Madelaine. ("Ecoute-moi, Madeline.")

[IX., September, 1825.]


List to me, O Madelaine!
Now the snows have left the plain,
Which they warmly cloaked.
Come into the forest groves,
Where the notes that Echo loves
Are from horns evoked.

Come! where Springtide, Madelaine,
Brings a sultry breath from Spain,
Giving buds their hue;
And, last night, to glad your eye,
Laid the floral marquetry,
Red and gold and blue.

Would I were, O Madelaine,
As the lamb whose wool you train
Through your tender hands.
Would I were the bird that whirls
Round, and comes to peck your curls,
Happy in such bands.

Were I e'en, O Madelaine,
Hermit whom the herd disdain
In his pious cell,
When your purest lips unfold
Sins which might to all be told,
As to him you tell.

Would I were, O Madelaine,
Moth that murmurs 'gainst your pane,
Peering at your rest,
As, so like its woolly wing,
Ceasing scarce its fluttering,
Heaves and sinks your breast.

If you seek it, Madelaine,
You may wish, and not in vain,
For a serving host,
And your splendid hall of state
Shall be envied by the great,
O'er the Jew-King's boast.

If you name it, Madelaine,
Round your head no more you'll train
Simple marguerites,
No! the coronet of peers,
Whom the queen herself oft fears,
And the monarch greets.


If you wish, O Madelaine!
Where you gaze you long shall reign -
For I'm ruler here!
I'm the lord who asks your hand
If you do not bid me stand
Loving shepherd here!

Madelaine. by Victor Marie Hugo