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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


A Voice from Piedmont

By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)

BEND from that heaven, whose visioned glories gave,

Thou blind old bard, the splendor of thy song,

And give the godlike words which mortals crave,

To speak, exulting, o’er the fallen wrong!

For lo! the avenger of that hour of blood

Has heard at last thy summons, stern and grand,—

Has freed the children of the slaughtered brood,

In the cold Alpine land!

O, at the tardy word, whose thunder broke

The chains of ages from that suffering flock,

Methinks the mountain’s giant soul awoke,

And thrilled beneath the eternal ribs of rock!

The ancient glaciers brightened in the sky;

Beneath them, shouting, burst the jubilant rills,

And the white Alps of Piedmont made reply

To the free Vaudois hills!

And far below, in the green pasture-vales,

The Waldense shepherd knelt upon the sod,

While chapel-bells chimed on the mountain gales

And every châlet sent its hymn to God!

Matron and sire, and sweet-voiced peasant-maid,

And the strong hunter from the steeps of snow,

Looked up to Him, whose help their fathers prayed,

Through years of blood and woe.

Build now the sepulchres of martyrs old:

Gather the scattered bones from every glen

Where the red waves of pitiless slaughter rolled,

When fell those brave and steadfast-hearted men!

Piedmont is free! and brightening with the years,

Shall Freedom’s sun upon her mountains shine;

While her proud children say, with joyous tears,

“The glory, Lord, be thine!”