. "Tomorrow, at Dawn" Sung in English . "Tomorrow, at Dawn" Sung in French . Tomorrow, at Dawn by Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Translation by James A. Tweedie Tomorrow, when the countryside is kissed by dawn, I’ll leave. For you are waiting there for me I know. Through forests, over mountains I will journey on; For we have been apart too long—I miss you so. And I will walk with eyes so fixed upon my thoughts That outside sounds and sights I’ll neither hear nor see. Alone, unknown, back bent, hands crossed as tight as knots, And sad, so that the day will seem as night to me. I will not heed the sunset’s gold at close of day Or note the distant sails descending on Harfleur. When I at last arrive, upon your grave I’ll lay Green holly and the finest heather in full flower. . . Demain, dès l'Aube Demain, à l'heure où blanchit la campagne, Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m'attends. J'irai par la forêt, j'irai par la montagne. Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps. Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées, Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit, Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées, Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit. Je ne regarderai ni l'or du soir qui tombe, Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur, Et quand j'arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur. . Translator's note: The French novelist, Victor Hugo, 1802-1885—famous for Le Miserables, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame—was also among the most admired poets of his generation. His poem, "Demain, dès l'aube," is, arguably, his most well-known and beloved poem. The poem is in three stanzas each comprised of four Alexandrine lines with alternating rhymes (abab). The first stanza is written in such a way that allows it to be interpreted as being a man traveling to visit his lover after a time of separation. It is then revealed that the poem's true meaning is to describe Hugo's journey from Paris to Harfleur (a village adjacent to La Havre) to visit the grave of his eldest daughter, Leopoldine, who died in 1843 at the age of 19—drowned in the Seine along with her husband in a boating accident. As translator, I have made it my priority to render the meaning of the poem into English while following the poetic form of rhyme and meter as closely as possible. Doing this required several minor changes to the literal reading of the text (most notably in line 4) with the guiding principle being to consider how Hugo himself might have composed the poem if he had been writing it in English. I am more than satisfied that my efforts have been successful. In translating, I used my own knowledge of the French language, my skill as a formal English poet along with a number of French-to-English translation programs on the internet. A marvelous essay on the origins and history of the poem as well as a line-by-line critical commentary can be found online here. . . James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.