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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley

Our Welcome to Garibaldi

Welcome, because the glory of thy wreath
Had never shade nor stain;
Because thy sword sprang never from its sheath
Except to cleave a chain;
Because thy hands, outstretched to all who live,
Armed, not for thine own sake,
So strong to save, opened so wide to give,
Do not know how to take;
Because the crown thy brows have put away
Shall for thy name endure;
Because the life thou scornest every day
As a child's hope is pure;
Because thy foes can reckon to thy charge,
Only the noble crime
Of faith too liberal and love too large
For this unworthy time.
And when a land made feeble by despair
Could only writhe and groan,
Thou, making war beneficent as prayer,
Didst succour her alone.
What others dreamed, thou didst. Oppression fled,
The hope of years was wrought;
Thou only unamazed, whose daily bread
Had been heroic thought.
And when thy dark hour came, which comes to all,
Thou didst not lose thy crown,
Nor stain it, seeming greater in thy fall
Than those who cast thee down.
Out of the deep still speaking to the heights
In accents of a king;
With conscience which through thirty sleepless nights
Could find no place to sting.
Therefore the heart of England welcomes thee
As to thy proper throne;
Therefore the light and life of Italy
Seem almost like our own;
Nay, by these modern watchfires, as they burn
On heights of hope or fear,
Our old familiar Freedom may discern
How great she is, how dear.
And, taught by men who, suffering, win the same,
She, suffering, won of yore,
She, counting years for hours, may take some shame
That she has done no more;
That any poor or vile are in her lands,
Shaming the great and free;
That any soil yet lingers on the hands
Stretched forth to welcome thee!

Menella Bute Smedley

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. Jack and Ned
  2. One and Another
  3. The Shadow from the Valley
  4. Song (O Moon)
  5. A Sea-Side Fancy

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