This unsigned poem by Victor Hugo opens with the lines „Si j'étais femme (Hélas ! que je vous plains, ô mères ! …);“ it remained unpublished until 2009. Hugo himself crossed out the original title „Impératrice“ for being too obvious. The text is addressed to the wife of Napoleon III, Eugenia de Montijo, whom Hugo reproaches for her „bigoterie“ (3r) and her „signe de croix grotesque à l'espagnole“ (1r). Thus he extends to the spouse the criticism of Napoleon III that he had already presented in the Châtiments. The date of October 11, 1869, in Hugo's own handwriting, suggests that the text was created in Brussels, where Hugo lived in exile since the coup of December 2, 1851.
Online Since: 12/17/2015