Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AGESILAO MILANO; NAPLES, 1856, by HARRIET ELEANOR HAMILTON (BAILLE) KING



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AGESILAO MILANO; NAPLES, 1856, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: For the glory and the passion of this midnight
Last Line: The passion of this hour, for evermore.
Alternate Author Name(s): Hamilton-king, Harriet Eleanor
Subject(s): Italy - Revolutions; Milano, Agesilao; Regicide


FOR the glory and the passion of this midnight,
I praise Thy name, I give Thee thanks, O Christ
Thou that hast neither failed me nor forsaken,
Through these hard hours with victory overpriced;
Now that I too of Thy passion have partaken,
For the world's sake called, elected, sacrificed.

Thou wast alone through Thy redemption-vigil,
Thy friends had fled;
The angel at the garden from Thee parted,
And solitude instead,
More than the scourge, or cross, O tender-hearted,
Under the crown of thorns bowed down Thy head.

But I, amid the torture, and the taunting,
I have had Thee!
Thy hand was holding my hand fast and faster,
Thy voice was close to me,
And glorious eyes said, 'Follow me, thy Master,
Smile as I smile thy faithfulness to see,'

Thou hast not called me only, but enabled,
To do Thy will;
Between the flesh and spirit put no severance,
That I might all fulfil;
Given me grace to strike the land's deliverance,
Given me strength to suffer and be still.

Naples is glad because her king has fallen
By my hand first;
Take home the lesson to thee, faithless warden,
The foremost and the worst,
Who makest of this lovely land, God's garden,
A nation violate, corrupt, accurst.

This right hand, wasted now by knife and furnace,
Struck home the blow;
Whether he die to-night or he recover,
This and no more they know,
To follow me one hundred are sworn over,
Whose names they would tear from me ere I go.

Follow me all, and fear not, O my brothers,
For this ye see;
I who passed first confirm you by this token,
Stronger than them are we;
For cord, and fire, and steel to me have spoken,
And none have had an answer out of me.

Is not the air still sickened with the scorching
Of flesh from bone?
Is not the blood from stripes on stripes unslackened
Still dripping to the stone?
Loosened at last, each limb falls bruised and blackened
Into a stiffening weight of fire alone.

Master, our hearts can save us as thou spakest!
Have they not spent
All night their uttermost on me unholpen?
Behold my body rent
And broken;—but among the wounds wide open
Ye will not find a broken sacrament.

By the deed done, by torture overmastered,
And death outbraved,
For ever from denial and dishonour,
Soul, thou this night art saved!
Italia, with the purple robe upon her,
Shall know me faithful by these scars engraved.

'Spared but till sunrise;—else would Death forestall us,
Mercifullest.'
Yea, all their worst is done, they cannot keep me
Now, should they do their best.
Back from the gates of Paradise, nor steep me
In any healing halm of earthly rest.

Sunrise! and it is summer, and the morning
Waits glorified
An hour hence, when the cool clear rose-cloud gathers
About heaven's eastern side,
And down the azure grottoes where the bathers
Loose the tired limbs, a lovely light will glide.

Fold after fold the winding waves of opal
The sands will drown;
And when the morning-star amid the pearly
Light of the east goes down,
Then my star shall arise, and late and early
Shine for a jewel in the Master's crown.

Mazzini, Master, singer of the sunrise!
Knowest thou me?
I held thy hand once, and the summer lightning
Still of thy smile I see;
Me thou rememberest not amidst the heightening
Vision of God, and of God's Will to be.

But thou wilt hear of me, by noon to-morrow,
And henceforth I
Shall be to thee a memory and a token
Out of the starry sky;
And when my soul unto thy soul hath spoken,
Enough,—I shall not wholly pass nor die.

Italia, when thou comest to thy kingdom,
Remember me!
Me, who on this thy night of shame and sorrow
Was scourged and slain with thee;
Me, who upon thy resurrection morrow
Shall stand among thy sons beside thy knee.

Shalt thou not be one day, indeed, O Mother,
Enthroned of all,
To the world's vision as to ours now only,
At Rome for festival;
Around thee gathered all thy lost and lonely
And loyal ones, that failed not at thy call;

With golden lyre, or violet robe of mourning,
Or battle-scar;—
And one shall stand more glorious than the others,
He of the Morning-Star,
Whose face lights all the faces of his brothers,
Out of the silvery northern land afar.

But grant to me there, unto all beholders,
Bare to the skies,
To stand with bleeding hands, and feet, and shoulders,
And rapt, unflinching eyes,
And locked lips, yielding to the question-holders
Nor moanings, nor beseechings, nor replies.

Is the hour hard? Too soon it will be over,
Too sweet, too sore;
The arms of Death fold over me with rapture,
Life knew not heretofore;
Heaven will be peace, but I shall not recapture
The passion of this hour, for evermore.





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