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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

My Thoughts of Ye

By Victor Hugo (1802–1885)

“À quoi je songe?”

Translation in Dublin University Magazine

WHAT do I dream of? Far from the low roof

Where now ye are, children, I dream of you;

Of your young heads that are the hope and crown

Of my full summer, ripening to its fall.

Branches whose shadow grows along my wall,

Sweet souls scarce open to the breath of day,

Still dazzled with the brightness of your dawn.

I dream of those two little ones at play,

Making the threshold vocal with their cries,—

Half tears, half laughter, mingled sport and strife,

Like two flowers knocked together by the wind.

Or of the elder two—more anxious thought—

Breasting already broader waves of life,

A conscious innocence on either face,

My pensive daughter and my curious boy.

Thus do I dream, while the light sailors sing,

At even moored beneath some steepy shore,

While the waves, opening all their nostrils, breathe

A thousand sea-scents to the wandering wind,

And the whole air is full of wondrous sounds,

From sea to strand, from land to sea, given back:

Alone and sad, thus do I dream of you.

Children, and house and home, the table set,

The glowing hearth, and all the pious care

Of tender mother, and of grandsire kind;

And while before me, spotted with white sails,

The limpid ocean mirrors all the stars,

And while the pilot from the infinite main

Looks with calm eye into the infinite heaven,

I, dreaming of you only, seek to scan

And fathom all my soul’s deep love for you,—

Love sweet and powerful, and everlasting,—

And find that the great sea is small beside it.