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PESCHIERA

By
Arthur Hugh Clough
1819-1861



NOTE: This pertains to a battle in Peschiera, Italy in 1849.   It also contains a well known quote ----
'Tis better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all.

&/\&/\&
 

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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