Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Strong than Time

Amongst quite a few other personalities - f.e. Levi Strauss, and Johnny Cash, it's also this gentleman's birthday.

To make up for the snowball I once couldn't resist to throw at Monsieur's forehead, ...

Statue in Besancon
here's one of his loveliest poems:
More strong than time
Since I have set my lips to your full cup, my sweet,
Since I my pallid face between your hands have laid,
Since I have known your soul, and all the bloom of it,
And all the perfume rare, now buried in the shade;

Since it was given to me to hear on happy while,
The words wherin your heart spoke all its mysteries,
Since I have seen you weep, and since I have seen you smile,
Your lips upon my lips, and your eyes upon my eyes;

Since I have known above my forehead glance and gleam,
A ray, a single ray, of your star, veiled always,
Since I have felt the fall, upon my lifetime's stream,
Of one rose petal plucked from the roses of your days;

I now am bold to say to the swift changing hours,
Pass, pass upon your way, for I grow never old,
Fleet to the dark abysm with all your fading flowers,
One rose that none will pluck, within my heart I hold.

Your flying wings may smite, but they can never spill
The cup fulfilled of love, from which my lips are wet;
My heart has far more fire than you can frost to chill,
My soul more love than you can make my soul forget.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It is a beautiful poem but there is something deeply sad about it... or at least to me! :)

    PS: I erased my precious comment as I found a spelling mistake... (I am such a virgo... perfectionist) :)

  3. oooppss. found another one...not "precious".... I meant "previous"...
    I am on a roll now... :)

  4. I must admit that I have not heard of Victor Hugo.

    I read the poem twice.

    However if that poem was one of his loveliest, I am ever so grateful that you did not post any of his morbid(?) prose.

  5. Yes beautiful indeed.
    So is Les Mis whose stage production I have seen over and over again.

  6. Knowing your fair spirit, I'm not surprised that, after celebrating Dickens, you would honour Victor Hugo. I agree with his biographers who call him the Eiffel Tower of French Literature. His novels "Les Misérables" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" had a great influence on Dickens.

    The poem you offer is deeply moving to an older person as Hugo remembers a love which has given eternal youth to his soul. It was a joy to read it so well translated, and to seek it again in my beautiful language. Merci de tout coeur.

  7. After my replies - due to the f...... [read: fantastic :) ] comment-box I used at that time - four times had 'vanished', I was jolly well fed up; and when, at last - I had returned to the 'old' comment-box I forgot about 'trying' it again. :)

    Well, better late than ...:

    although - being a 'perfectionist' :) - sometimes still getting close to detonate when detecting typos / mistakes of mine, I've decided to take them as a reminder of that there's still something to improve.
    After all, isn't imperfectness - like everything :) - part of Omnium?
    So, be lenient to / with [?] yourself.

    As for the poem.
    I remember that when - once in the past millennium - I was young myself, my thoughts were similar to yours.
    That's why I am sure that (latest) after your eyes will have seen another 20 springs and winters and when then reading the poem again, you will know / feel what it is about ... :)

    the snowball on his forehead? :)
    Ah ... no!
    Glad you find it (the poem) beautiful.

    please don't mind me being lazy and asking you to read what I wrote about the poem in my reply to Nevin.

    Your last three lines gave me a huge smile. Nicely put, Mylady. :)

    glad you do also find it beautiful.
    Les Misérables is a masterpiece, indeed.

    Your compliments do this blogger sometimes feel himself being two, three centimetres taller than actually he is.

    As for Hugo: He was / is certainly a great author. I'd not be surprised, though, if biographers of other French writers claimed their favourites to be the Eiffel Tower of (French) literature. :)

  8. I would say that it's for the huge quantity of his works, not only for its quality, that Hugo's many biographers compare him to the Eiffel Tower. But if someone else whishes to dispute the statement, it's fine by me. I have more than one favourite in French Literature. My heart is very hospitable...