John Hay

John Hay

October 8, 1838 - July 1, 1905


The Prayer Of The Romans

by John Hay

Not done, but near its ending,
Is the work that our eyes desired;
Not yet fulfilled, but near the goal,
Is the hope that our worn hearts fired.
And on the Alban Mountains,
Where the blushes of dawn increase,
We see the flash of the beautiful feet
Of Freedom and of Peace!

How long were our fond dreams baffled! --
Novara's sad mischance,
The Kaiser's sword and fetter-lock,
And the traitor stab of France;
Till at last came glorious Venice,
In storm and tempest home;
And now God maddens the greedy kings,
And gives to her people Rome.

Lame Lion of Caprera!
Red-shirts of the lost campaigns!
Not idly shed was the costly blood
You poured from generous veins.
For the shame of Aspromonte,
And the stain of Mentana's sod,
But forged the curse of kings that sprang
From your breaking hearts to God!

We lift our souls to thee, O Lord
Of Liberty and of Light!
Let not earth's kings pollute the work
That was done in their despite;
Let not thy light be darkened
In the shade of a sordid crown,
Nor pampered swine devour the fruit
Thou shook'st with an earthquake down!

Let the People come to their birthright,
And crosier and crown pass away
Like phantasms that flit o'er the marshes
At the glance of the clean, white day.
And then from the lava of Ætna
To the ice of the Alps let there be
One freedom, one faith without fetters,
One republic in Italy free!


Copyright 1897
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston