Charles van Lerberghe

But One Night, Venus Came To Bring Me Roses - Poem by Charles van Lerberghe

But one night, Venus came to bring me roses.
It was in the grove, where I was yet asleep.
She was nude and blonde, sparkling, roseate,
And all of the sombre air around her was of gold.

In the warm night there was a sudden flight of doves.

In unison, her lovely nymphs,
- They wore purple girdles
Beneath their breasts and
Roses in their hair –
Caused under flying fingers
Their shining lyres to resound.

And one proclaimed: O Queen! look,
She awakens, she laughs, surprised.
She resembles you on the day you were born
Of the foam dancing on waves of the vernal seas.
Look at her. Her dazzled eyes are unaware
Of why you smile and why we have come
With flowers, divine Venus, and with songs,
From the depth of our night to salute her dawn;
And yet, she is like the very image of Love.

And I said to her: Gracious Queen,
How that name, of which my lips first learned
The dazzling murmur,
Suavely resounds in the silence.
And like your presence, that word
Has perfumed the night!
Before you, my angels reverently kneel.
And I adore you and I seek in my heard
Words that would be,
Like your grace and beauty, divine.

But alas, our human souls
Can only tell their bliss,
Their afflictions,
In an exquisite murmur and in tears…

And all at once, in the sound of my voice,
Through the air reeling with song and with roses,
She, who with her breath quickens all things,
Gently approached me…

And I felt upon my throbbing heart all on fire
Something like the alighting of lips.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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