Italia! Oh Italia! Thou who hast
The fatal gift of beauty, which became
A funeral dower of present woes and past,
On thy sweet brow is sorrow ploughed by shame
And annals graved in characters of flame.
Oh God! That thou wert in thy nakedness
Less lovely or more powerful, and couldst claim
Thy right, and awe the robbers back, who press
To shed thy blood, and drink the tears of thy distress.
Then might’st thou more appal, or less desired,
Be homely and be peaceful, undeplored
For thy destructive charms; then still untired,
Would not be seen the armed torrents poured
Down the deep Alps; nor would the hostile horde
Of many-nationed spoilers from the Po
Quaff blood and water; nor the stranger’s sword
Be thy sad weapon of defence, and so,
Victor or vanquished, thou the slave of friend or foe.
This poem by Lord Byron is made up of two stanzas, each stanza consists of 9 lines that have regular length and begin with a capital letter. There is a regular punctuation. The rhyme scheme is: ABABBCBCC DDDDDEDEE.
In the first part there are a lot of archaisms. In this poem there are many run-on-lines and a lot of archaisms. There is a personification of Italia in lines 1-10. The poem starts with an exclamation and after there are two oxymoron. The adjective “fatal” (line 2) is connected to adjective “funeral”(line 3).
The poem starts with two exclamations “Italia! Oh Italia!, the poet addresses Italy remembering her past beauty, cause of the invasion of many people, in fact the poet uses the oxymoron to indicate this contrasted beauty : “fatal gift” and “destructive charms”. This is a poem about Italy, because Byron left England for political reasons and go to Italy.