Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Descriptive Poems: I. Personal: Rulers; Statesmen; Warriors
Napoleon
Victor Hugo (1802–1885)
 
From the French from Fraser’s Magazine

“Tu domines notre âge; ange ou démon, qu’importe!”

  ANGEL or demon! thou—whether of light
    The minister, or darkness—still dost sway
  This age of ours; thine eagle’s soaring flight
    Bears us, all breathless, after it away.
    The eye that from thy presence fain would stray        5
  Shuns thee in vain; thy mighty shadow thrown
    Rests on all pictures of the living day,
  And on the threshold of our time alone,
Dazzling, yet sombre, stands thy form, Napoleon!
 
  Thus, when the admiring stranger’s steps explore        10
    The subject-lands that ’neath Vesuvius be,
  Whether he wind along the enchanting shore
    To Portici from fair Parthenope,
    Or, lingering long in dreamy revery,
  O’er loveliest Ischia’s od’rous isle he stray,        15
    Wooed by whose breath the soft and am’rous sea
  Seems like some languishing sultana’s lay,
A voice for very sweets that scarce can win its way:
 
  Him, whether Pæstum’s solemn fane detain,
    Shrouding his soul with meditation’s power;        20
  Or at Pozzuoli, to the sprightly strain
    Of tarantella danced ’neath Tuscan tower,
    Listening, he while away the evening hour;
  Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone, and deep,
    Of that sad city, in its dreaming bower        25
  By the volcano seized, where mansions keep
The likeness which they wore at that last fatal sleep;
 
  Or be his bark at Posilippo laid,
    While as the swarthy boatman at his side
  Chants Tasso’s lays to Virgil’s pleasèd shade,—        30
    Ever he sees throughout that circuit wide,
    From shaded nook or sunny lawn espied,
  From rocky headland viewed, or flow’ry shore,
    From sea and spreading mead alike descried,
  The Giant Mount, tow’ring all objects o’er,        35
And black’ning with its breath th’ horizon evermore!
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors