The Dying Child to its Mother (Poem by Victor Hugo)

Old Poem



The Dying Child to its Mother
By Victor Hugo


Ah, you said too often to your angel
    There are other angels in the sky — 
There, where nothing changes, nothing suffers,
    Sweet it were to enter in on high.

To that dome on marvellous pilasters,
    To that tent roofed o'er with colored bars,
That blue garden full of stars like lilies,
    And of lilies beautiful as stars.

And you said it was a place most joyous,
    All our poor imaginings above,
With the wing├Ęd cherubim for playmates,
    And the good God evermore to love.

Sweet it were to dwell there in all seasons,
    Like a taper burning day and night,
Near to the child Jesus and the Virgin,
    In that home so beautiful and bright.

But you should have told him, hapless mother,
    Told your child so frail and gentle too,
That you were all his in life's beginning,
    But that also he belonged to you.

For the mother watches o'er the infant,
    He must rise up in her latter days,
She will need the man that was her baby
    To stand by her when her strength decays.

Ah, you did not tell enough your darling
    That God made us in this lower life,
Woman for the man, and man for woman,
    In our pains, our pleasures and our strife.

So that one sad day, O loss, O sorrow!
    The sweet creature left you all alone;
'Twas your own hand hung the cage door open,
    Mother, and your pretty bird is flown.

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