《奧伯曼山谷》：總說 / 藝術家簡歷
THIEL, July 19 (I)
I have been on to Iverdun; I have seen Neufchâtel, Bienne, and the vicinity. I am staying some days at Thiel on the frontier of Neufchâtel and Berne, At Lausanne I took one of those hired coaches which are so common in Switzerland. I did not fear the tediousness of a conveyance; I was too much taken up with my situation, my hopes so doubtful, the uncertain future, the present already useless, and the emptiness past all bearing which I find everywhere.
I rejoiced for a moment to feel myself free and amidst scenes so lovely. I thought to find a better life among them, but I will confess to you that I am not satisfied. At Moudon, in the heart of the pays de Vaud, I asked myself: Should I lead a happy life in these places, so extolled and so sought after? But a profound weariness drove me onward immediately. Subsequently I chiefly to a depressing feature of the place. Moudon is well timbered and scenic, but then there is no lake. I decided to stay the night at Iverdun, thrusting by its shores to recover that sense of ease, intermingled with melancholy, which I prefer to gladness. The valley is beautiful, and the town one of the prettiest in Switzerland. But notwithstanding the loveliness of the day, I have found Iverdun sadder than Moudon. What manner of surroundings must I have?
I reached Vevey by way of Morat, and did not propose to make a stay here, but yesterday I was struck at my awakening by the most magnificent spectacle which morning can produce in a country, the characteristic charm of which is , notwithstanding, more pastoral than majestic. Hence I have been led to tarry here for a few days.
My window remained open all night, in accordance with my custom. Towards four in the morning I was aroused by the brightness of the dawn, and by the fragrance of new-mown hay, cut during the cool hours in the light of the moon. I expected some ordinary scene, and stood in amazement for a moment. The rains of the solstice had maintained the abundance of water previously accumulated by the well-spring of the snows of Jura. The space between the lake and Thiel was almost completely flooded the highest spots formed insulted pastures in the midst of these plains of water ridged by the cool morning wind. Far driven by the wind over the half-submerged shore might be seen by the waves of the lake. She-goats and cows led by their herdsman, drawing rustic sounds from his horn, passed at the moment along a tongue of dry land which remained between the flooded plain and Thiel. Stones placed at the most difficult points afforded or continued this kind of natural causeway. It was not possible to discern the grazing ground which these tractable beasts were destined to attain, and by their tardy and vacillating gait it might be thought that they were making for the lake to be submerged therein. The heights of Anet and the dense forests of Julemont rose from the breast of the waters like an island still wild and uninhabited. The mountainous chain of Vuilly skirted the lake on the verge of the horizon, Towards the south the expanse was prolonged behind the slopes of Montmirail; and beyond all these objects sixty leagues of aeonian ice imposed on the whole country the matchless grandeur of those bold features which constitute the sublime in scenery.
I took my dinner with the toll-collector, who was rather pleased with my humour. He is a man more inclined for smoking and drinking than for rancour, scheming and self-torment. I seem to tolerate in others some habits which I have no intention of adopting, They are a refuge from weariness; they help to fill up the time with-out the trouble of taking thought to fill it; they dispense one from many things that are worse, and in place of that repose of felicity which is seen on no face, they imprint at least that of a sufficing distraction which conciliates all, and is opposed only to the acquisitions of the mind.
I took the key with me in the evering, so that I could return late without being troubled as to time. The moon waters of Thiel. But feeling disposed for continued dreaming, and finding in the warmth of the night an excuse for passing the whole of it in the open air, I took the road to Saint-Blaise, leaving it at a little village, named Martin, which has the lake on the south, and descending a steep slope to recline on the sand, where the waves broke and expired. The air was serene, no veil of mist was visible on the lake. All things slept, some in forgefulness of their toils, other in that of their sorrows. The moon rose, I tarried a long time, and about morning it poured upon the earth and the waters the ineffable sadness of its last glories. Very grand seemed Nature when, amidst prolonged meditation, there was heard the roll of the waves the deserted shore. In the calm of a night still glowing and still enlightened by a dying moon.
Indescribable tenderness, charm and torture of our empty days; vast consciousness of a Nature which is everywhere overwhelming and everywhere inscrutable; universal passion, advanced wisdom, voluptuous abandonment: all that a mortal heart can hold of deep needs and deep weariness, all these did I feel, all pass through on that ineffaceable night. I took an ominous stride towards the age of decadence; I consumed ten years of my life. Happy is the simple man whose heart is for every young!
July (Eight Year)
It was midnight; the moon had set, the lake was restless, the sky clear, the night deep and lovely. Amidst the vagueness brooding over the earth might be heard the shivering of birches and the fall of poplar leaves; the pines gave forth wild murmurs; romantic sounds fell from the mountains; vast billows broke upon the strand. Presently the osprey began to cry among the cavernous rocks; as she finished the wave subsided and there was an austere silence.
Yet, amidst the restless quietude, at long intervals, the nightingale uttered her lonely, single, reiterated note, song of ecstatic nights; sublime rendering of a primeval melody; unspeakable outburst of love and sorrow; voluptuous as the want which consumes me; simple, mysterious, immense as the heart which loves.
Abandoned in a kind of funereal repose to the measured motion of those pale, mute, unceasing waves, I became permeated with that movement, so slow and unvaried, with that enduring peace, those sounds isolated in the long silence. Too beautiful seemed Nature, too soft, too sweet those waters, the earth and the night; the tranquil harmony of all things was too much for my perturbed heart. I dreamed of the springtide of the perishable world, and the springtide of my life. I beheld the years as they pass, sad and sterile, from the eternity of the future into the eternity of the lost. I beheld the present, always vain and never possessed, unlinking its indefinite chain from the vague future, bringing my death nearer, till it became visible, marshallingthrough the night the phantoms of my days, decreasing, dissolving them; overtaking the last shadow, devouring as indifferently that day which will have none to succeed it, and closing the mute abyss.
As if all men had not passed away, and all had not passed in vain! As if life were real and essentially existing! As if the perception of the universe were consciousness of a positive being, and the human ego more than the fortuitous expression of a transient combination! What would I? What am I? What do I ask Nature? Is it a universal needs? Does intelligence bring about those results for which my intelligence is looking? Every cause is hidden, each end deceptive. Every form changes, all duration slips away; and the agony of the insatiable heart is but the blind course of a meteor wandering in the void where it must be lost. Nothing is possessed as we anticipate, nothing known as it is. We percrive relations only, not essences. We do not make use of things, but of their images. Sought without us and impenetrable within us, Nature is dark everywhere. “I feel,” is the sole affirmation for him who would have truth only. And that which constitutes the certitude of my existence is also it torture. I do feel, I do exist, but it is to be consumed by unconquerable desires, to be plunged in the sorcery of a fantastic world, to be overwhelmed by its voluptuous deception.
《Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.》Lord Byron
Could I embody and unbosom now That which is most within me, -could I wreak My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or wreak, All that I would have sought, and all I seek, Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe-into one word, And that one word were Lighting, I would speak; But as it is, I live and die unheard, With a most voliceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
展 覽｜奧伯曼山谷 Vallée d'Obermann