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The Youth of England To Garibaldi's Legend



O ye who by the gaping earth
Where, faint with resurrection, lay
An empire struggling into birth,
Her storm-strown beauty cold with clay,
The free winds round her flowery head,
Her feet still rooted with the dead,

Leaned on the unconquered arms that clave
Her tomb like Judgment, and foreknew
The life for which you rent the grave,
Would rise to breathe, beam, beat for you,
In every pulse of passionate mood,
A people's glorious gratitude,-

But heard, far off, the mobled woe
Of some new plaintiff for the light;
And leave your dear reward, and go
In haste, yet once again to smite
The hills, and, like a flood, unlock
Another nation from the rock;

Oh ye who, sure of nought but God
And death, go forth to turn the page
Of life, and in your heart's best blood
Date anew the chaptered age;
Ye o'er whom, as the abyss
O'er Curtius, sundered worlds shall kiss,

Do ye dream what ye have done?
What ye are and shall be? Nay,
Comets rushing to the sun,
And dyeing the tremendous way
With glory, look not back, nor know
How they blind the earth below.

From wave to wave our race rolls on,
In seas that rise, and fall, and rise;
Our tide of Man beneath the moon
Sets from the verge to yonder skies;
Throb after throb the ancient might
In such a thousand hills renews the earliest height.

'Tis something, o'er that moving vast,
To look across the centuries
Which heave the purple of a past
That was, and is not, and yet is,
And in that awful light to see
The crest of far Thermopylæ,

And, as a fisher draws his fly
Ripple by ripple, from shore to shore,
To draw our floating gaze, and try
The more by less, the less by more,
And find a peer to that sublime
Old height in the last surge of time.

'Tis something: yet great Clio's reed,
Greek with the sap of Castaly,
In her most glorious word midway
Begins to weep and bleed;
And Clio, lest she burn the line
Hides her blushing face divine,

While that maternal muse, so white
And lean with trying to forget,
Moves her mute lips, and, at the sight,
As if all suns that ever set
Slanted on a mortal ear
What man can feel but cannot hear,

We know, and know not how we know,
That when heroic Greece uprist,
Sicilia broke a daughter's vow,
And failed the inexorable tryst,-
We know that when those Spartans drew
Their swords-too many and too few!-

A presage blanched the Olympian hill
To moonlight: the old Thunderer nods;
But all the sullen air is chill
With rising Fates and younger gods.
Jove saw his peril and spake: one blind
Pale coward touched them with mankind.

What, then, on that Sicanian ground
Which soured the blood of Greece to shame,
To make the voice of praise resound
A triumph that, if Grecian fame
Blew it on her clarion old,
Had warmed the silver trump to gold!

What, then, brothers! to brim o'er
The measure Greece could scarcely brim,
And, calling Victory from the dim
Of that remote Thessalian shore,
Make his naked limbs repeat
What in the harness of defeat

He did of old; and, at the head
Of modern men, renewing thus
Thermopylæ, with Xerxes fled
And every Greek Leonidas,
Untitle the proud Past and crown
The heroic ages in our own!

Oh ye, whom they who cry 'how long'
See, and-as nestlings in the nest
Sink silent-sink into their rest;
Oh ye, in whom the Right and Wrong
That this old world of Day and Night
Crops upon its black and white,

Shall strike, and, in the last extremes
Of final best and worst, complete
The circuit of your light and heat;
Oh ye who walk upon our dreams,
And live, unknowing how or why
The vision and the prophecy,

In every tabernacled tent-
Eat shew-bread from the altar, and wot
Not of it-drink a sacrament
At every draught and know it not-
Breathe a nobler year whose least
Worst day is as the fast and feast

Of men-and, with such steps as chime
To nothing lower than the ears
Can hear to whom the marching spheres
Beat the universal time
Thro' our Life's perplexity,
March the land and sail the sea,

O'er those fields where Hate hath led
So oft the hosts of Crime and Pain-
March to break the captive's chain,
To heal the sick, to raise the dead,
And, where the last deadliest rout
Of furies cavern, to cast out

Those Dæmons,-ay, to meet the fell
Foul belch of s
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:58 min read
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Sydney Thompson Dobell

Sydney Thompson Dobell, English poet and critic, was born at Cranbrook, Kent. more…

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