Alessandro Manzoni - Opera Omnia >>  The Pentecost Introduction    
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ilmanzoni text integral passage complete quotation of the sources works historical five may poetry ode napoleon the fifth may in verses prologue

Translated by Rev. J.F. Bingham

    Mother of the sons of God,
Image of the house supernal,
Conservator of the Blood
Ever changeless and eternal,
Thou who while the ages wear
Spread'st thy tents unfailingly,
Battling, suffering, voiced with prayer,
Here and to the farthest sea,

    Camp of those whose hope is might,
Church of Him who is eternal,
Where wast thou? -- what pit or height
Hid thee at thy birth supernal,
When thy King, by traitor-bands
Doomed to die on calvary,
Purpled o'er those hallowed sands --
Altar for eternity?

    When the sacred Body, come
From sepulchral darkness free,
Mighty, from the breathless tomb,
Breathed a new vitality;
And when in His hand He brought
Price of pardon, paid alone,
From this earthy world of naught
Rising to His Father's throne;

    Thou, companion of His groaning,
Knowing then as knowing now
His mysterious atoning,
Deathless daughter, where wast thou? --
Terror-stricken, watching only
Where thou mad'st thy hidden stay,
In oblivion and lonely,
Waiting for that promised day,

    When descending on thee came
The renewing SPIRIT, and
Bright, an unconsume'd flame
Kindled on thy glowing hand;
When, a signal on the mountain,
He re-set thee in thy place,
And upon thy lips the fountain
Opened of redeeming grace.

    As the swift descending light
Showers, while morning twilight closes,
Waking varied colors bright
Where its golden foot reposes,
So the voices multiplied,
Instinct with the SPIRIT's word,
Arab, Parthian, Elamide
Each in his own idiom heard:

    "Pagan men from every shore,
Lo, Solima's mystery!
Cease vain idols to adore,
List the holy, heavenly cry:
'Weary of defiled ways,
Earth, O earth return to HIM.' " --
Ye, also, of coming days
Opening now that happier time,

    Spouses, whom a leap advises
Of the burden yet concealed
And the trembling heart premises
Augured pains of womb unsealed,
To no goddess now accord
Worship, vow, or mother's prayer;
A deposit for the LORD
Is the creature growing there.

    Shall she tasting slavery's curse
Kiss her baby with a sigh
And on happy breasts that nurse
Free born gaze with envying eye?
To the poor the LORD doth give
Heirship in the realm He bought
And on every child of Eve
In His saving sorrow thought.

    Liberty before unknown
Speak the heavens, and nations new,
Conquests new, and glory won,
Virtue fairer to pursue,
Peace new-born that aye abides,
Peace that fears nor smiles can shake
Nor worldly wiles. The world derides
Giving not and cannot take.

    O prevailing SPIRIT, come
To Thy solemn altars! We,
Hermits in a forest home,
Wanderers on the lonely sea
From Lebanon to Andes hoar,
From Erin's green to bald Haiti,
Scattered over every shore,
Joined into one heart by Thee,

    We implore Thee! O forgiving
SPIRIT, now descend again,
Aid Thy own in holy living,
Aid, also, unknowing men;
Come and re-create; revive
Dead hearts> doubting and in sins;
Vanquish and the vanquished give,
Divine reward, Thyself who wins.

    Come as Love and softly lay
Haughty passion, ire, revenge;
Thoughts inspire the final day,
Full of memories, will not change;
All the gifts Thy grace disposes
Nourish with perennial power,
As the quickening Sun uncloses
From the inactive germ the flower,

    Which, unsolaced and unfed,
On the sod will slowly die,
Lifting ne'er its bloom outspread
In all the colors of the sky,
Unless to it, fused in air,
Soft returns, genial and bright,
Giver of vigor everywhere,
Tireless commissary, heavenly light.

    We implore Thee! comfort bring
On the thoughts of them who weep,
Soft as evening Zephyrs wing,
Soothing as breezes from the deep.
Fall a whirlwind on the haughty
Thoughts of selfish, cruel men;
Breathe a fear to teach their naughty
Spirits piety again.

    Through Thee may the poor his eye
Lifting heavenward -- to his own --
Turn his sighs to songs of joy
Thinking on his LIKES unknown.
Him with pienty graced to live
Wearing smiles that goodness wakes
In shrinking silence mind to give --
Which with Thee acceptance makes.

    Breathe into the ineffable smile,
Of our darling infant throng;
Cheeks of every damosel
Crimson deep at hint of wrong;
To the hidden virgins send
Hidden joys like those above;
Innocent bliss to spouses lend,
Faith and consecrated love;

    Temper the glow1 of ardent youth,
Proud self-confidence forfend;
Prosper manhood's plans of truth
Onward, upward to their end.
Crown the head of hoary hairs
With glory holiness doth paint;
Brighten the wandering gaze that wears
The dying visions of the saint.


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