Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
 
Introductory
Garibaldi and Italy
Anonymous
 
O LONG desired by many a weary age,
Besought in prayer by many a martyred sage!
While earth with pride thy footsteps doth upbear,—
Thy country’s hope, for thou know’st not despair,—
Italia’s true deliverer! soon thy star,        5
Though dimmed by Northern clouds, shall shine afar!
The tyrant priest, a Roman but in name,
Who now exults and glories in the shame
His country bears, may yet give place to thee,
To purer worship and to liberty;        10
And Gauls, who seek thy land to re-enslave,
May find its soil, as oft before, their grave.
 
Three empires, O Italia, thou hast swayed:
First, when thy Cæsar’s laws the world obeyed;
And next, when, trembling at his proud command,        15
Monarchs obeyed imperious Hildebrand;
Last, when thy genius lit her torch again,
And won dominion o’er the minds of men.
These lost, men deemed thee sunk in slow decay,
And thought thy greatness wholly passed away;        20
But, soon or late, Time hath in store for thee—
Land of the Adrian and Tyrrhenian sea,
Crowned by the Alps, and ribbed by Apennine—
A brighter age than ever yet was thine!
 
While burns the light that shone o’er all the West,        25
Rekindled, first, at Petrarch’s high behest;
While Freedom lives, that, rising from her tomb,
Resumed her ancient life and power and bloom
On that great day when ebbed the Northern tide,
And Lombard cities broke the German’s pride,—        30
Land of Columbus, fairest Italy,
Columbia’s eyes shall still be turned on thee!
Still will we trust that Dante’s prophet soul,
And, bright with fame, the innumerable roll
Of thine immortal dead, (e’en such as rest,        35
O Santa Croce, on thy sacred breast!)—
Foretokened, in thy night, the dawning day,
When, like a dream, thy foes shall pass away.
 
Can nation-building Cavour’s work be lost?
No! though by devious paths thy way be crost,        40
Italia! thou shalt yet attain the prize
Of honored peace, that clear before thee lies!
 
 
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