Vous avez dépassé votre droit d'un grand pas. Le père é ait à vous, mais la fille non pas. Pas de tête plutôt qu'une souillure au front! Quand on n'a plus d'honneur, on n'a plus de famille.
Qu'elle vous aime ou non d'un amour insensé, Je n'ai rien à reprendre où la honte a passé. Vous voudrez, pour forcer ma vengeance à se taire, Me rendre au bourreau. Vous ne l'oserez faire, De peur que ce ne soit mon rideaux de douche galeries lafayette qui demain.
Victor Hugo vindicated his meaning and reclaimed his rights in a most eloquent, most manly, and most unanswerable speech before a tribunal which durst not and could not but refuse him justice. Early in the following year he brought out the first of his three tragedies in prose—in a prose which even the most loyal lovers of poetry, Théophile Gautier at their head, acknowledged on trial to be as good as verse.
And assuredly it would be, if any prose ever could: which yet I must confess that I for one can never really feel to be possible. Lucrèce Borgiathe first-born of these three, is also the most perfect in structure as well as the most sublime in subject.
The plots of all three are equally pure inventions of tragic fancy: Gennaro and Fabiano, the heroic son of the Borgia and the caitiff lover of the Tudor, are of course as utterly unknown to history as is the self-devotion of the actress Tisbe.
It is more important to remark and more useful to remember that the master of terror and pity, the command of all passions and all powers that may subserve the purpose of tragedy, is equally triumphant and infallible in them all.
Lucrèce Borgia and Marie Tudor appeared respectively in February and in November of the year ; Angelotwo years later; and the year after this the exquisite and melodious libretto of La Esmeraldawhich should be carefully and lovingly studied by all who would appreciate the all but superhuman versatility and dexterity of metrical accomplishment which would have sufficed to make a lesser poet famous among his peers forever, but may almost escape notice in the splendor of Victor Hugo's other and sublimer qualities.
In his thirty-seventh year all these blazed out once more together in the tragedy sometimes apparently rated as his master-work by judges whose verdict would on any such question be worthy at least of all considerate respect.
No one that I know of has ever been absurd enough to make identity in tone of thought or feeling, in quality of spirit or of style, the ground for a comparison of Hugo with Shakespeare: they are of course as widely different as are their respective countries and their respective times: but never since the death of Shakespeare had there been so perfect and harmonious a fusion of the highest comedy with the deepest tragedy as in the five many-voiced and many-colored acts of Ruy Blas.
At the age of forty Victor Hugo gave to the stage which for thirteen years had been glorified by his genius the last work he was ever to write for it. There may perhaps be other readers besides myself who take even more delight in Les Burgraves than in some of the preceding plays which had been more regular in action, more plausible in story, less open to the magnificent reproach of being too good for the stage—as the Hamlet which came finally from the recasting hand of Shakespeare was found to be, in the judgment even of Shakespeare's fellows; too rich in lyric beauty, too superb in epic state.
The previous year had seen the publication of the marvelously eloquent, copious, and vivid letters which gave to the world the impressions received by its greatest poet in a tour on the Rhine made five years earlier—that is, in the year of Ruy Blas. In this book, as Gautier at once observed, the inspiration of Les Burgraves is evidently and easily traceable.
Among numberless masterpieces of description, from which I have barely time to select for mention the view of Bishop Hatto's tower by the appropriately Dantesque light of a furnace at midnight—not as better than others, but as an example of the magic by which the writer imbues and impregnates observation and recollection with feeling and with fancy—the most enchanting legend of enchantment ever written for children of all ages, sweet and strange enough to have grown up among the fairy tales of the past whose only known authors are the winds and suns of their various climates, lurks like a flower in a crevice of a crumbling fortress.
Nous sommes en automne et nous sommes au soir. Partout la feuille tombe et le bois devient noir. Two years before the appearance of Les Burgraves Victor Hugo had begun his long and glorious career as an orator by a speech of characteristically generous enthusiasm, delivered on his reception into the Academy. The forgotten playwright and versifier whom he succeeded had been a professional if not a personal enemy: the one memorable thing about the man was his high-minded opposition to the tyranny of Napoleon, his own personal friend before the epoch of that tyranny began: and this was the point at once seized and dwelt on by the orator in a tone of earnest and cordial respect.
The fiery and rapturous eloquence with which, at the same time, he celebrated the martial triumphs of the empire, gave ample proof that he was now, as his father had prophesied that his mother's royalist boy would become when he grew to be a man, a convert to the views of that father, a distinguished though ill-requited soldier of the empire, and a faithful champion or mourner of its cause.
The stage of Napoleonic hero-worship, single-minded and single-eyed if short-sighted and misdirected, through which Victor Hugo was still passing on towards the unseen prospect of a better faith, had been vividly illustrated and vehemently proclaimed in his letters on the Rhine, and was hereafter to be described with a fervent and pathetic fidelity in a famous chapter of Les Misérables.
The same phase of patriotic prepossession inspired his no less generous tribute to the not very radiant memory of Casimir Delavigne, to whom he paid likewise the last and crowning honor of a funeral oration: an honor afterwards conferred on Frédéric Soulié, and far more deservedly bestowed on Honoré de Balzac. More generous his first political speech in the chamber of peers could not be, but there was more of reason and justice in its fruitless appeal for more than barren sympathy, for a moral though not material intervention, on behalf of Poland in His second speech as a peer is an edifying commentary on the vulgar English view of his character as defective in all the practical and rational qualities of a politician, a statesman, or a patriot.
The subject was the consolidation and defense of the French coastline: a poet, of course, according to all reasonable tradition, if he ventured to open his unserviceable lips at all on such a grave matter of public business, ought to have remembered what was expected of him by the sagacity of blockheads, and carefully confined himself to the clouds, leaving facts to take care of themselves and proofs to hang floating in the air, while his vague and verbose declamation wandered at its own sweet will about and about the matter in hand, and never came close enough to grapple it.
This, I regret to say, is exactly what the greatest poet of his age was inconsiderate enough to avoid, and most markedly to abstain from doing; a course of conduct which can only be attributed to his notorious and deplorable love of paradox.
To an Olympian or a Nephelococcygian intelligence such a paltry matter should have been even more indifferent than the claim of a family of exiles on the compassion of the country which had expelled them. To my own more humble and homely understanding it seems that there are not many more significant or memorable facts on record in the history of our age than this: that Victor Hugo was the advocate whose pleading brought back to France the banished race of which the future representative was for upwards of twenty years to keep him in banishment from France.
On the evening of the same day on which the house of peers had listened to his speech in behalf of the Bonaparte family, Louis-Philippe, having taken cognizance of it, expressed his intention to authorize the return of the brood whose chief was hereafter to pick the pockets of his children. In the first fortnight of the following year the future author of the terrible Vision of Dante saluted in words full of noble and fervent reverence the apostle of Italian resurrection and Italian unity in the radiant figure of Pope Pius the Ninth.
When the next month's revolution had flung Louis-Philippe from his throne, Victor Hugo declined to offer himself to the electors as a candidate for a seat in the assembly about to undertake the charge of framing a constitution for the commonwealth; but, if summoned by his fellow-citizens to take his share of this task, he expressed himself ready to discharge the duty so imposed on him with the disinterested self-devotion of which his whole future career was to give such continuous and such austere evidence.
From the day on which sixty thousand voices summoned him to redeem this pledge, he never stinted nor slackened his efforts to fulfill the charge he had accepted in the closing words of a short, simple, and earnest address, in which he placed before his electors the contrasted likenesses of two different republics; one, misnamed a commonweal, the rule of the red flag, of barbarism and blindness, communism and proscription and revenge; the other a commonwealth indeed, in which all rights should be respected and no duties evaded or ignored; a government of justice and mercy, of practicable principles and equitable freedom, of no iniquitous traditions and no utopian aims.
To establish this kind of commonwealth and prevent the resurrection of the other, Hugo, at the age of forty-six, professed himself ready to devote his life. The work of thirty-seven years is now before all men's eyes for proof how well this promise has been kept. On dangerous questions of perverse or perverted socialism June 20,on the freedom of the press, on the state of siege, its temporary necessity and its imminent abuse, on the encouragement of letters and the freedom of the stage, he spoke, in the course of a few months, with what seems to my poor understanding the most admirable good sense and temperance, the most perfect moderation and loyalty.
This beaten road of assumption, this well-worn highway of assertion, is a safe as well as a simple line of travel: and the practical person who keeps to it can well afford to dispense with argument as palpably superfluous, and with evidence as obviously impertinent.
Should he so far forget that great principle of precaution as to diverge from it into the modest and simple course of investigation and comparison of theory with fact and probability with proof, his task maybe somewhat harder, and its result somewhat less satisfactory.
I would not advise any but an honest and candid believer in the theory which identifies genius with idiocy—which at all events would practically define one special form of genius as a note of general idiocy—to study the speeches they are nine in number, including two brief and final replies to the personal attacks of one Montalembert, whose name used to be rather popular among a certain class of English journalists as that of a practical worshipper of their great god Compromise, and a professional enemy of all tyranny or villainy that was not serviceable and obsequious to his Church —to study, I say, the speeches delivered by Victor Hugo in the Legislative Assembly during a space of exactly two years and eight days.
The first of these speeches dealt with the question of what in England we call pauperism—with the possibility, the necessity, and the duty of its immediate relief and its ultimate removal: the second, with the infamous and inexpiable crime which diverted against the Roman republic an expedition sent out under the plea of protecting Rome against the atrocities of Austrian triumph.
A double-faced and double-dealing law, which under the name or the mask of free education aimed at securing for clerical instruction a monopoly of public support and national encouragement, was exposed and denounced by Hugo in a speech which insisted no less earnestly and eloquently on the spiritual duty and the spiritual necessity of faith and hope than on the practical necessity and duty of vigilant resistance to priestly pretension, and vigilant exposure of ecclesiastical hypocrisy and reactionary intrigue.
Against "the dry guillotine" of imprisonment in a tropical climate added to transportation for political offences, the whole eloquence of a heart as great as his genius was poured forth in fervor of indignation and pity, of passion and reason combined. The next trick of the infamous game played by the conspirators against the commonwealth, who were now beginning to show their hand, was the mutilation of the suffrage.
To this again Victor Hugo opposed the same steadfast front of earnest and rational resistance; and yet again to the sidelong attack of the same political gang on the existing freedom of the press. A year and eight days elapsed before the delivery of his next and last great speech in the Assembly which he would fain have saved from the shame and ruin then hard at hand—the harvest of its own unprincipled infatuation.
The fruit of conspiracy, long manured with fraud and falsehood and all the furtive impurities of intrigue, was now ripe even to rottenness, and ready to fall into the hands already stretched towards it—into the lips yet open to protest that no one—the accuser himself must know it—that no one was dreaming of a second French empire. All that reason and indignation, eloquence and argument, loyalty and sincerity could do to save the commonwealth from destruction and the country from disgrace, was done: how utterly in vain is matter of history—of one among the darkest pages in the roll of its criminal records.
The voice of truth and honor was roared and hooted down by the faction whose tactics would have discredited a den of less dishonest and more barefaced thieves; the stroke of state was ready for striking; and the orator's next address was the utterance of an exile.
There are not, even in the whole work of Victor Hugo, many pages of deeper and more pathetic interest than those which explain to us "what exile programme regime comme jaime narbonne. No reverence for innocent and heroic suffering, no abhorrence of triumphant and execrable crime, can impede or interfere with our sense of the incalculable profit, the measureless addition to his glory and our gain, resulting from Victor Hugo's exile of nineteen years and nine months.
Greater already than all other poets of his time together, these years were to make him greater than any but the very greatest of all time. His first task was of course the discharge of a direct and practical duty; the record or registration of the events he had just witnessed, the infliction on the principal agent in them of the simple and immediate chastisement consisting in the delineation of his character and the recapitulation of his work.
There would seem to be among modern Englishmen an impression—somewhat singular, it appears to me, in a race which professes to hold in special reverence a book so dependent for its arguments and its effects on a continuous appeal to conscience and emotion as the Bible—that the presence of passion, be it never so righteous, so rational, so inevitable by any one not ignoble or insane, implies the absence of reason; that such indignation as inflamed the lips of Elijah with prophecy, and armed the hand of Jesus with a scourge, is a sign—except of course in Palestine of old—that the person affected by this kind of moral excitement must needs be a lunatic of the sentimental if not rather of the criminal type.
The main facts recorded in the pages of Napoléon le Petit and L'Histoire d'un Crime are simple, flagrant, palpable, indisputable. The man who takes any other view of them than is expressed in these two books must be prepared to impugn and to confute the principle that perjury, robbery, and murder are crimes.
But, we are told, the perpetual vehemence of incessant imprecation, the stormy insistence of unremitting obloquy, which accompanies every chapter, illuminates every page, underlines every sentence of the narrative, must needs impair the confidence of an impartial reader in the trustworthiness of a chronicle and a commentary written throughout as in characters of flaming fire.
Englishmen are proud to prefer a more temperate, a more practical, a more sedate form of political or controversial eloquence. But valuable and precious as all such readers will always hold these two book of immediate and implacable history, they will not, I presume, be rated among the more important labors of their author's literary life.
No one who would know fully or would estimate aright the greatest genius born into the world in our nineteenth century can afford to pass them by with less than careful and sympathetic study: for without moral sympathy no care will enable a student to form any but a trivial and a frivolous judgment on writings which make their primary appeal to the conscience—to the moral instinct and the moral intelligence of the reader.
They may perhaps not improperly be classed, for historic or biographic interest, with the Littérature et Philosophie mêlées which had been given to the world in From the crudest impressions of the boy to the ripest convictions of the man, one common quality informs and harmonizes every stage of thought, every phase of feeling, every change of spiritual outlook, which has left its mark on the writings of which that collection is composed; the quality of a pure, a perfect, an intense and burning sincerity.
Apart from this personal interest which informs them all, two at least are indispensable to any serious and thorough study of Hugo's work: the fervent and reiterated intercession on behalf of the worse than neglected treasures of mediaeval architecture then delivered over for a prey to the claws of the destroyer and the paws of the restorer; the superb essay on Mirabeau, which remains as a landmark or a tidemark in the history of his opinions and the development of his powers.
But the highest expression of these was not to be given in prose—not even in the prose of Victor Hugo. There is not, it seems to me, in all this marvelous life, to which well nigh every year brought its additional aureole of glory, a point more important, a date more memorable, than the publication of the Châtiments.
Between the prologue Night and the epilogue Light the ninety-eight poems that roll and break and lighten and thunder like waves of a visible sea fulfill the choir of their crescent and refluent harmonies with hardly less depth and change and strength of music, with no less living force and with no less passionate unity, than the waters on whose shores they were written. Two poems, the third and the sixth, in the first of the seven books into which the collection is divided, may be taken as immediate and sufficient instances of the two different keys in which the entire book is written; of the two styles, one bitterly and keenly realistic, keeping scornfully close to shameful fact—one higher in flight and wider in range of outlook, soaring strongly to the very summits of lyric passion—which alternate in terrible and sublime antiphony throughout the living pages of this imperishable record.
A second Juvenal might have drawn for us with not less of angry fidelity and superb disgust protheses mammaires prix ludicrous and loathsome inmates of the den infested by holy hirelings of the clerical press; no Roman satirist could have sung, no Roman lyrist could have thundered, such a poem as that which has blasted for ever the name and the memory of the prostitute archbishop Sibour.
The poniard of the priest who struck him dead at the altar he had desecrated struck a blow less deep and deadly than had been dealt already on the renegade pander of a far more infamous assassin. The next poem is a notable and remarkable example of the fusion sometimes accomplished—or, if this be thought a phrase too strong for accuracy, of the middle note sometimes touched, of the middle way sometimes taken—between the purely lyric and the purely satiric style or method.
But it would be necessary to dwell on every poem, to pause at every page, if adequate justice were to be done to this or indeed to any of the volumes of verse published from this time forth by Victor Hugo.
I will therefore, not without serious diffidence, venture once more to indicate by selection such poems as seem to me most especially notable among the greatest even of these. In the first book, besides the three already mentioned, I take for examples the solemn utterance of indignant mourning addressed to the murdered dead of the fourth of December; the ringing song in praise of art which ends in a note of noble menace; the scornful song that follows it, with a burden so majestic in its variations; the fearful and faithful "map of Europe" inwith its closing word of witness for prophetic hope and faith; and the simple perfection of pathos in the song of the little forsaken birds and lambs and children.
In the second book, the appeal "To the People," with a threefold cry for burden, calling on the buried Lazarus to rise again in words that seem to reverberate from stanza to stanza like peal upon peal of living thunder, prolonged in steadfast cadence from height to height across the hollows of a range of mountains, is one of the most wonderful symphonies of tragic and triumphant verse that ever shook the hearts of its hearers with rapture of rage and pity.
The first and the two last stanzas seem to me absolutely unsurpassed and unsurpassable for pathetic majesty of music.
Rajeunir au futur simple habiter
Partout pleurs, sanglots, cris funèbres. Pourquoi dors-tu dans les ténèbres? Je ne veux pas que tu sois mort. Ce n'est pas l'instant où l'on dort. La pâle Liberté gît sanglante à ta porte. Tu le sais, toi mort, elle est morte. Voici le chacal sur ton seuil, Voici les rats et les belettes, Pourquoi t'es-tu laissé lier de bandelettes?
Ils te mordent dans ton cercueil! De tous les peuples on prépare Le convoi Ils bâtissent des prisons neuves; Ô dormeur sombre, entends les fleuves Murmurer, teints de sang vermeil; Entends pleurer les pauvres veuves, Ô noir dormeur au dur sommeil!
Martyrs, adieu! Les juifs triomphent, groupe avare Et sans foi Mais, il semble qu'on se réveille! Est-ce toi que j'ai dans l'oreille, Bourdonnement du sombre essaim? Dans la ruche frémit l'abeille; J'entends sourdre un vague tocsin.
Les césars, oubliant qu'il est des gémonies, S'endorment dans les symphonies, Du lac Baltique au mont Etna; Les peuples sont dans la nuit noire; Dormez, rois; le clairon dit aux tyrans: victoire! Et l'orgue leur chante; hosanna! Qui répond à cette fanfare? Le beffroi If ever a more superb structure of lyric verse was devised by the brain of man, it minceur a rennes gratuitement have been, I am very certain, in a language utterly unknown to me.
Every line, every pause, every note of it should be studied and restudied by those who would thoroughly understand the lyrical capacity of Hugo's at its very highest point of power, in the fullest sweetness of its strength.
About the next poem—'Souvenir de la nuit du 4'—others may try, if they please, to write, if they can; I can only confess that I cannot. Nothing so intolerable in its pathos, I should think, was ever written. The stately melody of the stanzas in which the exile salutes in a tone of severe content the sorrows that environ and the comforts that sustain him, the island of his refuge, the sea-birds and the sea-rocks and the sea, closes aptly with yet another thought of the mothers weeping for their children.
Puisque le juste est dans l'abîme, Puisqu'on donne le sceptre au crime, Puisque tous les droits sont trahis, Puisque les plus fiers restent mornes, Puisqu'on affiche au coin des bornes Le déshonneur de mon pays; Ô République de nos pères, Grand Panthéon plein de lumières. Dôme d'or dans le libre azur, Temple des ombres immortelles, Puisqu'on vient avec des échelles Coller l'empire sur ton mur; Puisque toute âme est affaiblie, Puisqu'on rampe, puisqu'on oublie Le vrai, le pur, le grand, le beau.
Les yeux indignés de l'histoire, L'honneur, la loi, le droit, la gloire, Et ceux qui sont dans le tombeau; Je t'aime, exil! Tristesse, sois mon diadème! Je t'aime, altière pauvreté! J'aime ma porte aux vents battue. J'aime le deuil, grave statue Qui vient s'asseoir à mon côté. J'aime cette île solitaire, Jersey, que la libre Angleterre Couvre de son vieux pavillon, L'eau noire, par moments accrue, Le navire, errante charrue, Le flot, mystérieux sillon.
J'aime ta mouette, ô mer profonde, Qui secoue en perles ton onde Sur son aile aux fauves couleurs, Plonge dans les lames géantes, Et sort de ces gueules béantes Comme l'âme sort des douleurs. J'aime la roche solennelle D'où j'entends la plainte éternelle, Sans trêve comme le remords, Toujours renaissant dans les ombres, Des vagues sur les écueils sombres, Des mères sur leurs enfants morts.
The close of the third poem in the fourth book is a nobler protest than ever has been uttered or ever can be uttered in prose against the servile sophism of a false democracy which affirms or allows that a people has the divine right of voting itself into bondage.
There is nothing grander in Juvenal, and nothing more true. Ce droit, sachez-le bien, chiens du berger Maupas, Et la France et le peuple eux-mêmes ne l'ont pas. L'altière Vérité jamais ne tombe en cendre. La Liberté n'est pas une guenille à vendre, Jetée au tas, pendue au clou chez un fripier. Quand un peuple se laisse au piège estropier, Le droit sacré, toujours à soi-même fidèle, Dans chaque citoyen trouve une citadelle; On s'illustre en bravant un lâche conquérant, Et le moindre du creme sensi rides eucerin en devient le plus grand.
Donc, trouvez du bonheur, ô plates créatures, À vivre dans la fange et dans les pourritures, Adorez ce fumier sous ce dais de brocart, L'honnête homme recule et s'accoude à l'écart. Dans la chute d'autrui je ne veux pas descendre.
L'honneur n'abdique point. Nul n'a droit de me prendre Ma liberté, mon bien, mon ciel bleu, mon amour. Tout l'univers aveugle est sans droit sur le jour. Fût on cent millions d'esclaves, je suis libre. Ainsi parle Caton. Sur la Seine ou le Tibre, Personne n'est tombé tant qu'un seul est debout.
Le vieux sang des aïeux qui s'indigne et qui bout, La vertu, la fierté, la justice, l'histoire, Toute une nation avec toute sa gloire Vit dans le dernier front qui ne veut pas plier. Pour soutenir le temple il suffit d'un pilier; Un français, c'est la France; un romain contient Rome, Et ce qui white discharge pigmentation un peuple avorte aux pieds d'un homme.
The sixth and seventh poems in this book are each a superb example of its kind; the verses on an interview between Abd-el-Kader and Bonaparte are worthy of a place among the earlier Orientales for simplicity and fullness of effect in lyric tone and color; and satire could hardly give a finer and completer little study than that of the worthy tradesman who for love of his own strong-box would give his vote for a very Phalaris to reign over him, and put up with the brazen bull for love of the golden calf: an epigram which sums up an epoch.
The indignant poem of Joyeuse Viewith its terrible photographs of subterranean toil and want, is answered by the not less terrible though ringing and radiant song of L'empereur s'amuse ; and this again by the four solemn stanzas in which a whole world of desolate suffering is condensed and realized.
The verses of good counsel in which the imperial Macaire is admonished not to take himself too seriously, or trust in the duration of his fair and foul good fortune, are unsurpassed for concentration of contempt.
The dialogue of the tyrannicide by the starlit sea with all visible and invisible things that impel or implore him to do justice is so splendid and thrilling in its keen and ardent brevity that we can hardly feel as though a sufficient answer were given to the instinctive reasoning which finds inarticulate utterance in the cry of the human conscience for retribution by a human hand, even when we read the two poems, at once composed and passionate in their austerity, which bid men leave God to deal with the supreme criminal of humanity.
A Night's Lodgingthe last poem of the fourth book, is perhaps the very finest and most perfect example of imaginative and tragic satire that exists: if this rank be due to a poem at once the most vivid in presentation, the most sublime in scorn, the most intense and absolute in condensed expression of abhorrence and in assured expression of belief.
But in the fifth of these seven caskets of chiseled gold and tempered steel there is a pearl of greater price than in any of the four yet opened. The song dated from sea, which takes farewell of all good things and all gladness left behind—of house and home, of the flowers and the sky, of the betrothed bride with her maiden brow—the song which has in its burden tile heavy plashing sound of the wave following on the wave that swells and breaks against the bulwarks—the song of darkening waters and darkened lives has in it a magic, for my own ear at least, incomparable in the whole wide world of human song.
Even to the greatest poets of all time such a godsend as this—such a breath of instant inspiration—can come but rarely and seem given as by miracle.
Adieu, patrie! L'onde est en furie. Adieu, patrie, Azur! Adieu, maison, treille au fruit mûr Adieu, les fleurs d'or du vieux mur! Ciel, forêt, prairie! Adieu, fiancée au front pur. Le ciel est noir, le vent est dur. Lise, Anna, Marie! Adieu, patrie. Va du flot sombre au sort obscur. The next poem is addressed to a disappointed accomplice of the crime still triumphant and imperial in the eyes of his fellow-scoundrels, who seems to have shown signs of a desire to break away from them and a suspicion that even then the ship of empire was beginning to leak—though in fact it had still seventeen years of more or less radiant rascality to float through before it foundered in the ineffable ignominy of Sedan.
Full of ringing and stinging eloquence, of keen and sonorous lines or lashes of accumulating scorn, this poem is especially noteworthy for its tribute to the murdered republic of Rome. Certain passages in certain earlier works of Hugo, in Cromwell for instance and in Marie Tudorhad given rise to a natural and indeed inevitable suspicion of some prejudice or even antipathy on the writer's part which had not less unavoidably aroused a feeling among Italians that his disposition or tone of mind was anything but cordial or indeed amicable towards their country: a suspicion probably heightened, and a feeling probably sharpened, by his choice of such dramatic subjects from Italian history or tradition as the domestic eccentricities of the exceptional family of Borgia, and the inquisitorial misdirection of the degenerate commonwealth of Venice.
To the sense that Hugo was hardly less than an enemy and that Byron had been something more than a well-wisher to Italy I have always attributed the unquestionable and otherwise inexplicable fact that Mazzini should have preferred the pinchbeck and tinsel of Byron to the gold and ivory of Hugo. But it was impossible that the master poet of the world should not live to make amends, if indeed amends were needed, to the country of Mazzini and of Dante.
If I have hardly time to mention the simple and vivid narrative of the martyrdom of Pauline Roland, I must pause at least to dwell for a moment on so famous and so great a poem as L'Expiation ; but not to pronounce, or presume to endeavor to decide, which of its several pictures is the most powerful, which kingston botox clinics its epic or lyric variations the most impressive and triumphant in effect.
The huge historic pageant of ruin, from Moscow ab rideudstyr aalborg Waterloo, from Waterloo to St.
Helena, with the posthumous interlude of apotheosis which the poet had loudly and proudly celebrated just twelve years earlier in an ode, turned suddenly into the peep-show of a murderous mountebank, the tawdry triumph of buffoons besmeared with innocent blood, is so tremendous in its anticlimax that not the sublimest and most miraculous climax imaginable could make so tragic and sublime an impression so indelible from the mind. The slow agony of the weleda pousse cheveux crepus army under the snow; its rout and dissolution in the supreme hour of panic; the slower agony, the more gradual dissolution, of the prisoner with a gaoler's eye intent on him to the last; who can say which of these three is done into verse with most faultless and sovereign power of hand, most pathetic or terrific force and skill?
And the hideous judicial dishonor of the crowning retribution after death, the parody of his empire and the prostitution of his name, is so much more than tragic by reason of the very farce in it that out of ignominy itself and uttermost degradation the poet has made something more august in moral impression than all pageants of battle or of death.
In the sixth book I can but rapidly remark the peculiar beauty and greatness of the lyric lines in which the sound of steady seas regularly breaking on the rocks at Rozel Tower is rendered with so solemn and severe an echo of majestic strength in sadness; the verses addressed to the people on its likeness and unlikeness to the sea; the scornful and fiery appeal to the spirit of Juvenal; the perfect idyllic picture of spring, with all the fruitless exultation of its blossoms and its birds, made suddenly dark and dissonant by recollection of human crime and shame; the heavenly hopefulness of comfort in the message of the morning star, conveyed into colors of speech and translated into cadences of sound which no painter or musician could achieve.
Je m'étais endormi la nuit près de la grève. Un vent frais m'éveilla, je sortis de mon rêve, J'ouvris les yeux, je vis l'étoile du matin. Elle resplendissait au fond du ciel lointain Dans une blancheur molle, infinie et charmante. Aquilon s'enfuyait emportant la tourmente.
L'astre éclatant changeait la nuée en duvet. C'était une clarté qui pensait, qui vivait; Elle apaisait l'écueil où la vague déferle; On croyait voir une âme à travers une perle.
Il faisait nuit encor, l'ombre régnait en vain, Le ciel s'illuminait d'un sourire divin. La lueur argentait le haut du mât qui penche; Le navire était noir, mais la voile était blanche; Des goëlands debout sur un escarpement, Attentifs, contemplaient l'étoile gravement Comme un oiseau céleste et fait d'une étincelle: L'océan qui ressemble au peuple allait vers elle, Et, rugissant tout bas, la regardait briller, Et semblait avoir peur de la faire envoler.
Un ineffable amour emplissait l'étendue. Et pendant qu'à longs plis l'ombre levait son voile, J'entendis une voix qui venait de l'étoile Et qui disait:—Je suis l'astre qui vient d'abord. Je suis celle qu'on croit dans la tombe et qui sort. J'ai lui sur le Sina, j'ai lui sur le Taygète; Je suis le caillou d'or et de feu que Dieu jette, Comme avec une fronde, au front noir de la nuit. Je suis ce qui renaît quand un monde est détruit. Ô nations!
J'ai brillé sur Moïse et j'ai brillé sur Dante. Le lion océan est amoureux de moi. Levez-vous, vertu, courage, foi! Penseurs, esprits! Paupières, ouvrez-vous; allumez-vous, prunelles; Terre, émeus le sillon; vie, éveille le bruit; Debout, vous qui dormez; car celui qui me suit, Car celui qui m'envoie en avant la première, C'est l'ange Liberté, c'est le géant Lumière!
The first poem of the seventh book, on the falling of the walls of Jericho before the seventh trumpet-blast, is equally great in description and in application; the third is one of the great lyric masterpieces of all time, the triumphant ballad of the Black Huntsman, unsurpassed in the world for ardor of music and fitful change of note from mystery and terror to rage and tempest and supreme serenity of exultation—"wind and storm fulfilling his word," we may literally say of this omnipotent sovereign of song.
The song on the two Napoleons is a masterpiece of skilful simplicity in contrast of tones and colors. But the song which follows, written to a tune of Beethoven's, has in it something more than the whole soul of music, the whole passion of self-devoted hope and self-transfiguring faith; it gives the final word of union between sound and spirit, the mutual coronation and consummation of them both.
La-haut qui sourit? Est-ce un esprit? Est-ce une femme? Quel front sombre et doux! Peuple, à genoux! Est-ce notre âme Qui vient à nous? Cette figure en deuil Paraît sur notre seuil, Et notre antique orgueil Sort du cercueil.
Son nom est France Ou Vérité. Bel ange, à ton miroir Quand s'offre un vil pouvoir, Tu viens, terrible à voir, Sous le ciel noir. Tu dis au monde: Allons! Formez vos bataillons! Et le monde ébloui Te répond: Oui. C'est l'ange de nuit. Rois, il vous suit. Marquant d'avance Le fatal moment Au firmament. Son nom est France Ou Châtiment. Ainsi que nous voyons En mai les alcyons, Voguez, ô nations, Dans ses rayons Son bras aux deux dressé Ferme le noir passé Et les portes de fer Du sombre enfer.
C'est l'ange de Dieu. Dans le ciel bleu Son aile immense Couvre avec fierté L'humanité. Son nom est France Ou Liberté! The Caravana magnificent picture, is also a magnificent allegory and a magnificent hymn. The poem following sums up in twenty-six lines a whole world of terror and of tempest hurtling and wailing round the wreck of a boat by night.
It is followed by a superb appeal against the infliction of death on rascals whose reptile blood would dishonor and defile the scaffold: and this again by an admonition to their chief not to put his trust in the chance of a high place of infamy among the more genuinely imperial hellhounds of historic record. The next poem gives us in perfect and exquisite summary the opinions of a contemporary conservative on a dangerous anarchist of extravagant opinions and disreputable character, whom for example's sake it was at length found necessary to crucify.
There is no song more simply and nobly pitiful than that which tells us in its burden how a man may die for lack of his native country as naturally and inevitably as for lack of his daily bread.
I cite only the last three stanzas by way of sample. Les exilés: s'en vont pensifs. Leur âme, hélas! Ils regardent l'ombre des ifs Sur les fosses du cimetière; L'un songe à l'Allemagne altière, L'autre an beau pays transalpin, L'autre à sa Pologne chérie. Néron Scapin Met aux fers la France flétrie Je meurs de ne plus voir les champs Où je regardais l'aube naître, De ne plus entendre les chants Que j'entendais de ma fenêtre.
Mon âme est où je ne puis être. Sons quatre planches de sapin Enterrez-moi dans la prairie. Then, in the later editions of the book, came the great and terrible poem on the life and death of the miscreant marshal who gave the watchword of massacre in the streets of Paris, and died by the visitation of disease before the walls of Sebastopol.
There is hardly a more splendid passage of its kind in all the Légende des Siècles than the description of the departure of the fleet in order of battle from Constantinople for the Crimea; nor a loftier passage of more pathetic austerity in all this book of Châtiments than the final address of the poet to the miserable soul, disembodied at length after long and loathsome suffering, of the murderer and traitor who had earned no soldier's death.
And then come those majestic "last words" which will ring for ever in the ears of men till manhood as well as poetry has ceased to have honor among mankind. And then comes a poem so great that I hardly dare venture to attempt a word in its praise. We cannot choose but think, as we read or repeat it, that "such music was never made" since the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
This epilogue of a book so bitterly and inflexibly tragic begins as with a peal of golden bells, or an outbreak of all April in one choir of sunbright song; proceeds in a graver note of deep and trustful exultation and yearning towards the future; subsides again into something of a more subdued key, while the poet pleads for his faith in a God of righteousness with the righteous who are ready to despair; and rises from that tone of awe-stricken and earnest pleading to such a height and rapture of inspiration as no Hebrew psalmist or prophet ever soared beyond in his divinest passion of aspiring trust and worship.
It is simply impossible that a human tongue should utter, a human hand should write, anything of more supreme and transcendent beauty than the last ten stanzas of the fourth division of this poem.
The passionate and fervent accumulation of sublimities, of marvelous images and of infinite appeal, leaves the sense too dazzled, the soul too entranced and exalted, to appreciate at first or in full the miraculous beauty of the language, the superhuman sweetness of the song.
The reader impervious to such impressions may rest assured that what he admires in the prophecies or the psalms of Isaiah or of David is not the inspiration of the text, but the warrant and sign-manual of the councils and the churches which command him to admire them on trust. Ne possède-t-il pas toute la certitude? Dieu ne remplit-il pas ce monde, notre étude, Du nadir au zénith? Notre sagesse auprès de la sienne est démence.
Et n'est-ce pas à lui que la clarté commence, Et que l'ombre finit? Ne voit-il pas ramp r les hydres sur leurs ventres? Ne regarde-t-il pas jusqu'au fond de leurs antres Atlas et Pélion?
Ne connaît-il pas l'heure où la cigogne émigre? Sait-il pas ton entrée et ta sortie, ô tigre, Et ton antre, ô lion? Hirondelle, réponds, aigle à l'aile sonore, Parle, avez-vous des nids que l'Eternel ignore? Ô cerf, quand l'as-tu fui? Renard, ne vois-tu pas ses yeux dans la broussaille? Loup, quand tu sens la nuit une herbe qui tressaille, Ne dis-tu pas: C'est lui! D'ailleurs, pensons.
Nos jours sont des joursd'amertume, Mais, quand nous étendons les bras dans cette brume, Nous sentons une main; Quand nous marchons, courbés, dans l'ombre du martyre, Nous entendons quelqu'un derrière nous nous dire: C'est ici le chemin.
Ô proscrits, l'avenir est aux peuples! Paix, gloire, Liberté, reviendront sur des chars de victoire Aux foudroyants essieux; Ce crime qui triomphe est fumée et mensonge. Les césars sont plus fiers que les vagues marines, Mais Dieu dit:—Je mettrai ma boucle en leurs narines.
Et dans leur bouche un mors, Et je tes traînerai, qu'on cède ou bien qu'on lutte, Eux et leurs histrions et leurs joueurs de flûte, Dans l'ombre où sont les morts! Dieu dit; et le granit que foulait leur semelle S'écroule, et les voilà disparus pêle-mêle Dans botox injection in egypt 2014 prospérités!
Three years after the Châtiments Victor Hugo published the Contemplations ; the book of which he said that if the title did not sound somewhat pretentious it might be called "the memoirs of a soul. The note of fatherhood was never touched more tenderly than in the opening verses of gentle counsel, whose cadence is fresher and softer than the lapse of rippling water or the sense of falling dew: the picture of the poet's two little daughters in the twilight garden might defy all painters to translate it: the spirit, force, and fun of the controversial cellulite eau ou graisse naturel, overflowing at once with good humor, with serious thought, and with kindly indignation, give life and charm to the obsolete questions of wrangling schools and pedants; and the last of them, on the divine and creative power of speech, is at once profound and sublime enough to grapple easily and thoroughly with so high and deep a subject.
The songs of childish loves and boyish fancies are unequalled by any other poets known to me for their union of purity and gentleness with a touch of dawning ardor arid a hint of shy delight: Lise, La Coccinelle, Vieille chanson du jeune tempsare such sweet miracles of simple perfection as we hardly find except in the old songs of unknown great poets who died and left no name.
The twenty-first poem, a lyric idyl of but sixteen lines, has something more than the highest qualities of Theocritus; in color and in melody it does but equal the Sicilian at his best, but there are two lines at least in it beyond his reach for depth and majesty of beauty.
Childhood and Unitytwo poems of twelve and ten lines respectively, are a pair of such flawless jewels as lie now in no living poet's casket. Among the twenty-eight poems of the second book, if I venture to name with special regard the second and the fourth, two songs uniting the subtle tenderness of Shelley's with the frank simplicity of Shakespeare's; the large and living land—scape in a letter dated from Tréport; the tenth and the thirteenth poems, two of the most perfect love-songs in the world, written if the phrase be permissible in a key of serene rapture; the "morning's note," with its vision of the sublime sweetness of life transfigured in a dream; Twilightwith its opening touches of magical and mystic beauty; above all, the mournful and tender magnificence of the closing poem, with a pathetic significance in the double date appended to the text: I am ready to confess that it is perhaps presumptuous to express a preference even for these over the others.
Yet perhaps it may be permissible to select for transcription two of the sweetest and shortest among them. Mes vers fuiraient, doux et frêles, Vers votre jardin si beau, Si mes vers avaient des ailes, Des ailes comme l'oiseau.
Ils voleraient, étincelles, Vers votre foyer qui rit, Si mes vers avaient des ailes, Des ailes comme l'esprit. Près de vous, purs et fidèles, Ils accourraient nuit et jour, Si mes vers avaient des ailes, Des ailes comme l'amour.
Nothing of Shelley's exceeds this for limpid perfection of melody, renewed in the next lyric with something of a deeper and more fervent note of music. Si vous n'avez rien à me dire, Pourquoi venir auprès de moi? Pourquoi me faire ce sourire Qui tournerait la tête au roi?
Si vous n'avez rien à m'apprendre, Pourquoi me pressez-vous la main? Sur le rêve angélique et tendre, Auquel vous songez en chemin, Si vous n'avez rien à m'apprendre, Pourquoi me pressez-vous la main? Si vous voulez que je m'en aille, Pourquoi passez-vous par ici?
Lorsque je vous vois, je tressaille, C'est ma joie et c'est mou souci. In the third book, which brings us up to the great poet's forty-second year, the noble poem called Melancholia has in it a foretaste and a promise of all the passionate meditation, all the studious and indefatigable pity, all the forces of wisdom and of mercy which were to find their completer and supreme expression in Les Misérables.
In Saturn we may trace the same note of earnest and thoughtful meditation on the mystery of evil, on the vision so long cherished by mankind of some purgatorial world, the shrine of expiation or the seat of retribution, which in the final volume of the Légende des Siècles was toched again with a yet more august effect: the poem there called Inferi resumes and expands the tragic thought here first admitted into speech and first clothed round with music.
The four lines written beneath a crucifix may almost be said to sum up the whole soul and spirit of Christian faith or feeling in the brief hour of its early purity, revived in every age again for some rare and beautiful natures—and for these alone.
Vous qui pleurez, venez à ce Dieu, car il pleure. Vous qui souffrez, venez à lui, car il guérit. Vous qui tremblez, venez à lui, car il sourit. Vous qui passez, venez à lui, car il demeure. La Statuewith its grim swift glance over the worldwide rottenness of imperial Rome, finds again an echo yet fuller and more sonorous than the note which it repeats in the poem on Roman decadence which forms the eighth division of the revised and completed Légende des Siècles.
The two delicately tender poems on the death of a little child are well relieved by the more terrible tenderness of the poem on a mother found dead of want among her four little children. In this and the next poem, a vivid and ghastly photograph of vicious poverty, we find again the same spirit of observant and vigilant compassion that inspires and informs the great prose epic of suffering which records the redemption of Jean Valjean: and in the next, suggested by the sight a sorrowful sight always, except perhaps to very small children or adults yet more diminutive in mental or spiritual size of a caged lion, we recognize the depth of noble pity which moved its author to write Le Crapaud —a poem redeemed in all rational men's eyes from the imminent imputation of repulsive realism by the profound and pathetic beauty of the closing lines—and we may recognize also the imaginative and childlike sympathy with the traditional king of beasts which inspired him long after to write L'Épopée du Lion for the benefit of his grandchildren.
Insomniea record of the tribute exacted by the spirit from the body, when the impulse to work and to create will not let the weary workman take his rest, but enforces him, reluctant and recalcitrant, to rise and gird up his loins for labor in the field of imaginative thought, is itself a piece of work well worth the sacrifice even of the happiness of sleep.
The verses on music, suggested by the figure of a flute-playing shepherd on a bas-relief; the splendid and finished picture of spring, softened rather than shadowed by the quiet thought of death; the deep and tender fancy of the dead child's return to its mother through the gateway of a second birth; the grave sweetness and gentle fervor of the verses on the outcast and detested things of the animal and the vegetable world; and, last, the nobly thoughtful and eloquent poem on the greatness of such little things as the fire on the shepherd's hearth confronting the star at sunset, which may be compared with the Prayer for all men in the Feuilles d'Automne ; these at least demand a rapid word of thankful recognition before we close the first volume of the Contemplations.
The fourth book, as most readers will probably remember, contains the poems written in memory of Victor Hugo's daughter, drowned by the accidental capsizing of a pleasure-boat, just six months and seventeen days after her marriage with the young husband who chose rather to share her death than to save himself alone. These immortal songs of mourning are almost too sacred for critical appreciation of even the most reverent and subdued order.
There are numberless touches in them of such thrilling beauty, so poignant in their simplicity and so piercing in their truth, that silence is perhaps the best or the only commentary on anything so "rarely sweet and bitter. Je vis cette faucheuse. Elle était dans son champ.
Elle allait à grands pas moissonnant et fauchant, Noir squelette laissant passer le crépuscule. Dans l'ombre où l'on dirait que tout tremble et recule, L'homme suivait des yeux les lueurs de sa faulx. Et les triomphateurs sous les arcs triomphaux Tombaient; elle changeait en désert Babylone, Le trône en échafaud et l'échafaud en trône, Les roses en fumier, les enfants en oiseaux, L'or en cendre, et les yeux des mères en ruisseaux.
Et les femmes criaient: Rends-nous ce petit être. Pour le faire mourir, pourquoi l'avoir fait naître? Ce n'était qu'un sanglot sur terre, en haut, en bas; Des mains aux doigts osseux sortaient des noirs grabats; Un vent froid bruissait dans les linceuls sans nombre; Les peuples éperdus semblaient sous la faulx sombre Un troupeau frissonnant qui dans l'ombre s'enfuit: Tout était sous ses pieds deuil, épouvante et nuit.
Derrière elle, le front baigné de douces flammes, Un ange souriant portait la gerbe d'âmes. The fifth book opens most fitly with an address to the noble poet who was the comrade of the author's exile and the brother of his self-devoted son-in-law. Even Hugo never wrote anything of more stately and superb simplicity than this tribute of fatherly love and praise, so well deserved and so royally bestowed.
The second poem, addressed to the son of a poet who had the honor to receive the greatest of all his kind as a passing guest in the first days of his long exile, is as simple and noble as it is gentle and austere. The third, written in reply to the expostulations of an old friend and a distant kinsman, is that admirable vindication of a man's right to grow wiser, and of his duty to speak the truth as he comes to see it better, which must have imposed silence and impressed respect on all assailants if respect for integrity and genius were possible to the imbecile or the vile, and if silence or abstinence from insult were possible to the malignant or the fool The epilogue, appended nine years later to this high-minded and brilliant poem, is as noble in imagination, in feeling, and in expression, as the finest page in the Châtiments.
J'ajoute un post-scriptum après neuf ans. J'écoute; Êtes-vous toujours là? Vous êtes mort sans doute, Marquis; mais d'où je suis on peut parler aux morts. Comme vous. J'habite l'ombre. Storyboard Text.
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Comment était tes vacances à Gaspésie? Extraordinaire mon fils! Chuchote papa, je ne suis pas enore réveillé Lève-toi, Marc-André! Il y a une journée magnifique devant nous, tu ne peux pas rester dans ton lit toute la journée! Je ne me souviens pas la dernière fois que mon père à réveiller et sorti de son lit avant 10 heures Papa, ta barbe tes cheveux!
Je suis honnete papa! Marc-André tu es fou, peut être tu vas fait plus de sens quand tu es complètement réveillé Ma mère regarde très mince dans ses vêtements ce matin Maman, quand est ce que tu as acheté ce chandail? Papa ou sont tes lunettes et maman tes rides! Vous êtes tous les deux différents! Pourquoi est-ceque tu parlais de mes rides ce matin, Marc-André? More Storyboards By llamamac.
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