Garibaldi at Varignano
Never subdued till now, Wounded perhaps to death, Did Italy strike the blow? Say it under your breath! She struck him; we strive in vain To cover the pain, the shame,— She struck him who struck not again, But fell while shouting her name. See he is sleeping at last, How can you wish him to wake? Can you give him back to his Past, Crush'd by your hand, for your sake? True to the king he has braved, And who mourns him, misled, undone, Chain'd on the soil he saved, And conquer'd at last, by his own! Write this conquest in tears, And let its record be dim; Hide this year from the stainless years Which had each a wreath for him,— And tell him, there as he lies, He is still our darling chief, And never shame shall touch his name, But only love and grief. Blame his error, and then Blush while his deeds you tell; Guard his prison, Italian men, For whom his name is a spell; Breathe his sentence, thou land! Of which he is still the pride, Sign it, oh! brother-hand, Which fought so long by his side! Italy, royal and free, Forget not the means in the end! And, King, if this thy rebel be, Tell us, who is thy friend? Hide him a little time And bear it! The day shall come For counting his generous crime Among the steps to Rome. Italy, blood like this Should make thee pure as strong; Italy, hearts like his Are precious even in wrong. The heroes of Europe scan, And lift up thy head, and boast Thy Traitor is the truest man Of all the glorious host.
Menella Bute Smedley’s other poems:
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