Arthur Hugh Clough
What voice did on my spirit fall,
Peschiera ! When thy bridge I cross'd?
"'Tis better to have fought and lost
Than never to have fought at all ! "
The tricolour --- a trampled rag
Lies, dirt and dust; the lines I track
By sentry boxes, yellow-black,
Lead up to no Italian flag.
I see the Croat soldier stand
Upon the grass of your redoubts;
The eagle with his black wings flouts
The breadth and beauty of your land.
Yet not in vain, although in vain,
O men of Brescia ! on the day
Of loss past hope I heard you say
Your welcome to the noble pain.
You said --- " Since so it is, goodbye,
Sweet life ! High hope ! But whatsoe'er
May be, or must, no tongue shall dare
To tell --- the Lombard fear'd to die."
You said (O not in vain you said ) ---
"Haste, brothers ! Haste, while yet we may,
The hours ebb fast of this one day
When blood may yet be nobly shed."
Ah ! Not for idle hatred, not
For honour, fame, nor self-applause,
But for the glory of the Cause
You did what will not be forgot.
And though the stranger stand, 'tis true, ---
By force and fortune's right he stands :
By fortune, which is in God's hands;
And strength, which yet shall spring in you.
This voice did on my spirit fall,
Peschiera ! When thy bridge I cross'd;
"Tis better to have fought and lost
Than never to have fought at all.
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