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And letters still came, - shorter, sadder, more
strong, Writ now but in one hand. “ I was not to faint. One loved me for two... would be with me ere
long : And “ Viva Italia" he died for, our saint,
Who forbids our complaint.
My Nanni would add “ he was safe and aware
imprest It was Guido himself, who knew what I could bear, And how 'twas impossible, quite dispossessed,
To live on for the rest."
On which without pause up the telegraph line Swept smoothly the next news from Gaeta :
Shot. Tell his mother, Ah, ah,—“his," their” mother:
not “ mine." No voice says “ my mother" again to me. What!
You think Guido forgot ?
Are souls straight so happy that, dizzy with Heav
They drop earth's affection, conceive not of woe? I think not. Themselves were too lately forgiven
Through that Love and Sorrow which reconciled
O Christ of the seven wounds, who look’dst through
the dark To the face of Thy mother! consider, I pray, How we common mothers stand desolate, mark,
Whose sons, not being Christs, die with eyes
And no last word to say !
Both boys dead ! but that's out of nature. We all Have been patriots, yet each house must always
keep one. ”Twere imbecile, hewing out roads to a wall. And, when Italy’s made, for what end is it done
If we have not a son ?
Ah, ah, ah! when Gaeta's taken, what then ?
sport Of the fire-balls of death crashing souls out of men ? When your guns of Cavalli with final retort
Have cut the game short,
When Venice and Rome keep their new jubilee, When your flag takes all heaven for its white,
green, and red, When you have your country from mountain to sea, When King Victor has Italy's crown on his head,
(And I have my dead,)
What then? Do not mock me! Ah, ring your bells And burn your lights faintly. My country is
there, Above the star pricked by the last peak of snow. My Italy's there—with my brave civic Pair,
To disfranchise despair.
Forgive me. Some women bear children in strength,
And bite back the cry of their pain in self-scorn. But the birth-pangs of nations will wring us at
length Into wail such as this !and we sit on forlorn
When the man-child is born.
Dead !-one of them shot by the sea in the west !
And one of them shot in the east by the sea ! Both! both my boys !—If in keeping the feast You want a great song for your Italy free,
Let none look at me !
E. B. BROWNING.
THE SONG OF THE CAMP.
Give us a song !" the soldiers cried,
The outer trenches guarding,
weary of bombarding.
The dark Redan, in silent scoff,
Lay grim and threatening under;
No longer belch'd its thunder.
There was a pause. A guardsman said :
“ We storm the forts to-morrow; Sing while we may, another day
Will bring enough of sorrow.”
They lay along the battery's side,
Below the smoking cannon : Brave hearts from Severn and from Clyde,
And from the banks of Shannon.
They sang of love, and not of fame;
Forgot was Britain's glory:
But all sang “ Annie Laurie."
Voice after voice caught up the
song, Until its tender passion Rose like an anthem, rich and strong,–
Their battle-eve confession.
Dear girl, her name he dared not speak,
But as the song grew louder, Something upon the soldier's cheek
Wash'd off the stains of powder.
Beyond the darkening ocean burn'd
The bloody sunset's embers, While the Crimean valleys learn'd
How English love remembers.