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

March 10

On the Monument Erected to Mazzini at Genoa

By Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)

  • Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian patriot and revolutionist. He was a strong republican and took part in many plots for the establishment of a republic in Italy. He was one of the triumvirate in the short-lived republic in Rome, in 1848, but was driven into exile on the restoration of the Papal power in 1849. Unwilling to take the oath of allegiance to a monarchy, he remained abroad. In 1870 he took part in an insurrection at Palermo, during which he was captured. He was released during the general amnesty published by the Italian government after the occupation of Rome. Much of his time was spent in exile. He died on March 10, 1872.

  • ITALIA, mother of the souls of men,

    Mother divine,

    Of all that served 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-sealed 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 vanished; 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.