Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

We poets, wandered round by dreams,* who hailed

From this Atrides' roof (with lintel-post Which still drips blood,—the worse part bath prevailed)

The fire-voice of the beacons to declare
Troy taken, sorrow ended, --cozened through

A crimson sunset in a misty air,
What now remains for such as we, to do?

God's judgments, peradventure, will He bare
To the roots of thunder, if we kneel and sue ?

From Casa Guidi windows I looked forth, And saw ten thousand eyes of Florentines

Flash back the triumph of the Lombard north, Saw fifty banners, freighted with the signs

And exultations of the awakened earth, Float on above the multitude in lines,

Straight to the Pitti. So, the vision went. And so, between those populous rough bands

Raised in the sun, Duke Leopold outleant,
And took the patriot's oath which henceforth stands

Among the oaths of perjurers, eminent
To catch the lightnings ripened for these lands.

Why swear at all, thou false Duke Leopold ? What need to swear? What need to boast thy blood

Unspoilt of Austria, and thy heart unsold Away from Florence ? It was understood

God made thee not too vigorous or too bold; * See the opening passage of the Agamemnon of Æschylus,

And men had patience with thy quiet mood,

And women, pity, as they saw thee pace
Their festive streets with premature grey hairs.

We turned the mild dejection of thy face
To princely meanings, took thy wrinkling cares

For ruffling hopes, and called thee weak, not base. Nay, better light the torches for more prayers

And smoke the pale Madonnas at the shrine, Being still our poor Grand-duke, our good Grand-duke,

Who cannot help the Austrian in his line,'Than write an oath upon a nation's book

For men to spit at with scorn's blurring brine! Who dares forgive what none can overlook ?

For me, I do repent me in this dust
Of towns and temples which makes Italy,–

I sigh amid the sighs which breathe a gust
Of dying century to century

Around us on the uneven crater-crust
Of these old worlds,—I bow my soul and knee.

Absolve me, patriots, of my woman's fault
That ever I believed the man was true!

These sceptred strangers shun the common salt, And, therefore, when the general board's in view

And they stand up to carve for blind and halt, The wise suspect the viands which ensue.

I much repent that, in this time and place Where many corpse-lights of experience burn

From Cæsar's and Lorenzo's festering race,

To enlighten groping reasoners, I could learn

No better counsel for a simple case Than to put faith in princes, in my turn.

Had all the death-piles of the ancient years Flared up in vain before me ? knew I not

What stench arises from some purple gears? And how the sceptres witness whence they got

Their briar-wood, crackling through the atmosphere's Foul smoke, by princely perjuries, kept hot ?

Forgive me, ghosts of patriots,—Brutus, thou, Who trailest downhill into life again

Thy blood-weighed cloak, to indict me with thy slow Reproachful eyes !—for being taught in vain

That, while the illegitimate Cæsars show Of meaner stature than the first full strain,

(Confessed incompetent to conquer Gaul) They swoon as feebly and cross Rubicons

As rashly as any Julius of them all! Forgive, that I forgot the mind which runs

Through absolute races, too unsceptical ! I saw the man among his little sons,

His lips were warm with kisses while he swore; And I, because I am a woman, I,

Who felt my own child's coming life before
The prescience of my soul, and held faith high,

I could not bear to think, whoever bore,
That lips, so warmed, could shape so cold a lie.

From Casa Guidi windows I looked out,

Again looked, and beheld a different sight.

The Duke had filed before the people's shout ‘Long live the Duke! A people, to speak right,

Must speak as soft as courtiers, lest a doubt Should curdle brows of gracious sovereigns, white.

Moreover that same dangerous shouting meant Some gratitude for future favours, which

Were only promised, the Constituent
Implied, the whole being subject to the hitch

In 'motu proprios,' very incident
To all these Czars, from Paul to Paulovitch.

Whereat the people rose up in the dust
Of the ruler's flying feet, and shouted still

And loudly; only, this time, as was just,
Not ‘Live the Duke,' who had fled for good or ill,

But 'Live the People,' who remained and must,
The unrenounced and unrenounceable,

· Long live the people! How they lived ! and boiled And bubbled in the cauldron of the street:

How the young blustered, nor the old recoiled, And what a thunderous stir of tongues and feet

Trod flat the palpitating bells and foiled The joy-guns of their echo, shattering it!

How down they pulled the Duke's arms everywhere! How up they set new café-signs, to show

Where patriots might sip ices in pure air(The fresh paint smelling somewhat)! To and fro

How marched the civic guard, and stopped to stare When boys broke windows in a civic glow!

How rebel songs were sung to loyal tunes, And bishops cursed in ecclesiastic metres :

How all the Circoli grew large as moons, And all the speakers, moonstruck,—thankful greeters

Of prospects which struck poor the ducal boons, A mere free Press, and Chambers !—frank repeaters

Of great Guerazzi's praises—There's a man, The father of the land, who, truly great,

Takes off that national disgrace and ban,
The farthing tax upon our Florence-gate,

And saves Italia as he only can !'
How all the nobles fled, and would not wait,

Because they were most noble,—which being so, How liberals vowed to burn their palaces,

Because free Tuscans were not free to go! How grown men raged at Austria’s wickedness,

And smoked,—while fifty striplings in a row Marched straight to Piedmont for the wrong’s redress!

You say we failed in duty, we who wore Black velvet like Italian democrats,

Who slashed our sleeves like patriots, nor forswore The true republic in the form of hats ?

We chased the archbishop from the Duomo-door, We chalked the walls with bloody caveats

Against all tyrants. If we did not fight Exactly, we fired muskets up the air

To show that victory was ours of right. We met, had free discussion everywhere

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »