To Victor Hugo

by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1876)

He had no children, who for love of men,
  Being God, endured of Gods such things as thou,
  Father; nor on his thunder‑beaten brow
Fell such a woe as bows thine head again,
Twice bowed before, though godlike, in man's ken,
  And seen too high for any stroke to bow
  Save this of some strange God's that bends it now
The third time with such weight as bruised it then.
Fain would grief speak, fain utter for love's sake
Some word; but comfort who might bid thee take?
  What God in your own tongue shall talk with thee,
Showing how all souls that look upon the sun
Shall be for thee one spirit and thy son,
  And thy soul's child the soul of man to be?

January 3, 1876.


Monadnock Valley Press > Swinburne