Sunrise

Foul times there are when nations spiritless
Throw honour away
For tinsel glory, to base happiness
A mournful prey.

Then from the nations, fain of lustful rest,
Dull slavery's dreams,
All virtue ebbs, as from a sponge tight-prest
Clear water streams.

Then men, to vice and folly docile slaves,
Aye lowly inclined,
Ape the vile, fearful reed that stoops and waves
For every wind.

Then feasts and kisses; naught that saith the soul
Stirs shame or dread;
One drinks, one eats, one sings, one skips,—is foul
And comforted.

Crime, ministered to by loathsome lackeys, reigns;
Yea, 'neath God's fires
Laughs; and ye shiver, sombre dread remains
Of glorious sires.

All life seems foul, with vice intoxicate,
Aye, thus to be.—
Sudden a clarion unto all winds elate
Peals liberty!

And the dull world whose soul this blast doth smite,
Is like to one
Drunken all night, up-staggering 'neath the light
O' the risen sun!

by Victor Marie Hugo

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