Insult not the Fallen (Poem by Victor Hugo)

the Old Poems

Insult not the Fallen
By Victor Hugo

I tell you, hush! no word of sneering scorn — 
    True, fallen; but God knows how deep her sorrow.
Poor girl! too many like her only born
    To love one day — to sin — and die the morrow.
What know you of her struggles or her grief?
    Or what wild storms of want and woe and pain
Tore down her soul from honor? As a leaf
    From autumn branches, or a drop of rain
That hung in frailest splendor from a bough — 
    Bright, glistening in the sunlight of God's day — 
So had she clung to virtue once. But now — 
    See Heaven's clear pearl polluted with earth's clay!
The sin is yours — with your accursed gold — 
    Man's wealth is master—woman's soul the slave!
Some purest water still the mire may hold.
    Is there no hope for her — no power to save?
Yea, once again to draw up from the clay
    The fallen raindrop, till it shine above,
Or save a fallen soul, needs but one ray
    Of Heaven's sunshine, or of human love.

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