The poem is called “Poor Children”
The college in Besançon, which bears the name of the writer Victor Hugo, discovered a manuscript of Hugo’s poem while cleaning its archives of unnecessary old documents, “Le Figaro” reported.
“We wanted to clean out the archive on New Year’s Eve and throw away unnecessary old documents,” said the director of the college, Jean-Jacques Fitot. As a result, the employees came across a “forgotten by everyone” rare manuscript with the signature of Victor Hugo in one of the offices between accounting accounts.
The manuscript is about 150 years old, but it is very well preserved. After it was discovered, it was placed under glass and now adorns one of the walls of the director’s office.
The poem is called “Poor Children”. The college acquired the valuable text, handwritten on two sheets, in 1951. On the back is the story of its appearance.
In 1868, Victor Hugo offered it as a prize in a charity raffle to raise funds for the benefit of poor children in Besançon – the writer’s hometown. A second-hand bookseller bought it from the lottery winner’s son and in May 1951 resold it to the management of the Lycée Victor Hugo for 6,000 francs. In 1980, the Lyceum became a college.
A variant of the text of the poem was published in the collection “Inner Voices” in 1837.
The College of Besançon was the first educational institution in France to be named after Victor Hugo on the day after the writer’s funeral in 1885.
Photo: Victor Hugo (Getty Images/Gulliver Photos)