the beryl

The Beryl of which I sing is a precious stone,
resembling the gay green of the waters of the sea
when the stormy blasts, gently appeased,
have given place to the zephyrs on the calmed waves.
Sometimes the Beryl has a golden surface
like newly-strained liquid honey,
but its lustre is feeble if it is not bevelled,
for the blow of the tool’s edge heightens its fine lustre
which is otherwise sickly, dull, and straw-coloured,
lacking the double gleams which cutting gives to it.

The best is the sort whose tinted surface
resembles the lovely hue of fine emeralds.
Only the Indian shore sends us the Beryl,
either green or golden.
For hardenings of the liver and for eye diseases it is a sovereign remedy,
it immediately calms panting, hiccups, and belching.
It maintains the union of man and woman within the laws of marriage.
It drives away sloth and with its friendly influence humbles the pride of a cruel enemy.

Remy Belleau


Your hands have made me and modelled me from flesh,
like a potter who with delicate skill
turns a lump of clay into a vessel:
then suddenly You make me stumble.

Remember before You damn me
that You formed me from mire
and slimy mud, and that after my death
You will make me return to dusty earth.

You poured me like new milk,
which thickens and curdles in rennet.
You put together my body from nerves and bones,
then, clothed with flesh and skin,

You gave me life and years,
leading me in the way of your grace,
and by the light  of your divine face
have guided my steps, my spirit, and my senses.

Remy Belleau