Shield and Friend

This poem illustrates Gezelle's contacts with the well-to-do citizens in Courtrai.

GG hebbelynck 002 Notary and Mayor Alphonse Hebbelynck

Cozy by the Fireside

In the poem Scilt en vriend Gezelle decribes a first-person narrator fleeing from a severe snowstorm and seeking shelter with a friendly family. The poem was never published and was probably meant as a personal present for the Hebbelynck-Van Baeten family from Merelbeke near Ghent. Alphonse Hebbelynck was a notary there and later also a mayor. His wife was the daughter of a Courtrai wine merchant who was closely involved with the Holy Ghost orphanage where Gezelle lodged from 1872 to 1878. Gezelle’s autograph gives way to supposing that “Scilt en Vriend” (Shield and Friend) was a device on the fireplace in their home. It is a good example of Gezelle’s contacts with well-to-do citizens. As he often did, Gezelle wrote the stanzas on separate sheets.

Have a look at the handwriting of three stanzas

  • GGA1605 1 01
  • GGA1605 1 02
  • GGA1605 1 03

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