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From "Expiation", By Victor Hugo

July 25, 1999

Waterloo! Waterloo! Waterloo! dismal plain!

Like an ocean boiling in an overflowing

Vessel of woods, vales, hills, pale

Death combined the dark battalions.

On one side Europe, on the other France.

God at the bloody clash betrayed the heroes,

Victory deserted, fate gave up.

O Waterloo! Alas, I stop and weep!

For those last soldiers of the last war

Were great, they had conquered

The Earth, chased twenty kings,

Crossed the Alps and the Rhine,

And their soul sang out in the brazen bugles.

From "World Poetry," edited by Katharine Washburn, John S. Major and Clifton Fadiman (W.W. Norton: 1,338 pp., $45)

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