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Nox - first stanza:

Victor Hugo
translated by Geoffrey Barto

At the bottom of your thoughts, this is the night you've chosen,
Prince, you must now make an end of things - the night is frozen
Come, get up! for sensing in shadow the smell of a thief
That old dog, Liberty, is growling and baring its teeth.
Though Carlier has chained it, it still continues to bay
You can't wait any longer. It's time now for the prey.
Look, December spreads a fog that's blacker than black
Just as a robber baron from his manor slips out the back.
Surprise now cold assassin the enemy in your sights.
Up! The regiments in the barracks wait tonight.
Knapsacks ready and now crazed with wine and with a furor,
Settling for a bandit to become an Emperor.
Take your lantern and come with careful steps - and quick -
Take your knife, the time is ripe, for just now the Republic
Confident and not seeing how your dark eyes do glow
Sleep with your oath, prince, tucked beneath the pillow.

Copyright Geoffrey Barto, 2002

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