Sweet Memory Of Love.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Toutes les passions s'éloignent avec l'âge.")

[XXXIV. ii., October, 183-.]

As life wanes on, the passions slow depart,
One with his grinning mask, one with his steel;
Like to a strolling troupe of Thespian art,
Whose pace decreases, winding past the hill.
But naught can Love's all charming power efface,
That light, our misty tracks suspended o'er,
In joy thou'rt ours, more dear thy tearful grace,
The young may curse thee, but the old adore.

But when the weight of years bow down the head,
And man feels all his energies decline,
His projects gone, himself tomb'd with the dead,
Where virtues lie, nor more illusions shine,
When all our lofty thoughts dispersed and o'er,
We count within our hearts so near congealed,
Each grief that's past, each dream, exhausted ore!
As counting dead upon the battle-field.

As one who walks by the lamp's flickering blaze,
Far from the hum of men, the joys of earth -
Our mind arrives at last by tortuous ways,
At that drear gulf where but despair has birth.
E'en there, amid the darkness of that night,
When all seems closing round in empty air,
Is seen through thickening gloom one trembling light!
'Tis Love's sweet memory that lingers there!

Author of "Critical Essays."

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