The Exile’s Desire by Victor Hugo

(“Si je pouvais voir, O patrie!”)

[Bk. III. xxxvii.]

Would I could see you, native land,
Where lilacs and the almond stand
Behind fields flowering to the strand–
But no!

Can I–oh, father, mother, crave
Another final blessing save
To rest my head upon your grave?–
But no!

In the one pit where ye repose,
Would I could tell of France’s woes,
My brethren, who fell facing foes–
But no!

Would I had–oh, my dove of light,
After whose flight came ceaseless night,
One plume to clasp so purely white.–
But no!

Far from ye all–oh, dead, bewailed!
The fog-bell deafens me empaled
Upon this rock–I feel enjailed–
Though free.

Like one who watches at the gate
Lest some shall ‘scape the doomed strait.
I watch! the tyrant, howe’er late,
Must fall!

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