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Luna:

Luna
Victor Hugo
translated by Geoffrey Barto

O France, although you sleep
We call you, we the forbidden!
The shadows have ears,
And the depths have cries.

Bitter, glory-less despotism
Over a discouraged people
Closes a black thick grate
Of error and prejudice;

It locks up the loyal swarm
Of firm thinkers, of heroes,
But the Idea with the flap of a wing
Will part the heavy bars,

And, as in ninety-one,
Will retake sovereign flight,
For breaking apart a cage of bronze
Is easy for bronze bird.

Darkness covers the world,
But the Idea illuminates and shines;
With its white brightness it floods
The dark blues of the night.

It is the solitary lantern,
The providential ray;
It is the lamp of the earth
That cannot help but light the sky.

It calms the suffering soul,
Guides life, puts the dead to rest;
It shows the mean the gulf,
It shows the just the way.

In seeing in the dark mist
The Idea, love of sad eyes,
Rise calm, serene and pure,
On the mysterious horizon,

Fanaticism and hatred
Roar before each threshhold,
As obscene hounds howl
When appears the moon in mourning.

Oh! Think of the mighty Idea,
Nations! its superhuman brow
Has upon it, from now on, the light
That will show the way to tomorrow!

Copyright Geoffrey Barto, 2002


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