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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909

On the Monument Erected to Mazzini at Genoa


ITALIA, mother of the souls of men,

Mother divine,

Of all that serv’d thee best with sword or pen,

All sons of thine,

Thou knowest that here the likeness of the best

Before thee stands:

The head most high, the heart found faithfulest,

The purest hands.

Above the fume and foam of time that flits,

The soul, we know,

Now sits on high where Alighieri sits

With Angelo.

Nor his own heavenly tongue hath heavenly speech

Enough to say

What this man was, whose praise no thought may reach,

No words can weigh.

Since man’s first mother brought to mortal birth

Her first-born son,

Such grace befell not ever man on earth

As crowns this One.

Of God nor man was ever this thing said:

That he could give

Life back to her who gave him, that his dead

Mother might live.

But this man found his mother dead and slain,

With fast-seal’d eyes,

And bade the dead rise up and live again,

And she did rise:

And all the world was bright with her through him:

But dark with strife,

Like heaven’s own sun that storming clouds bedim,

Was all his life.

Life and the clouds are vanish’d; hate and fear

Have had their span

Of time to hurt and are not: He is here

The sunlike man.

City superb, that hadst Columbus first

For sovereign son,

Be prouder that thy breast hath later nurst

This mightier One.

Glory be his forever, while this land

Lives and is free,

As with controlling breath and sovereign hand

He bade her be.

Earth shows to heaven the names by thousands told

That crown her fame:

But highest of all that heaven and earth behold

Mazzini’s name.