SOLEIL COUCHANT

By Victor Hugo

Within the scope of the comenius project, I have been sought to choose one work of art which, in my opinion, represents France the best. I didn't have to rack my brain very long. Actually, there is a poem which I immediately thought of. As far as this poem is concerned, I can say it is entitled « soleil couchant » and it was written by Victor Hugo.

Victor Hugo is one of the most famous French writers, who was born in 1802 and died in 1885. He wrote his first text at the age of fourteen, which he entitled: « je veux être Chateaubriand ou rien ». Three years later, he and Abel, who was his brother, founded their first magazine which they called : « le conservateur littéraire » (it is about the equivalent of: the literary conservative ). Then he got married to Adèle who was one of his childhood friends. They both had four children : Léopoldine, Charles, François- Victor, and Adèle.

Victor Hugo is known for being one of the best romantic, dramatic, lyric (for instance « feuilles d'automne », « les rayons et les ombres » and other many collections of poems. ..),historic (with the very famous « Notre-Dame-De- Paris ») writer. He also wrote some essays such as “le dernier jour d'un condamné.” in which he clearly fights against death penalty.

Here are the reasons why Victor Hugo is indisputably one of the most complete writers who has ever existed.

As far as the poem l have chosen is concerned, I can say that not only is it composed of four stanzas, but also of lines and rhymes. Victor Hugo aims at glorifying nature and making us realize how beautiful the world in which we live is in spite of its negative points. Actually, what prevails in this text is the beauty of things we are used to seeing every day and which we don't really care about.

The three first stanzas deal with on the one hand, the continuity of the climate and on the other hand, the time which elapses and does not affect landscapes which have become more and more beautiful each day since they were created. In this respect, he uses metaphores, images and many other stylistic devices. He names the sun, the seas, the rivers, the valleys, the forests, the mountains. ..

In the last stanza, he draws a parallel between time that passes by to the world and his life. Unlike the world on which time has a positive action, years have affected his appearance and he feels his heart is getting old.

T o conclude, I am going to tell you why this poem attracted me to this exten~. As a mat ter of fact, I really love the parallel he draws aJld the confidence he has in us. Actually, by writing this poem, he confesses aIl his fears, on account of his age, he feels death getting closer. That is precisely what touched me most. These are the reasons why, in my opinion, « soleil couchant » by Victor Hugo has the right to be announced as a good representation of French art.

By Lucie

 SOLEIL COUCHANT

Le soleil s' est couché ce soir dans les nuées.
Demain viendra l' orage, et le soir, et la nuit ;
Puis l' aube, et ses clartés de vapeurs obstruées ;
Puis les nuits, puis les jours, pas du temps qui s' enfuit !

Tout ces jours passeront; ils passeront en foule
Sur la face des mers, sur la face des monts,

Sur les fleuves d' argent, sur les forêts où roule
Comme un hymne confus des morts que nous aimons.

Et la face des eaux, et le front des montagnes,
Ridés et non vieillis, et les bois toujours verts
S'iront rajeunissant; le fleuve des campagnes
Prendra sans cesse aux monts le flot qu'il donne aux mers.

Mais moi, sous chaque jour courbant plus bas ma tête,
 Je passe, et, refroidi sous ce soleil joyeux,
 Je m' en irai bientôt, au milieu de la fête,
Sans que rien ne manque au monde, immense et radieux !

Victor HUGO