James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 8

Execution of Ugo Bassi

By Harriet Eleanor Hamilton King (1840–1920)

  • A noted Italian priest and patriot. His sermons produced great effects on his hearers. He joined Garabaldi in 1848 and continued preaching until he was taken by the Austrians and shot on August 8, 1849.

  • ABOUT a mile outside the city-gate,

    Porta Isaia, lies the felon’s field;

    And close beside it lies the Cemetery,

    Certosa, to the westward of the walls;

    The Mount of Guard above it, with its church

    And portico to give the pilgrims’ feet

    Safe-conduct to our Lady of Saint Luke,

    Stands for a landmark many miles away.

    Bologna knows it well;—there is no child

    Born in Bologna but shall know the place.

    And there they halted, past the wailing throngs;

    And there they formed a square of infantry;

    And then there was a silence, very short;

    And then three volleys rang out, one by one,

    Through the still, sultry air. Bologna heard,

    And knew that all was over.
    After that,

    Gorzhowski cleared the streets, and suffered none

    To show themselves abroad again that day.

    They dug a grave, and threw the bodies in,

    Just where they fell, and hardly covered them.

    But the next morn, as if by miracle,

    The cruel mound had blossomed into wreaths,—

    Clusters of summer-snowing stars in heaps

    On glossy trailing leaves, and roses red

    As any Dorothea sent her friend.

    And night by night the grave lay fresh in flowers,

    In spite of all the Austrian arms could do.