Mother of heroes, from thy
I TALY, since the famous days of old, had been wrapt in sleep. The land of Dante was dead, as far as Europe was concerned. She was only a name, only a "geographical expression." The Italians were practically the slaves of Austria. At the famous Congress of Vienna, the land had been parcelled out into dukedoms and provinces, "like so many slices of a ripe Dutch cheese."
Let us tell the wonderful story of her awakening.
When she yet lay in the fetters of Austria, early in the nineteenth century, one man—the pale,
"Young Italy," he says, "is a brotherhood of Italians, who believe in a law of progress and duty, and are convinced that Italy is destined to become a nation."
As a nation, this mission was given them by God; God's law of progress promised its fulfilment. "God and the People" was the watchword of the new society, which by the summer of 1833, numbered some 60,000 young Italians. Amongst them was Garibaldi, the man who was later to play such a large part, in the liberation of his country.
But the founder of Young Italy was by this time an exile, and taking refuge in England, the land that has never refused shelter to the political outlaws of foreign countries.
"Italy is my country, but England is my home," he used to say in after days.
As the years rolled on, Italy grew more and more determined to throw off the yoke of Austria. In 1848, the
second French Revolution broke out. It was followed by the Hungarian rebellion; and the enthusiasm of Italy now
burst forth in all its
" 'Italia Una!' now the
From Alp to Etna: and her dreams were done,
And she herself had wakened into life,
Knew they were happy to have looked on her,
And felt it beautiful to die for her."
Events now moved fast. The northern states threw off the yoke of Austria;
the Pope fled from Rome on
"This is your king," he said miserably, as he bade farewell for ever to his young son, Victor Emmanuel, who knelt weeping before him. So saying, he passed from his kingdom and journeyed alone to exile and death. He did not live to see that son crowned the first King of United Italy.
Meanwhile Prince Louis Napoleon and most of the French people took up the cause of the Pope, and sent an army to Rome. In the face of danger, Mazzini's little Republic stood firm.
"Rome must do its duty and show a high example to every people," he said.
And heroically Rome prepared to resist overwhelming odds. The "Eternal City" was defended by Garibaldi and his
fierce band of volunteers. They were dressed in red woollen shirts and small caps—a strange company, with
their long beards
and wild black hair. The first shot was fired, and "a thrill of deathless passion ran through Rome." Week after
week Garibaldi and his band kept the
"Hunger and thirst and vigil I offer you," Garibaldi had told them, "but never terms with the enemy. Whoever loves his country and glory may follow us."
And into the darkness of the summer night rode the