D’Annunzio and Quarto Speech

The  Italian writer, poet, journalist, playwright Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863 – 1938), played an important role during the Great War (remember this post and this other one). After the beginning of the conflict in Europe in 1914, D’Annunzio returned to Italy and made public speeches in favor of Italy’s entry on the side of the Triple Entente. The most famous of these speeches is the “Discorso di Quarto” (near Genoa), held on May 4, 1915 (98 years ago, then).

O blessed those who have more, for they will be able to give more, to be more ardent… Blessed be thos who, waiting and trusting, have not wasted their strength, but preserved it by means of a warrior’s discipline. Blesses be those who shunned sterile loves to keep their virginity for this first and last love of their life. Blessed be those who, having opposed the event [the war], will accept in silence the supreme necessity and will want to be, not the last, but the first ones [to sacrifice themselves]. Blessed be the youths who hunger and thirst for glory, for they will be sated. Blesses be the merciful ones, for they will cleanse a luminous blood and bind a shining grief. Blesses be the pure of the heart, blesses be thos who will return victorious, for they will see Rome’s new visage, Dante’s forehead crowned anew, Italy’s triumphant beauty”.

(source: Alfredo Bonadeo, D’Annunzio and the Great War, p. 73)

Even if this spech was considered as a farce and parody of the Sermon on the Mount, it helped to change Italian public opinion and prepared it for the entry of war of the country less than three weeks later.



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