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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

to faint,

One lov'd me for two would be with me ere long:

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


Who forbids our complaint."

My Nanni would add, "he was safe, and


Of a presence that turn'd off the balls,

was impress'd

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


And when Italy's made, for what end is

it done

If we have not a son?

Ah, ah, ah! when Gaeta's taken, what then?

When the fair wicked queen sits no more at her sport

Of the fire-balls of death crashing souls out of men?

When the guns of Cavilli with final re


Have cut the game short?

When Venice and Rome keep their own jubilee,

When your flag takes all heaven for its white, green, and red,

When you have your country from mountain,

to sea,

When King Victor has Italy's crown on his head,

(And I have my Dead) —

What then? Do not mock me. Ah, ring your bells low,

And burn your lights faintly! My country

is there,

Above the star prick'd by the last peak of


My Italy's there, with my brave civic


To disfranchise despair!

Forgive me. Some women bear children in strength,

And bite back the cry of their pain in

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But the birth-pangs of nations will wring us

at length

Into wail such as this—and we sit on


When the man-child is born.

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

And one of them shot in the west by the


Both! both my boys! If in keeping the feast, You want a great song for your Italy free, Let none look at me.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


MOTHER wept, and father sigh'd;

With delight a-glow

Cried the lad, "To-morrow," cried,

"To the pit I go."

Up and down the place he sped,

Greeted old and young,

Far and wide the tidings spread,
Clapp'd his hands and sung.

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