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Best Famous Toru Dutt Poems

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Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

AFTER THE COUP D'ÊTAT

 ("Devant les trahisons.") 
 
 {Bk. VII, xvi., Jersey, Dec. 2, 1852.} 


 Before foul treachery and heads hung down, 
 I'll fold my arms, indignant but serene. 
 Oh! faith in fallen things—be thou my crown, 
 My force, my joy, my prop on which I lean: 
 
 Yes, whilst he's there, or struggle some or fall, 
 O France, dear France, for whom I weep in vain. 
 Tomb of my sires, nest of my loves—my all, 
 I ne'er shall see thee with these eyes again. 
 
 I shall not see thy sad, sad sounding shore, 
 France, save my duty, I shall all forget; 
 Amongst the true and tried, I'll tug my oar, 
 And rest proscribed to brand the fawning set. 
 
 O bitter exile, hard, without a term, 
 Thee I accept, nor seek nor care to know 
 Who have down-truckled 'mid the men deemed firm, 
 And who have fled that should have fought the foe. 
 
 If true a thousand stand, with them I stand; 
 A hundred? 'tis enough: we'll Sylla brave; 
 Ten? put my name down foremost in the band; 
 One?—well, alone—until I find my grave. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 


 






Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

SUNSET

 ("Le soleil s'est couché") 
 
 {XXXV. vi., April, 1829.} 


 The sun set this evening in masses of cloud, 
 The storm comes to-morrow, then calm be the night, 
 Then the Dawn in her chariot refulgent and proud, 
 Then more nights, and still days, steps of Time in his flight. 
 The days shall pass rapid as swifts on the wing. 
 O'er the face of the hills, o'er the face of the seas, 
 O'er streamlets of silver, and forests that ring 
 With a dirge for the dead, chanted low by the breeze; 
 The face of the waters, the brow of the mounts 
 Deep scarred but not shrivelled, and woods tufted green, 
 Their youth shall renew; and the rocks to the founts 
 Shall yield what these yielded to ocean their queen. 
 But day by day bending still lower my head, 
 Still chilled in the sunlight, soon I shall have cast, 
 At height of the banquet, my lot with the dead, 
 Unmissed by creation aye joyous and vast. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

SONG OF LOVE

 ("S'il est un charmant gazon.") 
 
 {XXII, Feb. 18, 1834.} 


 If there be a velvet sward 
 By dewdrops pearly drest, 
 Where through all seasons fairies guard 
 Flowers by bees carest, 
 Where one may gather, day and night, 
 Roses, honeysuckle, lily white, 
 I fain would make of it a site 
 For thy foot to rest. 
 
 If there be a loving heart 
 Where Honor rules the breast, 
 Loyal and true in every part, 
 That changes ne'er molest, 
 Eager to run its noble race, 
 Intent to do some work of grace, 
 I fain would make of it a place 
 For thy brow to rest. 
 
 And if there be of love a dream 
 Rose-scented as the west, 
 Which shows, each time it comes, a gleam,— 
 A something sweet and blest,— 
 A dream of which heaven is the pole, 
 A dream that mingles soul and soul, 
 I fain of it would make the goal 
 Where thy mind should rest. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE SOWER

 Sitting in a porchway cool, 
 Fades the ruddy sunlight fast, 
 Twilight hastens on to rule— 
 Working hours are wellnigh past 
 
 Shadows shoot across the lands; 
 But one sower lingers still, 
 Old, in rags, he patient stands,— 
 Looking on, I feel a thrill. 
 
 Black and high his silhouette 
 Dominates the furrows deep! 
 Now to sow the task is set, 
 Soon shall come a time to reap. 
 
 Marches he along the plain, 
 To and fro, and scatters wide 
 From his hands the precious grain; 
 Moody, I, to see him stride. 
 
 Darkness deepens. Gone the light. 
 Now his gestures to mine eyes 
 Are august; and strange—his height 
 Seems to touch the starry skies. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE OCEAN'S SONG

 ("Nous nous promenions à Rozel-Tower.") 
 
 {Bk. VI. iv., October, 1852.} 


 We walked amongst the ruins famed in story 
 Of Rozel-Tower, 
 And saw the boundless waters stretch in glory 
 And heave in power. 
 
 O ocean vast! we heard thy song with wonder, 
 Whilst waves marked time. 
 "Appeal, O Truth!" thou sang'st with tone of thunder, 
 "And shine sublime! 
 
 "The world's enslaved and hunted down by beagles,— 
 To despots sold, 
 Souls of deep thinkers, soar like mighty eagles, 
 The Right uphold. 
 
 "Be born; arise; o'er earth and wild waves bounding 
 Peoples and suns! 
 Let darkness vanish;—tocsins be resounding, 
 And flash, ye guns! 
 
 "And you,—who love no pomps of fog, or glamour, 
 Who fear no shocks, 
 Brave foam and lightning, hurricane and clamor, 
 Exiles—the rocks!" 
 
 TORU DUTT 


 






Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW

 ("Il neigeait.") 
 
 {Bk. V. xiii., Nov. 25-30, 1852.} 


 It snowed. A defeat was our conquest red! 
 For once the eagle was hanging its head. 
 Sad days! the Emperor turned slowly his back 
 On smoking Moscow, blent orange and black. 
 The winter burst, avalanche-like, to reign 
 Over the endless blanched sheet of the plain. 
 Nor chief nor banner in order could keep, 
 The wolves of warfare were 'wildered like sheep. 
 The wings from centre could hardly be known 
 Through snow o'er horses and carts o'erthrown, 
 Where froze the wounded. In the bivouacs forlorn 
 Strange sights and gruesome met the breaking morn: 
 Mute were the bugles, while the men bestrode 
 Steeds turned to marble, unheeding the goad. 
 The shells and bullets came down with the snow 
 As though the heavens hated these poor troops below. 
 Surprised at trembling, though it was with cold, 
 Who ne'er had trembled out of fear, the veterans bold 
 Marched stern; to grizzled moustache hoarfrost clung 
 'Neath banners that in leaden masses hung. 
 
 It snowed, went snowing still. And chill the breeze 
 Whistled upon the glassy endless seas, 
 Where naked feet on, on for ever went, 
 With naught to eat, and not a sheltering tent. 
 They were not living troops as seen in war, 
 But merely phantoms of a dream, afar 
 In darkness wandering, amid the vapor dim,— 
 A mystery; of shadows a procession grim, 
 Nearing a blackening sky, unto its rim. 
 Frightful, since boundless, solitude behold 
 Where only Nemesis wove, mute and cold, 
 A net all snowy with its soft meshes dense, 
 A shroud of magnitude for host immense; 
 Till every one felt as if left alone 
 In a wide wilderness where no light shone, 
 To die, with pity none, and none to see 
 That from this mournful realm none should get free. 
 Their foes the frozen North and Czar—That, worst. 
 Cannon were broken up in haste accurst 
 To burn the frames and make the pale fire high, 
 Where those lay down who never woke or woke to die. 
 Sad and commingled, groups that blindly fled 
 Were swallowed smoothly by the desert dread. 
 
 'Neath folds of blankness, monuments were raised 
 O'er regiments. And History, amazed, 
 Could not record the ruin of this retreat, 
 Unlike a downfall known before or the defeat 
 Of Hannibal—reversed and wrapped in gloom! 
 Of Attila, when nations met their doom! 
 Perished an army—fled French glory then, 
 Though there the Emperor! he stood and gazed 
 At the wild havoc, like a monarch dazed 
 In woodland hoar, who felt the shrieking saw— 
 He, living oak, beheld his branches fall, with awe. 
 Chiefs, soldiers, comrades died. But still warm love 
 Kept those that rose all dastard fear above, 
 As on his tent they saw his shadow pass— 
 Backwards and forwards, for they credited, alas! 
 His fortune's star! it could not, could not be 
 That he had not his work to do—a destiny? 
 To hurl him headlong from his high estate, 
 Would be high treason in his bondman, Fate. 
 But all the while he felt himself alone, 
 Stunned with disasters few have ever known. 
 Sudden, a fear came o'er his troubled soul, 
 What more was written on the Future's scroll? 
 Was this an expiation? It must be, yea! 
 He turned to God for one enlightening ray. 
 "Is this the vengeance, Lord of Hosts?" he sighed, 
 But the first murmur on his parched lips died. 
 "Is this the vengeance? Must my glory set?" 
 A pause: his name was called; of flame a jet 
 Sprang in the darkness;—a Voice answered; "No! 
 Not yet." 
 
 Outside still fell the smothering snow. 
 Was it a voice indeed? or but a dream? 
 It was the vulture's, but how like the sea-bird's scream. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE COW

 ("Devant la blanche ferme.") 
 
 {XV., May, 1837.} 


 Before the farm where, o'er the porch, festoon 
 Wild creepers red, and gaffer sits at noon, 
 Whilst strutting fowl display their varied crests, 
 And the old watchdog slumberously rests, 
 They half-attentive to the clarion of their king, 
 Resplendent in the sunshine op'ning wing— 
 There stood a cow, with neck-bell jingling light, 
 Superb, enormous, dappled red and white— 
 Soft, gentle, patient as a hind unto its young, 
 Letting the children swarm until they hung 
 Around her, under—rustics with their teeth 
 Whiter than marble their ripe lips beneath, 
 And bushy hair fresh and more brown 
 Than mossy walls at old gates of a town, 
 Calling to one another with loud cries 
 For younger imps to be in at the prize; 
 Stealing without concern but tremulous with fear 
 They glance around lest Doll the maid appear;— 
 Their jolly lips—that haply cause some pain, 
 And all those busy fingers, pressing now and 'gain, 
 The teeming udders whose small, thousand pores 
 Gush out the nectar 'mid their laughing roars, 
 While she, good mother, gives and gives in heaps, 
 And never moves. Anon there creeps 
 A vague soft shiver o'er the hide unmarred, 
 As sharp they pull, she seems of stone most hard. 
 Dreamy of large eye, seeks she no release, 
 And shrinks not while there's one still to appease. 
 Thus Nature—refuge 'gainst the slings of fate! 
 Mother of all, indulgent as she's great! 
 Lets us, the hungered of each age and rank, 
 Shadow and milk seek in the eternal flank; 
 Mystic and carnal, foolish, wise, repair, 
 The souls retiring and those that dare, 
 Sages with halos, poets laurel-crowned, 
 All creep beneath or cluster close around, 
 And with unending greed and joyous cries, 
 From sources full, draw need's supplies, 
 Quench hearty thirst, obtain what must eftsoon 
 Form blood and mind, in freest boon, 
 Respire at length thy sacred flaming light, 
 From all that greets our ears, touch, scent or sight— 
 Brown leaves, blue mountains, yellow gleams, green sod— 
 Thou undistracted still dost dream of God. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE CUP ON THE BATTLE-FIELD

 ("Mon pére, ce héros au sourire.") 
 
 {Bk. XLIX. iv.} 


 My sire, the hero with the smile so soft, 
 And a tall trooper, his companion oft, 
 Whom he loved greatly for his courage high 
 And strength and stature, as the night drew nigh 
 Rode out together. The battle was done; 
 The dead strewed the field; long sunk was the sun. 
 It seemed in the darkness a sound they heard,— 
 Was it feeble moaning or uttered word? 
 'Twas a Spaniard left from the force in flight, 
 Who had crawled to the roadside after fight; 
 Shattered and livid, less live than dead, 
 Rattled his throat as hoarsely he said: 
 "Water, water to drink, for pity's sake! 
 Oh, a drop of water this thirst to slake!" 
 My father, moved at his speech heart-wrung, 
 Handed the orderly, downward leapt, 
 The flask of rum at the holster kept. 
 "Let him have some!" cried my father, as ran 
 The trooper o'er to the wounded man,— 
 A sort of Moor, swart, bloody and grim; 
 But just as the trooper was nearing him, 
 He lifted a pistol, with eye of flame, 
 And covered my father with murd'rous aim. 
 The hurtling slug grazed the very head, 
 And the helmet fell, pierced, streaked with red, 
 And the steed reared up; but in steady tone: 
 "Give him the whole!" said my father, "and on!" 
 
 TORU DUTT 


 




Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE TRUMPETS OF THE MIND

 ("Sonnez, clairons de la pensée!") 
 
 {Bk. VII. i., March 19, 1853.} 


 Sound, sound for ever, Clarions of Thought! 
 
 When Joshua 'gainst the high-walled city fought, 
 He marched around it with his banner high, 
 His troops in serried order following nigh, 
 But not a sword was drawn, no shaft outsprang, 
 Only the trumpets the shrill onset rang. 
 At the first blast, smiled scornfully the king, 
 And at the second sneered, half wondering: 
 "Hop'st thou with noise my stronghold to break down?" 
 At the third round, the ark of old renown 
 Swept forward, still the trumpets sounding loud, 
 And then the troops with ensigns waving proud. 
 Stepped out upon the old walls children dark 
 With horns to mock the notes and hoot the ark. 
 At the fourth turn, braving the Israelites, 
 Women appeared upon the crenelated heights— 
 Those battlements embrowned with age and rust— 
 And hurled upon the Hebrews stones and dust, 
 And spun and sang when weary of the game. 
 At the fifth circuit came the blind and lame, 
 And with wild uproar clamorous and high 
 Railed at the clarion ringing to the sky. 
 At the sixth time, upon a tower's tall crest, 
 So high that there the eagle built his nest, 
 So hard that on it lightning lit in vain, 
 Appeared in merriment the king again: 
 "These Hebrew Jews musicians are, meseems!" 
 He scoffed, loud laughing, "but they live on dreams." 
 The princes laughed submissive to the king, 
 Laughed all the courtiers in their glittering ring, 
 And thence the laughter spread through all the town. 
 
 At the seventh blast—the city walls fell down. 
 
 TORU DUTT. 

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