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184 Works of Victor Hugo

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A Fight with a Cannon

Story type: Literature

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La Vieuville was suddenly cut short by a cry of despair, and at the same time a noise was heard wholly unlike any other sound. The cry and sounds came from within the vessel. The captain and lieutenant rushed toward the deck, but could not get down. All the gunners were pouring up in dismay. […]

First Love

Story type: Poetry

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(“Vous etes singulier.”) [MARION DELORME, Act I., June, 1829, played 1831.] MARION (smiling.) You’re strange, and yet I love you thus. DIDIER. You love me? Beware, nor with light lips utter that word. You love me!–know you what it is to love With love that is the life-blood in one’s veins, The vital air we […]

Zara, The Bather

Story type: Poetry

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(“Sara, belle d’indolence.”) [XIX., August, 1828.] In a swinging hammock lying, Lightly flying, Zara, lovely indolent, O’er a fountain’s crystal wave There to lave Her young beauty–see her bent. As she leans, so sweet and soft, Flitting oft, O’er the mirror to and fro, Seems that airy floating bat, Like a feather From some sea-gull’s […]

The Greek Boy

Story type: Poetry

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(“Les Turcs ont passes la.”) [XVIII., June 10, 1828.] All is a ruin where rage knew no bounds: Chio is levelled, and loathed by the hounds, For shivered yest’reen was her lance; Sulphurous vapors envenom the place Where her true beauties of Beauty’s true race Were lately linked close in the dance. Dark is the […]

The Lost Battle

Story type: Poetry

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(“Allah! qui me rendra-“) [XVL, May, 1828.] Oh, Allah! who will give me back my terrible array? My emirs and my cavalry that shook the earth to-day; My tent, my wide-extending camp, all dazzling to the sight, Whose watchfires, kindled numberless beneath the brow of night, Seemed oft unto the sentinel that watched the midnight […]

(“Un jour Ali passait.”) [XIII, Nov. 8, 1828.] Ali came riding by–the highest head Bent to the dust, o’ercharged with dread, Whilst “God be praised!” all cried; But through the throng one dervish pressed, Aged and bent, who dared arrest The pasha in his pride. “Ali Tepelini, light of all light, Who hold’st the Divan’s […]

(“N’ai-je pas pour toi, belle juive.”) [XII., Oct. 27, 1828.] To please you, Jewess, jewel! I have thinned my harem out! Must every flirting of your fan Presage a dying shout? Grace for the damsels tender Who have fear to hear your laugh, For seldom gladness gilds your lips But blood you mean to quaff. […]

The Veil

Story type: Poetry

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(“Qu’avez-vous, mes freres?”) [XI., September, 18288.] “Have you prayed tonight, Desdemona?” THE SISTER What has happened, my brothers? Your spirit to-day Some secret sorrow damps There’s a cloud on your brow. What has happened? Oh, say, For your eyeballs glare out with a sinister ray Like the light of funeral lamps. And the blades of […]

(“La lune etait sereine.”) [X., September, 1828.] Bright shone the merry moonbeams dancing o’er the wave; At the cool casement, to the evening breeze flung wide, Leans the Sultana, and delights to watch the tide, With surge of silvery sheen, yon sleeping islets lave. From her hand, as it falls, vibrates the light guitar. She […]

(“Si je n’etait captive.”) Oh! were I not a captive, I should love this fair countree; Those fields with maize abounding, This ever-plaintive sea: I’d love those stars unnumbered, If, passing in the shade, Beneath our walls I saw not The spahi’s sparkling blade. I am no Tartar maiden That a blackamoor of price Should […]

Pirates’ Song

Story type: Poetry

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(“Nous emmenions en esclavage.”) [VIII., March, 1828.] We’re bearing fivescore Christian dogs To serve the cruel drivers: Some are fair beauties gently born, And some rough coral-divers. We hardy skimmers of the sea Are lucky in each sally, And, eighty strong, we send along The dreaded Pirate Galley. A nunnery was spied ashore, We lowered […]

(“La, voyez-vous passer, la nuee.”) I. Hast seen it pass, that cloud of darkest rim? Now red and glorious, and now gray and dim, Now sad as summer, barren in its heat? One seems to see at once rush through the night The smoke and turmoil from a burning site Of some great town in […]

(“Ou vas-tu donc, jeune ame.”) [XV.] The Peri Beautiful spirit, come with me Over the blue enchanted sea: Morn and evening thou canst play In my garden, where the breeze Warbles through the fruity trees; No shadow falls upon the day: There thy mother’s arms await Her cherished infant at the gate. Of Peris I […]

Madelaine

Story type: Poetry

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(“Ecoute-moi, Madeline.”) List to me, O Madelaine! Now the snows have left the plain, Which they warmly cloaked. Come into the forest groves, Where the notes that Echo loves Are from horns evoked. Come! where Springtide, Madelaine, Brings a sultry breath from Spain, Giving buds their hue; And, last night, to glad your eye, Laid […]

(“Accourez tous, oiseaux de proie!”) [VII., September, 1825.] Ho! hither flock, ye fowls of prey! Ye wolves of war, make no delay! For foemen ‘neath our blades shall fall Ere night may veil with purple pall. The evening psalms are nearly o’er, And priests who follow in our train Have promised us the final gain, […]

(“Monseigneur le Duc de Bretagne.”) [VI., October, 1825.] My lord the Duke of Brittany Has summoned his barons bold– Their names make a fearful litany! Among them you will not meet any But men of giant mould. Proud earls, who dwell in donjon keep, And steel-clad knight and peer, Whose forts are girt with a […]

The Giant In Glee

Story type: Poetry

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(“Ho, guerriers! je suis ne dans le pays des Gaules.”) [V., March 11, 1825.] Ho, warriors! I was reared in the land of the Gauls; O’er the Rhine my ancestors came bounding like balls Of the snow at the Pole, where, a babe, I was bathed Ere in bear and in walrus-skin I was enswathed. […]

The Grandmother

Story type: Poetry

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(“Dors-tu? mere de notre mere.”) “To die–to sleep.”–SHAKESPEARE. Still asleep! We have been since the noon thus alone. Oh, the hours we have ceased to number! Wake, grandmother!–speechless say why thou art grown. Then, thy lips are so cold!–the Madonna of stone Is like thee in thy holy slumber. We have watched thee in sleep, […]

(“Oui, ce front, ce sourire.”) [Bk. V. xxii., November, 1825.] That brow, that smile, that cheek so fair, Beseem my child, who weeps and plays: A heavenly spirit guards her ways, From whom she stole that mixture rare. Through all her features shining mild, The poet sees an angel there, The father sees a child. […]

(“Le parfum d’un lis.”) [Bk. V. xiii.] The lily’s perfume pure, fame’s crown of light, The latest murmur of departing day, Fond friendship’s plaint, that melts at piteous sight, The mystic farewell of each hour at flight, The kiss which beauty grants with coy delay,– The sevenfold scarf that parting storms bestow As trophy to […]

(“Le voile du matin.”) [Bk. V. viii., April, 1822.] The mist of the morning is torn by the peaks, Old towers gleam white in the ray, And already the glory so joyously seeks The lark that’s saluting the day. Then smile away, man, at the heavens so fair, Though, were you swept hence in the […]

Regret (an ode)

Story type: Poetry

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(“Oui, le bonheur bien vite a passe.”) [Bk. V. ii., February, 1821.] Yes, Happiness hath left me soon behind! Alas! we all pursue its steps! and when We’ve sunk to rest within its arms entwined, Like the Phoenician virgin, wake, and find Ourselves alone again. Then, through the distant future’s boundless space, We seek the […]

(“Amis! ennui nous tue.”) [Bk. IV. xv., March, 1825.] Aweary unto death, my friends, a mood by wise abhorred, Come to the novel feast I spread, thrice-consul, Nero, lord, The Caesar, master of the world, and eke of harmony, Who plays the harp of many strings, a chief of minstrelsy. My joyful call should instantly […]

(“O! dis-moi, tu veux fuir?”) [Bk. IV, vii., Jan. 31, 1821.] Forget? Can I forget the scented breath Of breezes, sighing of thee, in mine ear; The strange awaking from a dream of death, The sudden thrill to find thee coming near? Our huts were desolate, and far away I heard thee calling me throughout […]

Genius (an ode)

Story type: Poetry

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(DEDICATED TO CHATEAUBRIAND.) [Bk. IV. vi., July, 1822.] Woe unto him! the child of this sad earth, Who, in a troubled world, unjust and blind, Bears Genius–treasure of celestial birth, Within his solitary soul enshrined. Woe unto him! for Envy’s pangs impure, Like the undying vultures’, will be driven Into his noble heart, that must […]

(“Lorsqu’a l’antique Olympe immolant l’evangile.”) [Bk. II. v., 1823.] [There was in Rome one antique usage as follows: On the eve of the execution day, the sufferers were given a public banquet–at the prison gate–known as the “Free Festival.”–CHATEAUBRIAND’S “Martyrs.”] TO YE KINGS. When the Christians were doomed to the lions of old By the […]

(“En ce temps-la du ciel les portes.”) [Bk. I. v., December, 1822.] The golden gates were opened wide that day, All through the unveiled heaven there seemed to play Out of the Holiest of Holy, light; And the elect beheld, crowd immortal, A young soul, led up by young angels bright, Stand in the starry […]

Envy And Avarice

Story type: Poetry

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(“L’Avarice et l’Envie.”) [LE CONSERVATEUR LIITERAIRE, 1820.] Envy and Avarice, one summer day, Sauntering abroad In quest of the abode Of some poor wretch or fool who lived that way– You–or myself, perhaps–I cannot say– Along the road, scarce heeding where it tended, Their way in sullen, sulky silence wended; For, though twin sisters, these […]

Moses On The Nile

Story type: Poetry

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(“Mes soeurs, l’onde est plus fraiche.”) [TO THE FLORAL GAMES, Toulouse, Feb. 10, 1820.] “Sisters! the wave is freshest in the ray Of the young morning; the reapers are asleep; The river bank is lonely: come away! The early murmurs of old Memphis creep Faint on my ear; and here unseen we stray,– Deep in […]

(“Un bouffon manquait a cette fete.”) [LES BURGRAVES, Part II.] The EMPEROR FREDERICK BARBAROSSA, believed to be dead, appearing as a beggar among the Rhenish nobility at a castle, suddenly reveals himself. HATTO. This goodly masque but lacked a fool! First gypsy; next a beggar;–good! Thy name? BARBAROSSA. Frederick of Swabia, Emperor of Almain. ALL. […]

(“Ma Regina, cette noble figure.”) [LES BURGRAVES, Part II.] Thy noble face, Regina, calls to mind My poor lost little one, my latest born. He was a gift from God–a sign of pardon– That child vouchsafed me in my eightieth year! I to his little cradle went, and went, And even while ’twas sleeping, talked […]

(“Avez-vous oui dire?”) [LES BURGRAVES, Part I., March, 1843.] JOB. Hast thou ne’er heard men say That, in the Black Wood, ‘twixt Cologne and Spire, Upon a rock flanked by the towering mountains, A castle stands, renowned among all castles? And in this fort, on piles of lava built, A burgrave dwells, among all burgraves […]

(“Non! je n’y puis tenir.”) [CROMWELL, Act III. sc. iv.] Stay! I no longer can contain myself, But cry you: Look on John, who bares his mind To Oliver–to Cromwell, Milton speaks! Despite a kindling eye and marvel deep A voice is lifted up without your leave; For I was never placed at council board […]

(“Ah! je le tiens enfin.”) [CROMWELL, Act II., October, 1827.] THURLOW communicates the intention of Parliament to offer CROMWELL the crown. CROMWELL. And is it mine? And have my feet at length Attained the summit of the rock i’ the sand? THURLOW. And yet, my lord, you have long reigned. CROM. Nay, nay! Power I […]

(“Mon duc, rien qu’un moment.”) [HERNANI, Act V.] One little moment to indulge the sight With the rich beauty of the summer’s night. The harp is hushed, and, see, the torch is dim,– Night and ourselves together. To the brim The cup of our felicity is filled. Each sound is mute, each harsh sensation stilled. […]

(“Celui-ci, des Silvas, c’est l’aine.”) [HERNANI, Act III.] In that reverend face Behold the father of De Silva’s race, Silvius; in Rome he filled the consul’s place Three times (your patience for such honored names). This second was Grand Master of St. James And Calatrava; his strong limbs sustained Armor which ours would sink beneath. […]

(“Derision! que cet amour boiteux.”) [HERNANI, Act III.] O mockery! that this halting love That fills the heart so full of flame and transport, Forgets the body while it fires the soul! If but a youthful shepherd cross my path, He singing on the way–I sadly musing, He in his fields, I in my darksome […]

DONNA SOL to HERNANI. (“Nous partirons demain.”) [HERNANI, ACT I.] To mount the hills or scaffold, we go to-morrow: Hernani, blame me not for this my boldness. Art thou mine evil genius or mine angel? I know not, but I am thy slave. Now hear me: Go where thou wilt, I follow thee. Remain, And […]

(“Fuyons ensemble.”) [HERNANI, Act II.] DONNA SOL. Together let us fly! HERNANI. Together? No! the hour is past for flight. Dearest, when first thy beauty smote my sight, I offered, for the love that bade me live, Wretch that I was, what misery had to give: My wood, my stream, my mountain. Bolder grown, By […]

(“L’homme auquel on vous destina.”) [HERNANI, Act I.] Listen. The man for whom your youth is destined, Your uncle, Ruy de Silva, is the Duke Of Pastrana, Count of Castile and Aragon. For lack of youth, he brings you, dearest girl, Treasures of gold, jewels, and precious gems, With which your brow might outshine royalty; […]

Paternal Love

Story type: Poetry

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(“Ma fille! o seul bonheur.”) [LE ROI S’AMUSE, Act II] My child! oh, only blessing Heaven allows me! Others have parents, brothers, kinsmen, friends, A wife, a husband, vassals, followers, Ancestors, and allies, or many children. I have but thee, thee only. Some are rich; Thou art my treasure, thou art all my riches. And […]

(“Mes jeunes cavaliers.”) [HERNANI, Act I., March, 1830.] What business brings you here, young cavaliers? Men like the Cid, the knights of bygone years, Rode out the battle of the weak to wage, Protecting beauty and revering age. Their armor sat on them, strong men as true, Much lighter than your velvet rests on you. […]

(“Vous, sire, ecoutez-moi.”) [LE ROI S’AMUSE, Act I.] M. ST. VALLIER (an aged nobleman, from whom King Francis I. decoyed his daughter, the famous beauty, Diana of Poitiers). A king should listen when his subjects speak: ‘Tis true your mandate led me to the block, Where pardon came upon me, like a dream; I blessed […]

Invocation

Story type: Poetry

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[V, vi., August, 1832.] Say, Lord! for Thou alone canst tell Where lurks the good invisible Amid the depths of discord’s sea– That seem, alas! so dark to me! Oppressive to a mighty state, Contentions, feuds, the people’s hate– But who dare question that which fate Has ordered to have been? Haply the earthquake may […]

A Lament

Story type: Poetry

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(“Sentiers ou l’herbe se balance.”) [Bk. III. xi., July, 1853.] O paths whereon wild grasses wave! O valleys! hillsides! forests hoar! Why are ye silent as the grave? For One, who came, and comes no more! Why is thy window closed of late? And why thy garden in its sear? O house! where doth thy […]

Epitaph

Story type: Poetry

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(“Il vivait, il jouait.”) [Bk. III. xv., May, 1843.] He lived and ever played, the tender smiling thing. What need, O Earth, to have plucked this flower from blossoming? Hadst thou not then the birds with rainbow-colors bright, The stars and the great woods, the wan wave, the blue sky? What need to have rapt […]

An Old-Time Lay

Story type: Poetry

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(“Jamais elle ne raille.”) [Bk. III. xiii.] Where your brood seven lie, Float in calm heavenly, Life passing evenly, Waterfowl, waterfowl! often I dream For a rest Like your nest, Skirting the stream. Shine the sun tearfully Ere the clouds clear fully, Still you skim cheerfully, Swallow, oh! swallow swift! often I sigh For a […]

My Happiest Dream

Story type: Poetry

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(“J’aime a me figure.”) [Bk. III. vii. and viii.] I love to look, as evening fails, On vestals streaming in their veils, Within the fane past altar rails, Green palms in hand. My darkest moods will always clear When I can fancy children near, With rosy lips a-laughing–dear, Light-dancing band! Enchanting vision, too, displayed, That […]

On Hearing the Princess Royal[1] Sing (“Dans ta haute demeure.”) [Bk. III. ix., 1881.] In thine abode so high Where yet one scarce can breathe, Dear child, most tenderly A soft song thou dost wreathe. Thou singest, little girl– Thy sire, the King is he: Around thee glories whirl, But all things sigh in thee. […]

(“Prenez garde a ce petit etre.”) [LAUS PUER: POEM V.] Take heed of this small child of earth; He is great: in him is God most high. Children before their fleshly birth Are lights in the blue sky. In our brief bitter world of wrong They come; God gives us them awhile. His speech is […]

(“Un lion avait pris un enfant.”) [XIII.] A Lion in his jaws caught up a child– Not harming it–and to the woodland, wild With secret streams and lairs, bore off his prey– The beast, as one might cull a bud in May. It was a rosy boy, a king’s own pride, A ten-year lad, with […]

(“O Charles, je te sens pres de moi.”) [July, 1871.] I feel thy presence, Charles. Sweet martyr! down In earth, where men decay, I search, and see from cracks which rend thy tomb, Burst out pale morning’s ray. Close linked are bier and cradle: here the dead, To charm us, live again: Kneeling, I mourn, […]

(“Sur une barricade.”) [June, 1871.] Like Casabianca on the devastated deck, In years yet younger, but the selfsame core. Beside the battered barricado’s restless wreck, A lad stood splashed with gouts of guilty gore, But gemmed with purest blood of patriot more. Upon his fragile form the troopers’ bloody grip Was deeply dug, while sharply […]

(“O caresse sublime.”) [April, 1871.] Upon the grave’s cold mouth there ever have caresses clung For those who died ideally good and grand and pure and young; Under the scorn of all who clamor: “There is nothing just!” And bow to dread inquisitor and worship lords of dust; Let sophists give the lie, hearts droop, […]

Mourning

Story type: Poetry

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(“Charle! o mon fils!”) [March, 1871.] Charles, Charles, my son! hast thou, then, quitted me? Must all fade, naught endure? Hast vanished in that radiance, clear for thee, But still for us obscure? My sunset lingers, boy, thy morn declines! Sweet mutual love we’ve known; For man, alas! plans, dreams, and smiling twines With others’ […]

(“Si vous continuez toute pale.”) [November, 1870.] If you continue thus so wan and white; If I, one day, behold You pass from out our dull air to the light, You, infant–I, so old: If I the thread of our two lives must see Thus blent to human view, I who would fain know death […]

(“Oh! qu’est-ce que c’est donc que l’Inconnu.”) [January, 1871.] Who then–oh, who, is like our God so great, Who makes the seed expand beneath the mountain’s weight; Who for a swallow’s nest leaves one old castle wall, Who lets for famished beetles savory apples fall, Who bids a pigmy win where Titans fail, in yoke, […]

Toys And Tragedy

Story type: Poetry

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(“Enfants, on vous dira plus tard.”) [January, 1871.] In later years, they’ll tell you grandpapa Adored his little darlings; for them did His utmost just to pleasure them and mar No moments with a frown or growl amid Their rosy rompings; that he loved them so (Though men have called him bitter, cold, and stern,) […]

Shooting Stars

Story type: Poetry

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[FOR MY LITTLE CHILD ONLY.] (“Tas de feux tombants.”) [Bk. III. vii.] See the scintillating shower! Like a burst from golden mine– Incandescent coals that pour From the incense-bowl divine, And around us dewdrops, shaken, Mirror each a twinkling ray ‘Twixt the flowers that awaken In this glory great as day. Mists and fogs all […]

To Little Jeanne

Story type: Poetry

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(“Vous eutes donc hier un an.”) [September, 1870.] You’ve lived a year, then, yesterday, sweet child, Prattling thus happily! So fledglings wild, New-hatched in warmer nest ‘neath sheltering bough, Chirp merrily to feel their feathers grow. Your mouth’s a rose, Jeanne! In these volumes grand Whose pictures please you–while I trembling stand To see their […]

Mentana

Story type: Poetry

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MENTANA[1] (VICTOR HUGO TO GARIBALDI.) (“Ces jeunes gens, combien etaient-ils.”) [LA VOIX DE GUERNESEY, December, 1868.] I. Young soldiers of the noble Latin blood, How many are ye–Boys? Four thousand odd. How many are there dead? Six hundred: count! Their limbs lie strewn about the fatal mount, Blackened and torn, eyes gummed with blood, hearts […]

(“Orphee au bois du Caystre.”) [Bk. I. ii.] Orpheus, through the hellward wood Hurried, ere the eve-star glowed, For the fauns’ lugubrious hoots Followed, hollow, from crooked roots; Aeschylus, where Aetna smoked, Gods of Sicily evoked With the flute, till sulphur taint Dulled and lulled the echoes faint; Pliny, soon his style mislaid, Dogged Miletus’ […]

(“Il est nuit. La cabane est pauvre.”) [Bk. LII. iii.] ‘Tis night–within the close stout cabin door, The room is wrapped in shade save where there fall Some twilight rays that creep along the floor, And show the fisher’s nets upon the wall. In the dim corner, from the oaken chest, A few white dishes […]

(“Mon pere, ce heros au sourire.”) [Bk. XLIX. iv.] My sire, the hero with the smile so soft, And a tall trooper, his companion oft, Whom he loved greatly for his courage high And strength and stature, as the night drew nigh Rode out together. The battle was done; The dead strewed the field; long […]

(“En partant du Golfe d’Otrante.”) [Bk. XXVIII.] We told thirty when we started From port so taut and fine, But soon our crew were parted, Till now we number nine. Tom Robbins, English, tall and straight, Left us at Aetna light; He left us to investigate What made the mountain bright; “I mean to ask […]

(“Lorsque le regiment des hallebardiers.”) [Bk. XXXI.] When the regiment of Halberdiers Is proudly marching by, The eagle of the mountain screams From out his stormy sky; Who speaketh to the precipice, And to the chasm sheer; Who hovers o’er the thrones of kings, And bids the caitiffs fear. King of the peak and glacier, […]

(“Zim-Zizimi, Soudan d’Egypte.”) [Bk. XVI. i.] Zim Zizimi–(of the Soudan of burnt Egypt, The Commander of Believers, a Bashaw Whose very robes were from Asia’s greatest stript, More powerful than any lion with resistless paw) A master weighed on by his immense splendor– Once had a dream when he was at his evening feast, When […]

(“Elle est toute petite.”) [Bk. XXVI.] She is so little–in her hands a rose: A stern duenna watches where she goes, What sees Old Spain’s Infanta–the clear shine Of waters shadowed by the birch and pine. What lies before? A swan with silver wing, The wave that murmurs to the branch’s swing, Or the deep […]

Eviradnus

Story type: Poetry

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THE KNIGHT ERRANT. (“Qu’est-ce que Sigismond et Ladislas ont dit.”) [Bk. XV. iii. 1.] I. THE ADVENTURER SETS OUT. What was it Sigismond and Ladislaeus said? I know not if the rock, or tree o’erhead, Had heard their speech;–but when the two spoke low, Among the trees, a shudder seemed to go Through all their […]

King Canute

Story type: Poetry

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(“Un jour, Kanut mourut.”) [Bk. X. i.] King Canute died.[1] Encoffined he was laid. Of Aarhuus came the Bishop prayers to say, And sang a hymn upon his tomb, and held That Canute was a saint–Canute the Great, That from his memory breathed celestial perfume, And that they saw him, they the priests, in glory, […]

(“Le cheval galopait toujours.”) [Bk. XV. ii. 10.] The good steed flew o’er river and o’er plain, Till far away,–no need of spur or rein. The child, half rapture, half solicitude, Looks back anon, in fear to be pursued; Shakes lest some raging brother of his sire Leap from those rocks that o’er the path […]

Boaz Asleep

Story type: Poetry

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(“Booz s’etait couche.”) [Bk. II. vi.] At work within his barn since very early, Fairly tired out with toiling all the day, Upon the small bed where he always lay Boaz was sleeping by his sacks of barley. Barley and wheat-fields he possessed, and well, Though rich, loved justice; wherefore all the flood That turned […]

(“Sonnex, clarions!”) [Bk. VI. vii.] Flourish the trumpet! and rattle the drum! The Reiters are mounted! the Reiters will come! When our bullets cease singing And long swords cease ringing On backplates of fearsomest foes in full flight, We’ll dig up their dollars To string for girls’ collars– They’ll jingle around them before it is […]

I Am Content

Story type: Poetry

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(“J’habite l’ombre.”) [1855.] True; I dwell lone, Upon sea-beaten cape, Mere raft of stone; Whence all escape Save one who shrinks not from the gloom, And will not take the coward’s leap i’ the tomb. My bedroom rocks With breezes; quakes in storms, When dangling locks Of seaweed mock the forms Of straggling clouds that […]

Cain

Story type: Poetry

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(“Lorsque avec ses enfants Cain se fut enfui.”) [Bk. II] Then, with his children, clothed in skins of brutes, Dishevelled, livid, rushing through the storm, Cain fled before Jehovah. As night fell The dark man reached a mount in a great plain, And his tired wife and his sons, out of breath, Said: “Let us […]

St. John

Story type: Poetry

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(“Un jour, le morne esprit.”) [Bk. VI. vii., Jersey, September, 1855.] One day, the sombre soul, the Prophet most sublime At Patmos who aye dreamed, And tremblingly perused, without the vast of Time, Words that with hell-fire gleamed, Said to his eagle: “Bird, spread wings for loftiest flight– Needs must I see His Face!” The […]

You say, “Where goest thou?” I cannot tell, And still go on. If but the way be straight, It cannot go amiss! before me lies Dawn and the Day; the Night behind me; that Suffices me; I break the bounds; I see, And nothing more; believe, and nothing less. My future is not one of […]

Death, In Life

Story type: Poetry

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(“Ceux-ci partent.”) [Bk. III. v., February, 1843.] We pass–these sleep Beneath the shade where deep-leaved boughs Bend o’er the furrows the Great Reaper ploughs, And gentle summer winds in many sweep Whirl in eddying waves The dead leaves o’er the graves. And the living sigh: Forgotten ones, so soon your memories die. Ye never more […]

(“Oh! vous aurez trop dit.”) [Bk. III. xiv., April, 1843.] Ah, you said too often to your angel There are other angels in the sky– There, where nothing changes, nothing suffers, Sweet it were to enter in on high. To that dome on marvellous pilasters, To that tent roofed o’er with colored bars, That blue […]

(“Si vous n’avez rien a me dire.”) [Bk. II. iv., May, 18–.] Speak, if you love me, gentle maiden! Or haunt no more my lone retreat. If not for me thy heart be laden, Why trouble mine with smiles so sweet? Ah! tell me why so mute, fair maiden, Whene’er as thus so oft we […]

Inscription for a Crucifix[1] (“Vous qui pleurez, venez a ce Dieu.”) [Bk. III. iv., March, 1842.] Ye weepers, the Mourner o’er mourners behold! Ye wounded, come hither–the Healer enfold! Ye gloomy ones, brighten ‘neath smiles quelling care– Or pass–for this Comfort is found ev’rywhere. [Footnote 1: Music by Gounod.]

(“Une terre au flanc maigre.”) [Bk. III. xi., October, 1840.] A clod with rugged, meagre, rust-stained, weather-worried face, Where care-filled creatures tug and delve to keep a worthless race; And glean, begrudgedly, by all their unremitting toil, Sour, scanty bread and fevered water from the ungrateful soil; Made harder by their gloom than flints that […]

(“Comme le matin rit sur les roses.”) [Bk. I. xii.] The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers The tearful roses–lo, the little lovers– That kiss the buds and all the flutterings In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings That go and come, and fly, and peep, and hide With muffled music, murmured […]

Childhood

Story type: Poetry

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(“L’enfant chantait.”) [Bk. I. xxiii., Paris, January, 1835.] The small child sang; the mother, outstretched on the low bed, With anguish moaned,–fair Form pain should possess not long; For, ever nigher, Death hovered around her head: I hearkened there this moan, and heard even there that song. The child was but five years, and, close […]

A FABLE. [Bk. III. vi., October, 1846.] A lion camped beside a spring, where came the Bird Of Jove to drink: When, haply, sought two kings, without their courtier herd, The moistened brink, Beneath the palm–they always tempt pugnacious hands– Both travel-sore; But quickly, on the recognition, out flew brands Straight to each core; As […]

(“Temps futurs.”) [Part “Lux,” Jersey, Dec. 16-20, 1853.] O vision of the coming time! When man has ‘scaped the trackless slime And reached the desert spring; When sands are crossed, the sward invites The worn to rest ‘mid rare delights And gratefully to sing. E’en now the eye that’s levelled high, Though dimly, can the […]

Patria

Story type: Poetry

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Patria.[1] (“La-haut, qui sourit.”) [Bk. VII. vii., September, 1853.] Who smiles there? Is it A stray spirit, Or woman fair? Sombre yet soft the brow! Bow, nations, bow; O soul in air, Speak–what art thou? In grief the fair face seems– What means those sudden gleams? Our antique pride from dreams Starts up, and beams […]

(“Devant les trahisons.”) [Bk. VII, xvi., Jersey, Dec. 2, 1852.] Before foul treachery and heads hung down, I’ll fold my arms, indignant but serene. Oh! faith in fallen things–be thou my crown, My force, my joy, my prop on which I lean: Yes, whilst he’s there, or struggle some or fall, O France, dear France, […]

(“Sonnez, clairons de la pensee!”) [Bk. VII. i., March 19, 1853.] Sound, sound for ever, Clarions of Thought! When Joshua ‘gainst the high-walled city fought, He marched around it with his banner high, His troops in serried order following nigh, But not a sword was drawn, no shaft outsprang, Only the trumpets the shrill onset […]

(“Nous nous promenions a Rozel-Tower.”) [Bk. VI. iv., October, 1852.] We walked amongst the ruins famed in story Of Rozel-Tower, And saw the boundless waters stretch in glory And heave in power. O ocean vast! we heard thy song with wonder, Whilst waves marked time. “Appeal, O Truth!” thou sang’st with tone of thunder, “And […]

(“Il neigeait.”) [Bk. V. xiii., Nov. 25-30, 1852.] It snowed. A defeat was our conquest red! For once the eagle was hanging its head. Sad days! the Emperor turned slowly his back On smoking Moscow, blent orange and black. The winter burst, avalanche-like, to reign Over the endless blanched sheet of the plain. Nor chief […]

(“Adieu, patrie.”) [Bk. V. ix., Aug. 1, 1852.] Farewell the strand, The sails expand Above! Farewell the land We love! Farewell, old home where apples swing! Farewell, gay song-birds on the wing! Farewell, riff-raff Of Customs’ clerks who laugh And shout: “Farewell!” We’ll quaff One bout To thee, young lass, with kisses sweet! Farewell, my […]

No Assassination

Story type: Poetry

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(“Laissons le glaive a Rome.”) [Bk. III. xvi., October, 1852.] Pray Rome put up her poniard! And Sparta sheathe the sword; Be none too prompt to punish, And cast indignant word! Bear back your spectral Brutus From robber Bonaparte; Time rarely will refute us Who doom the hateful heart. Ye shall be o’ercontented, My banished […]

(“Pendant que dans l’auberge.”) [Bk. IV. xiii., Jersey, November, 1852.] While in the jolly tavern, the bandits gayly drink, Upon the haunted highway, sharp hoof-beats loudly clink? Yea; past scant-buried victims, hard-spurring sturdy steed, A mute and grisly rider is trampling grass and weed, And by the black-sealed warrant which in his grasp shines clear, […]

Fact Or Fable?

Story type: Poetry

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(BISMARCK AND NAPOLEON III.) (“Un jour, sentant un royal appetit.”) [Bk. III. iii., Jersey, September, 1852.] One fasting day, itched by his appetite, A monkey took a fallen tiger’s hide, And, where the wearer had been savage, tried To overpass his model. Scratch and bite Gave place, however, to mere gnash of teeth and screams, […]

(“Ah! tu finiras bien par hurler!”) [Bk. III. ii., Jersey, August, 1852.] How well I knew this stealthy wolf would howl, When in the eagle talons ta’en in air! Aglow, I snatched thee from thy prey–thou fowl– I held thee, abject conqueror, just where All see the stigma of a fitting name As deeply red […]

(“O Soleil!”) [Bk. II. iv., Anniversary of the Coup d’Etat, 1852.] O Sun! thou countenance divine! Wild flowers of the glen, Caves swoll’n with shadow, where sunshine Has pierced not, far from men; Ye sacred hills and antique rocks, Ye oaks that worsted time, Ye limpid lakes which snow-slide shocks Hurl up in storms sublime; […]

(“La femelle! elle est morte.”) [Bk. I. xiii., Jersey, February, 1853.] Mother birdie stiff and cold, Puss has hushed the other’s singing; Winds go whistling o’er the wold,– Empty nest in sport a-flinging. Poor little birdies! Faithless shepherd strayed afar, Playful dog the gadflies catching; Wolves bound boldly o’er the bar, Not a friend the […]

Imperial Revels

Story type: Poetry

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(“Courtisans! attables dans le splendide orgie.”) [Bk. I. x., Jersey, December, 1852.] Cheer, courtiers! round the banquet spread– The board that groans with shame and plate, Still fawning to the sham-crowned head That hopes front brazen turneth fate! Drink till the comer last is full, And never hear in revels’ lull, Grim Vengeance forging arrows […]

(“Vieux lierre, frais gazon.”) [XXXVIII., 1840.] Brown ivy old, green herbage new; Soft seaweed stealing up the shingle; An ancient chapel where a crew, Ere sailing, in the prayer commingle. A far-off forest’s darkling frown, Which makes the prudent start and tremble, Whilst rotten nuts are rattling down, And clouds in demon hordes assemble. Land […]

Indignation!

Story type: Poetry

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(“Toi qu’aimais Juvenal.”) [Nox (PRELUDE) ix., Jersey, November, 1852.] Thou who loved Juvenal, and filed His style so sharp to scar imperial brows, And lent the lustre lightening The gloom in Dante’s murky verse that flows– Muse Indignation! haste, and help My building up before this roseate realm, And its so fruitless victories, Whence transient […]

[XXXVII., April 12, 1840.] My love flowed e’er for things with wings. When boy I sought for forest fowl, And caged them in rude rushes’ mesh, And fed them with my breakfast roll; So that, though fragile were the door, They rarely fled, and even then Would flutter back at faintest call! Man-grown, I charm […]

(“Toutes les passions s’eloignent avec l’age.”) [XXXIV. ii., October, 183-.] As life wanes on, the passions slow depart, One with his grinning mask, one with his steel; Like to a strolling troupe of Thespian art, Whose pace decreases, winding past the hill. But naught can Love’s all charming power efface, That light, our misty tracks […]

The Marble Faun

Story type: Poetry

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(“Il semblait grelotter.”) [XXXVI., December, 1837.] He seemed to shiver, for the wind was keen. ‘Twas a poor statue underneath a mass Of leafless branches, with a blackened back And a green foot–an isolated Faun In old deserted park, who, bending forward, Half-merged himself in the entangled boughs, Half in his marble settings. He was […]

Come When I Sleep

Story type: Poetry

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(“Oh, quand je dors.”) [XXVII.] Oh! when I sleep, come near my resting-place, As Laura came to bless her poet’s heart, And let thy breath in passing touch my face– At once a space My lips will part. And on my brow where too long weighed supreme A vision–haply spent now–black as night, Let thy […]

(“O douleur! j’ai voulu savoir.”) [XXXIV. i., October, 183-.] I have wished in the grief of my heart to know If the vase yet treasured that nectar so clear, And to see what this beautiful valley could show Of all that was once to my soul most dear. In how short a span doth all […]

Gastibelza

Story type: Poetry

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(“Gastibelza, l’homme a la carabine.”) [XXII., March, 1837.] Gastibelza, with gun the measure beating, Would often sing: “Has one o’ ye with sweet Sabine been meeting, As, gay, ye bring Your songs and steps which, by the music, Are reconciled– Oh! this chill wind across the mountain rushing Will drive me wild! “You stare as […]

Guitar Song

Story type: Poetry

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(“Comment, disaient-ils.”) [XXIII., July 18, 1838.] How shall we flee sorrow–flee sorrow? said he. How, how! How shall we flee sorrow–flee sorrow? said he. How–how–how? answered she. How shall we see pleasure–see pleasure? said he. How, how! How shall we see pleasure–see pleasure? said he. Dream–dream–dream! answered she. How shall we be happy–be happy? said […]

(“J’aime le carillon dans tes cites antiques.”) [XVIII., August, 1837.] Within thy cities of the olden time Dearly I love to list the ringing chime, Thou faithful guardian of domestic worth, Noble old Flanders! where the rigid North A flush of rich meridian glow doth feel, Caught from reflected suns of bright Castile. The chime, […]

The Preceptor

Story type: Poetry

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(“Homme chauve et noir.”) [XIX., May, 1839.] A gruesome man, bald, clad in black, Who kept us youthful drudges in the track, Thinking it good for them to leave home care, And for a while a harsher yoke to bear; Surrender all the careless ease of home, And be forbid from schoolyard bounds to roam; […]

(“Comme dans les etangs.”) [X., May, 1839.] As in some stagnant pool by forest-side, In human souls two things are oft descried; The sky,–which tints the surface of the pool With all its rays, and all its shadows cool; The basin next,–where gloomy, dark and deep, Through slime and mud black reptiles vaguely creep. Translated […]

(“Matelots, vous deploirez les voiles.”) [XVI., May 5, 1839.] Ye mariners! ye mariners! each sail to the breeze unfurled, In joy or sorrow still pursue your course around the world; And when the stars next sunset shine, ye anxiously will gaze Upon the shore, a friend or foe, as the windy quarter lays. Ye envious […]

Still Be A Child

Story type: Poetry

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(“O vous que votre age defende”) In youthful spirits wild, Smile, for all beams on thee; Sport, sing, be still the child, The flower, the honey-bee. Bring not the future near, For Joy too soon declines– What is man’s mission here? Toil, where no sunlight shines! Our lot is hard, we know; From eyes so […]

(“O dix-huitieme siecle!”) O Eighteenth Century! by Heaven chastised! Godless thou livedst, by God thy doom was fixed. Thou in one ruin sword and sceptre mixed, Then outraged love, and pity’s claim despised. Thy life a banquet–but its board a scaffold at the close, Where far from Christ’s beatic reign, Satanic deeds arose! Thy writers, […]

The Humble Home

Story type: Poetry

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(“L’eglise est vaste et haute.”) The Church[1] is vast; its towering pride, its steeples loom on high; The bristling stones with leaf and flower are sculptured wondrously; The portal glows resplendent with its “rose,” And ‘neath the vault immense at evening swarm Figures of angel, saint, or demon’s form, As oft a fearful world our […]

(“La tombe dit a la rose.”) [XXXI., June 3, 1837] The Grave said to the rose “What of the dews of dawn, Love’s flower, what end is theirs?” “And what of spirits flown, The souls whereon doth close The tomb’s mouth unawares?” The Rose said to the Grave. The Rose said: “In the shade From […]

Holyrood Palace.

Story type: Poetry

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(“O palais, sois benie.”) Palace and ruin, bless thee evermore! Grateful we bow thy gloomy tow’rs before; For the old King of France[1] hath found in thee That melancholy hospitality Which in their royal fortune’s evil day, Stuarts and Bourbons to each other pay. Translated by Fraser’s Magazine. [Footnote 1: King Charles X.]

(“Jeune fille, l’amour c’est un miroir.”) [XXVI., February, 1835.] Young maiden, true love is a pool all mirroring clear, Where coquettish girls come to linger in long delight, For it banishes afar from the face all the clouds that besmear The soul truly bright; But tempts you to ruffle its surface; drawing your foot To […]

(“Quels sont ces bruits sourds?”) [XXIV., July 17, 1836.] Hark to that solemn sound! It steals towards the strand.– Whose is that voice profound Which mourns the swallowed land, With moans, Or groans, New threats of ruin close at hand? It is Triton–the storm to scorn Who doth wind his sonorous horn. How thick the […]

My Thoughts Of Ye

Story type: Poetry

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(“A quoi je songe?”) [XXIIL, July, 1836.] What do I dream of? Far from the low roof, Where now ye are, children, I dream of you; Of your young heads that are the hope and crown Of my full summer, ripening to its fall. Branches whose shadow grows along my wall, Sweet souls scarce open […]

(“Enfants! Oh! revenez!”) [XXII, April, 1837] Children, come back–come back, I say– You whom my folly chased away A moment since, from this my room, With bristling wrath and words of doom! What had you done, you bandits small, With lips as red as roses all? What crime?–what wild and hapless deed? What porcelain vase […]

Mothers

Story type: Poetry

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(“Regardez: les enfants.”) [XX., June, 1884.] See all the children gathered there, Their mother near; so young, so fair, An eider sister she might be, And yet she hears, amid their games, The shaking of their unknown names In the dark urn of destiny. She wakes their smiles, she soothes their cares, On that pure […]

The Cow

Story type: Poetry

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(“Devant la blanche ferme.”) [XV., May, 1837.] Before the farm where, o’er the porch, festoon Wild creepers red, and gaffer sits at noon, Whilst strutting fowl display their varied crests, And the old watchdog slumberously rests, They half-attentive to the clarion of their king, Resplendent in the sunshine op’ning wing– There stood a cow, with […]

To His Muse

Story type: Poetry

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“Puisqu’ici-bas tout ame.” XL, May 19, 1836. Since everything below, Doth, in this mortal state, Its tone, its fragrance, or its glow Communicate; Since all that lives and moves Upon the earth, bestows On what it seeks and what it loves Its thorn or rose; Since April to the trees Gives a bewitching sound, And […]

To Albert Duerer

Story type: Poetry

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(“Dans les vieilles forets.”) [X., April 20, 1837.] Through ancient forests–where like flowing tide The rising sap shoots vigor far and wide, Mounting the column of the alder dark And silv’ring o’er the birch’s shining bark– Hast thou not often, Albert Duerer, strayed Pond’ring, awe-stricken–through the half-lit glade, Pallid and trembling–glancing not behind From mystic […]

(“Qui leur eut dit l’austere destinee?”) [Footnote 3: After the Eagle and the Bee superseded the Lily-flowers, the Third Napoleon’s initial “N” flourished for two decades, but has been excised or plastered over, the words “National Property” or “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” being cut in the stone profusely.]

(“A toi, toujours a toi.”) [XXXIX., 1823] To thee, all time to thee, My lyre a voice shall be! Above all earthly fashion, Above mere mundane rage, Your mind made it my passion To write for noblest stage. Whoe’er you be, send blessings to her–she Was sister of my soul immortal, free! My pride, my […]

(“Roses et Papillons.”) [XXVII., Dec. 7, 1834.] The grave receives us all: Ye butterflies and roses gay and sweet Why do ye linger, say? Will ye not dwell together as is meet? Somewhere high in the air Would thy wing seek a home ‘mid sunny skies, In mead or mossy dell– If there thy odors […]

A Simile

Story type: Poetry

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(“Soyez comme l’oiseau.”) [XXXIII. vi.] Thou art like the bird That alights and sings Though the frail spray bends– For he knows he has wings. Translated by FANNY KEMBLE (BUTLER)

(“Puisque j’ai mis ma levre a ta coupe.”) [XXV., Jan. 1, 1835.] Since I have set my lips to your full cup, my sweet, Since I my pallid face between your hands have laid, Since I have known your soul, and all the bloom of it, And all the perfume rare, now buried in the […]

Sweet Charmer

Story type: Poetry

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Sweet Charmer.[1] (“L’aube nait et ta porte est close.”) [XXIII., February, 18–.] Though heaven’s gate of light uncloses, Thou stirr’st not–thou’rt laid to rest, Waking are thy sister roses, One only dreamest on thy breast. Hear me, sweet dreamer! Tell me all thy fears, Trembling in song, But to break in tears. Lo! to greet […]

Song Of Love

Story type: Poetry

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(“S’il est un charmant gazon.”) [XXII, Feb. 18, 1834.] If there be a velvet sward By dewdrops pearly drest, Where through all seasons fairies guard Flowers by bees carest, Where one may gather, day and night, Roses, honeysuckle, lily white, I fain would make of it a site For thy foot to rest. If there […]

Morning

Story type: Poetry

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(“L’aurore s’allume.”) [XX. a, December, 1834.] Morning glances hither, Now the shade is past; Dream and fog fly thither Where Night goes at last; Open eyes and roses As the darkness closes; And the sound that grows is Nature walking fast. Murmuring all and singing, Hark! the news is stirred, Roof and creepers clinging, Smoke […]

(“Oh! n’insultez jamais une femme qui tombe.”) [XIV., Sept. 6, 1835.] I tell you, hush! no word of sneering scorn– True, fallen; but God knows how deep her sorrow. Poor girl! too many like her only born To love one day–to sin–and die the morrow. What know you of her struggles or her grief? Or […]

Poland

Story type: Poetry

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(“Seule au pied de la tour.”) Alone, beneath the tower whence thunder forth The mandates of the Tyrant of the North, Poland’s sad genius kneels, absorbed in tears, Bound, vanquished, pallid with her fears– Alas! the crucifix is all that’s left To her, of freedom and her sons bereft; And on her royal robe foul […]

(“Canaris! nous t’avons oublie.”) [VIII., October, 1832.] O Canaris! O Canaris! the poet’s song Has blameful left untold thy deeds too long! But when the tragic actor’s part is done, When clamor ceases, and the fights are won, When heroes realize what Fate decreed, When chieftains mark no more which thousands bleed; When they have […]

Prayer For France

Story type: Poetry

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(“O Dieu, si vous avez la France.”) [VII., August, 1832.] O God! if France be still thy guardian care, Oh! spare these mercenary combats, spare! The thrones that now are reared but to be broke; The rights we render, and anon revoke; The muddy stream of laws, ideas, needs, Flooding our social life as it […]

(“Ainsi l’Hotel de Ville illumine.”) [VI., May, 1833.] Behold the ball-room flashing on the sight, From step to cornice one grand glare of light; The noise of mirth and revelry resounds, Like fairy melody on haunted grounds. But who demands this profuse, wanton glee, These shouts prolonged and wild festivity– Not sure our city–web, more […]

(“Encore si ce banni n’eut rien aime sur terre.”) [V, iv., August, 1832.] Too hard Napoleon’s fate! if, lone, No being he had loved, no single one, Less dark that doom had been. But with the heart of might doth ever dwell The heart of love! and in his island cell Two things there were–I […]

(“Non, l’avenir n’est a personne!”) [V. ii., August, 1832.] Sire, beware, the future’s range Is of God alone the power, Naught below but augurs change, E’en with ev’ry passing hour. Future! mighty mystery! All the earthly goods that be, Fortune, glory, war’s renown, King or kaiser’s sparkling crown, Victory! with her burning wings, Proud ambition’s […]

(“La salle est magnifique.”) The hall is gay with limpid lustre bright– The feast to pampered palate gives delight– The sated guests pick at the spicy food, And drink profusely, for the cheer is good; And at that table–where the wise are few– Both sexes and all ages meet the view; The sturdy warrior with […]

(“Quand longtemps a gronde la bouche du Vesuve.”) When huge Vesuvius in its torment long, Threatening has growled its cavernous jaws among, When its hot lava, like the bubbling wine, Foaming doth all its monstrous edge incarnadine, Then is alarm in Naples. With dismay, Wanton and wild her weeping thousands pour, Convulsive grasp the ground, […]

Angel Or Demon

Story type: Poetry

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(“Tu domines notre age; ange ou demon, qu’importe!”) Angel or demon! thou,–whether of light The minister, or darkness–still dost sway This age of ours; thine eagle’s soaring flight Bears us, all breathless, after it away. The eye that from thy presence fain would stray, Shuns thee in vain; thy mighty shadow thrown Rests on all […]

(“Laissez-moi pleurer sur cette race.”) Oh! let me weep that race whose day is past, By exile given, by exile claimed once more, Thrice swept away upon that fatal blast. Whate’er its blame, escort we to our shore These relics of the monarchy of yore; And to th’ outmarching oriflamme be paid War’s honors by […]

(“Freres, vous avez vos journees.”) Youth of France, sons of the bold, Your oak-leaf victor-wreaths behold! Our civic-laurels–honored dead! So bright your triumphs in life’s morn, Your maiden-standards hacked and torn, On Austerlitz might lustre shed. All that your fathers did re-done– A people’s rights all nobly won– Ye tore them living from the shroud! […]

The Land Of Fable

Story type: Poetry

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(“L’Orient! qu’y voyez-vous, poetes?”) [PRELUDE, b.] Now, vot’ries of the Muses, turn your eyes, Unto the East, and say what there appears! “Alas!” the voice of Poesy replies, “Mystic’s that light between the hemispheres!” “Yes, dread’s the mystic light in yonder heaven– Dull is the gleam behind the distant hill; Like feeble flashes in the […]

(“De quel non te nommer?”) [PRELUDE, a, Oct. 20, 1835.] How shall I note thee, line of troubled years, Which mark existence in our little span? One constant twilight in the heaven appears– One constant twilight in the mind of man! Creed, hope, anticipation and despair, Are but a mingling, as of day and night; […]

(“Ma fille, va prier!”) [XXXVII., June, 1830.] I. Come, child, to prayer; the busy day is done, A golden star gleams through the dusk of night; The hills are trembling in the rising mist, The rumbling wain looms dim upon the sight; All things wend home to rest; the roadside trees Shake off their dust, […]

Sunset

Story type: Poetry

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(“Le soleil s’est couche”) [XXXV. vi., April, 1829.] The sun set this evening in masses of cloud, The storm comes to-morrow, then calm be the night, Then the Dawn in her chariot refulgent and proud, Then more nights, and still days, steps of Time in his flight. The days shall pass rapid as swifts on […]

(“Dans l’alcove sombre.”) [XX., November, 1831.] In the dusky nook, Near the altar laid, Sleeps the child in shadow Of his mother’s bed: Softly he reposes, And his lid of roses, Closed to earth, uncloses On the heaven o’erhead. Many a dream is with him, Fresh from fairyland, Spangled o’er with diamonds Seems the ocean […]

(“Lorsque l’enfant parait.”) [XIX., May 11, 1830.] The child comes toddling in, and young and old With smiling eyes its smiling eyes behold, And artless, babyish joy; A playful welcome greets it through the room, The saddest brow unfolds its wrinkled gloom, To greet the happy boy. If June with flowers has spangled all the […]

(“Moi, quelque soit le monde.”) [XV., May 11, 1830.] For me, whate’er my life and lot may show, Years blank with gloom or cheered by mem’ry’s glow, Turmoil or peace; never be it mine, I pray, To be a dweller of the peopled earth, Save ‘neath a roof alive with children’s mirth Loud through the […]

(“Souvent quand mon esprit riche.”) [VII., May 18, 1828.] When my mind, on the ocean of poesy hurled, Floats on in repose round this wonderful world, Oft the sacred fire from heaven– Mysterious sun, that gives light to the soul– Strikes mine with its ray, and above the pole Its upward course is driven, Like […]

(“Il s’est dit tant de fois.”) How often have the people said: “What’s power?” Who reigns soon is dethroned? each fleeting hour Has onward borne, as in a fevered dream, Such quick reverses, like a judge supreme– Austere but just, they contemplate the end To which the current of events must tend. Self-confidence has taught […]

My Napoleon

Story type: Poetry

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(“Toujours lui! lui partout!”) [XL., December, 1828.] Above all others, everywhere I see His image cold or burning! My brain it thrills, and oftentime sets free The thoughts within me yearning. My quivering lips pour forth the words That cluster in his name of glory– The star gigantic with its rays of swords Whose gleams […]

Old Ocean

Story type: Poetry

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(“J’etais seul pres des flots.”) [XXXVII., September 5, 1828.] I stood by the waves, while the stars soared in sight, Not a cloud specked the sky, not a sail shimmered bright; Scenes beyond this dim world were revealed to mine eye; And the woods, and the hills, and all nature around, Seem’d to question with […]

(“Quoi! ne pouvez-vous vivre ensemble?”) [XXXV., June, 1828.] The River Deity upbraids his Daughters, the contributary Streams: Ye daughters mine! will naught abate Your fierce interminable hate? Still am I doomed to rue the fate That such unfriendly neighbors made? The while ye might, in peaceful cheer, Mirror upon your waters clear, Semlin! thy Gothic […]

Mazeppa

Story type: Poetry

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(“Ainsi, lorsqu’un mortel!”) [XXXIV., May, 1828.] As when a mortal–Genius’ prize, alack! Is, living, bound upon thy fatal back, Thou reinless racing steed! In vain he writhes, mere cloud upon a star, Thou bearest him as went Mazeppa, far Out of the flow’ry mead,– So–though thou speed’st implacable, (like him, Spent, pallid, torn, bruised, weary, […]

Cornflowers

Story type: Poetry

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(“Tandis que l’etoile inodore.”) [XXXII.] While bright but scentless azure stars Be-gem the golden corn, And spangle with their skyey tint The furrows not yet shorn; While still the pure white tufts of May Ape each a snowy ball,– Away, ye merry maids, and haste To gather ere they fall! Nowhere the sun of Spain […]

Don Rodrigo

Story type: Poetry

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A MOORISH BALLAD. (“Don Roderique est a la chasse.”) [XXX., May, 1828.] Unto the chase Rodrigo’s gone, With neither lance nor buckler; A baleful light his eyes outshone– To pity he’s no truckler. He follows not the royal stag, But, full of fiery hating, Beside the way one sees him lag, Impatient at the waiting. […]

(“A Juana la Grenadine!”) [XXIX., October, 1843.] To Juana ever gay, Sultan Achmet spoke one day “Lo, the realms that kneel to own Homage to my sword and crown All I’d freely cast away, Maiden dear, for thee alone.” “Be a Christian, noble king! For it were a grievous thing: Love to seek and find […]

The Djinns

Story type: Poetry

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(“Murs, ville et port.”) [XXVIII., Aug. 28, 1828.] Town, tower, Shore, deep, Where lower Cliff’s steep; Waves gray, Where play Winds gay, All sleep. Hark! a sound, Far and slight, Breathes around On the night High and higher, Nigh and nigher, Like a fire, Roaring, bright. Now, on ’tis sweeping With rattling beat, Like dwarf […]

[1] (“Entre deux rocs d’un noir d’ebene.”) [XXVII., November, 1828.] Between two ebon rocks Behold yon sombre den, Where brambles bristle like the locks Of wool between the horns of scapegoat banned by men! Remote in ruddy fog Still hear the tiger growl At the lion and striped dog That prowl with rusty throats to […]

(“La flamme par ton ordre, O roi!”) [XXIII., November, 1825.] Thy will, O King, is done! Lighting but to consume, The roar of the fierce flames drowned even the shouts and shrieks; Reddening each roof, like some day-dawn of bloody doom, Seemed they in joyous flight to dance about their wrecks. Slaughter his thousand giant […]

(“Si j’etais la feuille.”) [XXII., September, 1828.] Oh! were I the leaf that the wind of the West, His course through the forest uncaring; To sleep on the gale or the wave’s placid breast In a pendulous cradle is bearing. All fresh with the morn’s balmy kiss would I haste, As the dewdrops upon me […]

Expectation

Story type: Poetry

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(“Moune, ecureuil.”) [xx.] Squirrel, mount yon oak so high, To its twig that next the sky Bends and trembles as a flower! Strain, O stork, thy pinion well,– From thy nest ‘neath old church-bell, Mount to yon tall citadel, And its tallest donjon tower! To your mountain, eagle old, Mount, whose brow so white and […]

A Storm Simile

Story type: Poetry

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(“Oh, regardez le ciel!”) [June, 1828.] See, where on high the moving masses, piled By the wind, break in groups grotesque and wild, Present strange shapes to view; Oft flares a pallid flash from out their shrouds, As though some air-born giant ‘mid the clouds Sudden his falchion drew.

(“Aveugle comme Homere.”) Blind, as was Homer; as Belisarius, blind, But one weak child to guide his vision dim. The hand which dealt him bread, in pity kind– He’ll never see; God sees it, though, for him. Translated by H.L.C., “London Society.”

It was a humble church, with arches low, The church we entered there, Where many a weary soul since long ago Had past with plaint or prayer. Mournful and still it was at day’s decline, The day we entered there; As in a loveless heart, at the lone shrine, The fires extinguished were. Scarcely was […]

(“Tout vit! et se pose avec grace.”) How graceful the picture! the life, the repose! The sunbeam that plays on the porchstone wide; And the shadow that fleets o’er the stream that flows, And the soft blue sky with the hill’s green side. Translated by Fraser’s Magazine

(“Un soldat au dur visage.”) [CROMWELL, ACT I.] “Hold, little blue-eyed page!” So cried the watchers surly, Stern to his pretty rage And golden hair so curly– “Methinks your satin cloak Masks something bulky under; I take this as no joke– Oh, thief with stolen plunder!” “I am of high repute, And famed among the […]

To Cruel Ocean

Story type: Poetry

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Where are the hapless shipmen?–disappeared, Gone down, where witness none, save Night, hath been, Ye deep, deep waves, of kneeling mothers feared, What dismal tales know ye of things unseen? Tales that ye tell your whispering selves between The while in clouds to the flood-tide ye pour; And this it is that gives you, as […]

(“Phoebus, n’est-il sur la terre?”) [OPERA OF “ESMERALDA,” ACT IV., 1836.] Phoebus, is there not this side the grave, Power to save Those who’re loving? Magic balm That will restore to me my former calm? Is there nothing tearful eye Can e’er dry, or hush the sigh? I pray Heaven day and night, As I […]

Lover’s Song

Story type: Poetry

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(“Mon ame a ton coeur s’est donnee.”) [ANGELO, Act II., May, 1835.] My soul unto thy heart is given, In mystic fold do they entwine, So bound in one that, were they riven, Apart my soul would life resign. Thou art my song and I the lyre; Thou art the breeze and I the brier; […]

(“Le peuple est petit.”) Weak is the People–but will grow beyond all other– Within thy holy arms, thou fruitful victor-mother! O Liberty, whose conquering flag is never furled– Thou bearest Him in whom is centred all the World.

(“Les feuilles qui gisaient.”) The leaves that in the lonely walks were spread, Starting from off the ground beneath the tread, Coursed o’er the garden-plain; Thus, sometimes, ‘mid the soul’s deep sorrowings, Our soul a moment mounts on wounded wings, Then, swiftly, falls again.

(“Un Ange vit un jour.”) [LA PITIE SUPREME VIII., 1881.] When an angel of kindness Saw, doomed to the dark, Men framed in his likeness, He sought for a spark– Stray gem of God’s glory That shines so serene– And, falling like lark, To brighten our story, Pure Pity was seen.

Oh, Why Not Be Happy?[1] (“A quoi bon entendre les oiseaux?”) [RUY BLAS, Act II.] Oh, why not be happy this bright summer day, ‘Mid perfume of roses and newly-mown hay? Great Nature is smiling–the birds in the air Sing love-lays together, and all is most fair. Then why not be happy This bright summer […]

(“Vous voila dans la froide Angleterre.”) [Bk. III. xlvii., Jersey, Sept. 19, 1854.] You may doubt I find comfort in England But, there, ’tis a refuge from dangers! Where a Cromwell dictated to Milton, Republicans ne’er can be strangers!

[Oct. 9, 1830.] When with gigantic hand he placed, For throne, on vassal Europe based, That column’s lofty height– Pillar, in whose dread majesty, In double immortality, Glory and bronze unite! Aye, when he built it that, some day, Discord or war their course might stay, Or here might break their car; And in our […]

Sweet Sister

Story type: Poetry

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(“Vous qui ne savez pas combien l’enfance est belle.”) Sweet sister, if you knew, like me, The charms of guileless infancy, No more you’d envy riper years, Or smiles, more bitter than your tears. But childhood passes in an hour, As perfume from a faded flower; The joyous voice of early glee Flies, like the […]

(“Il est un peu tard.”) [Bk. III. xxx., Oct. 30, 1854.] Late it is to look so proud, Daisy queen! come is the gloom Of the winter-burdened cloud!– “But, in winter, most I bloom!” Star of even! sunk the sun! Lost for e’er the ruddy line; And the earth is veiled in dun,– “Nay, in […]

(“Si je pouvais voir, O patrie!”) [Bk. III. xxxvii.] Would I could see you, native land, Where lilacs and the almond stand Behind fields flowering to the strand– But no! Can I–oh, father, mother, crave Another final blessing save To rest my head upon your grave?– But no! In the one pit where ye repose, […]

Jersey

Story type: Poetry

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(“Jersey dort dans les flots.”) [Bk. III. xiv., Oct. 8, 1854.] Dear Jersey! jewel jubilant and green, ‘Midst surge that splits steel ships, but sings to thee! Thou fav’rest Frenchmen, though from England seen, Oft tearful to that mistress “North Countree”; Returned the third time safely here to be, I bless my bold Gibraltar of […]