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Puisque j'ai mis ma lèvre (Since I Have Placed My Lip)

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

Puisque j'ai mis ma lèvre à ta coupe encor pleine;
Puisque j'ai dans tes mains posé mon front pâli;
Puisque j'ai respiré parfois la douce haleine
De ton âme, parfum dans l'ombre enseveli;

Puisqu'il me fut donné de t'entendre me dire
Les mots où se répand le coeur mystérieux;
Puisque j'ai vu pleurer, puisque j' ai vu sourire
Ta bouche sur ma bouche et tes yeux sur mes yeux;

Puisque j'ai vu briller sur ma tête ravie
Un rayon de ton astre, hélas! voilé toujours;
Puisque j'ai vu tomber dans l'onde de ma vie
Une feuille de rose arrachée à tes jours;

Je puis maintenant dire aux rapides années:
- Passez! passez toujours! je n'ai plus à vieillir!
Allez-vous-en avec vos fleurs toutes fanées;
J'ai dans l'âme une fleur que nul ne peut cueillir!

Votre aile en le heurtant ne fera rien répandre
Du vase où je m'abreuve et que j'ai bien rempli.
Mon âme a plus de feu que vous n'avez de cendre!
Mon coeur a plus d'amour que vous n'avez d'oubli!

From Thy Sweet Lips

Since from thy star one cheering ray
My heaven hath lighted with its beam—
Since one bright rose leaf from thy day
Hath fallen on my life's dark steam—
And o'er my spirit, like a spell,
Thy voice hath poured its gentle ruth;
And I have drank of love's charmed well,
From thy sweet lips, perpetual youth—

I say, as these swift years depart,
Haste, with your faded garlands by—
There blooms a flower within my heart
That none may gather—ne'er may die!
Ye may not dash the cup of soul
That I now quaff to sweet excess—
There lies more memory in the bowl,
Than time hath of forgetfulness!

Translated by Mary E. Hewitt

Since I Have Placed My Lip

Since I have placed my lip
To your still brimming cup,
Since my pale brow has leaned
Into your sheltering hand,
Since I at times have caught
The hidden fragrance of your heart—

Since I have heard you say
Words of love's mystery,
Since I have known your kiss
Smile upon mine and press
Against my own and seen
Your eyes in tears mirroring mine—

Since one ray from your star
So often veiled too far
From me has shone across
The gap that severs us,
Since you have let me seize
One rose-leaf of your sweeter days—

I can tell the swift years,
'Pass by. Pass with your cares.
I will not age. Take all
Your withered flowers that fall
And go. Within my soul
There is a flower none can steal.

Let time's wing brush the jar
I've filled to the brim nor
Spill one drop. I've more flame
In my heart now than time
Has ash and I possess
More love than time forgetfulness.'

Translated by Harry Guest

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:29 min read

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…

All Victor Marie Hugo poems | Victor Marie Hugo Books

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