The Navvy’s Cross

I, wandering up by steep St. Jacomo,
        Where, swift for Barbarossa’s ancient halls
        The Liro leaps, and fills the valley walls
With thunder, thought how hither long ago
Macdonald pushed his cannon through the snow,
        Battling with winter; heard his bugle-calls,
        Saw regiments swept to death by avalanche falls,
Men mad for fear, who quailed not at the foe.

Fame of thy deed, Macdonald, shall not cease
    While men praise war; but lo! this iron cross
        Tells how some simple labourer toiling died:
        You hewed a mountain path in warrior pride—
    His venture was a nobler thing—his loss
Dear life, in service of the way of Peace.

(Sonnets in Switzerland and Italy, p. 80)