Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
The Italian People
By Gabriello Chiabrera (1552–1638)
Translated by Sir Aubrey de Vere

WHEN Italy’s proud heart imposed the yoke
  On the barbaric crew, and in the throng
  Of her pale slaves led captive kings along,
Triumphantly, to the old Tarpeian rock;
Not then her warriors girt them for the shock        5
  Of arms to cadence of Idalian song;
  But with a martial zeal; while deep and strong
O’er their fierce souls the tide of vengeance broke.
Lo! through the whirlwind, ’neath the lightning’s glance,
Their thirsty spears, their iron limbs advance,        10
  Making earth terrible! We, day by day,
To dalliance, and sweet sound, and idle dance,
  Contented give our dastard souls away;
Prize of triumphant Force, each robber-despot’s prey!

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