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by [?]



(“Ces jeunes gens, combien etaient-ils.”)

[LA VOIX DE GUERNESEY, December, 1868.]


Young soldiers of the noble Latin blood,
How many are ye–Boys? Four thousand odd.
How many are there dead? Six hundred: count!
Their limbs lie strewn about the fatal mount,
Blackened and torn, eyes gummed with blood, hearts rolled
Out from their ribs, to give the wolves of the wold
A red feast; nothing of them left but these
Pierced relics, underneath the olive trees,
Show where the gin was sprung–the scoundrel-trap
Which brought those hero-lads their foul mishap.
See how they fell in swathes–like barley-ears!
Their crime? to claim Rome and her glories theirs;
To fight for Right and Honor;–foolish names!
Come–Mothers of the soil! Italian dames!
Turn the dead over!–try your battle luck!
(Bearded or smooth, to her that gave him suck
The man is always child)–Stay, here’s a brow
Split by the Zouaves’ bullets! This one, now,
With the bright curly hair soaked so in blood,
Was yours, ma donna!–sweet and fair and good.

The spirit sat upon his fearless face
Before they murdered it, in all the grace
Of manhood’s dawn. Sisters, here’s yours! his lips,
Over whose bloom the bloody death-foam slips,
Lisped house-songs after you, and said your name
In loving prattle once. That hand, the same
Which lies so cold over the eyelids shut,
Was once a small pink baby-fist, and wet
With milk beads from thy yearning breasts.

Take thou
Thine eldest,–thou, thy youngest born. Oh, flow
Of tears never to cease! Oh, Hope quite gone,
Dead like the dead!–Yet could they live alone–
Without their Tiber and their Rome? and be
Young and Italian–and not also free?
They longed to see the ancient eagle try
His lordly pinions in a modern sky.
They bore–each on himself–the insults laid
On the dear foster-land: of naught afraid,
Save of not finding foes enough to dare
For Italy. Ah; gallant, free, and rare
Young martyrs of a sacred cause,–Adieu!
No more of life–no more of love–for you!
No sweet long-straying in the star-lit glades
At Ave-Mary, with the Italian maids;
No welcome home!


This Garibaldi now, the Italian boys
Go mad to hear him–take to dying–take
To passion for “the pure and high”;–God’s sake!
It’s monstrous, horrible! One sees quite clear
Society–our charge–must shake with fear,
And shriek for help, and call on us to act
When there’s a hero, taken in the fact.
If Light shines in the dark, there’s guilt in that!
What’s viler than a lantern to a bat?


Your Garibaldi missed the mark! You see
The end of life’s to cheat, and not to be
Cheated: The knave is nobler than the fool!
Get all you can and keep it! Life’s a pool,
The best luck wins; if Virtue starves in rags,
I laugh at Virtue; here’s my money-bags!
Here’s righteous metal! We have kings, I say,
To keep cash going, and the game at play;
There’s why a king wants money–he’d be missed
Without a fertilizing civil list.
Do but try
The question with a steady moral eye!
The colonel strives to be a brigadier,
The marshal, constable. Call the game fair,
And pay your winners! Show the trump, I say!
A renegade’s a rascal–till the day
They make him Pasha: is he rascal then?
What with these sequins? Bah! you speak to Men,
And Men want money–power–luck–life’s joy–
Those take who can: we could, and fobbed Savoy;
For those who live content with honest state,
They’re public pests; knock we ’em on the pate!
They set a vile example! Quick–arrest
That Fool, who ruled and failed to line his nest.
Just hit a bell, you’ll see the clapper shake–
Meddle with Priests, you’ll find the barrack wake–
Ah! Princes know the People’s a tight boot,
March ’em sometimes to be shot and to shoot,
Then they’ll wear easier. So let them preach
The righteousness of howitzers; and teach
At the fag end of prayer: “Now, slit their throats!
My holy Zouaves! my good yellow-coats!”
We like to see the Holy Father send
Powder and steel and lead without an end,
To feed Death fat; and broken battles mend.
So they!