The Son In Old Age – Victor Marie Hugo

Thy noble face, Regina, calls to mind

My poor lost little one, my latest born.

He was a gift from God–a sign of pardon–

That child vouchsafed me in my eightieth year!

I to his little cradle went, and went,

And even while ’twas sleeping, talked to it.

For when one’s very old, one is a child!

Then took it up and placed it on my knees,

And with both hands stroked down its soft, light hair–

Thou wert not born then–and he would stammer

Those pretty little sounds that make one smile!

And though not twelve months old, he had a mind.

He recognized me–nay, knew me right well,

And in my face would laugh–and that child-laugh,

Oh, poor old man! ’twas sunlight to my heart.

I meant him for a soldier, ay, a conqueror,

And named him George. One day–oh, bitter thought!

The child played in the fields. When thou art mother,

Ne’er let thy children out of sight to play!

The gypsies took him from me–oh, for what?

Perhaps to kill him at a witch’s rite.

I weep!–now, after twenty years–I weep

As if ’twere yesterday. I loved him so!

I used to call him ‘my own little king!’

I was intoxicated with my joy

When o’er my white beard ran his rosy hands,

Thrilling me all through. 

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