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From time immemorial, the endless night sky has always been a muse for artistic flights of fantasy. Poets have harnessed the power of words to proclaim the beauty of the cosmos and to elucidate the enigmatic and infinite universe we call home
At ArianeGroup, space is a daily source of inspiration. We encourage you to take time for some cultural nourishment and discover or re-read the following eloquent tributes to the universe and the stars.
René François Sully Prudhomme (1842-1908): Excerpt from Le Bonheur
Sully Prudhomme was the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature. Published in 1888 and divided into 12 cantos, his philosophical poem Le Bonheur includes a fantastical love affair between Faustus and Stella. Set in the vast universe, the lovers travel from star to star on an impassioned voyage.
Victor Hugo (1802-1885): Excerpt from Magnitudo parvi
An epic poem running to hundreds of stanzas, Magnitudo parvi is an oxymoron: “the magnitude of the small”. Victor Hugo exhorts us to remain humble when faced with the immensity of the heavens. In his poem, Hugo converses with his daughter; his rhetorical discourse is midway between teachings about space and philosophical musings about the human soul.
Johan Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): Dem aufgehenden Vollmonde
The poem’s protagonist speaks directly to the deeply cherished Moon: seemingly so close that one can almost touch it, and yet a distant orb on a set trajectory. A powerless cry for love (“…prove to me that I am loved!”) before the unyielding forces of nature. Beautiful, moving, and, above all, human.
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926): Weiβt du noch: fallende Sterne
This intimate poem draws us in with a question – do you remember? – directing our attention upwards to the heavens, pointing to the stars that we used to watch in the company of the narrator in some distant shared youth. It paints an enchanting picture (tinged with a certain poignancy) of childlike open-mouthed amazement at the wonders of nature.
We sincerely hope you have enjoyed this poetic and literary voyage. Are you familiar with poems that describe space with passion and emotion? Share your favourite verses with us on social media!