The Son In Old Age

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.

by Victor Marie Hugo

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