Nuits de Juin by Victor Hugo

Photo courtesy of Mark J P
source Flickr
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Nuits de Juin

L’été, lorsque le jour a fui, de fleurs couverte
La plaine verse au loin un parfum enivrant;
Les yeux fermés, l’oreille aux rumeurs entrouverte,
On ne dort qu’à demi d’un sommeil transparent.
Les astres sont plus purs, l’ombre paraît meilleure:
Un vague demi-jour teint le dôme éternel;
Et l’aube douce et pâle, en attendant son heure,
Semble toute la nuit errer au bas du ciel.

Well-known for his epic novel, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo was also a poet.  He produced volumes of poetry including, Les Orientales, Les Feuilles d’Automne, Les Chants du Créspecule, Les Voix Intérieures, and Les Rayons et Les Ombres.  Of course, this poem of Hugo’s that I’ve chosen is very month appropriate.  I’m getting good at this!


June Nights

In summer, when day has fled, the plain covered with flowers
Pours out an intoxicating perfume far off;
With closed eyes, with ears partially open to sounds,
One only half-sleeps with a transparent slumber.
The stars are purer, the darkness more inviting;
A vague half-light tints the eternal dome;
And the sweet and pale dawn, awaiting its time,
Seems to be wandering low in the sky all night.

Photo courtesy of Louis Argerich
source Flickr
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11 thoughts on “Nuits de Juin by Victor Hugo

  1. Wonderful! Loved reading some French poetry while having my morning coffee. Victor Hugo could be the be the next French author that I delve into! I've only read Nôtre-Dame de Paris.

  2. I can't remember who it was (I think it was O) but someone did a lovely post on Hugo and his poetry. That post is what steered me to this poem.

    I bet that Dutch coffee is wonderful!

  3. I've always wanted to read the poetry of Victor Hugo. I have heard good things. Although it would have to be an English translation for me!

  4. I'm certainly going to be reading more poems by Hugo. Reading poetry in French is certainly not so easy for me and I needed to read the English translation after to get a clear sense of the meaning.

  5. Lovely poem! The original French reads so beautifully <3. And, though I'm afraid my French is a little bit rusty, I think I more or less understood the meaning it conveyed…

    I had no idea Hugo was also a poet.

  6. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Marsar! You speak at least a couple of different languages, don't you?

    That's wonderful that I've been able to introduce Hugo, the poet! Now to find some volumes of his poetry ……

  7. Love this 🙂

    My biggest book-related regret is not buying Hugo's poetry when I had the opportunity. It was in Barter Books, and I'd spent so much I didn't dare spend any more. Bitterly BITTERLY regret it!

  8. How could you?!!! *** gasp *** Perhaps you'll see his poetry turn up again ……??? Maybe ……???

    I just had a look at Barter Books online. Oh, wow! I think if I was able to visit there, my head would explode. You would be able to sell tickets to watch me go through it, that's how entertaining it would be. With bookstores like this, I'm not sure how you could survive if you ever had to live in North America.

    I just found another used book store across the border in the U.S. and I'm quite happy with my discovery. They are in a smaller town but their selection is excellent: I just found a first edition C.S. Lewis, Experiment in Criticism, one of his scholarly works. Sidney on Vancouver Island is known for its bookstores but still, nothing compared to yours. So that's about as good as it's going to get for me. 🙁

  9. I know! I really REALLY R E A L L Y regret it! An epic dropping of the ball!

    Barter Books is superb – it's not easy finding a good selection of classics, I admit I do struggle. Barter Books the only place I know where it is a guaranteed success of a shopping trip 🙂

    Well done on the C S Lewis! I've only ever found one first edition and it was a Harry Potter – the sixth Harry Potter, which is basically worthless 🙂 (In money terms, I mean!)

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