Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

"Cheese, from mountain dairies prest, Wholesome herbs, nutritious roots, Honey, from the wild-bee's nest, Cheering wine and ripen'd fruits:

[ocr errors]

"These, with soul-sustaining bread,
My paternal fields afford :-
On such fare our fathers fed;
Holy pilgrim! bless the board."

After supper, the Wanderer, at the desire of his Host, relates the sorrows and sufferings of his Country during the Invasion and Conquest of it by the French, in connexion with his own Story.

PART II.

WANDERER! bow'd with griefs and years, Wanderer, with the cheek so pale, Oh give language to those tears! Tell their melancholy tale."

SHEPHERD.

WANDERER.

Stranger-friend, the tears that flow Down the channels of this cheek, Tell a mystery of woe

Which no human tongue can speak.

"Not the pangs of Hope deferr'd'
My tormented bosom tear:-
On the tomb of Hope interr'd
Scowls the spectre of Despair.

"Where the Alpine summits rise,
Height o'er height stupendous hurl'd;
Like the pillars of the skies,
Like the ramparts of the world:

"Born in Freedom's eagle nest, Rock'd by whirlwinds in their rage, Nursed at Freedom's stormy breast, Lived my sires from age to age.

"High o'er Underwalden's vale, Where the forest fronts the morn; Whence the boundless eye might sail O'er a sea of mountains borne;

"There my little native cot Peep'd upon my father's farm:Oh! it was a happy spot,

Rich in every rural charm!

a There my life, a silent stream,
Glid along, yet seem'd at rest;
Lovely as an infant's dream
On the waking mother's breast.

"Till the storm that wreck'd the world,

In its horrible career,

Into hopeless ruin hurl'd

All this aching heart held dear.

46

On the princely towers of Berne Fell the Gallic thunder-stroke; To the lake of poor Lucerne, All submitted to the yoke.

"REDING then his standard raised, Drew his sword on Brunnen's plain;' But in vain his banner blazed, REDING drew his sword in vain.

"Where our conquering fathers died, Where their awful bones repose, Thrice the battle's fate he tried, Thrice o'erthrew his country's foes.

"Happy then were those who fell Fighting on their fathers' graves! Wretched those who lived to tell Treason made the victors slaves!*

"Thus my country's life retired, Slowly driven from part to part; Underwalden last expired, Underwalden was the heart.4

1 Brunnen, at the foot of the mountains, on the borders of the Lake of Uri, where the first Swiss Patriots, Walter Furst of Uri, Werner Stauffacher of Schwitz, and Arnold of Melchtal in Underwalden, conspired against the tyranny of Austria in 1307, again in 1798, became the seat of the Diet of these three forest cantons.

2 On the plains of Morgarthen, where the Swiss gained their first decisive victory over the force of Austria, and thereby secured the independence of their country; Aloys Reding, at the head of the troops of the little cantons, Uri, Schwitz, and Underwalden, repeatedly repulsed the invading army of France. 3 By the résistance of these small cantons, the French General Schawenbourg was compelled to respect their independence, and gave them a solemn pledge to that purport; but no sooner had they disarmed, on the faith of 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. 4 The inhabitants of the Lower Valley of Underwalden alone

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

WANDERER.

"FROM the valley we descried,

As the Gauls approach'd our shores,
Keels that darken'd all the tide,
Tempesting the Lake with oars.

"Then the mountain-echoes rang
With the clangour of alarms :
Shrill the signal-trumpet sang;
All our warriors leapt to arms.

"On the margin of the flood,
While the frantic foe drew nigh,
Grim as watching wolves we stood,
Prompt as eagles stretch'd to fly

"In a deluge upon land
Burst their overwhelming might;
Back we hurl'd them from the strand.
Oft returning to the fight.

"Fierce and long the combat held-
Till the waves were warm with blood,
Till the booming waters swell'd
As they sank beneath the flood.'

"For on that triumphant day
Underwalden's arms once more
Broke Oppression's black array,
Dash'd invasion from her shore.

"Gaul's surviving barks retired,
Muttering vengeance as they fled;
Hope in us, by Conquest fired,
Raised our spirits from the dead.

"From the dead our spirits rose,
To the dead they soon return'd;
Bright, on its eternal close,
Underwalden's glory burn'd.

"Star of Switzerland! whose rays
Shed such sweet expiring light,
Ere the Gallic comet's blaze
Swept thy beauty into night :-

"Star of Switzerland! thy fame
No recording Bard hath sung;
Yet be thine immortal name
Inspiration to my tongue!*

"While the lingering moon delay'd
In the wilderness of night,
Ere the morn awoke the shade
Into loveliness and light:—

"Gallia's tigers, wild for blood,
Darted on our sleeping fold;
Down the mountains, o'er the flood,
Dark as thunder-clouds they roll'd.

66

By the trumpet's voice alarm'd,
All the valley burst awake;
All were in a moment arm'd,
From the barriers to the lake.

1 The French made their first attack on the valley of Under walden from the Lake: but, after a desperato conflict, they were victoriously repelled, and two of their vessels, containing five hundred men, perished in the engagement.

2 In the last and decisive battle, the Underwalders were over

camped in their native Valley, on the borders of the Lake, and powered by two French armies, which rushed upon them from awaited the attack of the enemy. the opposite mountains, and surrounded their camp, while an assault, at the same time, was made upon them from the Lake.

1 The Capital of Underwalden.

188

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

"Who shall now your deeds relate? Ye that fell unwept, unknown; Mourning for your country's fate, But rejoicing in your own.

"Virtue, valor, nought avail'd
With so merciless a foe;
When the nerves of heroes fail'd,
Cowards then could strike a blow

"Cold and keen the assassin's blade Smote the father to the ground; Through the infant's breast convey'd To the mother's heart a wound.'

"Underwalden thus expired; But at her expiring flame, With fraternal feeling fired, Lo, a band of Switzers came.2

"From the steeps beyond the lake, Like a Winter's weight of snow, When the huge Lavanges break, Devastating all below; 3

"Down they rush'd with headlong might, Swifter than the panting wind;

All before them fear and flight,
Death and silence all behind.

"How the forest of the foe
Bow'd before the thunder-strokes,
When they laid the cedars low,
When they overwhelm'd the oaks.

"Thus they hew'd their dreadful way;
Till, by numbers forced to yield,
Terrible in death they lay,
The AVENGERS OF THE FIELD."

PART IV.

The Wanderer relates the circumstances attending the Death of Albert.

SHEPHERD.

"PLEDGE the memory of the Brave,
And the Spirits of the dead;
Pledge the venerable Grave,
Valor's consecrated bed.

"Wanderer, cheer thy drooping soul,
This inspiring goblet take;
Drain the deep delicious bowl,
For thy martyr'd brethren's sake."

1 An indiscriminate massacre followed the battle.

2 Two hundred self-devoted heroes from the Canton of Switz arrived, at the close of the battle, to the aid of their Brethren of Underwalden,-and perished to a man, after having slain thrice their number.

3The Lavanges are tremendous torrents of melting snow

« PreviousContinue »