Victor Marie Hugo

(26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885 / Besancon / France)

A Sunset

Poem by Victor Marie Hugo

I love the evenings, passionless and fair, I love the evens,
Whether old manor-fronts their ray with golden fulgence leavens,
In numerous leafage bosomed close;
Whether the mist in reefs of fire extend its reaches sheer,
Or a hundred sunbeams splinter in an azure atmosphere
On cloudy archipelagos.

Oh, gaze ye on the firmament! a hundred clouds in motion,
Up-piled in the immense sublime beneath the winds' commotion,
Their unimagined shapes accord:
Under their waves at intervals flame a pale levin through,
As if some giant of the air amid the vapors drew
A sudden elemental sword.

The sun at bay with splendid thrusts still keeps the sullen fold;
And momently at distance sets, as a cupola of gold,
The thatched roof of a cot a-glance;
Or on the blurred horizon joins his battle with the haze;
Or pools the blooming fields about with inter-isolate blaze,
Great moveless meres of radiance.

Then mark you how there hangs athwart the firmament's swept track,
Yonder a mighty crocodile with vast irradiant back,
A triple row of pointed teeth?
Under its burnished belly slips a ray of eventide,
The flickerings of a hundred glowing clouds in tenebrous side
With scales of golden mail ensheathe.

Then mounts a palace, then the air vibrates--the vision flees.
Confounded to its base, the fearful cloudy edifice
Ruins immense in mounded wrack;
Afar the fragments strew the sky, and each envermeiled cone
Hangeth, peak downward, overhead, like mountains overthrown
When the earthquake heaves its hugy back.

These vapors, with their leaden, golden, iron, bronzèd glows,
Where the hurricane, the waterspout, thunder, and hell repose,
Muttering hoarse dreams of destined harms,--
'Tis God who hangs their multitude amid the skiey deep,
As a warrior that suspendeth from the roof-tree of his keep
His dreadful and resounding arms!

All vanishes! The Sun, from topmost heaven precipitated,
Like a globe of iron which is tossed back fiery red
Into the furnace stirred to fume,
Shocking the cloudy surges, plashed from its impetuous ire,
Even to the zenith spattereth in a flecking scud of fire
The vaporous and inflamèd spaume.

O contemplate the heavens! Whenas the vein-drawn day dies pale,
In every season, every place, gaze through their every veil?
With love that has not speech for need!
Beneath their solemn beauty is a mystery infinite:
If winter hue them like a pall, or if the summer night
Fantasy them starre brede.

Comments about A Sunset by Victor Marie Hugo

  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (6/21/2017 1:23:00 PM)

    With love that has not speech for need!
    Beneath their solemn beauty is a mystery infinite:
    If winter hue them like a pall, or if the summer night
    Fantasy them starre brede.... love these lines. Beautiful poem shared. Thanks.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Oilibheir Álain ChristieOilibheir Álain Christie (6/21/2017 12:12:00 PM)

    Once again, a fake !
    This is not Victor Hugo's text but a translation by Francis Thompson. And on top of that, somebody has thought wise to REWRITE Thompson's English with an American spelling.
    Soleils couchants (Sunsets) is the XXXVth chapter of Hugo's Les Feuilles d'Automne (published 1831)
    It consists of a series of six poems of different lengths, all written in 1828 on different dates.
    The poems are numbered I to VI. None of them has a title.
    This is poem I in the Francis Thompson translation. That means there are five that are missing.
    Once again, you've been incomplete and inaccurate.(Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (6/21/2017 11:13:00 AM)

    With love! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (6/21/2017 7:33:00 AM)

    Wonderful imagery. A very nice poem. Loved it.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Kayode Are (6/21/2017 4:25:00 AM)

    Enthralling, musical, powerful words which conveys awe and wonder. A superb poem.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Alexander JulianAlexander Julian (6/21/2017 2:46:00 AM)

    Like this comment if you dislike comments.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (6/21/2017 12:41:00 AM)

    Reminds me of the song TILL THE SUNCOMES UP AGAIN... Thanks for posting....(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Margaret O DriscollMargaret O Driscoll (2/8/2016 4:46:00 AM)

    A riot of shapes and colours, wonderful(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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Read all 8 comments »
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Read poems about / on: fire, sunset, winter, summer, sun, tree, red, beauty, heaven, sky, dream, wind

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004