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Alfred de Vigny Poetry - Moses

by Comte Alfred Victor de Vigny
Written in 1822.

Moses, man of God, surveys without pride the Land of Canaan .
The Promised Land, where his tomb shall not lie. . .
He contemplates, hand outstretched, the Hebrews . . .
Then climbs on up the mountain.

Six hundred thousand Hebrews intone in a single voice
The hymn of the King of Kings.
And, at last, at the summit,
Moses, standing before God, speaks.

Lord, will it never end?
Where yet do you want that I trudge?
Shall I live then ever in power and solitude?
Let me finally sleep the sleep of the earth.

What have I done that you choose me?
I have led your people as you wished.
Behold! they broach the very promised land.
. . . .
Alas, you have made me a sage among sages,
And taken from me the solace of ignorance.
Alas, I am, Lord, mired in power and solitude
Let me finally sleep the sleep of the earth. . . . .

The waters part . . . and the voice of the sea stills
before my voice
Your angels are jealous and treat me as one

And yet, Lord . . . .
To grow old in power and solitude is to be so alone
Let me finally sleep the sleep of the earth.

The people, my Lord, in my eyes see the flame
As I march before all, sad and alone in this glory
And I feel deep within, "What to seek beyond this?"
My burden is too heavy to lean upon any breast
The brush of my hand strikes fear at the touch
O! Lord! I have borne the power and solitude,
Let me finally sleep the sleep of the earth.

Now the people waited, and dared not look
Upon the mount of the jealous God.

Lightning and thunder averted every gaze
Until the mount cleared . . . and Moses was no longer there.
The people mourned,
And Joshua led
Pensive, pale
For he was already the elected of God.