Prayer For France.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("O Dieu, si vous avez la France.")

[VII., August, 1832.]

O God! if France be still thy guardian care,
Oh! spare these mercenary combats, spare!
The thrones that now are reared but to be broke;
The rights we render, and anon revoke;
The muddy stream of laws, ideas, needs,
Flooding our social life as it proceeds;
Opposing tribunes, even when seeming one -
Soft, yielding plaster put in place of stone;
Wave chasing wave in endless ebb and flow;
War, darker still and deeper in its woe;
One party fall'n, successor scarce preludes,
Than, straight, new views their furious feuds;
The great man's pressure on the poor for gold,
Rumors uncertain, conflicts, crimes untold;
Dark systems hatched in secret and in fear,
Telling of hate and strife to every ear,
That even to midnight sleep no peace is given,
For murd'rous cannon through our streets are driven.


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