Imágenes de páginas

" Then the mountain echoes rang

“ In that valley, on that shore,
With the clangour of alarms :

When the graves give up their dead,
Shrill the signal trumpet sang;

At the trumpet's voice once more
All our warriors leapt to arms.

Shall those slumberers quit their bed.
“ On the margin of the flood,

“ For the glen that gave them birth
While the frantic foe drew nigh,

Hides their ashes in its womb :
Grim as watching wolves we stood,

0! 'tis venerable earth,
Prompt as eagles stretch'd to fly.

Freedom's cradle, freedom's tomb. « In a deluge upon land

“ Then on every side begun
Burst their overwhelming might;

That unutterable fight;
Back we hurld them from the strand,

Never rose th' astonishid sun
Oft returning to the fight.

On so horrible a sight.
“ Fierce and long the combat held-

“Once an eagle of the rock Till the waves were warm with blood,

('Twas an omen of our fate)
Till the booming waters swellia

Stoop'd, and from my scatter'd flock
As they sank beneath the flood.*

Bore a lambkin to his mate.
“For on that triumphant day

“ While the parents fed their young,
Underwalden's arms once more

Lo! a cloud of vultures lean,
Broke oppression's black array,

By voracious famine stung,
Dash'd invasion from her shore.

Wildly screaming, rush'd between.
“Gaul's surviving barks retired,

“ Fiercely fought the eagle-twain,
Muttering vengeance as they fled;

Though by multitudes opprest,
Hope in us, by conquest fired,

Till their little ones were slain,
Raised our spirits from the dead.

Till they perish'd on their nest.
“ From the dead our spirits rose,

• More unequal was the fray To the dead they soon return'd;

Which our band of brethren waged ;
Bright, on its eternal close,

More insatiate o'er their prey
Underwalden's glory burn'd.

Gaul's remorseless vultures raged. “Star of Switzerland! whose rays

“ In innumerable waves, Shed such sweet expiring light,

Swoln with fury, grim with blood,
Ere the Gallic comet's blaze

Headlong rolld the hordes of slaves,
Swept thy beauty into night :-

And ingulf'd us with a flood. “Star of Switzerland! thy fame

“ In the whirlpool of that flood, No recording bard hath sung;

Firm in fortitude divine,
Yet be thine immortal name

Like th' eternal rocks we stood,
Inspiration to my tongue !|

In the cataract of the Rhine.* “ While the lingering moon delay'd

“ Till by tenfold force assail'd, In the wilderness of night,

In a hurricane of fire,
Ere the morn awoke the shade

When at length our phalanx fail'd,
Into loveliness and light:-

Then our courage blazed the higher.

« Broken into feeble bands, “Gallia's tigers, wild for blood,

Fighting in dissever'd parts,
Darted on our sleeping fold:

Weak and weaker grew our hands,
Down the mountains, o’er the flood,
Dark as thunder clouds they rollid.

Strong and stronger still our hearts.

“ Fierce amid the loud alarms, “ By the trumpet's voice alarm’d,

Shouting in the foremost fray,
All the valley burst awake;

Children raised their little arms
All were in a moment arm's,

In their country's evil day.
From the barriers to the lake.

“On their country's dying bed,

Wives and husbands pour'd their breath; * The French made their first attack on the valley of Underwalden from the lake: but, after a desperate con

Many a youth and maiden bled, flict, they were victoriously repelled, and two of their

Married at thine altar, Death.† vessels, containing five hundred men, perished in the engagement.

+ In the last and decisive battle, the Underwalders * At Schaffhausen.-See Coxe's Travels. were overpowered by two French armies, which rushed + In this miserable conflich, many of the women and upon them from the opposite mountains, and surrounded children of the Underwalders fought in the ranks by their their

camp, while an assault, at the same time, was made husbands, and fathers, and friends, and fell gloriously for upon them from the lake.

their country.


[ocr errors]


“ Wildly scatter'd o'er the plain,

Bloodier still the battle grew ;-
O ye spirits of the slain,

“ Hail !-all hail! the patriot's grave,

Valour's venerable bed :
Slain on those your prowess slew :

Hail! the memory of the brave,
“Who shall now your deeds relate?

Hail! the spirits of the dead.
Ye that fell unwept, unknown;
Mourning for your country's fate,

6 Time their triumphs shall proclaim,
But rejoicing in your own.

And their rich reward be this,

Immortality of fam",
“ Virtue, valour, naught availa

Immortality of bliss."
With so merciless a foe;
When the nerves of heroes fail'd,
Cowards then could strike a blow.

“ On that melancholy plain,

In that conflict of despair,
“ Cold and keen th' assassin's blade

How was noble Albert slain ?
Smote the father to the ground;

How didst thou, old warrior, fare ?”
Through the infant's breast convey'd
To the mother's heart a wound.*

“Underwalden thus expired;

• In the agony of strise,

Where the heart of battle bled,
But at her expiring flame,
With fraternal feeling fired,

Where his country lost her life,

Glorious Albert bow'd his head,
Lo, a band of Switzers came.t

“ When our phalanx broke away,
“ From the steeps beyond the lake,

And our stoutest soldiers fell,
Like a winter's weight of snow,

Where the dark rocks dimm'd the day,
When the huge lavanges break,

Scowling o'er the deepest dell;
Devastating all below.
“ Down they rush'd with headlong might,

“ There, like lions old in blood,
Swifter than the panting wind;

Lions rallying round their den,

Albert and his warriors stood;
All before them fear and flight,

We were few, but we were men.
Death and silence all behind.

“ Breast to breast we fought the ground,
“ How the forest of the foe
Bow'd before the thunder strokes,

Arm to arm repellid the foe;

Every motion was a wound,
When they laid the cedars low,

And a death was every blow.
When they overwhelm'd the oaks.

“ Thus the clouds of sunset beam
“ Thus they hew'd their dreadful way;

Warmer with expiring light;
'Till, by numbers forced to yield,

Thus autumnal meteors stream
Terrible in death they lay,

Redder through the darkening night.

“Miracles our champions wrought

Who their dying deeds shall tell !

O how gloriously they fought!

How triumphantly they fell! The Wanderer relates the circumstances attending the death of Albert.

“ One by one gave up the ghost,

Slain, not conquer'd,- they died free.

Albert stood,-himself a host: “ PLEDGE the memory of the brave,

Last of all the Swiss was he.
And the spirits of the dead;

“So, when night with rising shade Pledge the venerable grave,

Climbs the Alps from steep to steep,
Valour's consecrated bed.

Till, in hoary gloom array’d, “ Wanderer, cheer thy drooping soul,

All the giant mountains sleep ;
This inspiring goblet take;

“ High in heaven their monarch® stands, Drain the deep delicious bowl,

Bright and beauteous from afar,
For thy martyr'd brethren's sake.

Shining unto distant lands

Like a new-created star. * An indiscriminate massacre followed the battle.

+ Two hundred self-devoted beroes from the canton of * Mont Blanc; which is so much higher than the sur. Switz arrived, at the close of the battle, to the aid of their rounding Alps, that it catches and retains the beams of brethren of Underwalden; and perished to a man, after the sun tudenty minutes earlier and later than they, and, having slain thrice their number.

crowned with eternal ice, may be seen from an immense # The lavanges are tremendous torrents of melting snow distance purpling with his eastern light, or crimsoned that lumble from the tops of the Alps, and deluge all the with his setting glory while mist and obscurity rest on the country before them.

mountains below. 73

з с

“ Bow'd to Heaven's mysterious will,

I am worthy yet of you ; Yes !-I am a mother still,

Though I feel a widow, too.”

“ While I struggled through the fight,

Albert was my sword and shield; Till strange horror quench'd my sight,

And I fainted on the field. “ Slow awakening from that trance,

When my soul return'd to day, Vanish'd were the fiends of France,

But in Albert's blood I lay.
“ Slain for me, his dearest breath

On my lips he did resign ;
Slain for me, he snatch'd his death

From the blow that menaced mine. « He had raised his dying head,

And was gazing on my face; As I woke,—the spirit fled,

But I felt his last embrace."

WANDERER. “Mother, widow, mourner, all,

All kind names in one,-my child; On thy faithful neck I fall; Kiss me,-are we reconciled ?"

WANDERER'S DAUGHTER. “ Yes, to Albert I appeal:

Albert, answer from above, That my father's breast may feel

All his daughter's heart of love."

SHEPHERD. “ Man of suffering ! such a tale

Would bring tears from marble eyes !"

SHEPHERD'S WIFE. « Faint and wayworn as they be

With the day's long journey, sire, Let thy pilgrim family

Now with me to rest retire.”

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

“ – Thither, thither would I roam;

There my children may be free; I for them will find a home,

They shall tind a grave for me. “ Though my fathers' bones afar

In their native land repose, Yet beneath the twilight star

Soft on mine the turf shall close. “ Though the mould that wraps my clay

When this storm of life is o'er, Never since creation lay

On a human breast before ;“ Yet in sweet communion there,

When she follows to the dead, Shall my bosom’s partner share

Her poor husband's lowly bed. 6 Albert's babes shall deck our grave,

And my daughter's duteous tears Bid the flowery verdure wave

Through the winter waste of years

“ Midst the mountains far away,

Soon I spied the sacred spot, Whence a slow consuming ray

Glimmer'd from my native cot.

“At the sight my brain was fired,

And afresh my heart's wounds bled; Still I gazed:--the spark expired

Nature seem'd extinct :-I fled.

* The town of Slantz, and the surrounding villages, were burnt by the French on the night after the battle of Underwalden, and the beautiful valley was converted into a wilderness

SHEPHERD. “ Long before thy sun descend,

May thy woes and wanderings cease; Late and lovely be thine end;

Hope and triumph, joy and peace!

« AnteriorContinuar »