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DEAD! One of them shot by the sea in the east,

And one of them shot in the west by the


Dead! both my boys! When you sit at the feast

And are wanting a great song for Italy free,

Let none look at me!

Yet I was a poetess only last year,

And good at my art, for a woman men


But this woman, this, who is agoniz'd here, The east sea and west sea rhyme on in her head

Forever instead.

What art can a woman be good at? Oh, vain! What art is she good at, but hurting her breast

With the milk-teeth of babes, and a smile at the pain?

Ah boys, how you hurt! you were strong

as you pressed

And I proud, by that test.

What art's for a woman? To hold on

her knees

Both darlings; to feel all their arms round her throat,

Cling, strangle a little, to sew by degrees

And 'broider the long-clothes and neat little coat;

To dream and to doat.

To teach them. . . . It stings there! I made them indeed

Speak plain the word country. I taught them, no doubt,

That a country's a thing men should die for at need.

I prated of liberty, rights, and about
The tyrant cast out.

And when their eyes flashed

beautiful eyes! . . .

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I exulted; nay, let them go forth at the


Of the guns, and denied not. But then the surprise

When one sits quite alone! Then one

weeps, then one kneels!

God, how the house feels!

At first, happy news came, in gay letters moil'd

With my kisses,—of camp-life and glory, and how

They both lov'd me; and, soon coming home to be spoil'd,

In return would fan off every fly from my brow

With their green laurel-bough.

Then was triumph at Turin: "Ancona was free!"

And some one came out of the cheers in

the street,

With a face pale as stone, to say something

to me.

My Guido was dead! I fell down at his feet,

While they cheer'd in the street.

I bore it; friends sooth'd me; my grief look'd sublime

As the ransom of Italy. One boy re


To be leant on and walk'd with, recalling the time

When the first grew immortal, while both of them strain'd

To the height he had gain'd.

And letters still came, shorter, sadder, more


Writ now, but in one hand, "I was not

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And Viva l'Italia! - he died for, our saint,

Who forbids our complaint."

My Nanni would add, "he was safe, and


Of a presence that turn'd off the balls,

was impress'd

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It was Guido himself, who knew what I could bear,

And how 't was impossible, quite dispossess'd,

To live on for the rest."

On which without pause, up the telegraph


Swept smoothly the next news from Gaeta:


Tell his mother. Ah, ah, "his," "their" mother, not "mine,"

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No voice says "My mother" again to me.


You think Guido forgot?

Are souls straight so happy that, dizzy with Heaven,

They drop earth's affections, conceive not of woe?

I think not. Themselves were too lately for


Through that Love and Sorrow which reconcil'd so

The Above and Below.

O Christ of the five wounds, who look'st through the dark

To the face of Thy Mother! consider I


How we common mothers stand desolate,


Whose sons, not being Christs, die with

eyes turn'd away,

And no last word to say!

Both boys dead? but that's out of nature. We all

Have been patriots, yet each house must always keep one.

'T were imbecile, hewing out roads to a wall;

And when Italy 's made, for what end is

it done

If we have not a son?

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