Two Nations

Two Nations

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Two Nations  by Algernon Charles Swinburne

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Two Nations

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She clasped thee, O her sword and flag-bearer And staff and shield to her, O Garibaldi; need was hers and grief, Of thee and of the chief, And of another girt in arms to stand As good of hope and hand, As high of soul and happy, albeit indeed The heart should burn and bleed, So but the spirit shake not nor the breast Swerve, but abide its rest. As theirs did and as thine, though ruin clomb The highest wall of Rome, Though treason stained and spilt her lustral water, And slaves led slaves to slaughter, And priests, praying and slaying, watched them pass From a strange France, alas, That was not freedom; yet when these were past Thy sword and thou stood fast, Till new men seeing thee where Sicilian waves Hear now no sound of slaves, And where thy sacred blood is fragrant still Upon the Bitter Hill, Seeing by that blood one country saved and stained, Less loved thee crowned than chained, And less now only than the chief: for he, Father of Italy, Upbore in holy hands the babe new-born

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