To a Sick Child during the Siege of Paris (Poem by Victor Hugo)

Old Poem



To a Sick Child during the Siege of Paris
By Victor Hugo


If you continue thus so wan and white;
        If I, one day, behold
You pass from out our dull air to the light,
        You, infant — I, so old:
If I the thread of our two lives must see
        Thus blent to human view,
I who would fain know death was near to me,
        And far away for you;
If your small hands remain such fragile things;
        If, in your cradle stirred,
You have the mien of waiting there for wings,
        Like to some new-fledged bird;
Not rooted to our earth you seem to be.
        If still, beneath the skies,
You turn, O Jeanne, on our mystery
        Soft, discontented eyes!
If I behold you, gay and strong no more;
        If you mope sadly thus;
If you behind you have not shut the door,
        Through which you came to us;
If you no more like some fair dame I see
        Laugh, walk, be well and gay;
If like a little soul you seem to me
        That fain would fly away — 
I'll deem that to this world, where oft are blent
        The pall and swaddling-band,
You came but to depart — an angel sent
        To bear me from the land.

November, 1870

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