Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg (May 2, 1772 - March 25, 1801), better known as Novalis, accomplished with his short but mercurial, explosive chronicle of God, a dark romantic faith, the fecund subconscious, the dark underbelly of poetry (described by William Blake as "the eternal night") what no poet has done before or since. That is, to reconcile Jung's "shadow self" with the Divine Light we hear in Beethoven and Bach. A tremendous inspiration for all seers or would be seers, Novalis placed himself in the company of Keats, Stravinsky (when he composed "The Rite"), Rimbaud, and all artists of any kind who sacrificed themselves entirely in the name of a a certain holy quest for God's answer to man in the form of the Word, Logos.
With the death of his beloved fiancee Sophie Von Kuhn at only 15 years old from tuberculosis, a fate Novalis would also succumb to in the following years, the grief and mourning which followed did not produce the madness or the loss of faith of a Poe: indeed, the "Blue Flower" blossomed in this Romantic's mind like never before.
"Must the morning always return? Will the despotism of the earthly never cease? Unholy activity consumes the angel visit of the Night. Will the time never come when Love's hidden sacrifice shall burn eternally? To the Light a season was set: but everlasting and boundless is the dominion of the Night" (pg. 11).
The death of this young woman whom Hardenberg's biographer described as "giving an impression which--because it was so gracious and spiritually lovely--we must call superearthly or heavenly, while through this radiant and almost transparent countenance of hers we would be struck with the fear that it was too tender and delicately woven for this life, that it was death or immortality which looked at us so penetratingly from those shining eyes; and only too often a rapid withering motion turned our fear into an actual reality" had finally torn away all that was irrelevant and trivial from Novalis' mind. He knew that the night, dark green with the wisdom of Yeat's fairies
and Rimbaud's "singing flower bells" was all that was left to pursue.
Christ, the presence of the living God *through* Sophie, the intermediary, is made crystal clear through a focused reading: "More heavenly than those glittering stars we hold the eternal eyes which the Night hath opened within us. Farther they see than eyes which the Night hath opened within us. Farther they see than the palest of those countless hosts. Needing no aid from the light, they penetrate the depths of a loving soul that fills a loftier region and bliss ineffable. Glory to the queen of the world, to the great prophetess of holier worlds, to the foster-mother of blissful love! she sends thee to me, thou tenderly beloved, the gracious sun of the Night" (page 10).
Sophia, a name for Wisdom in early Christian mysticism, had been reconciled in these lines with Lorca's duende, the daemon chasing Van Gogh, the psychotic prophecies of British poet David Gascoyne.
This is not an easy text to understand (sacred texts never are) but is essential for anyone who wants to understand what poetry is and is not. A beautiful and eternal work.