The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 7

Author: Giuseppe Mazzini  | Date: 1848


To the Young Men of Italy*

Ah, had we all arisen strong in the sanctity of the idea for which our martyrs died; had the holy standard of their faith inspired our youth to battle; had we made of our every thought an action, and of our every action a thought; had we leaned from them that liberty and independence are one, we should not now have war, but victory! Cosenza would not be compelled to venerate the memory of her martyrs in secret, nor Venice be restrained from honoring them with a monument. We, here gathered together, then might gladly invoke those sacred names without uncertainty as to our future destiny or a cloud of sadness on our brows; and we might say to those precursor souls: "Rejoice, for your spirit is incarnate in your brethren, and they are worthy of you." Could Attilio and EmilioBandira and their fellow martyrs now rise from the grave and speak to you, they would, believe me, address you, tho with a power very different from that which is given to me in counsel not unlike that which I now utter.

Love is the flight of the soul toward God: toward the great, the sublime, and the beautiful, which are the shadows of God upon earth. Love your family; the partner of your life; those around you, ready to share your joys and sorrows; the dead who were dear to you, and to whom you were dear. Love your country. It is your name, your glory, your sign among the peoples. Give to it your thought, your counsel, your blood. You are twenty-four millions of men, endowed with active and splendid faculties; with a tradition of glory which is the envy of the nations of Europe. An immense future is before you. Your eyes are raised to the loveliest heaven, and around you smiles the loveliest land in Europe. You are encircled by the Alps and the sea, boundaries marked out by the finger of God for a people of giants.

And you must be such, or nothing. Let not a man of that twenty-four millions remain excluded from the fraternal bond which shall join you together; let not a look be raised to heaven which is not that of a free man. Love humanity. You can only ascertain your own mission from the aim placed by God before humanity at large. Beyond the Alps, beyond the sea, are other peoples, now fighting, or preparing to fight, the holyfight of independence, of nationality, of liberty; other peoples striving by different routes to reach the same goal. Unite with them and they will unite with you.

And, young men, love and reverence the Ideal; that is the country of the spirit, the city of the soul, in which all are brethren who believe in the inviolability of thought, and in the dignity of our immortal natures. From that high sphere spring the principles which alone can redeem peoples. Love enthusiasm—the pure dreams of the virgin soul, and the lofty visions of early youth; for they are the perfume of Paradise, which the soul preserves in issuing from the hands of its Creator. Respect, above all things, your conscience; have upon your lips the truth that God has placed in your hearts; and, while working together in harmony in all that tends to the emancipation of our soil, even with those who differ from you, yet ever bear erect your own banner, and boldly promulgate your faith.

Such words, young men, would the martyrs of Cosenza have spoken had they been living among you. And here, where, perhaps, invoked by our love, their holy spirits hover near us, I call upon you to gather them up in your hearts, and to make of them a treasure amid the storms that yet threaten you, but which, with the name of our martyrs on your lips, and their faith in your hearts, you will overcome. God be with you and bless Italy!

*From an address at Milan on the 25th of July, 1848, delivered by request at a solemn commemoration of the death of the brothers Bandira and others at Cosenza. Contemporary translation revised for this collection.
Attilio and Emilio Bandira, natives of Naples and sons of Admiral Bandira, attempted to effect a rising of patriots on the Calabrian coast in 1844, and were arrested and executed by the Neapolitan government at Cosenza.Before the walls of Cosenza died Alaric, king of the West Goths, in 410, after having twice sacked Rome.

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Chicago: Giuseppe Mazzini, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 7 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), 227–229. Original Sources, accessed September 24, 2021,

MLA: Mazzini, Giuseppe. The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 7, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. 7, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, pp. 227–229. Original Sources. 24 Sep. 2021.

Harvard: Mazzini, G, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 7. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York, pp.227–229. Original Sources, retrieved 24 September 2021, from