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Le manteau impérial (The Imperial Mantle)

Victor Marie Hugo 1802 (Besançon) – 1885 (Paris)



Le manteau impérial
O ! vous dont le travail est joie,
Vous qui n'avez pas d'autre proie
Que les parfums, souffles du ciel,
Vous qui fuyez quand vient décembre,
Vous qui dérobez aux fleurs l'ambre
Pour donner aux hommes le miel,

Chastes buveuses de rosée,
Qui, pareilles à l'épousée,
Visitez le lys du coteau,
Ô soeurs des corolles vermeilles,
Filles de la lumière, abeilles,
Envolez-vous de ce manteau !

Ruez-vous sur l'homme, guerrières !
Ô généreuses ouvrières,
Vous le devoir, vous la vertu,
Ailes d'or et flèches de flamme,
Tourbillonnez sur cet infâme!
Dites-lui: ' Pour qui nous prends-tu ?

Maudit ! nous sommes les abeilles !
Des chalets ombragés de treilles
Notre ruche orne le fronton ;
Nous volons, dans l'azur écloses,
Sur la bouche ouverte des roses
Et sur les lèvres de Platon.

Ce qui sort de la fange y rentre.
Va trouver Tibère en son antre,
Et Charles neuf sur son balcon.
Va! sur ta pourpre il faut qu'on mette,
Non les abeilles de l'Hymette,
Mais l'essaim noir de Montfaucon ! '

Et percez-le toutes ensemble,
Faites honte au peuple qui tremble,
Aveuglez l'immonde trompeur,
Acharnez-vous sur lui, farouches,
Et qu'il soit chassé par les mouches
Puisque les hommes en ont peur !

The Imperial Mantle

O ye whose labour is bliss alway,
Blithe-winged ones who have for prey
But odorous breaths of azure skies,
Who, ere December come, far flee,
Sweet thieves of sweetest blooms! O ye
Who bear to men the honey prize,

Chaste sippers of the morning dew,
Who visit 'neath noon's amorous blue
The lily glowing like a star,
Fond sisters of May's flowrest bright,
Bees, blithesome daughters of the light,
From that foul mantle flit afar!

Winged warriors, rush upon that man!
O busy toilers, noble clan,
For duty and virtue arduous,
With golden wings, keen darts of flame,
Swarm round that dull foul thing of shame,
And hiss, 'For what has taken us?'

'Accurst! We are the honey bees!
Our hives the pride of cottages,
From homeliest flowers our sweetest sips!
Though oft, what time warm June discloses
For love of us his loveliest roses,
We're fain to alight on Plato's lips!

'What's born of mire, to mire's inclined.
Go! in his lair Tiberius find,
Charles Nine his balcony upon.
Go, go! Hymettus' bees scarce grace
Your purple; there behooves you place
The black foul swarm of Montfaucon!'

And all together sting him there.
O tiny warriors of the air!
Sting blind this traitor soulless, base;
Upon him swarm from far and near,
And, since the men of France have fear,
Let bees of France, the monster chase!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:13 min read
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Victor Marie Hugo

Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best known French writers. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831. Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He was buried in the Panthéon. more…

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