First Love.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Vous ĂȘtes singulier.")

[MARION DELORME, Act I., June, 1829, played 1831.]

MARION (smiling.) You're strange, and yet I love you thus.

DIDIER. You love me?
Beware, nor with light lips utter that word.
You love me! - know you what it is to love
With love that is the life-blood in one's veins,
The vital air we breathe, a love long-smothered,
Smouldering in silence, kindling, burning, blazing,
And purifying in its growth the soul.
A love that from the heart eats every passion
But its sole self; love without hope or limit,
Deep love that will outlast all happiness;
Speak, speak; is such the love you bear me?

MARION. Truly.

DIDIER. Ha! but you do not know how I love you!
The day that first I saw you, the dark world
Grew shining, for your eyes lighted my gloom.
Since then, all things have changed; to me you are
Some brightest, unknown creature from the skies.
This irksome life, 'gainst which my heart rebelled,
Seems almost fair and pleasant; for, alas!
Till I knew you wandering, alone, oppressed,
I wept and struggled, I had never loved.

FANNY KEMBLE-BUTLER.

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