On a Flemish Window-Pane (Poem by Victor Hugo)

the Old Poems

On a Flemish Window-Pane
By Victor Hugo

Within thy cities of the olden time
Dearly I love to list the ringing chime,
Thou faithful guardian of domestic worth,
Noble old Flanders! where the rigid North
A flush of rich meridian glow doth feel,
Caught from reflected suns of bright Castile.
The chime, the clinking chime! To Fancy's eye — 
Prompt her affections to personify — 
It is the fresh and frolic hour, arrayed
In guise of Andalusian dancing maid,
Appealing by a crevice fine and rare,
As of a door oped in "th' incorporal air."
She comes! o'er drowsy roofs, inert and dull,
Shaking her lap, of silv'ry music full,
Rousing without remorse the drones abed,
Tripping like joyous bird with tiniest tread,
Quiv'ring like dart that trembles in the targe,
By a frail crystal stair, whose viewless marge
Bears her slight footfall, tim'rous half, yet free,
In innocent extravagance of glee
The graceful elf alights from out the spheres,
While the quick spirit — thing of eyes and ears — 
As now she goes, now comes, mounts, and anon
Descends, those delicate degrees upon,
Hears her melodious spirit from step to step run on.

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