Allegory by Marcel Proust

In the park there was an area of such rich and diverse flowers that it was often referred to as a garden. Every day it bloomed more and more in the joy of its beauty and the pretty scent of its perfumes. One evening, a furious storm tore up and carried away all the flowers. Then a torrential rain fell, frosting the bruised soil; everything that it loved the most was gone, torn from its very heart. Now it is all one, but this cold without respite, this senseless deluge, was the final cruelty. Meanwhile the wind took up the light earth in handfulls and scattered it before. Soon the last unyielding bed was stripped bare, the wind had no hold over it, but the water, being unable to cross it, and it was such an imprudently hilly garden that there was nowhere for it to drain off, remained there. And still it fell in torrents, drowning the ransacked garden in tears. In the morning it was still falling, then stopped; the garden was now no more than a devastated field covered by muddy water. But then it all subsided when, at about five o’ clock,, the garden felt its waters become calm, pure, pervaded with infinite extasy, pink and blue, divine and sickly, the afternoon, celestial, came to rest in its bed. And the water neither veiled it nor stirred it in any way but with all its love deepened further perhaps its vague and sad look and contained, retained in its entirety, tenderly embraced its luminous beauty. And henceforth those who love the vast spectacles of the sky often go to look at them in the pond.
Happy the heart thus stripped of flowers, ransacked, if now full of tears it can also reflect the sky in itself.

An unused fragment from Plaisirs et les jours, 1893-1895.


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