What The Poet Was Telling Himself In 1848

You mustn't seek out power, mustn't grab the helm
Your work lies elsewhere, spirit of another realm,
In innocence withdraw before this moment here.
Lover of thought in mourning both sweet and severe-,
Disdained or understood by men still you must live
Shepherd for their tending, priest to blessings give.
When citizens embittered by their misery,
Sons of the same France and of the same Paris,
Slit one another's throats; when at each corner loom
Barricades just sprung up, sinister, wrapped in gloom
Rising, vomiting death at once and everywhere
Though unarmed and alone you must simply go there;
Must in this vile, awful and unholy war show
Your chest, your heart, you have to let your spirit flow,
To speak, to pray, to save both the weak and the strong,
To smile under fire and weep for the dead now gone;
Then to rise, calm, to your place in isolation
And to defend within the fervent collocation
Those that it would judge or from society eject,
To overturn the scaffold, to serve and to protect
The order and the peace that rash actors have shaken,
And our soldiers - by the little general taken,
And the man of the people sent to the asylum,
And the laws, and also our sad and proud freedom;
To offer consolation, at this fateful day,
To the divine art that shudders, weeps, and to stay
Awaiting for the rest the moment decisive.

Your role is to inform and to remain pensive.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:15 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 1,364
Words 250
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 27, 1

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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