Notes below are keyed to line numbers (shown in the margin).
ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE
From Poetic Meditations (1820)
Written 22-4 August 1818.
|11 chariot of the queen of night: the moon.|
|38 the true Sun: God, the verus sol of the Roman breviary and 'the Sun of
righteousness' of Malachi 4: 2, as distinct from the material sun of lines
29 ff. But this explanation makes definite what the poem deliberately
keeps indefinite, a 'dim object' (l. 46) that 'never can be named on this
world's shore' (l. 44).|
Written August-October 1819.
|26 Lethe: in Greek mythology, a river in the underworld; those who drank its
water forgot their past lives.|
|55 Pythagoras: the maxim 'Revere the echo in the storm', attributed to
Pythagoras, has been very variously interpreted. In this poem, the echo is
evidently that of the 'celestial harmony' (l. 56), the 'music of the spheres'
which (Pythagoreans taught) emanated from the motions of the celestial
bodies but was scarcely, if at all, perceptible to mortal ears.|
|59 the mysterious star: the moon.|
Written September 1817. In the manuscript the lake is identified as the Lac du
Bourget at Aix-les-Bains, where Lamartine had vainly waited for Julie Charles
to join him the previous month (see Introduction, p. xiii
Written October-December 1819.
From Poetic and Religious Harmonies (1830)
Date of writing unknown, but evidently during the 1820s.
|40 all must blend!...: the dots are Lamartine's concluding punctuation-
marks, not indications of an omission or ellipsis.|