On barren strand they paused to gaze
At the Ticino passed,
And, in new destiny absorbed,
On ancient valour cast
Their faith and swore : " O ne'er again
Between strange banks flow by
This wave, nor on Italian earth
Barriers be raised on high ! "
Such was their oath ; to it replied
Their brothers unafraid ;
Glinted in sunshine the drawn swords
They whetted in the shade ;
Already hand is clasped in hand,
The sacred words are said :
" O brothers on redeemed soil,
Comrades on dying bed ! "
Who Dora's streams, Bormida she
Tanaro's chosen bride,
Ticino, wooded Orba, can
From the Po's waves divide ;
Who lead astray swift Mella's and
The Oglio's mingled tide ;
Who stem the myriad torrents poured
From Adda's mouth so wide ;
Can scatter to their bitter scorn
A risen folk again,
And back through time and hazard thrust
Them unto ancient pain ;
A people liberated or
Enslaved from Alp to sea,
But one in faith and speech and cause.
In race, love, memory !
With humble and discouraged mien,
With fearful, faltering glance,
As tolerated beggar who
In a strange place doth chance,
The Lombard in his homeland bode
Bowed to another's will,
Ignoring fate, his only part
To suffer and be still.
Strangers, Italia takes her own
Once more ; lo, her new birth !
O strangers, strike your tents, for this
Is not your mother earth !
From Cenis unto Scylla's height
Have you not heard the shock ?
Nor underneath barbaric feet
Felt how the ground doth rock ?
O strangers, shame for trust betrayed
Your standard mars to-day ;
The words you proffered go with you
Into the impious fray,
With you who cried aloud : " O God,
The stranger put to flight,
Set all the peoples free, destroy
The sword's iniquitous might ! "
If your oppressors lie beneath
The earth that saw you bound.
If despots' faces in those days
So terrible you found,
Who told you, endless and in vain
Would be Italian grief,
And deaf unto our moans the God
Who granted you relief ? ;
The God who under crimson waves
Drowned Israel's cruel foe.
Who put the hammer into Jael's
Firm grasp and aimed the blow ;
Our Father, whom no Teuton heard
Say : " Where you have not sown.
Go, reap ; put out your claws and take
Italia for your own ! "
O loved Italia, where the cry
Of thy long servitude
Was heard, and where the nations are
With hope and faith endued,
Where liberty is in full flower
Or ripens secretly,
Where tears flow for misfortune, there's
No heart but beats for thee !
How often from the Alps hast sought
A friendly standard raised,
How often on the empty waste
Of the two seas hast gazed !
Behold, sprung from thy womb, ranged round
Thy sacred colours three,
Strong, armed with their own grief, thy sons
Risen to strike for thee !
To-day, O valiant ones, let wrath
Long hidden be displayed.
And for Italia triumph, in
Your hands her fate is laid !
Risen through you we shall behold
Her midst the nations placed,
Or humbled, mocked, enslaved, and 'neath
A bitter rod disgraced.
O days of our redemption, O
Unhappy he alway
Who hears of you from other lips
As stranger, who one day,
Telling his children of you, needs
Must sigh : " I was not there ! ",
Who to the sacred victor-sign
His greeting did not bear !