The Vale To You, To Me The Heights. - A Fable.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

[Bk. III. vi., October, 1846.]


A lion camped beside a spring, where came the Bird
Of Jove to drink:
When, haply, sought two kings, without their courtier herd,
The moistened brink,
Beneath the palm - they always tempt pugnacious hands -
Both travel-sore;
But quickly, on the recognition, out flew brands
Straight to each core;
As dying breaths commingle, o'er them rose the call
Of Eagle shrill:
"Yon crownèd couple, who supposed the world too small,
Now one grave fill!
Chiefs blinded by your rage! each bleachèd sapless bone
Becomes a pipe
Through which siroccos whistle, trodden 'mong the stone
By quail and snipe.
Folly's liege-men, what boots such murd'rous raid,
And mortal feud?
I, Eagle, dwell as friend with Leo - none afraid -
In solitude:
At the same pool we bathe and quaff in placid mood.
Kings, he and I;
For I to him leave prairie, desert sands and wood,
And he to me the sky."

H.L.W.

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