(From the French of Victor Hugo)

All alone beside the waves

I stood one starry night,

A cloudless sky was domed above,

On sea no vessel’s light.

My eyes gazed upwards, questing

Beyond mortality;

It seemed as if all Nature,

Throughout her vast domain

With all the whispering tongues

Of hills and woods and main

Begged an answer from the sky.


The stars of gold, so infinite,

Replied in voices low.

Replied in all their beauty,

Their rich and tender glow,

Their glittering crowns inclined

Towards the waiting earth,

Replied as in a chorus.

That love made manifest,

Replied in mute revealing

To ocean’s heaving breast —

“We praise the Lord who gave us birth”.


Weekly Times 31.3.61