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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley

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,Ч
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,Ч
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

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. Love in Sorrow
  2. The King's Beard
  3. The Wounded Daisy
  4. The Captivity of Coeur de Lion
  5. Lilies

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