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Art and the People:

IX. L'Art et le peuple / Art and the people
Victor Hugo
translated by Geoffrey Barto

I
Art is glory and joy;
In the storm it flares,
It lights up the blue sky.
Art, the universal splendor,
On people's faces it sparkles
Like the star on the face of God.

Art is a magnificent field
That pleases the peaceful heart
That the city says to the wood,
That man says to woman
That all the voices of the spirit
Sing together in one great choir

Art is human thought
That goes forth breaking every chain!
Art is the sweet conqueror!
For it the Rhine, the Tiber!
People enslaved, it sets you free;
Free people, it makes you great!

II
O good, invincible France,
Sing your peaceful song!
Sing, and look to the sky!
Your joyous and profound voice
Is the hope of the world,
O great brotherly people!

Good people, sing to the dawn!
And when night falls, sing still!
Work makes for gaiety.
Laughter of the old century which passes!
Sing love with lowered voice,
And out loud liberty!

Sing the holy Italy,
Poland enshrouded,
Naples that a pure blood reddens,
Hungary agonizing...-
O tyrants! the people change
As the lion roars!

Copyright Geoffrey Barto, 2002


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