Day-dawn in Italy

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Day-dawn in Italy by Anne Lynch Botta
from Poems (1848)

        Italia! in thy bleeding heart,
            I thought, e'en hope was dead;
        That from thy scarred and prostrate form,
            The spark of life had fled.
 
        I thought, as Memory's sunset glow
            Its radiance o'er thee cast,
        That all thy glory and thy fame
            Were buried in the past.
 
        Twice Mistress of the world! I thought
            Thy star had set in gloom;
        That all thy shrines and monuments
            Were but thy spirit's tomb.
 
        The mausoleum of the world,
            Where Art her spoils might keep;
        Where pilgrims from all shrines might come,
            To wonder and to weep.
 
        The thunders of the Vatican
            Had long since died away;
        Saint Peter's chair seemed tottering,
            And crumbling to decay.
 
        Thy ancient line of Pontiff Kings
            Was to the past allied;
        And oft in Freedom's holy wars
            They fought not on her side.
 
        The sacred banner of the Cross
            Was trailing, soiled and torn;
        And often had the hostile ranks
            That blessed ensign borne.
 
        But from her death-like slumber now,
            The seven-hilled city wakes:
        Italia! on thy shrouded sky,
            A gleam of morning breaks.
 
        Along the Alps and Appenines
            Runs an electric thrill;
        A golden splendor lights once more
            The Capitolian hill.
 
        And hopes, bright as thy sunny skies,
            Are o'er thy future cast;
        The future that upon thee beams,
            As glorious as thy past.
 
        The laurels that thy Caesars wore,
            Were dyed with crimson stains;
        Their triumphs glittered with the spoil
            Won on thy battle plains.
 
        But for thy Pontiff Prince, to-day,
            A laurel might'st thou twine,
        Unsullied as the spotless life
            He lays upon thy shrine.
 
        For him might the triumphal car
            Ascend the hill again;
        No slaves, bound to the chariot wheels,
            Should swell the lengthened train: --
 
        Such train, as in her proudest days,
            Was never seen in Rome, --
        Of captives from the dungeon freed, --
            Of exiles welcomed home.
 
        When, gazing on the doubtful strife,
            The Hebrew leader prayed,
        The friends of Israel gathered round,
            His drooping hands they staid.
 
        And thus around the Patriarch's chair,
            The friends of Freedom stand, --
        All eager, though it falters not,
            To stay his lifted hand.
 
        And in a clearer, firmer tone,
            Is heard their rallying cry;
        From AEtna to the Alps it sounds:
            "For God and Liberty!"
 

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.