Linton- Life in the Collections
William James Linton:
57) For Italy: Ora e Sempre. (To the Future).
n.p. (London) April 1848
The 16-page pamphlet has been published anonymously.
The poem praises the prospects of European Republican insurgencies. The influence of Shelley is obvious, but also an impact from the high dictions of Walter Savage Landor’s revolutionary odes The Italics (1848) can be traced. Linton would later republish this promising hymn several times, but always together with its complement The Dirge of the Nations, which he wrote in November 1848 after the failure of the revolutions and the experience of bitter frustration. The Mazzinian motto on the cover Ora e Sempre would become the battle cry of the Italian anti-fascist Resistenza a century later. Linton used this slogan in the masthead of his journal The Cause of the People and painted it on the wall of his house in Brantwood in the Lake District, where it was smeared by the following owner.
The Italian cause had been of utmost symbolic significance for the Republican movement worldwide. The shaping of an Italian nation out of the fragments of the old Habsburgean empire was not only connected with the expectation of a final decline of monarchy, but also of a resurgence of the ancient Roman republicanism. This time it would be constituted on an even larger level as a global empire of democratic Republican nations. The theorist of the Risorgimento Giuseppe Mazzini, who had to spend long distances of his life in his London exile, had the appeal of a religious leader. After the fall of the second Roman Republic his position turned from being a salvator of the republican movement into a martyr and he thus was even more effectiv. Mazzini’s impact on 19th century culture has not been researched sufficiently. The predominant part of the painterly efforts of his dedicated follower Linton can be considered as Mazzinian propaganda, Italian landscapes evocative of a boundless expanse.
It is to be assumed that this pamphlet had been launched in the context of the activities of Mazzini’s Peoples’ International League and his congratulatory address to the Republican Government of France: “In London, in 1847, at the instigation of Mazzini, and informed by him, the Peoples’ International League was founded, with the following objects: To enlighten the British public as to the political condition and relations of foreign countries; To disseminate the principles of national freedom and progress; To embody and manifest an efficient public opinion in favour of the right of every people to self-government and the maintenance of their own nationality;"To promote a good understanding between the peoples of all countries. (...) So much good work was accomplished by the League, and the work continued until the revolutionary events in Europe beginning with the February days in Paris, and the departure of Mazzini (the informing spirit of the League) for Italy, stayed proceedings. The last action was a congratulatory address to the Provisional Government of France. (...) Returning from Paris, with hope of reviving our chartist agitation, I began the publishing of the Cause of the People, a weekly newspaper, nominally edited by myself and G. J. Holyoake, but for which Holyoake did nothing.”