The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

On the Italian Front, MCMXVI

"I will die cheering, if I needs must die;

So shall my last breath write upon my lips

Viva Italia! when my spirit slips

Down the great darkness from the mountain sky;

And those who shall behold me where I lie

Shall murmur: 'Look, you! how his spirit dips

From glory into glory! the eclipse

Of death is vanquished! Lo, his victor-cry!'

"Live, thou, upon my lips, Italia mine,

The sacred death-cry of my frozen clay!

Let thy dear light from my dead body shine

And to the passer-by thy message say:

'Ecco! though heaven has made my skies divine,

My sons' love sanctifies my soil for aye!'"