TO THE QUEEN OF HUNGARY
by: Voltaire (François
Marie Arouet, 1694-1778)
- RINCESS, descended from that noble
- Which still in danger held the imperial throne,
- Who human nature and thy sex dost grace,
- Whose virtues even thy foes are forced to own.
- The generous French, as fierce as they're polite,
- Who to true glory constantly aspire;
- Whilst obstinately they against thee fight,
- Thy virtue and great qualities admire.
- The French and Germans leagued by wondrous ties,
- Make Christendom one dismal scene of woe;
- And from their friendship greater ills arise,
- Than e'er did from their longest quarrels flow.
- Thus from the equator and the frozen pole,
- The impetuous winds drive on with headlong force
- Two clouds, which as they on each other roll,
- Forth from their sable skirts the thunder force.
- Do virtuous kings such ruin then ordain?
- A calm they promise, but excite a storm:
- Felicity we hope for from their reign,
- Whilst they with slaughter dire the earth deform.
- Oh! Fleury, wise and venerable sage,
- Whom good ne'er dazzles, danger ne'er alarms;
- Who dost exceed the ancient Nestor's age:
- Must Europe never cease to be in arms?
- Would thou couldst hold with prudent, steady hand,
- Europa's balance, shut up Janus' shrine;
- Make feuds and discords cease at thy command,
- And bring from heaven Astrea, maid divine.
- Would France's treasures were dispersed no more,
- But prudently within the realm applied;
- Opulence to our cities to restore,
- And make them flourishing on every side.
- You arts from heaven, and from the muses sprung,
- Whom Louis brought triumphant into France;
- Too long your hands are idle, lyres unstrung,
- 'Tis time to start from so profound a trance.
- Your labors are of lasting glory sure,
- Whilst warlike pomps, the triumphs of a day,
- Blaze for a moment, never long endure,
- But soon like fleeting shadows pass away.
POEMS BY VOLTAIRE
This English translation by William
F. Fleming of 'To the Queen of Hungary' is reprinted from The
Works of Voltaire, Volume XXXVI. Trans. William F. Fleming.
New York: E.R. DuMONT, 1901.