Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CALL TO THE RESERVISTS, by ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON



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THE CALL TO THE RESERVISTS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This was the message under the sea
Last Line: The swarthy reservist from over the sea.
Subject(s): Army - Italy; World War I; First World War


This was the message under the sea
Sent by the Motherland, Italy:

"Sons of the isle where the Thousand broke
The chain that bound to the Austrian yoke;
Men of the Apennines, free and strong,
Whose grandsires suffered the Austrian wrong;
You who were born in Vesuvius' sight,
Who learned from your fathers how to fight;
Romans, proud of your pedigree;
Genoese, playmates of the sea;
You from towns on the Tuscan hills,
And you whom the dream of Venice thrills;
Exiles all of you, many or few,
Back to the land of the sunlit blue
Come, for your Italy needeth you!

"For now at last is the time to smite
The foe on his stolen Alpine height;
To hunt his warships in their lair;
To launch new navies in the air.
God holds the issue; we but know
Here parts the road where the nations go
Toward hell or the far millennium! --
And Italy's time to choose has come."

Then answered the sons of Italy:
"Whatever the cost of thy choice may be,
Land of our love, we stand with thee."

And some fought under the crown and green,
And a host 'neath the Stars-and-Stripes were seen
As the New World sprang to the side of the Old.
And so, when the tale of the war is told,
You shall find, of the legions of Liberty,
There was never another braver than he,
The swarthy reservist from over the sea.





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