« AnteriorContinuar »
· Thus my country's life retired,
“Quickly from our hastening foes, Slowly driven from part to part;
Albert's active care removed, Underwalden last expired,
Far amidst th' eternal snows, Underwalden was the heart.*
Those who loved us,-those beloved.* « In the valley of their birth,
“ Then our cottage we forsook ; Where our guardian mountains stand;
Yet as down the steeps we pass'd, In the eye of heaven and earth,
Many an agonizing look Met the warriors of our land.
Homeward o'er the hills we cast. “ Like their sires in olden time,
“Now we reach'd the nether glen, Arm'd they met in stern debate;
Where in arms our brethren lay; While in every breast sublime
Thrice five hundred fearless men, Glow'd the spirit of the state.
Men of adamant were they! “Gallia's menace fired their blood :
“ Nature's bulwarks, built by time, With one heart and voice they rose;
'Gainst eternity to stand, Hand in hand the heroes stood,
Mountains, terribly sublime,
Girt the camp on either band.
“ Dim behind, the valley brake
Into rocks that sed from view;
Fair in front the gleaming lake
Roll'd its waters bright and blue. u Albert from the council came
“Midst the hamlets of the dale, (My poor daughter was his wife; All the valley loved his name;
Stantz,t with simple grandeur crown'd,
Seem'd the mother of the vale,
With her children scatter'd round.
“ Midst the ruins of the dale At his look I caught the flame;
Now she bows her hoary head,
Like the widow of the vale “ Fire from heaven my heart renew'd,
Weeping o'er her children dead.
“ Happier then had been her fate, All the powers, that age had hew'd,
Ere she fell by such a fne,
Had an earthquake sunk her state, “ Sudden from my couch I sprang,
Or ihe lightning laid her low !"
“ By the lightning's deadly flash As I snatch'd my fathers' sword.
Would her foes had been consumed ! “ This the weapon they did wield
Or amidst the earthquake's crash
Suddenly, alive, entomb'd!
“Why did justice not prevail ?” “ Then, my spouse! in vain thy fears
“Ah! it was not thus to be!"
“ Man of grief! pursue thy tale purport; but no sooner had they disarmed, on the faith of To the death of liberty." this engagement, than the enemy came suddenly upon them with an immense force; and with threats of extermination compelled them to take the civic oath to the new constitution, imposed upon all Switzerland.
PART III. * The inhabitants of the lower valley of Underwalden alone resisted the French message, which required sub- The Wanderer continues his narrative, and describes the mission to the new constitution, and the immediate sur
battle and massacre of Underwalden. render, alive or dead, of nine of their leaders. When the
WANDERER. demand, accompanied by a menace of destruction, was read in the assembly of the district, all the men of the “ From the valley we descried, valley, fifteen hundred in number, look up arms, and As the Gauls approach'd our shores, devoted themselves to perish in the ruins of their country.
Keels that darken'd all the tide, † At the battle of Sempach, the Austrians presented so impenetrable a front with their projected spears, that the
Tempesting the lake with oars. Swiss were repeatedly compelled to retire from the allack, till a native of Underwalden, named Arnold de Winkelried, * Many of the Underwalders, on the approach of the commending his family to his countrymen, sprung upon French army, removed their families and cattle among the enemy, and burying as many of their spears as he the higher Alps; and themselves returned to join their could grasp in his body, made a breach in their line; the brethren, who had encamped in their native valley, on the Swiss rushed in, and routed the Austrians with a terrible borders of the lake, and awaited the attack of the enemy. slaughter.
+ The capital of Underwalden.
" Then the mountain echoes rang
“ In that valley, on that shore,
When the graves give up their dead,
At the trumpet's voice once more
Shall those slumberers quit their bed.
“ For the glen that gave them birth
Hides their ashes in its womb :
0! 'tis venerable earth,
Freedom's cradle, freedom's tomb. « In a deluge upon land
“ Then on every side begun
That unutterable fight;
Never rose th' astonishid sun
On so horrible a sight.
“Once an eagle of the rock Till the waves were warm with blood,
('Twas an omen of our fate)
Stoop'd, and from my scatter'd flock
Bore a lambkin to his mate.
“ While the parents fed their young,
Lo! a cloud of vultures lean,
By voracious famine stung,
Wildly screaming, rush'd between.
“ Fiercely fought the eagle-twain,
Though by multitudes opprest,
Till their little ones were slain,
Till they perish'd on their nest.
• More unequal was the fray To the dead they soon return'd;
Which our band of brethren waged ;
More insatiate o'er their prey
Gaul's remorseless vultures raged. “Star of Switzerland! whose rays
“ In innumerable waves, Shed such sweet expiring light,
Swoln with fury, grim with blood,
Headlong rolld the hordes of slaves,
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,
Like th' eternal rocks we stood,
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,
When at length our phalanx fail'd,
Then our courage blazed the higher.
« Broken into feeble bands, “Gallia's tigers, wild for blood,
Fighting in dissever'd parts,
Weak and weaker grew our hands,
Strong and stronger still our hearts.
“ Fierce amid the loud alarms, “ By the trumpet's voice alarm’d,
Shouting in the foremost fray,
Children raised their little arms
In their country's evil day.
“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.
“ Wildly scatter'd o'er the plain,
“ Hail !-all hail! the patriot's grave,
Valour's venerable bed :
Hail! the memory of the brave,
Hail! the spirits of the dead.
6 Time their triumphs shall proclaim,
And their rich reward be this,
Immortality of fam",
Immortality of bliss."
“ On that melancholy plain,
In that conflict of despair,
How was noble Albert slain ?
How didst thou, old warrior, fare ?”
• In the agony of strise,
Where the heart of battle bled,
Where his country lost her life,
Glorious Albert bow'd his head,
“ When our phalanx broke away,
And our stoutest soldiers fell,
Where the dark rocks dimm'd the day,
Scowling o'er the deepest dell;
“ There, like lions old in blood,
Lions rallying round their den,
Albert and his warriors stood;
We were few, but we were men.
“ Breast to breast we fought the ground,
Arm to arm repellid the foe;
Every motion was a wound,
And a death was every blow.
“ Thus the clouds of sunset beam
Warmer with expiring light;
Thus autumnal meteors stream
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.
“So, when night with rising shade Pledge the venerable grave,
Climbs the Alps from steep to steep,
Till, in hoary gloom array’d, “ Wanderer, cheer thy drooping soul,
All the giant mountains sleep ;
“ High in heaven their monarch® stands, Drain the deep delicious bowl,
Bright and beauteous from afar,
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
“ 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.
On my lips he did resign ;
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.”