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



By Anonymous

HIGH on Aspromonte flashed the red shirts early,

Up in the midst of them the glory of his face,

Low on Aspromonte, ere the day was over,

He was down and bleeding, bound in helpless case.

Hands of brothers poured that crimson,—nevermore

Tears can wash it from the holy Tricolor.

Alas! alas! could they hit him where he stood,

Himself thrown between the ranks, with passionate cries

Calling on them but to spare each other’s blood,

And so, falling, gave himself a sacrifice.

O the pity and the passion of that morrow,

When, all lost, all ended, he the invincible

Lay there stricken in his ruin and his sorrow,

Prisoner in the hands of those he loved too well.

Over rugged mountain-paths without complaint

Carried through long hours of torture, white and faint,

By the faithful, silent in his silence all,

Marching slow and soft as at a funeral.

Overhead all day the scorching August quivered,

While the laurel leaves looked sadness, shading him,

As they bore him from the land he had delivered,

Helpless, shattered, hot with anguish heart and limb;

No salute or sign or murmur as he passed;

But once, looking up, he waved his hand at last:

Farewell!—kneeling on the shore the people shivered,

Stretching out their hands long after the white sails had grown dim.