Insult Not The Fallen.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Oh! n'insultez jamais une femme qui tombe.")

[XIV., Sept. 6, 1835.]

I tell you, hush! no word of sneering scorn -
True, fallen; but God knows how deep her sorrow.
Poor girl! too many like her only born
To love one day - to sin - and die the morrow.
What know you of her struggles or her grief?
Or what wild storms of want and woe and pain
Tore down her soul from honor? As a leaf
From autumn branches, or a drop of rain
That hung in frailest splendor from a bough -
Bright, glistening in the sunlight of God's day -
So had she clung to virtue once. But now -
See Heaven's clear pearl polluted with earth's clay!
The sin is yours - with your accursed gold -
Man's wealth is master - woman's soul the slave!
Some purest water still the mire may hold.
Is there no hope for her - no power to save?
Yea, once again to draw up from the clay
The fallen raindrop, till it shine above,
Or save a fallen soul, needs but one ray
Of Heaven's sunshine, or of human love.


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