Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, KING VICTOR EMANUEL ENTERS FLORENCE, APRIL, 1860, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING



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KING VICTOR EMANUEL ENTERS FLORENCE, APRIL, 1860, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: King of us all, we cried to thee, cried to thee
Last Line: True king of us all!
Subject(s): Victor Emmanuel Ii, King Of Italy


I

KING of us all, we cried to thee, cried to thee,
Trampled to earth by the beasts impure,
Dragged by the chariots which shame as they roll:
The dust of our torment far and wide to thee
Went up, dark'ning thy royal soul.
Be witness, Cavour,
That the King was sad for the people in thrall,
This King of us all!

II

King, we eried to thee! Strong in replying,
Thy word and thy sword sprang rapid and sure,
Cleaving our way to a nation's place.
Oh, first soldier of Italy! -- crying
Now grateful, exultant, we look in thy face.
Be witness, Cavour,
That, freedom's first soldier, the freed should call
First King of them all!

III

This is our beautiful Italy's birthday;
High-thoughted souls, whether many or fewer,
Bring her the gift, and wish her the good,
While Heaven presents on this sunny earthday
The noble King to the land renewed:
Be witness, Cavour!
Roar, cannon-mouths! Proclaim, install
The King of us all!

IV

Grave he rides through the Florence gateway,
Clenching his face into calm, to immure
His struggling heart till it half disappears;
If he relaxed for a moment, straightway
He would break out into passionate tears --
Be witness, Cavour!)
While rings the cry without interval,
'Live, King of us all!'

V

Cry, free peoples! Honor the nation
By crowning the true man -- and none is truer:
Pisa is here, and Livorno is here,
And thousands of faces, in wild exultation,
Burn over the windows to feel him near --
(Be witness, Cavour!)
Burn over from terrace, roof, window and wall,
On this King of us all.

VI

Grave! A good man's ever the graver
For bearing a nation's trust secure;
And he, he thinks of the Heart, beside,
Which broke for Italy, failing to save her,
And pining away by Oporto's tide:
Be witness, Cavour,
That he thinks of his vow on that royal pall,
This King of us all.

VII

Flowers, flowers, from the flowery city!
Such innocent thanks for a deed so pure,
As, melting away for joy into flowers,
The nation invites him to enter his Pitti
And evermore reign in this Florence of ours.
Be witness, Cavour!
He'll stand where the reptiles were used to crawl,
This King of us all.

VIII

Grave, as the manner of noble men is --
Deeds unfinished will weigh on the doer:
And, baring his head to those crapeveiled flags,
He bows to the grief of the South and Venice.
Oh, riddle the last of the yellow to rags,
And swear by Cavour
That the King shall reign where the tyrants fall,
True King of us all!





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