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That Night It Rained

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

That night it rained, the tide was high,
A heavy, grey fog covered all the coast,
The breakers barked like dogs, the waves
Joined their black sobs to the weeping of the sky,
Infinity shook and in its urn mixed up
The dark whirlings of the nocturnal abyss.
The night's mouths seemed to roar in the air
I heard the warning cannon by the sea.
Sailors in danger calling for help.
In the shade where blast followed blast,
Without pilot, without mast, without anchor or shelter,
Some lost vessel let out its last cry.
I left. An old woman, passing by troubled,
Told me: 'It perished. It's a little fishing boat.
I ran to the sea side and only saw a shroud
Of fog, and of night, and of horror, and me alone;
And the wave, turning its face to the abyss,
As if to send away a witness to its crime,
Furious, begin to howl after me.

What are you then, jealous God, God of testing and terror,
God of collapses, of gulfs, of storms,
That you are not happy with so many shipwrecks,
That after swallowing so many strong and mighty,
You still have time left for the ordinary man,
That upon the least forehead your arm leaves its mark,
And that even after France, you still needed that boat!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:07 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…

All Victor Marie Hugo poems | Victor Marie Hugo Books

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