19th Century

Poland (1833) | Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo‘s poem ‘Poland‘ was originally written in 1833 and published in Les Chants des Crepuscules. It was later translated into English by George W.M. Reynolds in Songs of Twilight (1836), which has recently been published as a single volume, transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.

Alone, beneath the tow’r whence issue forth 

The mandates of the tyrant of the North, 

Poland’s sad genius sits, absorb’d in tears, 

Her bosom heaving with a thousand fears: 

Weari’d, cast down, and shatter’d by distress, 

The tomb alone can end her wretchedness 

Alas! the crucifix is all that’s left 

To her, of freedom and her sons bereft; 

And on her training robe the marks are seen 

Where Russian armies’ scornful feet have been. 

Anon she hears the sounds of clanking arms, 

The foemen come once more to spread alarms; 

And while she weeps against that fortress wall, 

And while fresh horrors ev’ry sense appal, 

To France she slowly turns her glazing eye, 

And humbly seeks for succour ere she die! 

September, 1833.