Victor Hugo

Part 3 out of 7

One constant twilight in the mind of man!

Creed, hope, anticipation and despair,
Are but a mingling, as of day and night;
The globe, surrounded by deceptive air,
Is all enveloped in the same half-light.

And voice is deadened by the evening breeze,
The shepherd's song, or maiden's in her bower,
Mix with the rustling of the neighboring trees,
Within whose foliage is lulled the power.

Yet all unites! The winding path that leads
Thro' fields where verdure meets the trav'ller's eye.
The river's margin, blurred with wavy reeds,
The muffled anthem, echoing to the sky!

The ivy smothering the armed tower;
The dying wind that mocks the pilot's ear;
The lordly equipage at midnight hour,
Draws into danger in a fog the peer;

The votaries of Satan or of Jove;
The wretched mendicant absorbed in woe;
The din of multitudes that onward move;
The voice of conscience in the heart below;

The waves, which Thou, O Lord, alone canst still;
Th' elastic air; the streamlet on its way;
And all that man projects, or sovereigns will;
Or things inanimate might seem to say;

The strain of gondolier slow streaming by;
The lively barks that o'er the waters bound;
The trees that shake their foliage to the sky;
The wailing voice that fills the cots around;

And man, who studies with an aching heart--
For now, when smiles are rarely deemed sincere,
In vain the sceptic bids his doubts depart--
Those doubts at length will arguments appear!

Hence, reader, know the subject of my song--
A mystic age, resembling twilight gloom,
Wherein we smile at birth, or bear along,
With noiseless steps, a victim to the tomb!



_("L'Orient! qu'y voyez-vous, poetes?")_


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 welkin driven,
When the far thunder seems as it were still!

"But who can tell if that uncertain glare
Be Phoebus' self, adorned with glowing vest;
Or, if illusions, pregnant in the air,
Have drawn our glances to the radiant west?

"Haply the sunset has deceived the sight--
Perchance 'tis evening, while we look for morning;
Bewildered in the mazes of twilight,
That lucid sunset may _appear_ a dawning!"



_("Freres, vous avez vos journees.")_

[I., July, 1830.]

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!
Three glorious days bright July's gift,
The Bastiles off our hearts ye lift!
Oh! of such deeds be ever proud!

Of patriot sires ye lineage claim,
Their souls shone in your eye of flame;
Commencing the great work was theirs;
On you the task to finish laid
Your fruitful mother, France, who bade
Flow in one day a hundred years.

E'en chilly Albion admires,
The grand example Europe fires;
America shall clap her hands,
When swiftly o'er the Atlantic wave,
Fame sounds the news of how the brave,
In three bright days, have burst their bands!

With tyrant dead your fathers traced
A circle wide, with battles graced;
Victorious garland, red and vast!
Which blooming out from home did go
To Cadiz, Cairo, Rome, Moscow,
From Jemappes to Montmirail passed!

Of warlike Lyceums[1] ye are
The favored sons; there, deeds of war
Formed e'en your plays, while o'er you shook
The battle-flags in air aloft!
Passing your lines, Napoleon oft
Electrified you with a look!

Eagle of France! whose vivid wing
Did in a hundred places fling
A bloody feather, till one night
The arrow whelmed thee 'neath the wave!
Look up--rejoice--for now thy brave
And worthy eaglets dare the light.


[Footnote 1: The pupils of the Polytechnic Military School distinguished
themselves by their patriotic zeal and military skill, through all the


_("Laissez-moi pleurer sur cette race.")_

[I. v.]

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 the flag on Fleurus' field displayed!

_Fraser's Magazine_


_("Tu domines notre age; ange ou demon, qu'importe!")_

[I. vii.]

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 pictures of the living day,
And on the threshold of our time alone,
Dazzling, yet sombre, stands thy form, Napoleon!

Thus, when the admiring stranger's steps explore
The subject-lands that 'neath Vesuvius be,
Whether he wind along the enchanting shore
To Portici from fair Parthenope,
Or, lingering long in dreamy reverie,
O'er loveliest Ischia's od'rous isle he stray,
Wooed by whose breath the soft and am'rous sea
Seems like some languishing sultana's lay,
A voice for very sweets that scarce can win its way.

Him, whether Paestum's solemn fane detain,
Shrouding his soul with meditation's power;
Or at Pozzuoli, to the sprightly strain
Of tarantella danced 'neath Tuscan tower,
Listening, he while away the evening hour;
Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone and deep,
Of that sad city, in its dreaming bower
By the volcano seized, where mansions keep
The likeness which they wore at that last fatal sleep;

Or be his bark at Posillippo laid,
While as the swarthy boatman at his side
Chants Tasso's lays to Virgil's pleased shade,
Ever he sees, throughout that circuit wide,
From shaded nook or sunny lawn espied,
From rocky headland viewed, or flow'ry shore,
From sea, and spreading mead alike descried,
_The Giant Mount_, tow'ring all objects o'er,
And black'ning with its breath th' horizon evermore!

_Fraser's Magazine_


_("Quand longtemps a gronde la bouche du Vesuve.")_

[I. vii.]

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, its rage to stay,
Implore the angry Mount--in vain implore!
For lo! a column tow'ring more and more,
Of smoke and ashes from the burning crest
Shoots like a vulture's neck reared from its airy nest.

Sudden a flash, and from th' enormous den
Th' eruption's lurid mass bursts forth amain,
Bounding in frantic ecstasy. Ah! then
Farewell to Grecian fount and Tuscan fane!
Sails in the bay imbibe the purpling stain,
The while the lava in profusion wide
Flings o'er the mountain's neck its showery locks untied.

It comes--it comes! that lava deep and rich,
That dower which fertilizes fields and fills
New moles upon the waters, bay and beach.
Broad sea and clustered isles, one terror thrills
As roll the red inexorable rills;
While Naples trembles in her palaces,
More helpless than the leaves when tempests shake the trees.

Prodigious chaos, streets in ashes lost,
Dwellings devoured and vomited again.
Roof against neighbor-roof, bewildered, tossed.
The waters boiling and the burning plain;
While clang the giant steeples as they reel,
Unprompted, their own tocsin peal.

Yet 'mid the wreck of cities, and the pride
Of the green valleys and the isles laid low,
The crash of walls, the tumult waste and wide,
O'er sea and land; 'mid all this work of woe,
Vesuvius still, though close its crater-glow,
Forgetful spares--Heaven wills that it should spare,
The lonely cell where kneels an aged priest in prayer.

_Fraser's Magazine_.


_("La salle est magnifique.")_

[IV. Aug. 23, 1839.]

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 a thoughtful face--
The am'rous youth, the maid replete with grace,
The prattling infant, and the hoary hair
Of second childhood's proselytes--are there;--
And the most gaudy in that spacious hall,
Are e'er the young, or oldest of them all
Helmet and banner, ornament and crest,
The lion rampant, and the jewelled vest,
The silver star that glitters fair and white,
The arms that tell of many a nation's might--
Heraldic blazonry, ancestral pride,
And all mankind invents for pomp beside,
The winged leopard, and the eagle wild--
All these encircle woman, chief and child;
Shine on the carpet burying their feet,
Adorn the dishes that contain their meat;
And hang upon the drapery, which around
Falls from the lofty ceiling to the ground,
Till on the floor its waving fringe is spread,
As the bird's wing may sweep the roses' bed.--

Thus is the banquet ruled by Noise and Light,
Since Light and Noise are foremost on the site.

The chamber echoes to the joy of them
Who throng around, each with his diadem--
Each seated on proud throne--but, lesson vain!
Each sceptre holds its master with a chain!
Thus hope of flight were futile from that hall,
Where chiefest guest was most enslaved of all!
The godlike-making draught that fires the soul
The Love--sweet poison-honey--past control,
(Formed of the sexual breath--an idle name,
Offspring of Fancy and a nervous frame)--
Pleasure, mad daughter of the darksome Night,
Whose languid eye flames when is fading light--
The gallant chases where a man is borne
By stalwart charger, to the sounding horn--
The sheeny silk, the bed of leaves of rose,
Made more to soothe the sight than court repose;
The mighty palaces that raise the sneer
Of jealous mendicants and wretches near--
The spacious parks, from which horizon blue
Arches o'er alabaster statues new;
Where Superstition still her walk will take,
Unto soft music stealing o'er the lake--
The innocent modesty by gems undone--
The qualms of judges by small brib'ry won--
The dread of children, trembling while they play--
The bliss of monarchs, potent in their sway--
The note of war struck by the culverin,
That snakes its brazen neck through battle din--
The military millipede
That tramples out the guilty seed--
The capital all pleasure and delight--
And all that like a town or army chokes
The gazer with foul dust or sulphur smokes.
The budget, prize for which ten thousand bait
A subtle hook, that ever, as they wait
Catches a weed, and drags them to their fate,
While gleamingly its golden scales still spread--
Such were the meats by which these guests were fed.

A hundred slaves for lazy master cared,
And served each one with what was e'er prepared
By him, who in a sombre vault below,
Peppered the royal pig with peoples' woe,
And grimly glad went laboring till late--
The morose alchemist we know as Fate!
That ev'ry guest might learn to suit his taste,
Behind had Conscience, real or mock'ry, placed;
Conscience a guide who every evil spies,
But royal nurses early pluck out both his eyes!

Oh! at the table there be all the great,
Whose lives are bubbles that best joys inflate!
Superb, magnificent of revels--doubt
That sagest lose their heads in such a rout!
In the long laughter, ceaseless roaming round,
Joy, mirth and glee give out a maelstroem's sound;
And the astonished gazer casts his care,
Where ev'ry eyeball glistens in the flare.

But oh! while yet the singing Hebes pour
Forgetfulness of those without the door--
At very hour when all are most in joy,
And the hid orchestra annuls annoy,
Woe--woe! with jollity a-top the heights,
With further tapers adding to the lights,
And gleaming 'tween the curtains on the street,
Where poor folks stare--hark to the heavy feet!
Some one smites roundly on the gilded grate,
Some one below will be admitted straight,
Some one, though not invited, who'll not wait!
Close not the door! Your orders are vain breath--
That stranger enters to be known as Death--
Or merely Exile--clothed in alien guise--
Death drags away--with _his_ prey Exile flies!

Death is that sight. He promenades the hall,
And casts a gloomy shadow on them all,
'Neath which they bend like willows soft,
Ere seizing one--the dumbest monarch oft,
And bears him to eternal heat and drouth,
While still the toothsome morsel's in his mouth.



_("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 covetings,--
These may our grasp no more detain
Than the free bird who doth alight
Upon our roof, and takes its flight
High into air again.

Nor smile, nor tear, nor haughtiest lord's command,
Avails t' unclasp the cold and closed hand.
Thy voice to disenthrall,
Dumb phantom, shadow ever at our side!
Veiled spectre, journeying with us stride for stride,
Whom men "To-morrow" call.

Oh, to-morrow! who may dare
Its realities to scan?
God to-morrow brings to bear
What to-day is sown by man.
'Tis the lightning in its shroud,
'Tis the star-concealing cloud,
Traitor, 'tis his purpose showing,
Engine, lofty tow'rs o'erthrowing,
Wand'ring star, its region changing,
"Lady of kingdoms," ever ranging.
To-morrow! 'Tis the rude display
Of the throne's framework, blank and cold,
That, rich with velvet, bright with gold,
Dazzles the eye to-day.

To-morrow! 'tis the foaming war-horse falling;
To-morrow! thy victorious march appalling,
'Tis the red fires from Moscow's tow'rs that wave;
'Tis thine Old Guard strewing the Belgian plain;
'Tis the lone island in th' Atlantic main:
To-morrow! 'tis the grave!

Into capitals subdued
Thou mayst ride with gallant rein,
Cut the knots of civil feud
With the trenchant steel in twain;
With thine edicts barricade
Haughty Thames' o'er-freighted trade;
Fickle Victory's self enthrall,
Captive to thy trumpet call;
Burst the stoutest gates asunder;
Leave the names of brightest wonder,
Pale and dim, behind thee far;
And to exhaustless armies yield
Thy glancing spur,--o'er Europe's field
A glory-guiding star.

God guards duration, if lends space to thee,
Thou mayst o'er-range mundane immensity,
Rise high as human head can rise sublime,
Snatch Europe from the stamp of Charlemagne,
Asia from Mahomet; but never gain
Power o'er the Morrow from the Lord of Time!

_Fraser's Magazine._


_("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 ween.

Two things--a portrait and a map there were--
Here hung the pictured world, an infant there:
That framed his genius, this enshrined his love.
And as at eve he glanced round th' alcove,
Where jailers watched his very thoughts to spy,
What mused he _then_--what dream of years gone by
Stirred 'neath that discrowned brow, and fired that glistening eye?

'Twas not the steps of that heroic tale
That from Arcola marched to Montmirail
On Glory's red degrees;
Nor Cairo-pashas' steel-devouring steeds,
Nor the tall shadows of the Pyramids--
Ah! Twas not always these;

'Twas not the bursting shell, the iron sleet,
The whirlwind rush of battle 'neath his feet,
Through twice ten years ago,
When at his beck, upon that sea of steel
Were launched the rustling banners--there to reel
Like masts when tempests blow.

'Twas not Madrid, nor Kremlin of the Czar,
Nor Pharos on Old Egypt's coast afar,
Nor shrill _reveille's_ camp-awakening sound,
Nor bivouac couch'd its starry fires around,
Crested dragoons, grim, veteran grenadiers,
Nor the red lancers 'mid their wood of spears
Blazing like baleful poppies 'mong the golden ears.

No--'twas an infant's image, fresh and fair,
With rosy mouth half oped, as slumbering there.
It lay beneath the smile,
Of her whose breast, soft-bending o'er its sleep,
Lingering upon that little lip doth keep
One pendent drop the while.

Then, his sad head upon his hands inclined,
He wept; that father-heart all unconfined,
Outpoured in love alone.
My blessing on thy clay-cold head, poor child.
Sole being for whose sake his thoughts, beguiled,
Forgot the world's lost throne.

_Fraser's Magazine_


[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 unfold
The resting-place of purest gold,
And haply surges up have rolled
The pearls that were unseen!



_("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 woe than bliss,
In any hour, requiring aught but this!

Deaf is the ear of all that jewelled crowd
To sorrow's sob, although its call be loud.
Better than waste long nights in idle show,
To help the indigent and raise the low--
To train the wicked to forsake his way,
And find th' industrious work from day to day!
Better to charity those hours afford,
Which now are wasted at the festal board!

And ye, O high-born beauties! in whose soul
Virtue resides, and Vice has no control;
Ye whom prosperity forbids to sin,
So fair without--so chaste, so pure within--
Whose honor Want ne'er threatened to betray,
Whose eyes are joyous, and whose heart is gay;
Around whose modesty a hundred arms,
Aided by pride, protect a thousand charms;
For you this ball is pregnant with delight;
As glitt'ring planets cheer the gloomy night:--
But, O, ye wist not, while your souls are glad,
How millions wander, homeless, sick and sad!
Hazard has placed you in a happy sphere,
And like your own to you all lots appear;
For blinded by the sun of bliss your eyes
Can see no dark horizon to the skies.

Such is the chance of life! Each gallant thane,
Prince, peer, and noble, follow in your train;--
They praise your loveliness, and in your ear
They whisper pleasing things, but insincere;
Thus, as the moths enamoured of the light,
Ye seek these realms of revelry each night.
But as ye travel thither, did ye know
What wretches walk the streets through which you go.
Sisters, whose gewgaws glitter in the glare
Of your great lustre, all expectant there,
Watching the passing crowd with avid eye,
Till one their love, or lust, or shame may buy;
Or, with commingling jealousy and rage,
They mark the progress of your equipage;
And their deceitful life essays the while
To mask their woe beneath a sickly smile!



_("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 proceeds;
Opposing tribunes, even when seeming one--
Soft, yielding plaster put in place of stone;
Wave chasing wave in endless ebb and flow;
War, darker still and deeper in its woe;
One party fall'n, successor scarce preludes,
Than, straight, new views their furious feuds;
The great man's pressure on the poor for gold,
Rumors uncertain, conflicts, crimes untold;
Dark systems hatched in secret and in fear,
Telling of hate and strife to every ear,
That even to midnight sleep no peace is given,
For murd'rous cannon through our streets are driven.



_("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 shone, as clouded or as bright,
As fitful meteor in the heaven at night,
And when the sycophant no more proclaims
To gaping crowds the glory of their names,--
'Tis then the mem'ries of warriors die,
And fall--alas!--into obscurity,
Until the poet, in whose verse alone
Exists a world--can make their actions known,
And in eternal epic measures, show
They are not yet forgotten here below.
And yet by us neglected! glory gloomed,
Thy name seems sealed apart, entombed,
Although our shouts to pigmies rise--no cries
To mark thy presence echo to the skies;
Farewell to Grecian heroes--silent is the lute,
And sets your sun without one Memnon bruit?

There was a time men gave no peace
To cheers for Athens, Bozzaris, Leonidas, and Greece!
And Canaris' more-worshipped name was found
On ev'ry lip, in ev'ry heart around.
But now is changed the scene! On hist'ry's page
Are writ o'er thine deeds of another age,
And thine are not remembered.--Greece, farewell!
The world no more thine heroes' deeds will tell.

Not that this matters to a man like thee!
To whom is left the dark blue open sea,
Thy gallant bark, that o'er the water flies,
And the bright planet guiding in clear skies;
All these remain, with accident and strife,
Hope, and the pleasures of a roving life,
Boon Nature's fairest prospects--land and main--
The noisy starting, glad return again;
The pride of freeman on a bounding deck
Which mocks at dangers and despises wreck,
And e'en if lightning-pinions cleave the sea,
'Tis all replete with joyousness to thee!

Yes, these remain! blue sky and ocean blue,
Thine eagles with one sweep beyond the view--
The sun in golden beauty ever pure,
The distance where rich warmth doth aye endure--
Thy language so mellifluously bland,
Mixed with sweet idioms from Italia's strand,
As Baya's streams to Samos' waters glide
And with them mingle in one placid tide.

Yes, these remain, and, Canaris! thy arms--
The sculptured sabre, faithful in alarms--
The broidered garb, the yataghan, the vest
Expressive of thy rank, to thee still rest!
And when thy vessel o'er the foaming sound
Is proud past storied coasts to blithely bound,
At once the point of beauty may restore
Smiles to thy lip, and smoothe thy brow once more.



_("Seule au pied de la tour.")_

[IX., September, 1833.]

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 marks are seen
Where Russian hectors' scornful feet have been.
Anon she hears the clank of murd'rous arms,--
The swordsmen come once more to spread alarms!
And while she weeps against the prison walls,
And waves her bleeding arm until it falls,
To France she hopeless turns her glazing eyes,
And sues her sister's succor ere she dies.



_("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 what wild storms of want and woe and pain
Tore down her soul from honor? As a leaf
From autumn branches, or a drop of rain
That hung in frailest splendor from a bough--
Bright, glistening in the sunlight of God's day--
So had she clung to virtue once. But now--
See Heaven's clear pearl polluted with earth's clay!
The sin is yours--with your accursed gold--
Man's wealth is master--woman's soul the slave!
Some purest water still the mire may hold.
Is there no hope for her--no power to save?
Yea, once again to draw up from the clay
The fallen raindrop, till it shine above,
Or save a fallen soul, needs but one ray
Of Heaven's sunshine, or of human love.



_("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 and nest of bird;
Winds to oak-trees bear it,
Streams and fountains hear it,
Every breath and spirit
As a voice is heard.

All takes up its story,
Child resumes his play,
Hearth its ruddy glory,
Lute its lifted lay.
Wild or out of senses,
Through the world immense is
Sound as each commences
Schemes of yesterday.



_("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 be a loving heart
Where Honor rules the breast,
Loyal and true in every part,
That changes ne'er molest,
Eager to run its noble race,
Intent to do some work of grace,
I fain would make of it a place
For thy brow to rest.

And if there be of love a dream
Rose-scented as the west,
Which shows, each time it comes, a gleam,--
A something sweet and blest,--
A dream of which heaven is the pole,
A dream that mingles soul and soul,
I fain of it would make the goal
Where thy mind should rest.



_("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 thee, spirits pressing,
Soft music brings the gentle dove,
And fair light falleth like a blessing,
While my poor heart can bring thee only love.
Worship thee, angels love thee, sweet woman?
Yes; for that love perfects my soul.
None the less of heaven that my heart is human,
Blent in one exquisite, harmonious whole.


[Footnote 1: Set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.]


_("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 shade;

Since it was given to me to hear one happy while,
The words wherein your heart spoke all its mysteries,
Since I have seen you weep, and since I have seen you smile,
Your lips upon my lips, and your gaze upon my eyes;

Since I have known upon my forehead glance and gleam,
A ray, a single ray, of your star, veiled always,
Since I have felt the fall upon my lifetime's stream,
Of one rose-petal plucked from the roses of your days;

I now am bold to say to the swift-changing hours,
Pass--pass upon your way, for I grow never old.
Flee to the dark abysm with all your fading flowers,
One rose that none may pluck, within my heart I hold.

Your flying wings may smite, but they can never spill
The cup fulfilled of love, from which my lips are wet.
My heart has far more fire than you have frost to chill,
My soul more love than you can make my love forget.



_("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 longest, sweetest rise.

Have where ye will your dwelling,
Or breath or tint whose praise we sing;
Butterfly shining bright,
Full-blown or bursting rosebud, flow'r or wing.
Dwell together ye fair,
'Tis a boon to the loveliest given;
Perchance ye then may choose your home
On the earth or in heaven.



_("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.



_("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 hope, my shelter, my resource,
When green hoped not to gray to run its course;
She was enthroned Virtue under heaven's dome,
My idol in the shrine of curtained home.



_("Qui leur eut dit l'austere destinee?")_

[II. v., November, 1836.]

Who _then_, to them[1] had told the Future's story?
Or said that France, low bowed before their glory,
One day would mindful be
Of them and of their mournful fate no more,
Than of the wrecks its waters have swept o'er
The unremembering sea?

That their old Tuileries should see the fall
Of blazons from its high heraldic hall,
Dismantled, crumbling, prone;[2]
Or that, o'er yon dark Louvre's architrave[3]
A Corsican, as yet unborn, should grave
An eagle, then unknown?

That gay St. Cloud another lord awaited,
Or that in scenes Le Notre's art created
For princely sport and ease,
Crimean steeds, trampling the velvet glade,
Should browse the bark beneath the stately shade
Of the great Louis' trees?

_Fraser's Magazine._

[Footnote 1: The young princes, afterwards Louis XVIII. and Charles X.]

[Footnote 2: The Tuileries, several times stormed by mobs, was so
irreparably injured by the Communists that, in 1882, the Paris Town
Council decided that the ruins should be cleared away.]

[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.]


_("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 fear that did thy senses bind,
Yet made thee hasten with unsteady pace?
Oh, Master grave! whose musings lone we trace
Throughout thy works we look on reverently.
Amidst the gloomy umbrage thy mind's eye
Saw clearly, 'mong the shadows soft yet deep,
The web-toed faun, and Pan the green-eyed peep,
Who deck'd with flowers the cave where thou might'st rest,
Leaf-laden dryads, too, in verdure drest.
A strange weird world such forest was to thee,
Where mingled truth and dreams in mystery;
There leaned old ruminating pines, and there
The giant elms, whose boughs deformed and bare
A hundred rough and crooked elbows made;
And in this sombre group the wind had swayed,
Nor life--nor death--but life in death seemed found.
The cresses drink--the water flows--and round
Upon the slopes the mountain rowans meet,
And 'neath the brushwood plant their gnarled feet,
Intwining slowly where the creepers twine.
There, too, the lakes as mirrors brightly shine,
And show the swan-necked flowers, each line by line.
Chimeras roused take stranger shapes for thee,
The glittering scales of mailed throat we see,
And claws tight pressed on huge old knotted tree;
While from a cavern dim the bright eyes glare.
Oh, vegetation! Spirit! Do we dare
Question of matter, and of forces found
'Neath a rude skin-in living verdure bound.
Oh, Master--I, like thee, have wandered oft
Where mighty trees made arches high aloft,
But ever with a consciousness of strife,
A surging struggle of the inner life.
Ever the trembling of the grass I say,
And the boughs rocking as the breezes play,
Have stirred deep thoughts in a bewild'ring way.
Oh, God! alone Great Witness of all deeds,
Of thoughts and acts, and all our human needs,
God only knows how often in such scenes
Of savage beauty under leafy screens,
I've felt the mighty oaks had spirit dower--
Like me knew mirth and sorrow--sentient power,
And whisp'ring each to each in twilight dim,
Had hearts that beat--and owned a soul from Him!



_("Puisqu'ici-bas tout ame.")_

[XL, May 19, 1836.]

Since everything below,
Doth, in this mortal state,
Its tone, its fragrance, or its glow

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 sombre night to grief gives ease,
And peace profound;

Since day-spring on the flower
A fresh'ning drop confers,
And the fresh air on branch and bower
Its choristers;

Since the dark wave bestows
A soft caress, imprest
On the green bank to which it goes
Seeking its rest;

I give thee at this hour,
Thus fondly bent o'er thee,
The best of all the things in dow'r
That in me be.

Receive,-poor gift, 'tis true,
Which grief, not joy, endears,--
My thoughts, that like a shower of dew,
Reach thee in tears.

My vows untold receive,
All pure before thee laid;
Receive of all the days I live
The light or shade!

My hours with rapture fill'd,
Which no suspicion wrongs;
And all the blandishments distill'd
From all my songs.

My spirit, whose essay
Flies fearless, wild, and free,
And hath, and seeks, to guide its way
No star but thee.

No pensive, dreamy Muse,
Who, though all else should smile,
Oft as thou weep'st, with thee would choose,
To weep the while.

Oh, sweetest mine! this gift
Receive;--'tis throe alone;--
My heart, of which there's nothing left
When Love is gone!

_Fraser's Magazine._


_("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 neck-bell jingling light,
Superb, enormous, dappled red and white--
Soft, gentle, patient as a hind unto its young,
Letting the children swarm until they hung
Around her, under--rustics with their teeth
Whiter than marble their ripe lips beneath,
And bushy hair fresh and more brown
Than mossy walls at old gates of a town,
Calling to one another with loud cries
For younger imps to be in at the prize;
Stealing without concern but tremulous with fear
They glance around lest Doll the maid appear;--
Their jolly lips--that haply cause some pain,
And all those busy fingers, pressing now and 'gain,
The teeming udders whose small, thousand pores
Gush out the nectar 'mid their laughing roars,
While she, good mother, gives and gives in heaps,
And never moves. Anon there creeps
A vague soft shiver o'er the hide unmarred,
As sharp they pull, she seems of stone most hard.
Dreamy of large eye, seeks she no release,
And shrinks not while there's one still to appease.
Thus Nature--refuge 'gainst the slings of fate!
Mother of all, indulgent as she's great!
Lets us, the hungered of each age and rank,
Shadow and milk seek in the eternal flank;
Mystic and carnal, foolish, wise, repair,
The souls retiring and those that dare,
Sages with halos, poets laurel-crowned,
All creep beneath or cluster close around,
And with unending greed and joyous cries,
From sources full, draw need's supplies,
Quench hearty thirst, obtain what must eftsoon
Form blood and mind, in freest boon,
Respire at length thy sacred flaming light,
From all that greets our ears, touch, scent or sight--
Brown leaves, blue mountains, yellow gleams, green sod--
Thou undistracted still dost dream of God.



_("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 heart so like to theirs,
Her spirit with such life is rife
That in its golden rays we see,
Touched into graceful poesy,
The dull cold commonplace of life.

Still following, watching, whether burn
The Christmas log in winter stern,
While merry plays go round;
Or streamlets laugh to breeze of May
That shakes the leaf to break away--
A shadow falling to the ground.

If some poor man with hungry eyes
Her baby's coral bauble spies,
She marks his look with famine wild,
For Christ's dear sake she makes with joy
An alms-gift of the silver toy--
A smiling angel of the child.

_Dublin University Magazine_


_("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 by you was split
To thousand pieces? Did you need
For pastime, as you handled it,
Some Gothic missal to enrich
With your designs fantastical?
Or did your tearing fingers fall
On some old picture? Which, oh, which
Your dreadful fault? Not one of these;
Only when left yourselves to please
This morning but a moment here
'Mid papers tinted by my mind
You took some embryo verses near--
Half formed, but fully well designed
To open out. Your hearts desire
Was but to throw them on the fire,
Then watch the tinder, for the sight
Of shining sparks that twinkle bright
As little boats that sail at night,
Or like the window lights that spring
From out the dark at evening.

'Twas all, and you were well content.
Fine loss was this for anger's vent--
A strophe ill made midst your play,
Sweet sound that chased the words away
In stormy flight. An ode quite new,
With rhymes inflated--stanzas, too,
That panted, moving lazily,
And heavy Alexandrine lines
That seemed to jostle bodily,
Like children full of play designs
That spring at once from schoolroom's form.
Instead of all this angry storm,
Another might have thanked you well
For saving prey from that grim cell,
That hollowed den 'neath journals great,
Where editors who poets flout
With their demoniac laughter shout.
And I have scolded you! What fate
For charming dwarfs who never meant
To anger Hercules! And I
Have frightened you!--My chair I sent
Back to the wall, and then let fly
A shower of words the envious use--
"Get out," I said, with hard abuse,
"Leave me alone--alone I say."
Poor man alone! Ah, well-a-day,
What fine result--what triumph rare!
As one turns from the coffin'd dead
So left you me:--I could but stare
Upon the door through which you fled--
I proud and grave--but punished quite.
And what care you for this my plight!--
You have recovered liberty,
Fresh air and lovely scenery,
The spacious park and wished-for grass;
The running stream, where you can throw
A blade to watch what comes to pass;
Blue sky, and all the spring can show;
Nature, serenely fair to see;
The book of birds and spirits free,
God's poem, worth much more than mine,
Where flowers for perfect stanzas shine--
Flowers that a child may pluck in play,
No harsh voice frightening it away.
And I'm alone--all pleasure o'er--
Alone with pedant called "Ennui,"
For since the morning at my door
Ennui has waited patiently.
That docto-r-London born, you mark,
One Sunday in December dark,
Poor little ones--he loved you not,
And waited till the chance he got
To enter as you passed away,
And in the very corner where
You played with frolic laughter gay,
He sighs and yawns with weary air.

What can I do? Shall I read books,
Or write more verse--or turn fond looks
Upon enamels blue, sea-green,
And white--on insects rare as seen
Upon my Dresden china ware?
Or shall I touch the globe, and care
To make the heavens turn upon
Its axis? No, not one--not one
Of all these things care I to do;
All wearies me--I think of you.
In truth with you my sunshine fled,
And gayety with your light tread--
Glad noise that set me dreaming still.
'Twas my delight to watch your will,
And mark you point with finger-tips
To help your spelling out a word;
To see the pearls between your lips
When I your joyous laughter heard;
Your honest brows that looked so true,
And said "Oh, yes!" to each intent;
Your great bright eyes, that loved to view
With admiration innocent
My fine old Sevres; the eager thought
That every kind of knowledge sought;
The elbow push with "Come and see!"

Oh, certes! spirits, sylphs, there be,
And fays the wind blows often here;
The gnomes that squat the ceiling near,
In corners made by old books dim;
The long-backed dwarfs, those goblins grim
That seem at home 'mong vases rare,
And chat to them with friendly air--
Oh, how the joyous demon throng
Must all have laughed with laughter long
To see you on my rough drafts fall,
My bald hexameters, and all
The mournful, miserable band,
And drag them with relentless hand
From out their box, with true delight
To set them each and all a-light,
And then with clapping hands to lean
Above the stove and watch the scene,
How to the mass deformed there came
A soul that showed itself in flame!

Bright tricksy children--oh, I pray
Come back and sing and dance away,
And chatter too--sometimes you may,
A giddy group, a big book seize--
Or sometimes, if it so you please,
With nimble step you'll run to me
And push the arm that holds the pen,
Till on my finished verse will be
A stroke that's like a steeple when
Seen suddenly upon a plain.
My soul longs for your breath again
To warm it. Oh, return--come here
With laugh and babble--and no fear
When with your shadow you obscure
The book I read, for I am sure,
Oh, madcaps terrible and dear,
That you were right and I was wrong.
But who has ne'er with scolding tongue
Blamed out of season. Pardon me!
You must forgive--for sad are we.

The young should not be hard and cold
And unforgiving to the old.
Children each morn your souls ope out
Like windows to the shining day,
Oh, miracle that comes about,
The miracle that children gay
Have happiness and goodness too,
Caressed by destiny are you,
Charming you are, if you but play.
But we with living overwrought,
And full of grave and sombre thought,
Are snappish oft: dear little men,
We have ill-tempered days, and then,
Are quite unjust and full of care;
It rained this morning and the air
Was chill; but clouds that dimm'd the sky
Have passed. Things spited me, and why?
But now my heart repents. Behold
What 'twas that made me cross, and scold!
All by-and-by you'll understand,
When brows are mark'd by Time's stern hand;
Then you will comprehend, be sure,
When older--that's to say, less pure.

The fault I freely own was mine.
But oh, for pardon now I pine!
Enough my punishment to meet,
You must forgive, I do entreat
With clasped hands praying--oh, come back,
Make peace, and you shall nothing lack.
See now my pencils--paper--here,
And pointless compasses, and dear
Old lacquer-work; and stoneware clear
Through glass protecting; all man's toys
So coveted by girls and boys.
Great China monsters--bodies much
Like cucumbers--you all shall touch.
I yield up all! my picture rare
Found beneath antique rubbish heap,
My great and tapestried oak chair
I will from you no longer keep.
You shall about my table climb,
And dance, or drag, without a cry
From me as if it were a crime.
Even I'll look on patiently
If you your jagged toys all throw
Upon my carved bench, till it show
The wood is torn; and freely too,
I'll leave in your own hands to view,
My pictured Bible--oft desired--
But which to touch your fear inspired--
With God in emperor's robes attired.

Then if to see my verses burn,
Should seem to you a pleasant turn,
Take them to freely tear away
Or burn. But, oh! not so I'd say,
If this were Mery's room to-day.
That noble poet! Happy town,
Marseilles the Greek, that him doth own!
Daughter of Homer, fair to see,
Of Virgil's son the mother she.
To you I'd say, Hold, children all,
Let but your eyes on his work fall;
These papers are the sacred nest
In which his crooning fancies rest;
To-morrow winged to Heaven they'll soar,
For new-born verse imprisoned still
In manuscript may suffer sore
At your small hands and childish will,
Without a thought of bad intent,
Of cruelty quite innocent.
You wound their feet, and bruise their wings,
And make them suffer those ill things
That children's play to young birds brings.

But mine! no matter what you do,
My poetry is all in you;
You are my inspiration bright
That gives my verse its purest light.
Children whose life is made of hope,
Whose joy, within its mystic scope,
Owes all to ignorance of ill,
You have not suffered, and you still
Know not what gloomy thoughts weigh down
The poet-writer weary grown.
What warmth is shed by your sweet smile!
How much he needs to gaze awhile
Upon your shining placid brow,
When his own brow its ache doth know;
With what delight he loves to hear
Your frolic play 'neath tree that's near,
Your joyous voices mixing well
With his own song's all-mournful swell!
Come back then, children! come to me,
If you wish not that I should be
As lonely now that you're afar
As fisherman of Etretat,
Who listless on his elbow leans
Through all the weary winter scenes,
As tired of thought--as on Time flies--
And watching only rainy skies!



_("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 to the breath of day,
Still dazzled with the brightness of your dawn.
I dream of those two little ones at play,
Making the threshold vocal with their cries,
Half tears, half laughter, mingled sport and strife,
Like two flowers knocked together by the wind.
Or of the elder two--more anxious thought--
Breasting already broader waves of life,
A conscious innocence on either face,
My pensive daughter and my curious boy.
Thus do I dream, while the light sailors sing,
At even moored beneath some steepy shore,
While the waves opening all their nostrils breathe
A thousand sea-scents to the wandering wind,
And the whole air is full of wondrous sounds,
From sea to strand, from land to sea, given back
Alone and sad, thus do I dream of you.
Children, and house and home, the table set,
The glowing hearth, and all the pious care
Of tender mother, and of grandsire kind;
And while before me, spotted with white sails,
The limpid ocean mirrors all the stars,
And while the pilot, from the infinite main,
Looks with calm eye into the infinite heaven,
I dreaming of you only, seek to scan
And fathom all my soul's deep love for you--
Love sweet, and powerful, and everlasting--
And find that the great sea is small beside it.

_Dublin University Magazine._


_("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 rain to-night!
And all along the coast
The sky shows naught of light
Is it a storm, my host?
Too soon
The boon
Of pleasant weather will be lost
Yes, 'tis Triton, etc.

Are seamen on that speck
Afar in deepening dark?
Is that a splitting deck
Of some ill-fated bark?
Fend harm!
Send calm!
O Venus! show thy starry spark!
Though 'tis Triton, etc.

The thousand-toothed gale,--
Adventurers too bold!--
Rips up your toughest sail
And tears your anchor-hold.
You forge
Through surge,
To be in rending breakers rolled.
While old Triton, etc.

Do sailors stare this way,
Cramped on the Needle's sheaf,
To hail the sudden ray
Which promises relief?
Then, bright;
Shine, light!
Of hope upon the beacon reef!
Though 'tis Triton, etc.


_("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 subtilest sinking! and farther and farther the brink
That vainly you snatch--for repentance, 'tis weed without root,--
And struggling, you sink!


_("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 the dawn's tears is made
A perfume faint and strange,
Amber and honey sweet."
"And all the spirits fleet
Do suffer a sky-change,
More strangely than the dew,
To God's own angels new,"
The Grave said to the Rose.




_("O palais, sois benie.")_

[II., June, 1839.]

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.

_Fraser's Magazine._

[Footnote 1: King Charles X.]


_("L'eglise est vaste et haute.")_

[IV., June 29, 1839.]

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 dreams disclose.
But not the huge Cathedral's height, nor yet its vault sublime,
Nor porch, nor glass, nor streaks of light, nor shadows deep with time;
Nor massy towers, that fascinate mine eyes;
No, 'tis that spot--the mind's tranquillity--
Chamber wherefrom the song mounts cheerily,
Placed like a joyful nest well nigh the skies.

Yea! glorious is the Church, I ween, but Meekness dwelleth here;
Less do I love the lofty oak than mossy nest it bear;
More dear is meadow breath than stormy wind:
And when my mind for meditation's meant,
The seaweed is preferred to the shore's extent,--
The swallow to the main it leaves behind.

_Author of "Critical Essays."_

[Footnote 1: The Cathedral Notre Dame of Paris, which is the scene of the
author's romance, "Notre Dame."]


_("O dix-huitieme siecle!")_

[IV. vi]

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, like thyself, by good men scorned--
Yet, from thy crimes, renown has decked thy name,
As the smoke emplumes the furnace flame,
A revolution's deeds have thine adorned!

_Author of "Critical Essays."_


_("O vous que votre age defende")_

[IX., February, 1840.]

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 gayly beaming,
Whence rays of beauty flow,
Salt tears most oft are streaming.

Free from emotions past,
All joy and hope possessing,
With mind in pureness cast,
Sweet ignorance confessing.

Plant, safe from winds and showers,
Heart with soft visions glowing,
In childhood's happy hours
A mother's rapture showing.

Loved by each anxious friend,
No carking care within--
When summer gambols end,
My winter sports begin.

Sweet poesy from heaven
Around thy form is placed,
A mother's beauty given,
By father's thought is graced!

Seize, then, each blissful second,
Live, for joy _sinks in night_,
And those whose tale is reckoned,
Have had their days of light.

Then, oh! before we part,
The poet's blessing take,
Ere bleeds that aged heart,
Or child the woman make.

_Dublin University Magazine_.


_("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.



_("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 souls, with spiteful tooth, the statue's base will bite;
Ye birds will sing, ye bending boughs with verdure glad the sight;
The ivy root in the stone entwined, will cause old gates to fall;
The church-bell sound to work or rest the villagers will call.

Ye glorious oaks will still increase in solitude profound,
Where the far west in distance lies as evening veils around;
Ye willows, to the earth your arms in mournful trail will bend,
And back again your mirror'd forms the water's surface send.

Ye nests will oscillate beneath the youthful progeny;
Embraced in furrows of the earth the germing grain will lie;
Ye lightning-torches still your streams will cast into the air,
Which like a troubled spirit's course float wildly here and there.

Ye thunder-peals will God proclaim, as doth the ocean wave;
Ye violets will nourish still the flower that April gave;
Upon your ambient tides will be man's sternest shadow cast;
Your waters ever will roll on when man himself is past.

All things that are, or being have, or those that mutely lie,
Have each its course to follow out, or object to descry;
Contributing its little share to that stupendous whole,
Where with man's teeming race combined creation's wonders roll.

The poet, too, will contemplate th' Almighty Father's love,
Who to our restless minds, with light and darkness from above,
Hath given the heavens that glorious urn of tranquil majesty,
Whence in unceasing stores we draw calm and serenity.

_Author of "Critical Essays."_


_("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 clinking chime! To Fancy's eye--
Prompt her affections to personify--
It is the fresh and frolic hour, arrayed
In guise of Andalusian dancing maid,
Appealing by a crevice fine and rare,
As of a door oped in "th' incorporal air."
She comes! o'er drowsy roofs, inert and dull,
Shaking her lap, of silv'ry music full,
Rousing without remorse the drones abed,
Tripping like joyous bird with tiniest tread,
Quiv'ring like dart that trembles in the targe,
By a frail crystal stair, whose viewless marge
Bears her slight footfall, tim'rous half, yet free,
In innocent extravagance of glee
The graceful elf alights from out the spheres,
While the quick spirit--thing of eyes and ears--
As now she goes, now comes, mounts, and anon
Descends, those delicate degrees upon,
Hears her melodious spirit from step to step run on.

_Fraser's Magazine_


_("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;
For this with blandest smiles he softly asks
That they with him will prosecute their tasks;
Receives them in his solemn chilly lair,
The rigid lot of discipline to share.
At dingy desks they toil by day; at night
To gloomy chambers go uncheered by light,
Where pillars rudely grayed by rusty nail
Of heavy hours reveal the weary tale;
Where spiteful ushers grin, all pleased to make
Long scribbled lines the price of each mistake.
By four unpitying walls environed there
The homesick students pace the pavements bare.



_("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 though you hardly knew my lady--
Sabine's her name!
Her dam inhabits yonder cavern shady,
A witch of shame,
Who shrieks o' nights upon the Haunted Tower,
With horrors piled--
Oh! this chill wind, etc.

"Sing on and leap--enjoying all the favors
Good heaven sends;
She, too, was young--her lips had peachy savors
With honey blends;
Give to that hag--not always old--a penny,
Though crime-defiled--
Oh! this chill wind, etc.

"The queen beside her looked a wench uncomely,
When, near to-night,
She proudly stalked a-past the maids so homely,
In bodice tight
And collar old as reign of wicked Julian,
By fiend beguiled--
Oh! this chill wind, etc.

"The king himself proclaimed her peerless beauty
Before the court,
And held it were to win a kiss his duty
To give a fort,
Or, more, to sign away all bright Dorado,
Tho' gold-plate tiled--
Oh! this chill wind, etc.

"Love her? at least, I know I am most lonely
Without her nigh;
I'm but a hound to follow her, and only


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