The Worst Treason by Victor Hugo

The deepest infamy man can attain,
Is or to strangle Rome, or France enchain ;
Whate’er the place, the land, the city be,
‘Tis to rob man of soul and liberty —
‘Tis with drawn sword the senate to invade,
And murder law, in its own court betrayed.
To enslave the land is guilt of such black dye,
It is ne’er quitted by God’s vengeful eye ;
The crime once done, the day of grace expires,
Heaven’s punishment, which, howe’er slow, ne’er tires,
Begins to march, and comes serene and calm,
With her steel knotted whip beneath her arm.

From: Carrington, Henry, Translations from the Poems of Victor Hugo, 1887, White and Allen: New York and London, p. 110.

Date: 1852 (translation published 1887)

By: Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Translated By: Henry Carrington (1814-1906)


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