Mourning (Poem by Victor Hugo)

Old Poem

By Victor Hugo

Charles, Charles, my son! hast thou, then, quitted me?
    Must all fade, naught endure?
Hast vanished in that radiance, clear for thee,
    But still for us obscure?

My sunset lingers, boy, thy morn declines!
    Sweet mutual love we've known;
For man, alas! plans, dreams, and smiling twines
    With others' souls his own.

He cries, "This has no end!" pursues his way:
    He soon is downward bound:
He lives, he suffers; in his grasp one day
    Mere dust and ashes found.

I've wandered twenty years, in distant lands,
    With sore heart forced to stay:
Why fell the blow Fate only understands!
    God took my home away.

To-day one daughter and one son remain
    Of all my goodly show:
Wellnigh in solitude my dark hours wane;
    God takes my children now.

Linger, ye two still left me! though decays
    Our nest, our hearts remain;
In gloom of death your mother silent prays,
    I in this life of pain.

Martyr of Sion! holding Thee in sight,
    I'll drain this cup of gall,
And scale with step resolved that dangerous height,
    Which rather seems a fall.

Truth is sufficient guide; no more man needs
    Than end so nobly shown.
Mourning, but brave, I march; where duty leads,
    I seek the vast unknown.

March, 1871

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