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I am not of this people, nor this age,
And yet my harpings will unfold a tale
Which shall preserve these times when not a page
An eye to gaze upon their civil rage,
In life, to wear their hearts out, and consume
To live in narrow ways with little men,
Ripp'd from all kindred, from all home, all things
Without the power that makes them bear a crown-
Which waft him where the Apennine looks down
Within my all inexorable town,
Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she, (5)
Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought Destruction for a dowry-this to see
And feel, and know without repair, hath taught
A bitter lesson; but it leaves me free:
PROPHECY OF DANTE.
THE Spirit of the fervent days of Old,
When words were things that came to pass, and
Flash'd o'er the future, bidding men behold
Their children's children's doom already brought
What the great Seers of Israel wore within,
Of conflict none will hear, or hearing heed This voice from out the Wilderness, the sin Be theirs, and my own feelings be my meed, The only guerdon I have ever known.
Hast thou not bled? and hast thou still to bleed, Italia? Ah! to me such things, foreshown
With dim sepulchral light, bid me forget
In thine irreparable wrongs my own;
We can have but one country, and even yet
Thou 'rt mine—my bones shall be within thy breast, My soul within thy language, which once set With our old Roman sway in the wide West; But I will make another tongue arise As lofty and more sweet, in which exprest The hero's ardour, or the lover's sighs,
Shall find alike such sounds for every theme That every word, as brilliant as thy skies, Shall realize a poet's proudest dream,
And make thee Europe's nightingale of song;
Confess its barbarism when compared with thine.
Is rent, a thousand years which yet supine
Heaving in dark and sullen undulation,
The storms yet sleep, the clouds still keep their station,
The bloody chaos yet expects creation,
But all things are disposing for thy doom;
The elements await but for the word,
"Let there be darkness !" and thou grow'st a tomb!
Yes! thou, so beautiful, shalt feel the sword,
Thou, Italy! so fair that Paradise,
Revived in thee, blooms forth to man restored : Ah! must the sons of Adam lose it twice?