Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

“Gallia's tigers, wild for blood,

Darted on our sleeping fold;

Down the mountains, o'er the flood,

Dark as thunder-clouds they rollid.
The Wanderer continues his Narrative, and describes
the Battle and Massacre of Underwalden.

“ By the trumpet's voice alarmid,
All the valley burst awake;

All were in a moment arm'd,

From the barriers to the lake.
« From the valley we descried,
As the Gauls approach'd our shores,

1 The French made their first attack on the valley of Under Keels that darken'd all the tide,

walden from the Lake: but, after a desperate conflict, they

were victoriously repelled, and two of their vessels, containing Tempesting the Lake with oars.

five hundred men, perished in the engagement.

2 In the last and decisive battle, the Underwalders were overcamped in their native Valley, on the borders of the Lake, and powered by two French armies, which rushed upon them fronc awaited the attack of the enemy.

the opposite mountains, and surrounded their camp, while an 1 The Capital of Underwalden.

assault, at the same time, was made upon them from the Lake.


" 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: Oh! 't is venerable earth, Freedom's cradle, Freedom's tomb. “ Then on every side begun That unutterable fight; Never rose the astonish'd sun On so horrible a sight. “Once an eagle of the rock ('T was 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 Which our band of brethren waged ; More insatiate o'er their prey Gaul's remorseless vultures raged. « In innumerable waves, Swoln with fury, grim with blood, Headlong rollid the hordes of slaves, And ingulfd us with a flood.

Wildly scatter'd o'er the plain,
Bloodier still the battle grew;-
Oh ye Spirits of the slain,
Slain on those your prowess slew :
“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;:
“ 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 nurnbers forced to yield,
Terrible in death they lay,

"In the whirlpool of that flood,
Firm in fortitude divine,
Like the eternal rocks we stood,
In the cataract of the Rhine.'

« Till by tenfold force assail'd,
In a hurricane of fire,

When at length our phalanx fail'd,
Then our courage blazed the higher.

The Wanderer relates the circumstances attending

the Death of Albert. “Broken into feeble bands, Fighting in dissever'd parts, Weak and weaker grew our hands,

SHEPHERD Strong and stronger still our hearts.

" PLEDGE the memory of the Brave,

And the Spirits of the dead; “ Fierce amid the loud alarms,

Pledge the venerable Grave,
Shouting in the foremost fray,

Valor's consecrated bed.
Children raised their litile arms
In their country's evil day.

“ Wanderer, cheer thy drooping soul,

This inspiring goblet take; “On their country's dying bed,

Drain the deep delicious bowl,
Wives and husbands pour'd their breath ;

For thy martyr'd brethren's sake."
Many a Youth and Maiden bled,
Married at thine altar, Death.”

1 An indiscriminate massacre followed the battle.

2 Two hundred self-devoted heroes from the Canton of 1 At Schaffhausen.-See Coxe's Travels.

Switz arrived, at the close of the battle, to the aid of their 2 In this miserable conflict, many of the Women and Chil- Brethren of Underwalden,—and perished to a man, after hav. dren of the Underwalders fought in the ranks by their Husbands, ing slain thrice their number. and Fathers, and Priends, and fell gloriously for their country. 3 The Lavanges are tremendous torrents of melting snow

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

“ He had raised his dying head,
And was gazing on my face;
As I woke,--the spirit fled,
But I felt his last embrace."



“ Man of suffering ! such a tale Would wring tears from marble eyes!"


“ Ha! my daughter's cheek grows pale!"

WANDERER'S WIFE. “Help! O help! my daughter dies !”

“ In the agony of strife,
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 repell’d 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 !
Oh how gloriously they fought!
How triumphantly they fell!
“One by one gave up the ghost,
Slain, not conquerd,—they died free.
Albert stood,-himself an host :
Last of all the Swiss was he.

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

WANDERER. “ Lives ?—my daughter, didst thou say? “ God Almighty, on my knees, In the dust will I adore Thine unsearchable decrees; - She was dead :-she lives once more."

“ When poor Albert died, no prayer
Called him back to hated life:
Oh that I had perish'd there,
Not his widow, but his wife !"

“Dare my daughter thus repine ?
Albert, answer from above;
Tell me,-are these infants thine,
Whom their mother does not love ?"

“ Does not love!-my father, hear;
Hear me, or my heart will break;
Dear is life, but only dear
For my parents', children's sake.

that tumble from the tops of the Alps, and deluge all the country before them.

1 Mont Blanc; which is so much higher than the surrounding Alps, that it catches and retains the beams of the sun tienty minutes earlier and later than they, and, crowned with eternal ice, may be seen from an immense distance, purpling with his onstern light, or crimsoned with his setting glory whilo nuist and obscurity rest on the mountains below

** 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."

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."

* Many a mother, in despair, Turning up the ghastly slain, Sought her son, her hero there, Whom she long'd to seek in vain. " Dark the evening shadows rollid On the eye that gleam'd in death; And the evening dews fell cold On the lip that gasp'd for breath. “ As I gazed, an ancient dame, -She was childless by her look, With refreshing cordials came; Of her bounty I partook. “ Then, with desperation bold, Albert's precious corpse I bore On these shoulders weak and old, Bow'd with misery before. “ Albert's angel gave me strength, As I stagger'd down the glen; And I hid my charge at length In its wildest, deepest den.

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.”

WANDERER. “Yes, the hour invites to sleep; Till the morrow we must part: -Nay, my daughter, do not weep, Do not weep and break my heart “Sorrow-soothing sweet repose On your peaceful pillows light; Angel-hands your eye-lids closeDream of Paradise to-night."

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

WANDERER. “On the fatal field I lay, Till the hour when twilight pale, Like the ghost of dying day, Wander'd down the darkening vale. " Then in agong

I rose, And with horror look'd around, Where, embracing friends and foes, Dead and dying, strew'd the ground. “ Many a widow fix'd her eye, Weeping, where her husband bled, Heedless, though her bebe was by, Prattling to his father dead.

“• Ha! my Son—my Son,' I cried, • Wherefore hast thou left thy grave?

-Fly, my Father,' he replied ; • Save my wife-my children save.' " In the passing of a breath This tremendous scene was o'er: Darkness shut the gates of Death, Silence seald them as before.

[blocks in formation]

SHEPHERD. “ Heard not Heaven the accusing cries Of the blood that smoked around, While the life-warm sacrifice Palpitated on the ground ?"

1 The town of Stantz, and the surrounding villages, were burnt by the French on the night after the battle of Underwal den, and the beautiful valley was converted into a wilderness.

« PreviousContinue »