Centro Risorse Territoriale di Pesaro e Urbino

George Nelson Page, his Irish horse and Achille Starace

Report Broken Link Change Language
Language Switch Cloud Preload
Current Language: English
You can select another language:
‹« ItalianItalian »›
or Close this window.

CSS Stonewall

Captain Thomas Jefferson Page

Captain Thomas Jefferson Page
Commander of the
CSS Stonewall
(in his Roman years
a.k.a “The Commodore”)
Father of George Blunt Page
Grandfather of
George Nelson Page
Rome 1906-Zürich 1982
a.k.a “the American of Rome”
Since 1934 an Italian citizen
And a high official at the
“Ministero della Cultura Popolare”

Rather than suffer the Yankees’oppression
Tough Captain Thomas J. Page gave the slip
To the US and to Spain his warship
At the end of the War of Secession

He then decided to expatriate
-Maintaining his old citizenship-
To Argentina and to the Papal State
He died in Rome; his life was a long trip

His son George Blunt, a banker of substance,
Was the father of that George Nelson Page
Who quit his American allegiance
In the heyday of the Fascist age
And got a good job at the top
Of the Culture Ministry or ‘Minculpop’

Born and raised in Rome with a family tree
As tall and leafy as Virginia’s history
George lived the life of ease and luxury
Of the rich American colony
Among the black and white nobility
Devoted to His Holiness the Pope
Or faithful to the King of Italy
Who consigned the burden of the monarchy
To Mussolini the country’s fresh hope

George loved horses and in all things equine
The Irish breeds were his unique guideline
His father, an indulgent millionaire,
Bought him a colt in the Curragh of kildare
Tombolino by name and the pride
Of Rome’s riding-track and countryside

One morning he was riding in a park
When Starace the top Fascist hierarch
And a horseman of some accomplishment
Suddenly paid a heartfelt compliment
To Tombolino‘s refined pedigree
But as soon as he heard the horse was Irish
He got angry and didn’t let George finish
“You wealthy men are all alike to me
We’d have better horses if your money
was spent here and not wasted in England
(Which to him was just the same as Ireland)

Starace was like that: boorish and coarse
But Page said his Fascist youth organization
Brought about the sport popularization
That turned poor boys who had never seen a horse
Into good riders at home in the racecourse

And actually one can’t help but feel
The likely influence of the GIL
The Fascist “Gioventù del Littorio”
In the postwar movie of Vittorio
De Sica entitled “Shoeshiner”
An Academy Award Winner

In a wartime Rome full of destitutes
Two boys make money shining GI boots
and purchase a horse for their own pleasure
But the older shoeshiner’s riding posture
Shows how deep sank the populist roots
Of Achille Starace’s fixation
For sport and physical education

(Lamberto Bozzi, 30.4.2013)

The materials published on this site can be used freely. In case of publication, websites included, please request the authorization of the Teachers Resources Center.