Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/403

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Italia! oh, Italia! thou who hast[1]
The fatal gift of Beauty, which became
A funeral dower of present woes and past—
On thy sweet brow is sorrow ploughed by shame,[2]
And annals graved in characters of flame.
Oh, God! that thou wert in thy nakedness
Less lovely or more powerful, and couldst claim
Thy right, and awe the robbers back, who press
To shed thy blood, and drink the tears of thy distress;


Then might'st thou more appal—or, less desired,

Be homely and be peaceful, undeplored[3]
  1. The two stanzas xlii. and xliii. are, with the exception of a line or two, a translation of the famous sonnet of Filicaja:—"Italia, Italia, O tu, cui feo la sorte!"—Poesie Toscane 1823, p. 149.

    ["Italia, Italia, o tu cui feo la sorte
    Dono infelice di bellezza, ond'hai
    Funesta dote d'infiniti guai
    Che in fronte scritti per gran doglia porte:
    Deh fossi tu men bella, o almen più forte,
    Onde assai più ti paventasse, o assai
    T'amasse men, chi del tuo bello ai rai
    Par che si strugga, e pur ti sfida a morte,
    Chè or giù dall' Alpi non vedrei torrenti
    Scender d'armati, nè di sangue tinta
    Bever l'onda del Po gallici armenti;
    Nè te vedrei, del non tuo ferro cinta,
    Pugnar col braccio di straniere genti,
    Per servir sempre, o vincitrice, o vinta."]

  2. And on thy brow in characters of flame
    To write the words of sorrow and of shame
    .—[MS. M. erased.]

  3. ——unbetrayed
    To death by thy vain charms
    ——.—[MS. M. erased.]