Paternal Love.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Ma fille! ô seul bonheur.")


My child! oh, only blessing Heaven allows me!
Others have parents, brothers, kinsmen, friends,
A wife, a husband, vassals, followers,
Ancestors, and allies, or many children.
I have but thee, thee only. Some are rich;
Thou art my treasure, thou art all my riches.
And some believe in angels; I believe
In nothing but thy soul. Others have youth,
And woman's love, and pride, and grace, and health;
Others are beautiful; thou art my beauty,
Thou art my home, my country and my kin,
My wife, my mother, sister, friend - my child!
My bliss, my wealth, my worship, and my law,
My Universe! Oh, by all other things
My soul is tortured. If I should ever lose thee -
Horrible thought! I cannot utter it.
Smile, for thy smile is like thy mother's smiling.
She, too, was fair; you have a trick like her,
Of passing oft your hand athwart your brow
As though to clear it. Innocence still loves
A brow unclouded and an azure eye.
To me thou seem'st clothed in a holy halo,
My soul beholds thy soul through thy fair body;
E'en when my eyes are shut, I see thee still;
Thou art my daylight, and sometimes I wish
That Heaven had made me blind that thou might'st be
The sun that lighted up the world for me.


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