The Irish Connection with Gezelle's The Evening and the Rose

The Irish ambassador Helena Nolan will visit the Bruges library on the 7th of March. An opportunity to highlight the connection with the Irish poet Thomas Moore and Gezelle's famous poem The Evening and the Rose.

Thomas Moore Thomas Moore (National Portrait Gallery)

The Last Rose of Summer

According to Hugo Verriest, Gezelle and his students read the work of the Irish poet Thomas Moore. Moore wrote his famous poem The Last Rose of Summer in 1805, a poem about aging and seeing your friends and loved ones die until you are left all alone. Moore also made the melody to the text. It is published in Irish Melodies (1807-1828). The song became popular in Flanders due to the opera Martha (1844) by Friedrich von Flotow.

GGA 3895 Van Oye to Gezelle (letter, 11.1858)

Eugeen's Rose

In 1858, Gezelle's student Eugeen Van Oye, gave him a rose from his garden. Gezelle thanked him by writing the famous poem The Evening and the Rose. He wrote it on November the 1st at 10 a.m.. In a letter, Van Oye refers to Moores' The Last Rose of Summer: "I have given you this rose, to tell the truth, as the last rose of the summer." The feeling of loneliness in Moore's poem appealed to the introverted Van Oye, who found comfort in the intimate relationship with Gezelle and the seclusion of his room.

Read more about Eugeen Van Oye and the poetry collection Poems, Songs and Prayers.

The Last Rose of Summer

'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh!

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one.
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them;
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from love's shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie wither'd,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Thomas Moore

The Evening and the Rose

I've many, many an hour with you
been living and been loving
and never has an hour with you
been for one instant irking.
I've many, many a flower to you
elected and devoted,
and like a bee with you, with you
the honey from it looted ;
but never an hour so dear with you,
however long enduring,
but never an hour so sorrowful
while leaving was ensuing,
as the hour when so near to you
that evening, with you seated,
I heard you speak and spoke to you
what our souls conceived.
Nor was a flower so beautiful
elected, plucked, received,
as that unbroken blew on you
and might be mine that evening.
Although, for me as well as you
— for who will heal this ailing? —
an hour with me, an hour with you
not long an hour remained ;
although for me, although for you,
however dear the dowry,
the rose, and yet a rose of you,
not long might be a-blowing,
still long will guard, I vow to you,
unless it all forgoes,
my heart three dearest beings : you,
the evening and this rose.

Guido Gezelle (translated by Christine D’haen)

Your browser does not meet the minimum requirements to view this website. View the compatible browsers below. If you do not have any of these browsers, click on the icon to download the desired browser.