MAETERLINCK, mii' ( or mli')ter-IINk, S1Au RICE ( 1862—). A Belgian poet, born August 20, 1862, in Ghent. He studied in a Jesuit school, then pursued philosophy and law. In 1887 lie became a barrister, but in 1896 he settled as a man of letters in Paris. He first wrote Serres chandes (1889), and added to these verses Douce chansons (1896). One of these betters an inspiration which Rossetti, in "An Old Song Ended," had got from Ophelia's song in Hamlet (Act iv., Scene I ). Pis dramas. La prineesse Jialeine (1889): Les arcugles (1890); L'in (ruse (MO) ; Les scpt princesses (1891) : Pet Mas et iletisande (1892) ; Alludinc et Palo ?Odes: Inte'rieu• (1894) ; Mori de Tintagiles (1894) : Aglaraine ct Selysette (1896) ; and Manna Vanna (1902), which closely resembles Browning's Luria, are dramatic in form, but their symbolism or mystic quality so greatly les sens their dramatic effect that they are seldom played. Maeterlinck's spirit is imbued in mys teries. He is symbolistic. though by no means the earliest modern symbolist. He broods over death, and sees life with poetic rather than accu rately analytic vision. He lives in a dreamy atmosphere. and the puppets in his dramas are rather such stuff as dreams arc made of than men and women. Without passion or will, en thralled by Maeterlinck's spirituality. they wan der blindly. They are either ghosts or mario nettes. It is natural, therefore, that Maeterlinck should appeal not to the public in general. hut rather to a special school of admirers who have studied his idiosyncrasies. To the thinking of many critics :Maeterlinck is best in his essays.
They, in truth, demand no strong portrayal of human character, and their author is free to charm by the simple and untrammeled utter ance of his views of life. Le tresor des humbles (1876), La sagesse et la dcstinee (187S), and Maeterlinck's Introduction to his translation of Ruysbroeck's L'oracmcnt des 210CCS spirituelles express Maeterlinck's mys tie philosophy. La vie dcs abeillcs, translated by Sutro (New York, 1902), is an artist's study of bee life. Here Maeterlinck's sensuous outlook on life. his painter's vision, has no need of psychol ogy; for he is dealing with throngs rather than with individuals, yet there is in his setting forth of the bee's activity, intelligence, instinct, and beauty a precision which shows that he got his knowledge mostly at first hand. This he tells us, though he also acknowledges his debt to honey gathering and to purely scientific students of the bee. La rie des abcillcs is perhaps Maeterlinck's soundest creation. His dramas, which were trans lated by Richard Hovey (New York, 1896). show the influence of the Elizabethan playwrights. Their weird unreality suggests such writers as Villiers de l'Isle-Adam (whom Maeterlinck met in Paris in 1590) and De Quincey, Rossetti, and Poe, as well as mystic writers of bygone ages. A collection of Slaeterlinek's dramas appeared in 1901.
me'vl-Us. A Latin poetaster, whose name usually is coupled with another similar writer, Darius (q.v.).