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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 searchto 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.



Janet Hamilton


Janet Hamilton's other poems:
  1. The Civil War in America
  2. The Highlands of Scotland
  3. Duleep Singh
  4. Address and Welcome to J. B. Gough
  5. Lines on the Trial of Madeline Smith for the Murder of L'Angelier


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