BETA

THE YOUTH OF ENGLAND TO GARIBALDI’S LEGION.1

O ye who by the gaping earth1
Where, faint with resurrection, lay2
An empire struggling into birth,3
Her storm-strown beauty cold with
clay,
4
1 Those 1,067 Cacciatori, who, after conquer-
ing in the Lombard campaign, set out, unas-
sisted, and “looking upon themselvesas already
dead” (vide Times), to complete, in face of a
fleet and three armies, the work of Italian
emancipation.
The free winds round her flowery head,5
Her feet still rooted with the dead,6
Leaned on the unconquered arms that
clave
7
Her tomb like Judgment, and fore-
knew
8
The life for which you rent the grave,9
Would rise to breathe, beam, beat for
you,
10
In every pulse of passionate mood,11
A people’s glorious gratitude,—12
But heard, far off, the mobled woe13
Of some new plaintiff for the light ;14
And leave your dear reward, and go15
In haste, yet once again to smite16
The hills, and, like a flood, unlock17
Another nation from the rock ;18
Oh ye who, sure of nought but God19
And death, go forth to turn the page20
Of life, and in your heart’s best blood21
Date anew the chaptered age ;22
Ye o’er whom, as the abyss23
O’er Curtius, sundered worlds shall kiss,24
Do ye dream what ye have done ?25
What ye are and shall be ?  Nay,26
Comets rushing to the sun,27
And dying the tremendous way28
With glory, look not back, nor know29
How they blind the earth below.30
From wave to wave our race rolls on,31
In seas that rise, and fall, and rise ;32
Our tide of Man beneath the moon33
Sets from the verge to yonder skies ;34
Throb after throb the ancient might35
In such a thousand hills renews the
earliest height.
36
’Tis something, o’er that moving vast,37
To look across the centuries38
Which heave the purple of a past39
That was, and is not, and yet is,40
And in that awful light to see41
The crest of far Thermopyle,42
And, as a fisher draws his fly43
Ripple by ripple, from shore to shore,44
To draw our floating gaze, and try45
The more by less, the less by more,46
And find a peer to that sublime47
Old height in the last surge of time.48
’Tis something : yet great Clio’s reed,49
Greek with the sap of Castaly,50
In her most glorious word midway51
Begins to weep and bleed ;52
And Clio, lest she burn the line53
Hides her blushing face divine,54
While that maternal muse, so white55
And lean with trying to forget,56
Moves her mute lips, and, at the sight,57
As if all suns that ever set58
Slanted on a mortal ear59
What man can feel but cannot hear,60
We know, and know not how we know,61
That when heroic Greece uprist,62
Sicilia broke a daughter’s vow,63
And failed the inexorable tryst,—64
We know that when those Spartans drew65
Their swords—too many and too few ! —66
A presage blanched the Olympian hill67
To moonlight : the old Thunderer
nods ;
68
But all the sullen air is chill69
With rising Fates and younger gods.70
Jove saw his peril and spake : one blind71
Pale coward touched them with mankind.72
What, then, on that Sicanian ground73
Which soured the blood of Greece to
shame,
74
To make the voice of praise resound75
A triumph that, if Grecian fame76
Blew it on her clarion old,77
Had warmed the silver trump to gold !78
What, then, brothers ! to brim o’er79
The measure Greece could scarcely
brim,
80
And, calling Victory from the dim81
Of that remote Thessalian shore,82
Make his naked limbs repeat83
What in the harness of defeat84
He did of old ; and, at the head85
Of modern men, renewing thus86
Thermopyle, with Xerxes fled87
And every Greek Leonidas,88
Untitle the proud Past and crown89
The heroic ages in our own !90
Oh ye, whom they who cry “ how long91
See, and—as nestlings in the nest92
Sink silent—sink into their rest ;93
Oh ye, in whom the Right and Wrong94
That this old world of Day and Night95
Crops upon its black and white,96
Shall strike, and, in the last extremes97
Of final best and worst, complete98
The circuit of your light and heat ;99
Oh ye who walk upon our dreams,100
And live, unknowing how or why101
The vision and the prophecy,102
In every tabernacled tent103
Eat shew-bread from the altar, and
wot
104
Not of it—drink a sacrament105
At every draught and know it not106
Breathe a nobler year whose least107
Worst day is as the fast and feast108
Of men—and, with such steps as chime109
To nothing lower than the ears110
Can hear to whom the marching
spheres
111
Beat the universal time112
Thro’ our Life’s perplexity,113
March the land and sail the sea,114
O’er those fields where Hate hath led115
So oft the hosts of Crime and Pain116
March to break the captive’s chain,117
To heal the sick, to raise the dead,118
And, where the last deadliest rout119
Of furies cavern, to cast out120
Those Demons,—ay, to meet the fell121
Foul belch of swarming Satan hot122
From Ætna, and down Ætna’s throat !123
Drench that vomit back to hell124
In the east your star doth burn ;125
The tide of Fate is on the turn ;126
The thrown powers that mar or make127
Man’s good lie shed upon the sands,128
Or on the wave about to break129
Are flotsam that nor swims nor stands ;130
Earth is cold and pale, a-swoon131
With fear; to the watch-tower of noon132
The sun climbs sick and sorrowful,133
Or, like clouded Cæsar, doth fold134
His falling greatness to behold135
Some crescent evil near the full.136
Hell flickers ; and the sudden reel137
Of fortune, stopping in mid-wheel138
Till the shifted current blows,139
Clacks the knocking balls of chance ;140
And the metred world’s advance141
Pauses at the rhythmic close ;142
One stave is ended, and the next143
Chords its discords on the vext144
And tuning Time : this is the hour145
When weak Nature’s need should be146
The Hero’s opportunity,147
And heart and hand are Right and
Power,
148
And he who will not serve may reign149
And who dares well dares nought in
vain,
150
Behind you History stands a-gape ;151
On either side the incarnadine152
Hot nations in whom war’s wild wine153
Burns like vintage thro’ the grape,154
See you, ruddy with the morn155
Of Freedom, see you, and for scorn156
As on that old day of wrath157
The hosts drew off in hope and doubt,158
And the shepherd-boy stept out ;159
To sling Judea upon Gath,160
Furl in two, and, still as stone,161
Like a red sea let you on.162
On ! ay tho’ at war’s alarms163
That sea should flood into a foe !164
On ! the horns of Jericho165
Blow when Virtue blows to arms.166
Numberless or numbered—on !167
Men are millions, God is one.168
On ! who waits for favouring gales ?169
What hap can ground your Argosy ?170
A nation’s blessings fill your sails,171
And tho’ her wrongs scorched ocean dry,172
Yet ah ! her blood and tears could roll173
Another sea from pole to pole.174
On ! day round ye, summer bloom175
Beneath, in your young veins the bliss176
Of youth ! Who asks more ? Ask but
this,
177
—And ask as One will ask at Doom178
If lead be true, if steel be keen ?179
If hearts be pure, if hands be clean ?180
On ! night round ye, the worst roak181
Of Fortune poisoning all youth’s bliss ;182
Each grass a sword, each Delphic oak183
An omen ! Who dreads ? Dread but
this,—
184
Blunted steel and lead unsure,185
Hands unclean and hearts impure !186
Full of love to God and man187
As girt Martha’s wageless toil ;188
Gracious as the wine and oil189
Of the good Samaritan ;190
Healing to our wrongs and us191
As Abraham’s breast to Lazarus ;192
Piteous as the cheek that gave193
Its patience to the smiter, still194
Rendering nought but good for ill,195
Tho’ the greatest good ye have196
Be iron, and your love and truth197
Speak but from the cannon’s mouth198
On ! you servants of the Lord,199
In the right of servitude200
Reap the life He sowed, and blood201
His frenzied people with the sword,202
And the blessing shall be yours,203
That falls upon the peacemakers !204
Ay, tho’ trump and clarion blare,205
Tho’ your charging legions rock206
Earth’s bulwarks, tho’ the slaughtered
air
207
Be carrion, and the encountered shock208
Of your clashing battles jar209
The rung heav’ns, this is Peace, not
War!
210
With that two-edged sword that cleaves211
Crowned insolence to awe,212
And whose backward lightning leaves213
Licence stricken into law,214
Fill, till slaves and tyrants cease,215
The sacred panurgy of peace !216
Peace, as outraged peace can rise217
When her eye that watched and
prayed
218
Sees upon the favouring skies219
The great sign, so long delayed,220
And from hoofed and trampled sod221
She leaps transfigured to a god,222
Meets amid her smoking land223
The chariot of careering war,224
Locks the whirlwind of his car,225
Wrests the thunder from his hand,226
And, with his own bolt down-hurl’d,227
Brains the monster from the world !228
Hark ! he comes ! His nostrils cast229
Like chaff before him flocks and men.230
Oh proud, proud day, in yonder glen231
Look on your heroes ! Look your last,232
Your last : and draw in with the pas-
sionate eye
233
Of love’s last look the sights that paint
eternity.
234
He comes—a tempest hides their place !235
Tis morn. The long day wanes. The
loud
236
Storm lulls. Some march out of the
cloud
237
The princes of their age and race ;238
And some the mother earth that bore239
Such sons hath loved too well to let them
leave her more,
240
But oh, when joy-bells ring241
For the living that return,242
And the fires of victory burn,243
And the dancing kingdoms sing,244
And beauty takes the brave245
To the breast he bled to save,246
Will no faithful mourner weep247
Where the battle-grass is gory,248
And deep the soldier’s sleep249
In his martial cloak of glory,250
Sleeps the dear dead buried low ?251
Shall they be forgotten ?  Lo,252
On beyond that vale of fire253
This babe must travel ere the child254
Of yonder tall and bearded sire255
His father’s image hath fulfilled,256
He shall see in that far day257
A race of maidens pale and grey.258
Theirs shall be nor cross nor hood,259
Common rite nor convent roof,260
Bead nor bell shall put to proof261
A sister of that sisterhood ;262
But by noonday or by night263
In her eyes there shall be light.264
And as a temple organ, set265
To its best stop by hands long gone,266
Gives new ears the olden tone267
And speaks the buried master yet,268
Her lightest accents have the key269
Of ancient love and victory.270
And, as some hind, whom his o’erthrown271
And dying king o’er hill and flood272
Sends laden with the fallen crown,273
Breathes the great trust into his blood274
Till all his conscious forehead wears275
The splendid secret that he bears,276
For ever, everywhere the same,277
Thro’ every changing time and scene,278
In widow’s weeds and lowly name279
She stands a bride, she moves a queen ;280
The flowering land her footstep knows ;281
The people bless her as she goes,282
Whether upon your sacred days283
She peers the mightiest and the best,284
Or whether, by the common ways,285
The babe leans from the peasant’s
breast,
286
While humble eyelids proudly fill,287
And momentary Sabbaths still288
The hand that spins, the foot that delves,289
And all our sorrow and delight290
Behold the seraph of themselves291
In that pure face where woe grown
bright
292
Seems rapture chastened to the mild293
And equal light of smiles unsmiled.294
And if perchance some wandering king,295
Enamoured of her virgin reign,296
Should sue the hand whose only ring297
Is the last link of that first chain,298
Forged by no departed hours, and seen299
But in the daylight that hath been,300
She pauses ere her heart can speak,301
And, from below the source of tears,302
The girlhood to her faded cheek303
Goes slowly up thro’ twenty years,304
And, like the shadow in her eyes,305
Slowly the living Past replies,306
In tones of such serene eclipse307
As if the voices of Death and Life308
Came married by her mortal lips309
To more than Life or Death—“A
wife
310
Thou wooest ; on yonder field he died311
Who lives in all the world beside.”312
Oh, ye who, in the favouring smile313
Of Heaven, at one great stroke shall
win
314
The gleaming guerdons that beguile315
Glory’s grey-haired Paladin316
Thro’ all his threescore jousts and ten,317
—Love of women, and praise of men,318
The spurs, the bays, the palm, the
crown,—
319
Who, from your mountain-peak among320
Mountains, thenceforth may look along321
The shining tops of deeds undone,322
And take them thro’ the level air323
As angels walk from star to star,324
We from our isle—the ripest spot325
Of the round green globe—where all326
The rays of God most kindly fall,327
And warm us to that temperate lot328
Of seasoned change that slowly brings329
Fruition to the orb of things,330
We from this calm in chaos, where331
Matter running into plan332
And Reason solid in a man333
Mediate the earth and air,334
See ye winging yon far gloom,335
Oh, ministering spirits ! as some336
Blest soul above that, all too late,337
From his subaltern seat in heaven338
Looks round and measures fate with fate,339
And thro’ the clouds below him
driven
340
Beholds from that calm world of bliss341
The toil and agony of this,342
And, warming with the scene rehearst,343
Bemoans the realms where all is won344
And sees the last that shall be first,345
And spurns his secondary throne,346
And envies from his changeless sphere347
The life that strives and conquers here,348
But ere toward fields so old and new349
We leap from joys that shine in vain350
And rain our passion down the blue351
Serene—once more—once more to
drain
352
Life’s dreadful ecstasy, and sell353
Our birthright for that oxymel354
Whose stab and unction still keep quick355
The wound for ever lost and found,356
Lo, o’erhead, a cherubic357
And legendary lyre, that round358
The eddying spaces turns a dream359
Of ancient war ! And at the theme360
Harps to answering harps, on high,361
Call, recall, that but a strait362
Of storm divides our happy state363
From that pale sleepless Mystery364
Who pines to sit upon the throne365
He served ere falling to his own.366