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Songs Before Sunrise   By: (1837-1909)

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Dedication to Joseph Mazzini Prelude The Eve of Revolution A watch in the Night Super Flumina Babylonis The halt before Rome Mentana: First Anniversary Blessed among Women The Litany of Nations Hertha Before a crucifix Tenebrae Hymn of man The pilgrims Armand Barbes Quia Multum Amavit Genesis To Walt Whitman in America Christmas Antiphones A New Year's Message Mater Dolorosa Mater Triumphalis A Marching Song Siena Cor Cordium In San Lorenzo Tiresias The Song of the Standard On the Downs Messidor Ode on the Insurrection in Candia "Non Dolet" Eurydice An Appeal Perinde ac Cadaver Monotones The Oblation A Year's Burden Epilogue Notes


Take, since you bade it should bear, These, of the seed of your sowing, Blossom or berry or weed. Sweet though they be not, or fair, That the dew of your word kept growing, Sweet at least was the seed.

Men bring you love offerings of tears, And sorrow the kiss that assuages, And slaves the hate offering of wrongs, And time the thanksgiving of years, And years the thanksgiving of ages; I bring you my handful of songs.

If a perfume be left, if a bloom, Let it live till Italia be risen, To be strewn in the dust of her car When her voice shall awake from the tomb England, and France from her prison, Sisters, a star by a star.

I bring you the sword of a song, The sword of my spirit's desire, Feeble; but laid at your feet, That which was weak shall be strong, That which was cold shall take fire, That which was bitter be sweet.

It was wrought not with hands to smite, Nor hewn after swordsmiths' fashion, Nor tempered on anvil of steel; But with visions and dreams of the night, But with hope, and the patience of passion, And the signet of love for a seal.

Be it witness, till one more strong, Till a loftier lyre, till a rarer Lute praise her better than I, Be it witness before you, my song, That I knew her, the world's banner bearer, Who shall cry the republican cry.

Yea, even she as at first, Yea, she alone and none other, Shall cast down, shall build up, shall bring home; Slake earth's hunger and thirst, Lighten, and lead as a mother; First name of the world's names, Rome.


Between the green bud and the red Youth sat and sang by Time, and shed From eyes and tresses flowers and tears, From heart and spirit hopes and fears, Upon the hollow stream whose bed Is channelled by the foamless years; And with the white the gold haired head Mixed running locks, and in Time's ears Youth's dreams hung singing, and Time's truth Was half not harsh in the ears of Youth.

Between the bud and the blown flower Youth talked with joy and grief an hour, With footless joy and wingless grief And twin born faith and disbelief Who share the seasons to devour; And long ere these made up their sheaf Felt the winds round him shake and shower The rose red and the blood red leaf, Delight whose germ grew never grain, And passion dyed in its own pain.

Then he stood up, and trod to dust Fear and desire, mistrust and trust, And dreams of bitter sleep and sweet, And bound for sandals on his feet Knowledge and patience of what must And what things may be, in the heat And cold of years that rot and rust And alter; and his spirit's meat Was freedom, and his staff was wrought Of strength, and his cloak woven of thought.

For what has he whose will sees clear To do with doubt and faith and fear, Swift hopes and slow despondencies? His heart is equal with the sea's And with the sea wind's, and his ear Is level to the speech of these, And his soul communes and takes cheer With the actual earth's equalities, Air, light, and night, hills, winds, and streams, And seeks not strength from strengthless dreams... Continue reading book >>

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