The Humble Home.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("L'├ęglise est vaste et haute.")

[IV., June 29, 1839.]

The Church[1] is vast; its towering pride, its steeples loom on high;
The bristling stones with leaf and flower are sculptured wondrously;
The portal glows resplendent with its "rose,"
And 'neath the vault immense at evening swarm
Figures of angel, saint, or demon's form,
As oft a fearful world our dreams disclose.
But not the huge Cathedral's height, nor yet its vault sublime,
Nor porch, nor glass, nor streaks of light, nor shadows deep with time;
Nor massy towers, that fascinate mine eyes;
No, 'tis that spot - the mind's tranquillity -
Chamber wherefrom the song mounts cheerily,
Placed like a joyful nest well nigh the skies.

Yea! glorious is the Church, I ween, but Meekness dwelleth here;
Less do I love the lofty oak than mossy nest it bear;
More dear is meadow breath than stormy wind:
And when my mind for meditation's meant,
The seaweed is preferred to the shore's extent, -
The swallow to the main it leaves behind.

Author of "Critical Essays."

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