Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ITALY, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT



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First Line: Voices from the mountains speak
Last Line: To the gulfs that steep her shore.
Subject(s): Italy; Italians


VOICES from the mountains speak,
Apennines to Alps reply;
Vale to vale and peak to peak
Toss an old-remembered cry:
"Italy
Shall be free!"
Such the mighty shout that fills
All the passes of her hills.

All the old Italian lakes
Quiver at that quickening word;
Como with a thrill awakes;
Garda to her depths is stirred;
Mid the steeps
Where he sleeps,
Dreaming of the elder years,
Startled Thrasymenus hears.

Sweeping Arno, swelling Po,
Murmur freedom to their meads.
Tiber swift and Liris slow
Send strange whispers from their reeds.
"Italy
Shall be free!"
Sing the glittering brooks that slide,
Toward the sea, from Etna's side.

Long ago was Gracchus slain;
Brutus perished long ago;
Yet the living roots remain
Whence the shoots of greatness grow;
Yet again,
Godlike men,
Sprung from that heroic stem,
Call the land to rise with them.

They who haunt the swarming street,
They who chase the mountain-boar,
Or, where cliff and billow meet,
Prune the vine or pull the oar,
With a stroke
Break their yoke;
Slaves but yestereve were they
Freemen with the dawning day.

Looking in his children's eyes,
While his own with gladness flash,
"These," the Umbrian father cries,
"Ne'er shall crouch beneath the lash!
These shall ne'er
Brook to wear
Chains whose cruel links are twined
Round the crushed and withering mind."

Monarchs! ye whose armies stand
Harnessed for the battle-field!
Pause, and from the lifted hand
Drop the bolts of war ye wield.
Stand aloof
While the proof
Of the people's might is given;
Leave their kings to them and Heaven!

Stand aloof, and see the oppressed
Chase the oppressor, pale with fear,
As the fresh winds of the west
Blow the misty valleys clear.
Stand and see
Italy
Cast the gyves she wears no more
To the gulfs that steep her shore.





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