Epitaph.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Il vivait, il jouait.")

[Bk. III. xv., May, 1843.]


He lived and ever played, the tender smiling thing.
What need, O Earth, to have plucked this flower from blossoming?
Hadst thou not then the birds with rainbow-colors bright,
The stars and the great woods, the wan wave, the blue sky?
What need to have rapt this child from her thou hadst placed him by -
Beneath those other flowers to have hid this flower from sight?

Because of this one child thou hast no more of might,
O star-girt Earth, his death yields thee not higher delight!
But, ah! the mother's heart with woe for ever wild,
This heart whose sovran bliss brought forth so bitter birth -
This world as vast as thou, even thou, O sorrowless Earth,
Is desolate and void because of this one child!

NELSON K. TYERMAN.

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