Monday, February 27, 2017

The poet & the children:To some Birds Flown Away(Excerpt) by Victor Hugo

Richard Clayderman-Corazón de Niño

To Some Birds Flown Away
(Excerpt:The Inward Voices)
Victor Hugo

(The original In French:A des oiseaux envolés
Extrait de "Les Voix intérieures")

Children, come back - come back, I say -
You whom my folly chased away
A moment since, from this my room,
With bristling wrath and words of doom!
What had you done, you bandits small,
With lips as red as roses all?

What crime? - what wild and hapless deed?
What porcelain vase by you was split
To thousand pieces? Did you need
For pastime, as you handled it,
Some Gothic missal to enrich
With your designs fantastical?
Or did your tearing fingers fall
On some old picture? Which, oh, which
Your dreadful fault? Not one of these;
Only when left yourselves to please
This morning but a moment here

'Mid papers tinted by my mind
You took some embryo verses near -
Half formed, but fully well designed
To open out. Your hearts desire
Was but to throw them on the fire,
Then watch the tinder, for the sight
Of shining sparks that twinkle bright
As little boats that sail at night,
Or like the window lights that spring
From out the dark at evening.

Then if to see my verses burn,
Should seem to you a pleasant turn,
Take them to freely tear away
Or burn. But, oh! not so I'd say,
If this were Méry's room to-day.
That noble poet! Happy town,
Marseilles the Greek, that him doth own!
Daughter of Homer, fair to see,
Of Virgil's son the mother she.

To you I'd say, Hold, children all,
Let but your eyes on his work fall;
These papers are the sacred nest
In which his crooning fancies rest;
To-morrow winged to Heaven they'll soar,
For new-born verse imprisoned still
In manuscript may suffer sore
At your small hands and childish will,
Without a thought of bad intent,
Of cruelty quite innocent.
You wound their feet, and bruise their wings,
And make them suffer those ill things
That children's play to young birds brings.

But mine! no matter what you do,
My poetry is all in you;
You are my inspiration bright
That gives my verse its purest light.
Children whose life is made of hope,
Whose joy, within its mystic scope,
Owes all to ignorance of ill,
You have not suffered, and you still
Know not what gloomy thoughts weigh down
The poet-writer weary grown.

What warmth is shed by your sweet smile!
How much he needs to gaze awhile
Upon your shining placid brow,
When his own brow its ache doth know;
With what delight he loves to hear
Your frolic play 'neath tree that's near,
Your joyous voices mixing well
With his own song's all-mournful swell!

Come back then, children! come to me,
If you wish not that I should be
As lonely now that you're afar
As fisherman of Etrétat,
Who listless on his elbow leans
Through all the weary winter scenes,
As tired of thought—as on Time flies—
And watching only rainy skies!

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