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Poem by Janet Hamilton
Address to Garibaldi in His Retirement at Caprera, 1868
Lone dweller of the stony isle! Dost thou at fortune's caprice smile, Soars thy great mind above thy state, Serene amid the shocks of fate? Thou art a king! thou reign'st in all The hearts that bound at freedom's call! Though now the shades of Papal night With deeper gloom obscure the light Of freedom human and divine, The day will dawn, the light will shine, The shadows fly, the gazing world Shall see her standard broad unfurled On Rome's proud walls, men freed from thrall, In haste, at her stern trumpet call, Assume the rights so long withheld, By legions leagued their chains to weld; Then freedom, link'd to sacred truth, Shall give to man, and teach to youth, Heaven's simple "unencumber'd plan" To rule, govern, and save the man. Oh! why, like hermit in his cell, Dost thou in lone Caprera dwell, While there is work to do abroad— The work of man, the work of God? To work aright there must be given The time, the place, the power from heaven. Man, working with his fellow-man, To execute a self-formed plan, Mistakes his way, his time and power, And rushes in an evil hour On scenes of slaughter and defeat, And finds his plans were incomplete. Freedom of State is part, not whole; For we would free the enslavèd soul, Would break the fetters that enchain The soul to superstitions vain. O'er these the sword no power can have— It opens not the living grave Where prison'd souls in bondage lie: This is the work of God most high. He in His wisdom forms the plan; His chosen instrument is man, To bear the torch of Truth abroad Wherever darkness hath abode; To scare the demons into flight, And shed around supernal light. Thou warrior brave! thou chief beloved! Thy valour has been well approved On many a bloody battle field, Where foes were forced to fly or yield. Yet I would twine around thy brow A fresher, fairer wreath than thou Hast ever won, or worn in war, With freedom's foes, to drive afar The Bourbon tyrant from the land That groan'd beneath his ruthless hand. Would'st thou thy loved Italia see United, prosperous, and free? Then know this ne'er can be attained Though sword, and arm, and nerve be strained In hottest warfare in the cause Of civil freedom. I must pause. Ere I conclude, the good is gained, While yet the Papacy retained A power to hold, control, and bind In slavish bonds the warriors' mind. Let them, let all, with candour true, The Scriptures search—to God is due The soul's allegiance. Homage pay To Him alone. The glorious day Of truth revealed, with hallowed light Shall chase the shades of Papal night; Then shall thy loved Italia be United, prosperous, and free.
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