Victor Hugo

Heart of France for a hundred years,
Passionate, sensitive, proud, and strong,
Quick to throb with her hopes and fears,
Fierce to flame with her sense of wrong!
You, who hailed with a morning song
Dream-light gilding a throne of old:
You, who turned when the dream grew cold,
Singing still, to the light that shone
Pure from Liberty's ancient throne,
Over the human throng!
You, who dared in the dark eclipse,--
When the pygmy heir of a giant name
Dimmed the face of the land with shame,--
Speak the truth with indignant lips,
Call him little whom men called great,
Scoff at him, scorn him, deny him,
Point to the blood on his robe of state,
Fling back his bribes and defy him!

You, who fronted the waves of fate
As you faced the sea from your island home,
Exiled, yet with a soul elate,
Sending songs o'er the rolling foam,
Bidding the heart of man to wait
For the day when all should see
Floods of wrath from the frowning skies
Fall on an Empire founded in lies,
And France again be free!
You, who came in the Terrible Year
Swiftly back to your broken land,
Now to your heart a thousand times more dear,--
Prayed for her, sung to her, fought for her,
Patiently, fervently wrought for her,
Till once again,
After the storm of fear and pain,
High in the heavens the star of France stood clear!

You, who knew that a man must take
Good and ill with a steadfast soul,
Holding fast, while the billows roll
Over his head, to the things that make
Life worth living for great and small,--
Honour and pity and truth,
The heart and the hope of youth,
And the good God over all!
You, to whom work was rest,
Dauntless Toiler of the Sea,
Following ever the joyful quest
Of beauty on the shores of old Romance,
Bard of the poor of France,
And warrior-priest of world-wide charity!

You who loved little children best
Of all the poets that ever sung,
Great heart, golden heart,
Old, and yet ever young,
Minstrel of liberty,
Lover of all free, winged things,
Now at last you are free,--
Your soul has its wings!
Heart of France for a hundred years,
Floating far in the light that never fails you,
Over the turmoil of mortal hopes and fears
Victor, forever victor, the whole world hails you!

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Henry Van Dyke

Henry Jackson van Dyke was an American author, educator, and clergyman. more…

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"Victor Hugo" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 16 Oct. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/18407/victor-hugo>.

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