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Poem by Alfred Austin


So you think he is defeated, O ye comfortably seated,
And that Victory is meted in your loaded huckster's scales?
O ye fools! though justice tarry, yet by heaven broad and starry,
Right, howe'er it may miscarry, ere the end arrive, prevails.

And you think a wounded hero may hereafter count as zero,
And that every desperate Nero rules the cities which he burns;
That a wild steed caught and snaffled means a nation wholly baffled,
And its future may be raffled in your diplomatic urns!

Well, then, know we would not barter this our never flinching martyr
For the very largest charter we could coax from ``Right Divine,''
That his blood upon your ermine only makes us more determine
To exterminate the vermin who have baulked his grand design.

Dolts! upon successful traitor vengeance groweth only greater,
Not one whit less sure, the later the account may be delayed,
And will one day have its grip on every decorated fripon,
Though he loudly laugh and lip on, whilst the world is plunged in shade.

And I pray ye, O ye people! trust in palace nor in steeple!
If you sow ill you will reap ill, to your misery and scorn;
In your generation wiser, know that vows of priest and kaiser
Only supple cheats and lies are, to be broken swift as sworn.

But have faith that Time the Scourger will be even with the perjure,
When shall greener be the verdure upon Aspromonte's slope,
When the populations fitted to be wholly manumitted,
Shall be trampled nor outwitted, or by Emperor or Pope.

And no longer forced to tremble, or whilst cursing to dissemble,
Shall free Italy assemble, 'neath a new and grander dome;
Grander far than that of Peter, wherein Liberty shall seat her,
By his martyrdom completer who first struck for ``Death or Rome!'' 

Alfred Austin

Alfred Austin's other poems:
  1. Invocation
  2. If They Dare!
  3. John Everett Millais
  4. To Robert Louis Stevenson
  5. On Returning To England

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