printed.]

_Joyzelle._ Pièce en trois actes représentée pour la première fois au
Théâtre du Gymnase, le 20 mai 1903. Paris: Fasquelle, 1903.

_Monna Vanna._ Translated by A. Sutro. London: George Allen, 1904.

_Le double Jardin._ Paris: Fasquelle, 1904, in 18--. (Twenty copies in
8vo were printed for the Société des XX, and signed by the author.)

_The Double Garden._ Translated by A. Teixeira de Mattos. London: George
Allen, 1904.

_Das Wunder des Heiligen Antonius._ Uebersetzt von Fr. von
Oppeln-Bronikowski, Leipzig, 1904.

_My Dog._ Translated by A. Teixeira de Mattos. Illustrated by G. Vernon
Stokes. London: George Allen, 1906.

_Old-fashioned Flowers and Other Open-air Essays._ Translated by A.
Teixeira de Mattos. With illustrations by G.S. Elgood. London: Geo.
Allen, 1906.

_Joyzelle._ Translated by A. Teixeira de Mattos. London: George Allen,
1907 [1906].

_L'Intelligence des Fleurs._ Paris: Fasquelle, 1907.

_Life and Flowers._ Translated by A. Teixeira de Mattos. London: George
Allen, 1907.

_Interior._ A play. Translated by Wm. Archer. (Gowans's International
Library, No. 20.) London: Gowans and Gray, 1908.

_The Death of Tintagiles._ A play. Translated by Alfred Sutro. (Gowans's
International Library, No. 26.) London: Gowans and Gray, 1909.

_L'Oiseau bleu._ Féerie en cinq actes et dix tableaux. Paris: Fasquelle,
1909.

_The Blue Bird._ A fairy play in six acts. Translated by A. Teixeira de
Mattos. London: Methuen, 1909.

----Eighteenth Edition. With an additional act. London: Methuen, 1910.

----With twenty-five illustrations in colour, by F. Cayley Robinson.
London: Methuen, 1911.

----London: Methuen (Methuen's Shilling Books), 1911.

_The Seven Princesses._ A Play. Translated by Wm. Metcalfe. (Gowans's
International Library, No. 28.) London: Gowans & Gray, 1909.

_Macbeth_, par W. Shakespeare. Traduction nouvelle de Maurice
Maeterlinck. L'Illustration Théâtrale. Paris: 28th August, 1909.
(Contains interesting photographs of the Abbey of Saint Wandrille.)

William Shakespeare. _La Tragédie de Macbeth._ Traduction nouvelle, avec
une introduction et des notes, par Maurice Maeterlinck. Paris:
Fasquelle, 1910.

_Mary Magdalene._ A play in three acts. Translated by A. Teixeira de
Mattos. Methuen: 1910. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1910.

_Mary Magdalene._ Shilling Edition. Methuen, 1912.

_Alladine and Palomides._ _Interior._ _The Death of Tintagiles._ Three
plays by Maurice Maeterlinck, with Introduction by H. Granville Barker.
London and Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, Ltd., 1911. (Gowans's Copyright
Series, No. 2.)

_La Mort._ _Figaro_, 1911.

_Death._ Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos. London: Methuen,
1911.

_La Mort._ Paris: Fasquelle, 1913.


[1] Sister of Francis Vielé-Griffin.



SELECTIONS.


_Thoughts from Maeterlinck._ Chosen and arranged by E.S.S. London:
George Allen, 1903.

_The Inner Beauty._ London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1910. (Reprint of _The
Inner Beauty, Silence, and The Invisible Goodness._)

_Morceaux choisis._ Par Maurice Maeterlinck. Induction par Mme Georgette
Leblanc. Paris, Londres, Edinbourg, et New York: Nelson (1910).

_Hours of Gladness._ By M. Maeterlinck. London: Allen, 1912.

Selections from Maeterlinck's works have appeared in the following
anthologies, etc.:

_Parnasse de la Jeune Belgique._ Paris: Léon Vanier, 1887. (Twelve poems
reprinted in Serres Chaudes.)

_Poètes belges d'expression française, par Pol-de-Mont._ Almelo: W.
Hilarius, 1899. (Twenty-one poems selected from _Serres Chaudes_ and
_Douze Chansons_).

_Poètes d'aujourd'hui_, morceaux choisis accompagnés de Notices
biographiques et d'un essai de Bibliographie, par Ad. van Bever et Paul
Léautaud. Paris: Société du Mercure de France, 1900. (Eight poems from
_Serres Chaudes_ and _Douze Chansons_.)

_Anthologie des Poètes français contemporains_, par G. Walch, Vol. ii.
Paris: Ch. Delagrave [no date]. (Eight poems from _Serres Chaudes_ and
_Douze Chansons_.)

_Die belgische Lyrik, von 1880-1900._ Eine Studie und Uebersetzungen von
Otto Hauser. Groszenhain: Baumert und Ronge, 1902. (Thirteen poems from
_Serres Chaudes_.)

_Anthologie des Poètes lyriques français de France et de l'etranger
depuis le moyen âge jusqu'à nos jours_, par T. Fonsny et J. van Dooren.
Verviers: Alb. Hermann, 1903. (Two poems from _Serres Chaudes_ and
_Douze Chansons_.)

_Die Lyrik des Auslandes in neuerer Zeit_, herausgegeben von Hans
Bethge. Leipzig: Max Hesses Verlag [no date]. (Seven poems translated
from _Serres Chaudes_ and _Douze Chansons_.)

_Contemporary Belgian Poetry._ Selected and translated by Jethro
Bithell. London: The Walter Scott Publishing Co., Ltd., 1911.
(Twenty-five poems from _Serres Chaudes_ and _Douze Chansons_.)

_Toutes les Lyres._ Anthologie-Critique ornée de dessins et de portraits
(nouvelle série). By Florian-Parmentier. Paris: Gastein-Serge (1911).
[Contains: Masque, par Djinn, criticism, etc., of nine pages, and three
poems from _Serres Chaudes_.]

Drey, Agnes E. _Poems after Verlaine, Maeterlinck and Others._ London:
St Catherine Press, 1911.



PREFACES.


_Sept essais d'Emerson._ Traduits par I. Will avec une préface de
Maurice Maeterlinck. Bruxelles: P. Lacomblez, 1894 and 1899.

_Expositions des Œuvres_ de M. Franz, M. Melchers, chez le Bare de
Boutteville, 47 Rue Le Peletier (ouverture le vendredi 15 novembre
1895), préface de Maurice Maeterlinck. Paris: Edm. Girard [no date].

_Jules Laforgue_, par Camille Mauclair, avec une introduction de Maurice
Maeterlinck. Paris: Mercure de France, 1896.

_The Cave of Illusion._ A play in four acts by Alfred Sutro. With an
Introduction by Maurice Maeterlinck. London: Grant Richards, 1900.

_Martin Harvey._ Some pages of his life. By George Edgar. With a
foreword by M. Maeterlinck. London: Grant Richards, 1912.



APPENDIX.



BIOGRAPHY, CRITICISM, ETC.


Archer, William. _Study and Stage._ A year-book of Criticism. London:
Grant Richards, 1889.

Bacaloglu-Densuseannu, E. _Despre simbolizm si Maeterlinck._ Bucuresti,
1903.

Bahr, Hermann. Renaissance: _Neue Studien zur Kritik der Moderne._
Berlin: S. Fischer, 1897.

Barre, André. _Le Symbolisme._ Essai historique sur le mouvement
symboliste en France de 1885 à 1900, suivi d'une Bibliographie de la
Poésie symboliste. Paris: Jouve et Cie, 1912.

Beaunier, André. _La Poésie nouvelle._ Paris: Société du Mercure de
France 1903.

Bever, Adolphe van. _Maurice Maeterlinck_, biographie précédée d'un
portrait-frontispice, illustrée de divers dessins et d'un autogr. suivie
d'opinions et d'une bibliographie. Paris: Sansot, 1904.

Bever, Ad. van et Paul Léautaud. _Poètes d'aujourd'hui_, morceaux
choisis accompagnés de notices biographiques et d'un essai de
bibliographie. Paris: Mercure de France, 1900. Boer, Julius de._ Maurice
Maeterlinck_--(_Mannen en Vrouwen van beteekenis in onze dagen_).
Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink en Zoon, 1908.

Brisson, Adolphe. _La Comédie littéraire._ Paris: A. Colin, 1895.

----_Portraits intimes_, 3e série. Paris: A. Colin, 1897.

Courtney, W.L. _The Development of Maurice Maeterlinck and other
Sketches of Foreign Writers._ London: Grant Richards, 1904.

Crawford, Virginia M. _Studies in Foreign Literature._ London:
Duckworth, 1899.

Dijk, Dr Is. van, _Maurice Maeterlinck._ Een Studie. Nijmegen, Firma H.
Ten Hoet, 1897.

Doumic, René. _Les Jeunes._ Etudes et portraits. Paris: Perrin et Cie,
1896.

Gilbert, Eugène. _En Marge et quelques Pages._ Paris: Plon, 1900.

Gilbert, Eugène. _France et Belgique._ Etudes littéraires. Paris: Plon,
1905.

Gourmont, Remy de._ Le Livre des Masques._ Portraits symbolistes, gloses
et documents sur les écrivains d'hier et d'aujourd'hui. Les masques, au
nombre de xxx, dessinés par F. Vallotton. Paris: Société du Mercure de
France, 1897.

Hale, Edward Everett, jun. _Dramatists of To-day._ London: George Bell &
Sons, 1906.

Hamel, A.G. van. _Het letterkundig Leven van Frankrijk._ Studiën en
Schetsen, derde Serie. Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen en Zoon [1907].

Harry, Gérard. _Maurice Maeterlinck._ [Annexe: _Le Massacre des
Innocents_.] Bruxelles: Ch. Carrington, 1909.

Harry, Gérard. _Maurice Maeterlinck._ A biographical study, with two
essays by M. Maeterlinck. Translated from the French by Alfred
Allinson. With nine illustrations and facsimile. London: George Allen &
Sons, 1910.

Heine, Anselma. _Maeterlinck._ ("Die Dichtung," Bd. 33). Berlin:
Schuster and Loeffler, 1905.

Henderson, Archibald. _Interpreters of Life and the Modern Spirit._
London: Duckworth & Co., 1911.

Heumann, Albert. _Le Mouvement littéraire belge d'expression française
depuis 1880._ With preface by Camille Jullian. Mercure de France, 1913.

Horrent, Désiré. _Ecrivains belges d'aujourd'hui, 1re série._ Bruxelles.
P. Lacomblez, 1904.

Hovey, R. Introduction to the American translation of _La Princesse
Maleine_, _L'Intruse_, _Les Aveugles_, _Les sept Princesses_, _Pelléas
et Mélisande_, _Alladine et Palomides_, _Intérieur_, _La Mort de
Tintagiles_. Chicago; Stow & Kimball,

Hulsman, G. _Karakters en Ideeën_, Haarlem: Vincent Loosjes, 1903.

Huneker, James. _Iconoclasts, a Book of Dramatists._ New York: Ch.
Scribner's, 1905; London: Werner Laurie, [1906].

Huret, Jules. _Enquête sur l'Evolution littéraire._ Paris: Charpentier,
1891.

Jackson, Holbrook. _Romance and Reality._ Essays and Studies. London:
Grant Richards. 1911.

Jacobs, Dr Monty, _Maeterlinck._ Eine kritische Studie, zur Einführung
in seine Werke. Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1902.

Key, Ellen. _Tankebilder_, senare delen. Stockholm: Albert Bonniers
Forlag, 1898.

----_Aufsätze._ Fischer, Berlin.

Lazare, Bernard. _Figures contemporaines._ Paris: Perrin et Cie, 1895.

Leblanc, Georgette (Mme Maurice Maeterlinck). Introduction to Morceaux
choisis. Collection Nelson.

Le Cardonnel, Georges, et Charles Vellay. _La littérature
contemporaine._ Paris: Mercure de France, 1905.

Lemaître, Jules. _Impressions de Théâtre_; 8e série. Paris: Lecène,
Oudin et Cie, 1895.

Leneveu, Georges. _Ibsen et Maeterlinck._ Paris: Ollendorf, 1902.

Lorenz, Max. _Die Litteratur am Jahrhundertende._ Stuttgart: 1900.

Mainor, Yves. _M. Maeterlinck, moraliste._ Angers: 1902.

Meyer-Benfey, Heinrich. _Moderne Religion._ Schleiermacher, Maeterlinck.
Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1902.

Mieszner, W. _Maeterlinck's Werke._ Eine literar-psychologische Studie
über die Neuromantik. Berlin: Richard Schroder, 1904.

Mockel, Albert. _Quelques Livres._ Liège: Vaillant-Carmanne, 1890.
(Printed for private circulation.)

Picard, Gaston. _Maurice Maeterlinck où le mystère de la porte close._
Paris, 1912.

Poppenberg, F. _Maeterlinck_ ("Moderne Essays," 30). Berlin, 1903.

Recolin, Chr. _L'Anarchie Littéraire._ Paris: Perrin et Cie, 1898.

Reggio, Albert. _Au seuil de leur âme._ Etudes de psychologie critique.
Paris: Perrin & Cie, 1904, in 18--.

Rose, Henry. _Maeterlinck's Symbolism: The Blue Bird and other Essays._
London: H.C. Fifield, 1910.

Rose, Henry. _On Maeterlinck: or Notes on the Study of Symbols, with
special reference to_ "The Blue Bird." To which is added an exposition
of The Sightless. London: Fifield, 1911.

Schlaf, Johannes. _Maurice Maeterlinck._ Berlin: Bard-Marquardt & Co.
[1906].

Schrijver, J. _Maeterlinck._ Een Studie. Amsterdam: Scheltema &
Holkema, 1900.

Schuré, Edouard. _Précurseurs et Révoltés._ Paris: Perrin, 1904.

Souza, Robert de. _La poésie populaire et le lyrisme sentimental._
Paris: Société du Mercure de France, 1899.

Steiger, E. _Das Werden des neuen Dramas, Vol. ii.: Von Hauptmann bis
Maeterlinck_. Berlin: Fontane & Co., 1898.

Symons, Arthur. _The Symbolist Movement in Literature._ London:
Heinemann, 1899.

----Second Edition, revised. London: Constable, 1908.

----_Plays, Acting, and Music._ London: Duckworth, 1903.

Thomas, Edward. _Maurice Maeterlinck._ London: Methuen, 1911.

Thompson, Vance. _French Portraits._ Boston: Richard G. Badger Co.,
1900.

Timmermans, B. _L'Evolution de Maeterlinck._ Brussels: éditions de la
Belgique artistique et littéraire, 1912.

Trench, Herbert. _Souvenir of the Blue Bird_, containing a short essay
on the life and work of Maeterlinck, etc. London: John Long, Ltd.,
[1910].

Verhaeren, Emile. _Les lettres françaises en Belgique._ Brussels:
Lamertin, 1907.

Visan, Tancrède de. _L'Attitude du Lyrisme-contemporain._ Paris: Mercure
de France, 1911.

Walkley, A.B. _Frames of Mind._ London: Grant Richards, 1899.

Wilmotte, Maurice. _La Culture Française en Belgique._ Paris: H.
Champion, Dec., 1912.



WORKS SET TO MUSIC,. ETC.


_Pellas et Mélisande_, drame lyrique de Maurice Maeterlinck, musique de
Claude Debussy, représenté pour la première fois au Théâtre National de
l'Opéra Comique en mai 1902. Partition piano et chant. Paris: E.
Fromont, 1902.

_La Mort de Tintagiles._ Paroles de Maurice Maeterlinck. Musique de Jean
Nouguès. Bruxelles: P. Lacomblez, 1905.

_La Mort de Tintagiles_, etc., mis en musique par Jean Nouguès,
représenté pour la première fois aux "Matinées de Georgette Leblanc"
(Théâtre des Mathurins), 28th Dec, 1905.

Gilman, Lawrence. Debussy's _Pelléas et Mélisande_. A Guide to the Opera
with musical examples from the score. New York: G. Schirmer, 1907.

_Ariane et Barbe-Bleue._ Conte en trois actes tiré du théâtre de Maurice
Maeterlinck. Musique de Paul Dukas. Brussels: Lacomblez, 1907.

_Ariane et Barbe-Bleue._ Conte en trois actes, etc., musique de Paul
Dukas, représenté pour la première fois sur la scène de l'Opéra-Comique
le 10 mai 1907.

_Chansons de Maeterlinck._ Dix poèmes précédés d'un prélude, instrum.
pour violon, violoncelle et piano, par Gabriel Fabre. Paris: Heugel.

_Monna Vanna._ Drame lyrique en quatre actes. Musique de Henry Février.
Représenté pour la première fois à Paris sur la scène de l'Académie
Nationale de Musique le 13 janvier 1909. Paris: Fasquelle, 1909.

Other dramas and songs of Maeterlinck have been set to music by Pierre
de Bréville; L. Camilieri; Ernest Chausson; Gabriel Fabre; Gabriel Fauré
(see _Pelléas et Mélisande_, suite d'orchestre tirée de la musique de
scène de Gabriel Fauré. Paris: Hamelle, 1901); Henry Février; G.
Samazeuilh; Eug. Samuel, etc.



MAGAZINE ARTICLES.


Anonymous [Jean E. Schmitt and the editor].--Pour clore une
polémique.--_Entretiens politiques et littéraires_, Oct., 1890.

Anonymous.--Princess Maleine and The Intruder.--_Athenœum_, 23rd
April, 1892.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck's Plays.--_Spectator_, 1892, p. 455.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck--_Poet-Lore_ (Boston), 1893, p. 151.

Anonymous.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Academy_, 1897, pp. 45, 113.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck as an Essayist--_Academy_, 1897, p. 465.

Anonymous--Wisdom and Destiny.--_Academy_, 1898, p. 147.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck as a Realist.--_Academy_, 1899, p. 285.

Anonymous (D.M.J.).--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Westminster Review_, 1899,
p. 409.

Anonymous--The Life of the Bee.--_Academy_, 1901, p. 459.

Anonymous--Review of The Life of the Bee.--_Blackwood's Magazine_, May
and June, 1901.

Anonymous--Review of The Life of the Bee--_Athenœum_, June 15th,
1901.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck, Moralist and Artist.--Littell's _Living Age_,
July 27th, 1901.

Anonymous.--The Life of The Bee.--_Current Literature_, Nov., 1901.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck, Dramatist and Mystic.--_Outlook_, Nov. 16th,
1901.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck, Man and Mystic.--_Harper's Weekly Bazar_, March
22nd, 1902.

Anonymous.--Review of Sister Beatrice and Ariane et
Barbe-Bleue.--_Athenœum_, May 3rd, 1902.

Anonymous.--Review of Théâtre de Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Athenœum_,
May 3rd, 1902.

Anonymous.--The Buried Temple.--_Athenœum_, Aug. 30th, 1902.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck as a Philosopher.--_Academy_, 1902, p. 451.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck.--_Church Quarterly Review_ (London), 1902, p.
381.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck.--_Pall Mall Magazine_, 1902, p. 108.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck.--_Academy_, 1903, p. 559.

Anonymous.--Monna Vanna.--_Book News_ (Philadelphia), 1904, p. 145.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck and the Eternal Womanly.--_Harper's Bazar_ (New
York), July, 1904.

Anonymous.--Review of The Blue Bird.--_Athenœum_, Aug. 7th, 1909.

Anonymous.--Review of performance of The Blue Bird at the Haymarket
Theatre.--_Athenœum_, Dec, 18th, 1909.

Anonymous.--The Land of Unborn Children.--_Ladies' Home Journal_,
Philadelphia, Jan., 1910.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck's New Type of Heroine.--_Current Literature_,
May, 1910.

Anonymous.--The Insect's Homer.--_Forum_ (New York), Sept., 1910.

Anonymous.--The Blue Bird.--_Outlook_, Oct. 15th, 1910.

Anonymous.--Review of Mary Magdalene--_Athenœum_, Nov. 5th, 1910.

Anonymous.--Review of performance of The Blue Bird at the Haymarket
Theatre.--_Athenœum_, Dec. 31st, 1910.

Anonymous.--Maeterlinck's Exit from Shadowland: Mary
Magdalene.--_Current Literature_, Dec, 1910.

Anonymous--The Blue Bird as a féerie.--_Scribner's Magazine_ (New York),
Dec, 1910.

Anonymous.--The Woman Question in Grand Opera: Ariane and
Bluebeard.--_Current Literature_, May, 1911.

Anonymous.--Review of Life and Flowers.--_Athenœum_, June 3rd, 1911.

Anonymous.--Review of Death.--_Athenœum_, Nov. 11th, 1911.

Anonymous.--La philosophie de Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Le xxe Siècle_,
Brussels, 15th Feb., 1912.

Anonymous.--(? Grégoire Le Roy), Le poète prodigue--Propos de Table,
_Le Masque_, Brussels, Série ii, No. 5. 1912.

Anonymous.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Everyman_, Oct. 25th, 1912.

Archer, W.--A Pessimist Playwright--_Fortnightly Review_, 1891, p. 346.

Archer, W.--Maurice Maeterlinck and Mystery.--_Critic_, 1900, p. 220.

Beerbohm, Max--Pelléas and Mélisande.--_Saturday Review_, 1898, p. 843.

Berg, Leo.--Maeterlinck, _Umschau_, No. 32 f., 1898.

Bonnier, Gaston.--La Science chez Maeterlinck.--_La Revue_, 15th Aug.,
1907.

Bornstein P.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Wiener Rundschau_, ii., 19, 20, 21
Aug.-Sept., 1897.

Bornstein. P.--Maurice Maeterlinck. _Monatschrift fur neue Literatur und
Kunst_, ii., 8 and 9 May and June, 1898.

Boynton, H.W.--The Double Garden.--_Atlantic Monthly_ (Boston), August
1904.

Bradley, W.A.--Maeterlinck's Mary Magdalene.--_Bookman_ (New York), Dec,
1910.

Bragdon, C.--Maeterlinck.--_Critic_ (New York), 1904, p. 156.

Brunnemann, A.--Maurice Maeterlinck--_Pan_, Berlin, 3rd year, 4th
number, 1898.

Burton, R.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Atlantic Monthly_ (Boston), 1894, p.
672.

Buysse, Cyriel.--Maurice Maeterlinck. With bibliography.--_Den
Gulden-Winckel_ (Baarn), 15th July, 1902.

Chambers, E.K.--Joyzelle.--_Academy_, 1903, p. 89.

Chrysale.--La Vie des Abeilles.--_Figaro_, 14th July, 1901.

Coleman, A.I. du P.--The Buried Temple.--_Critic_, Jan., 1903.

Cooper, F.T.--The Forbidden Play.--_Bookman_ (New York), Sept., 1902.

Corneau, G.--Maeterlinck and Joyzelle.--_Critic_, Aug., 1903.

Cornut, Samuel.--Maurice Maeterlinck--_La Semaine littéraire_, Geneva,
18th and 25th Jan., 1902.

Courtney, W.L.--Development of Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Contemporary
Review_, Sept., 1004.

Crawford, Virginia M.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Fortnightly Review_, 1897,
p. 176.

Crawford, Virginia M.--Maeterlinck's Aspirations.--_Current Literature_,
August, 1900.

Daniels, E.D.--Symbolism in The Blind.--_Poet-Lore_, 1902, p. 554.

Dauriac, Lionel.--Un stoïcien du temps présent.--_Revue Latine_, 22nd
June, 1902.

Deschamps, Gaston.--La Vie littéraire.--_Le Temps_, 21st April, 1907.

Deschamps, L.--M. Maeterlinck.--_La Plume_, 15th Nov., 1902.

Dewey, J.--Maeterlinck's Philosophy of Life.--_Hibbert Journal_, July,
1911.

Deyssel, Lodewijk van.--Het schoone beeld.--_Twee-maandelijksch
Tijdschrift_, Sept., 1897.

Dimnet, Abbé Ernest.--Is M. Maeterlinck critically
estimated?--_Nineteenth Century and After_, Jan., 1912.

Dreux, André.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Le Correspondent_, 25th March,
1897.

Drews, Arthur.--Maurice Maeterlinck als Philosoph.--_Preuszische
Jahrbücher_, Berlin, Jan.-March, 1900, vol. xc., No. 12, pp. 232-262.

Drews, Arthur.--Das Leben der Bienen.--_Preuszische Jahrbücher_, vol.
cvii., No. 3.

Drews, Arthur.--Der begrabene Tempel.--_Preuszische Jahrbücher_, vol.
cx., No. 1.

Dumont-Wilden, L., et Georges Marlow.--L'Oiseau Bleu, _Le Masque_,
Brussels, May, 1910.

Dumont-Wilden, Louis.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_La Nouvelle Revue
Française_, Sept., 1912.

Dumont-Wilden, Louis.--Correspondence.--_La Vie Intellectuelle_,
Brussels, Nov. 1912.

Ettlinger, Anna.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Beilage zur Allgemeinen
Zeitung_, No. 155 f., 1901.

Fidler, Florence G.--Maeterlinck's Blue Bird.--_Everyman_, Feb. 14th,
1913.

Firkens, O.W.--Dramas of Maeterlinck.--_Nation_ (New York), Sept. 14th,
1911.

Flat, Paul.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Revue Bleue_, Oct., 1903.

Forest, K. de.--A Visit to Maeterlinck's Paris Home. _Harper's Bazar_,
May, 1901.

Fortebus, T.--Maeterlinck as Thinker.--_Argosy_, 1901, p. 86.

Galtier, Joseph.--Maurice Maeterlinck raconté par lui-même. _Le Temps_,
May 29th, 1903.

Gerothwohl, M.A.--Monna Vanna.--_Monthly Review_ (London), 1902, p. 121.

Gerothwohl, M.A.--Joyzelle. _Fortnightly Review_, 1903, p. 76.

Gibson, A.E.--Maeterlinck and the Bees.--_Arena_, 1002, p. 381.

Gilder, J.L.--The American Production of Maeterlinck's Blue
Bird.--_Review of Reviews_ (New York), Dec., 1910.

Gilman, L.--Maeterlinck in Music.--_Harper's Weekly_, Jan. 13th, 1906.

Groth, C.D.--Madame Maeterlinck at Home.--_Harper's Bazar_, Nov., 1911.

Guthrie, W.N.--The Treasure of the Humble. Study of Death. _Sewanee
Review_ (Sewanee, Tenn.), 1898, p. 276.

Hagemann, Dr. Karl.--Maeterlinck und Bölsche.--_Die Propyläen_, Munich,
Nov. 1903.

Hamel, A.G. van.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_De Gids_, Jan., 1900.

Harris, Frank.--Maurice Maeterlinck, _The Academy_, June 15th and 22nd,
1912.

Hartmann, Anna von.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Deutsche Rundschau_, Jan.
1003.

Hassé.--L'âme philosophique de Maeterlinck.--_Ermitage_, May, 1896.

Hauser, Otto.--Maeterlinck's Dramen.--_Nationalzeitung_, Aug., 1902.

Heard, J., Jr.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Critic_, 1894, P. 354.

Henderson, A.--Maeterlinck as a Dramatic Artist.--_Sewanee Review_,
1904, p. 207.

Henderson, A.--Maurice Maeterlinck, Symbolist and Mystic.--_Arena_
(Boston), Feb., 1906.

Hofmiller, Josef.--Maeterlinck (Deutsches Theater, ii).--_Monatshefte_,
Munich and Leipzig, Oct., 1904.

Holländer, Felix.--Criticism of various works.--_Literarisches Echo_,
Oct., 1902.

Hovey, Richard.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Nineteenth Century_, March,
1895.

Hovey, Richard.--Impressions of Maeterlinck and the Théâtre de
l'Œuvre.--_Poet-Lore_, 1895, p. 446.

Hovey, Richard.--Translation from Maeterlinck--_Current Literature_,
Mar., 1901.

Huneker, James.--The Evolution of a Mystic.--_The Sun_, 12th April,
1903.

Huneker, James.--The Romance of Maeterlinck.--_The Sun_ (New York), 26th
April, 1903.

Huneker, James.--Joyzelle.--_The Lamp_ (New York), Jan., 1904.

Jannasch, Lilly.--Monna Vanna im Lichte der sozialen Ethik.--_Ethische
Kultur_, Berlin, 4th April, 1903.

Jervey, H.--Maeterlinck versus the Conventional Drama.--_Sewanee
Review_, 1903, p. 187.

Keller, Adolf von.--Maeterlinck als Philosoph.--_Neue Zürcher Zeitung_,
28-29th Dec, 1903.

Keymeulen, van.--Maurice Maeterlinck et son Œuvre.--_Revue
Encyclopédique_, 15th Jan., 1893.

Leblanc-Maeterlinck, Georgette.--Macbeth at Saint
Wandrille.--_Fortnightly Review_, Oct., 1909.

Leblanc-Maeterlinck, Georgette.--Later Heroines of
Maeterlinck.--_Fortnightly Review_, Jan., 1910.

Leblanc-Maeterlinck, Georgette.--Maeterlinck's Methods of Life and
Work.--_Contemporary Review_, Nov., 1910.

Lerberghe, Charles van.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_La Wallonie_ (Liège),
31st July, 1889.

Lord, W.F.--The Reader of Plays to the Rescue.--_Nineteenth Century and
After_, 1902, p. 72. Reply: H.H. Fyfe, p. 282. Rejoinder: W.F. Lord, p.
289.

Lorenz, Max.--Der Naturalismus und seine überwindung. _Preuszische
Jahrbücher_, vol. xcvi., p. 493 ff.

Mattos, A.T. de.--A Notable Genius.--_American Magazine_ (New York),
Feb., 1911.

Mauclair, Camille.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Les Hommes d'aujourd'hui_,
No. 434, Paris, Vanier.

Mauclair, Camille.--Intérieur.--_Revue Encyclopédique_, 1st April, 1895.

Mauclair, Camille.--La Belgique par un Français.--_Revue
Encyclopédique_, 24th July, 1897.

Maurras, Charles.--Le Trésor des Humbles--_Revue Encyclopédique_, 26th
Sept., 1896.

Merrill, Stuart.--Commentaires sur une Polémique.--_Le Masque_
(Brussels), Série ii, Nos. 9 et 10.

Mirbeau, Octave.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Figaro_, 24th Aug., 1890.

Mockel, Albert.--Chronique littéraire.--_La Wallonie_, June and July,
1890.

Mockel, Albert.--Une âme de poète.--_Revue Wallonne_, Liège, June,
1894.

Mockel, Albert.--Les lettres françaises en Belgique.--_Revue
Encyclopédique_, 24th July, 1897.

Newman, E.--Maeterlinck and Music.--_Atlantic Monthly_ (Boston), 1901,
p. 769.

Norat, E.--Maeterlinck moraliste.--_Revue Bleue_, 11th June, 1904.

Nouhuys, W.G. van.--Maeterlinck.--_Nederland_, 1897, L, p. 14.

Oppeln-Bronikowski, F. von.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Die Gesellschaft_, 9
and 10, 1898.

Oppeln-Bronikowski, F. von.--Maurice Maeterlinck und der
Mysticismus.--_Nord und Süd_, Dec., 1898.

Oppeln-Bronikowski, F. von.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Bühne und Welt_, 1st
and 15th Nov., 1902.

Oppeln-Bronikowski, F. von.--Wie Maeterlinck arbeitet, _Berliner
Tageblatt_, 19th Feb., 1904.

Oppeln-Bronikowski, F. von.--Die Quellen von Monna
Vanna--_Nationalzeitung, Sonntagsbeilage_ 44, 1904.

Oppeln-Bronikowski, F. von.--Maeterlinck's neueste
Werke--_Nationalzeitung_, 19th and 21st July, 1904.

Osgood, H.--Maeterlinck and Emerson--_Arena_--1896, p. 563.

Pastore, Annibale.--L'Evoluzione di M. Maeterlinck.--_Nuova Antologia_,
16th March, 1903.

Patrick, M.M.--The Belgian Shakespeare.--_Chautauquan_ (Meadville, Pa.),
Oct., 1904.

Phelps, William Lyon--Maeterlinck.--_Poet-Lore_ (Boston), 1899, p. 357.

Phelps, William Lyon.--Maeterlinck and Robert Browning.--_Academy_,
1903, p. 594. Same: _Independent_ (New York), March 5th, 1903.

Phillips, R.--A Talk with Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Book Buyer_, New York,
July, 1902.

Picard, Gaston.--Enquête.--_L'Heure qui sonne_, April, 1911.

Pidoux, M.--Maeterlinck at home.--_Bookman_ (New York), 1895, p. 104.

Pilon, Edmond.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Mercure de France_, April, 1896.

Pilon, Edmond.--Maurice Maeterlinck, _La Plume_, 1st May, 1902.

Puttkamer, Alberta von.--Monna Vanna und der künstlerisch
--philosophische Werdegang Maeterlincks.--_Beilage zur Allgemeinen
Zeitung_, No. 236 f., 1902.

Rava, Maurice.--Maurice Maeterlinck, Poeta Filosofo.--_Nuova Antologia_,
1st Feb., 1897.

Rency, Georges.--Maurice Maeterlinck et Louis Dumont-Wilden.--_La Vie
Intellectuelle_ (Brussels), 15th Oct., 1912.

Rency, Georges.--Review of La Mort. _La Vie Intellectuelle_, March,
1913.

Reuter, Gabriele.--Rhodope und Monna Vanna.--_Der Tag_, Berlin, 5th
April, 1903.

Richter, Helene.--Das Urbild der Monna Vanna.--_Neue Freie Presse_
(Vienna), 29th April, 1904.

Rod, E.--Maeterlinck's Essay on The Life of the Bee.--_International
Monthly_ (Burlington, Vt.), April, 1902.

Ropes, A.R.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Contemporary Review_, March, 1900.

Rose, G.B.--Monna Vanna.--_Sewanee Review_ (Sewanee, Tenn.), 1902, p.
458.

Ruhl, A.--The Blue Bird.--_Collier's National Weekly_ (New York), Oct.
22nd, 1910.

Sanborn, A.F.--Maeterlinck out of doors.--_Harper's Weekly_, Oct. 15th,
1910.

Scott-James, R.A.--Review of "Death" and Mr Edward Thomas's "Maurice
Maeterlinck." _Daily News_ (London), Oct. 20th, 1911.

Serrano, M.J.--Three Songs of Maeterlinck translated.--_Critic_, Dec.
1902.

Sharp, W.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Academy_, 1892, p. 270.

Sherwood.--Later Philosophy of Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Atlantic Monthly_,
Sept. 1911.

Sholl, A.M.--Maeterlinck's Philosophy.--_Gunton's Magazine_ (New York),
Jan., 1904.

Silver, Ednah C.--Maeterlinck and Swedenborg.--_New Church Review_
(Boston), 1905, p. 416.

Slosson, E.E.--Twelve Major Prophets of To-day.--_Independent_, May 4th,
1911.

Soissons, Count S.C. de.--Bluebeard and Aryan.--_Fortnightly Review_,
Dec. 1900. Same: _Littell's Living Age_ (Boston), Jan. 1901.

Soissons, Count S.C. de.--Maeterlinck as Reformer of the
Drama.--_Contemporary Review_, Nov. 1904.

Soissons, Count de.--The Modern Belgian Poets.--_English Review_, Aug.
1911.

Souza, Robert de.--Littérature.--_Mercure de France_, 1898.

Steiner, E.A.--A visit to Maeterlinck.--_Outlook_ (New York), 1901, p.
701.

Stoddart, J.T.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Bookman_ (New York). 1895, p.
246.

Sylvestre, M.--Maeterlinck.--_Open Court_ (Chicago), 1903, p. 116.

Symons, Arthur.--Maeterlinck as a Mystic.--_Contemporary Review_, 1897,
p. 349.

Tadema, L. Alma.--Monna Vanna.--_Fortnightly Review_, 1902, p. 153.

Thorold, Algar.--Maeterlinck as Moralist.--_Independent Review_
(London), 1906, p. 184.

"_Thyrse, Le,_" Brussels, Jan., 1912.--Maeterlinck et le prix Nobel.
Enquête.--(Contains opinions of eminent men of letters on Maeterlinck.)

Uzanne, Octave.--La Thébaïde de Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Echo de Paris_,
7th Sept., 1900.

Vallete, Alfred.--Pelléas et Mélisande et La Critique
Officielle.--_Mercure de France_, July, 1893.

Weekes, C--Maeterlinck as Artist.--_Argosy_, 1901, p. 77.

Winter, W.--The Blue Bird.--_Harper's Weekly_, Oct. 29th, 1910.

Zangwill, Israel--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Critic_, 1895, p. 451.

Zieler, Gustav.--Maurice Maeterlinck.--_Velhagen und Klasings
Monatshefte_, Aug., 1902.



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF MAETERLINCK'S WORKS


  1889  Serres Chaudes
        La Princesse Maleine
  1890  Les Aveugles
  1891  L'Ornement des Noces spirituelles de Ruysbroeck l'Admirable
        Les sept Princesses
  1892  Pelléas et Mélisande
  1894  Alladine et Palomides
        Intérieur
        La Mort de Tintagiles
  1895  Annabella
        Les Disciples à Saïs et les Fragments de Novalis
  1896  Le Trésor des Humbles
        Aglavaine et Selysette
        Douze Chansons
  1898  La Sagesse et la Destinée
  1901  La Vie des Abeilles
        Théâtre I & III
  1902  Théâtre II
        Le Temple Enseveli
        Monna Vanna
        Théâtre de Maurice Maeterlinck
  1903  Joyzelle
  1904  Le double Jardin
        Das Wunder des Heiligen Antonius
  1907  L'Intelligence des Fleurs
  1909  L'Oiseau Bleu
  1910  Macbeth
        Mary Magdalene
  1911  Death
  1913  La Mort





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