Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
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Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
 
The Struggle
By Sully Prudhomme (1839–1907)
 
Translated by Arthur O’Shaughnessy

NIGHTLY tormented by returning doubt,
I dare the Sphinx with faith and unbelief;
And through lone hours when no sleep brings relief
The monster rises all my hopes to flout.
 
In a still agony, the light blown out,        5
I wrestle with the Unknown; nor long nor brief
The night appears, my narrow couch of grief
Grown like the grave with Death walled round about.
 
Sometimes my mother, coming with her lamp,
Seeing my brow as with a death-sweat damp,        10
Asks, “Ah, what ails thee, child? hast thou no rest?”
 
And then I answer, touched by her look of yearning,
Holding my beating heart and forehead burning,
“Mother, I strove with God, and was hard prest.”
 
 
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