19th Century

Genius of France | Victor Hugo

This poem ‘The Genius of France’ was written by Victor Hugo and translated by G.W.M. Reynolds and published in the Monthly Magazine. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo in 2021.[1]

Genius of France! If still thy wing

O’er Gallia’s lands auspicious soar,

Peace to a wearied nation bring,

And let the war-note sound no more.

The boist’rous passions of the soul

Keep thou beneath a stern control,

And calm tranquillity restore;

Repel the surge of civil strife,

Stop the sad waste of human life,

And banish discord from thy shore.

Let not the great despise the low,

The sufferer be more opprest;

Bid monarchs spare their subjects woe,

Nor deeper wound the bleeding breast;

Cast down the gibbet, dry the tears

Of orphans, and in the future years

Thy guardian bounty will be blest;

So that amid the dreams of night

No horrors fill us with affright,

Nor wake us from our tranquil rest.

[1] Victor Hugo, ‘Genius of France’, The Monthly Magazine, May 1837, 239.