Victor Hugo in 1877

by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1880)

"Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?"

Above the spring‑tide sundawn of the year,
     A sunlike star, not born of day or night,
     Filled the fair heaven of spring with heavenlier light,
Made of all ages orbed in one sole sphere
Whose light was as a Titan's smile or tear;
     Then rose a ray more flowerlike, starry white,
     Like a child's eye grown lovelier with delight,
Sweet as a child's heart‑lightening laugh to hear;
And last a fire from heaven, a fiery rain
     As of God's wrath on the unclean cities, fell
     And lit the shuddering shades of half‑seen hell
That shrank before it and were cloven in twain;
     A beacon fired by lightning, whence all time
     Sees red the bare black ruins of a crime.


Monadnock Valley Press > Swinburne