their days in prayer and fasting; while the faithful sought them in secret, to receive consolation from them, and join in their prayers for the delivery of the people. They were at length heard; and the persecution, which had lasted about twelve years, was terminated by an event as sudden as it was singular, and one for which no parallel is to be found in history.

Turgesius had a castle built for himself in the vicinity of Melachlin, prince or Ard Righ, "high king," of Meatb, and went frequently to visit his neighbour. Melachlin was a man of considerable talents, an able politician and brave warrior, and possessed all the qualities requisite to govern a kingdom. He one day asked the tyrant what he should do to get rid of a certain kind of very destructive birds that had lately arrived in the country? The tyrant, not mistrusting the statement, answered, that their nests should be destroyed. Melachlin, who, by the birds, meant the Normans, readily felt the force of this answer, and occupied himself solely with devising means to act upon it; an opportunity for which was soon afforded him by the tyrant. Some days afterwards, he, Turgesius, being on a visit with the Prince of Meath, saw his daughter, Meleha, who was young and formed to please, particularly in the eyes of a man so depraved in character. His passion for her became violent, and wishing to make her his concubine, he demanded her of her father. Nothing was farther from the thoughts of Melachlin, than the idea of dishonouring hia daughter. It was, however, a delicato affair, and stratagem was necessary, in the absence of strength, to extricate himself from the dilemma. Having j weighed every circumstance, he on one side saw the danger of refusing the barbarian, who was absolute master in the country, and whose conduct was ruled nolely by passion: on the other, should his project succeed, he conceived a faint hope of delivering his country from slavery. Having formed his plan, ho turned his thoughts towards carrying it into effect. He told the tyrant that his proposal was hard, but that as he could refuse him nothing, he would send him his daughter on an appointed day, together with fifteen young ladies of her own ago to keep her company, and render her those services her rank required; at the same time requesting that tho whole affair might be kept secret, so as to screen his daughter's honour.

In the mean time, Melachlin had the whole country searched for fifteen young men without beards, of acknowledged honour and bravery, whom he caused to be dressed in female attire, with each a poniard concealed under his robe, and gave them the instructions necessary to execute his project, which would put an end to tyranny. He also inspired them with sentiments of religion and patriotism, and commanded them to defend the honour of the Princess at the peril of their lives , *nd t° have the doors i for him, in order that he might come to their , with a body of troops, whom he should hold in t at a short distance; and, lastly, to seize the tyrant and chain him, without depriving him of life.

Turgesius did not fail to repair on the day appointed, to receive the Princess Meleha and her fifteen young ladies; he even invited fifteen of the principal officers of his army to share in the festival. After spending the day in feasting, each of the officers was shown to the apartment Intended for him, and orders given for the guards and other domestics to retire. Turgesius himself remained alone in his apartment, where he impatiently awaited the arrival of the Princess Meleha. The porter, who was the only one of the domestics intrusted with the secret, soon entered, accompanied by the Princess, with her little troop of Amazons, who came like a second Judith to deliver her people. The tyrant, who was heated with wine, was about to insult the Princess, when the young men immediately threw off their robes, and drawing their weapons, seised him and tied him with cords to the pillars of his bed.

They then opened the gates of the castle to permit Melachlin and bis troops to enter; fell on the garrison, beginning with the officers, and put all, except Turgesius, to the sword.

When Melachlin had given the place up to pillage, in which they found immense booty, he repaired to the spot where the tyrant was bound and reproached him bitterly with his tyranny, cruelty, and other vices; and having loaded him with chains, had him carried in triumph before him. Ho allowed him to live a few days, in order that he should be a witness before his death of the sufferings of his countrymen, and then caused him to be thrown, chained as he was, into Loch Ainnin, in Westmeath, where he perished.—[See M'Geoghegan's History, pages 218, 219, passim; also Oiraldus Cambrensis, for a different account.]

[merged small][ocr errors]

In a dell where sun and shade contended,
Grew a floweret lonely night and day;

Musingly I lingered, and there blended
With the breeze a voice that seemed to say:

"Mother Earth, from whence I rose,

Take me to thy breast again;
For my weary petals close

But to open to new pain.
Nightly, far above me spring

Flowers that twinkle in their gladness;
But alas! to me they bring

Only sense of lonelier sadness."

Ere it ceased, an angel-bird alighted,

Bearing in its rosy beak a seed; Soon the evening dews, to true love plighted,

From its shell a blushing violet freed.

Then arose the sound of joy t

Thence the mournful flower was sad no mor Spells that stole its perfume all were broken,

Soon again the breeze this message bore:

"Mother Earth, from whence I rose,

Take the thanks thy son would give;
Shield her from tho winter snows,

Let me live that she may live.
And, ye flowers that bloom on high,

Ye are bright, and never wither,
But ye cannot match her eye,

In your deep blue realms of ether."

Each returning spring new joys shall gather,
Till the lawn, and every velvet sod

Bears the image of the happy father.
Yields the mother's incense up to God.





AY immortal in Helvetia—day to every Switser de, Day that saw Duke Leopold down before Sempach appear;

Just as morning fresh and stilly dawned above the ancient town,

And the mountain mists uprolling let the waiting sunlight down.

Full four thousand knights and barons marched with

Leopold that day, With their Tassals, squires, and burghers, following in

grand array;

'Twas the Duke himself came foremost, slowly came in

state and pride, With the knight of Ems, brave Eyloff, gravely riding at

his side.

Fiery-eyed with ancient hatred, rode proud Gessler, as


One of the abhorred lineago, and the old accursed

Up amid the winds and sunshine Austria's blazoned banners danced—

With a mighty clash of armour Austria's haughty hosts advanced;

Calling on the God of freedom, with a shout for Switzerland,

Down against tho mailed thousands rushed the little patriot band 1

With their short swords and their halberds, and their

simple shields of wood; With their archers, and their slingors, and their pikemen

stern and rude. VOL. VI. 30

It was while their serfs and hirelings cut the Switzer's tall grain down,

That the Austrian knights paraded on their steeds before the town:

"Ho! our reapers would have breakfast!" thus the Sire

de Ileinach calls— "The Confederates make it ready I* cried tho Avoyer from the walls.

Now, upon a hill to northward, in among the sheltering


The Confederates' little army still and firm and fearless


They from Gersau, Zug, and Glarls, the Waldstctten, and


But not a burgher or a knight from false and recreant Berne.

There with looks of old defiance glared they down upon

the foe,

And their hearts were hot for vengeance when they

thought of long-ago; For full many a pike now gleaming in tho pleasant summer light,

Had their fathers dipped in Austrian blood at Morgarten's mountain fight I

But as thick as stands at harvest golden grain along the Rhine,

Stood the spears of the invaders, gleaming down the

threat'ning line; And as pressed the hardy Switzers close upon their

leader's track,

Everywhere that wull of lances met their way, and hurled them back;

Till the blood of brave Confederates stained tho hillside and the plain,

Drenching all the trampled greensward like a storm of mountain rain;

Till the boldest brow was darkened, and the firmest llp was paled;

Till tbe peasant' s heart grow fearful, and the shepherd's

stout arm failed. Then from out the Swiss ranks stepping, high above the

tumult called,

He, the Knight de Winkelricd, Arnold, pride of Underwald:

"Yield not, dear and faithful allies!—stay, for / your way will make!

Care you for the wife and children, for your old companion's sake;

Follow now, and strike for freedom, God, and SwiUer

land!" he cried; Full against the close ranks rushing, with his arms

extended wide, Caught, and to his bosom gathered, the sharp lances of

the foe!

Then, as roll the avalanches down from wilds of Alpine snow,

Through the breach on rolled the Switzers, overthrew the

mail-clad ranks, Smote, as smote their shepherd fathers, on Algeri's

marshy banks! Everywhere the Austrian nobles, serfs, and hirelings

turned in flight— Soon was seen the royal standard wavering, falling in the


Twas the Duke himself upraised it, and its bloody folds outspread,

Waved it, till his guard of barons all went down among

the dead;

Then amid the battle plunging, bravely bore the warrior's part,

Till the long pike of a Switzer cleft in twain his tyrant heart!

With their souls athirst for vengeance, through dark

gorge and rocky glen. On the footsteps of the Hying, hot pursued the mountain


Smiting down the bold invaders, till the ground for many a rood,

Round about that town beleaguered, was afloat with Austrian blood.

Then arose their shouts of triumph up amid the shadowy even—

Loud rejoicings, fierce exultings storming at the gates of heaven,—

Till a thousand mountain echoes rendered back the mighty cries,

With the sound of earth's contention making tumult in the skies.

But amid the rush of battle, or the victor's proud array, Came the saviour of Helvetia? came the hero of the day? Prone along the wet turf lay he, with the lances he had grasped,

All his valour's deadly trophies still against his brave heart clasped!

Feeling not the tempest-surging, hearing not the war of strife—

With the red rents in his bosom, and his young eye closed on life.

And when thus his comrades found him, there was triumph

in their tears— He hod gathered glory's harvest in that bloody sheaf of


Lo, it is an ancient story, and as through the shades of night,

We are gazing through dim ages, on that fierce, unequal fight;

But the darkness is illumined by one grand, heroic deed, And we hear the shout of Arnold, and we see bis great heart bleed I

Yet to-day, oh hero-martyr, does the Switser guard thy name—

And to-day thy glorious legend touches all his heart with flame;

And with reverence meek and careful still he hands thy

memory down, By the chapel In the mountains, and the statue in the


Take thou courage, struggling spirit—thus upon life's battle plain,

God for all bis heroes careth, and they cannot fall in vain! And of heaven for ever blessed shall the soul heroic be Who. oppression's close ranks breaking, makes a pathway for the free:

Though his faithful breast receiveth the charp lances of

the foe,

God, the God of freedom, counteth all the life-drops as they flow!

He shall have the tears of millions, and the homage of the brave—

He shall have immortal crownings, and the world shall keep his grave.

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

Wn\T bringeth a joy o'er thy pallid mien,
More deep than the prime of thy youth had seen f
What kindleth a beam in thy thoughtful eye
Like the vestal flame from a purer sky?
Sweet were her tones, as the wind-harp free,
"The smile, of the babe that is bom to me."

What maketh thy home with its noiseless shade
More dear than the haunts where thy beauty strayed?
Than the dance where thy form was the zephyr's wing?
Than the crowded hall, or the charmed ring?
Than the flatUrer's wile, with its siren strain?
"The voice of the babe that with care I train."

What lendeth the landscape a brighter huo?

A clearer spark to the diamond dew?

What givuth the song of the bird its zest,

As straw by straw it doth build its nest?

What sweeteneth tbe flowers on their bud ling stalks?

"Thc kiss of the chiUi by my side that walks."

What quiekeneth thy prayer when it seeks the Throne

With a fervour it never before had known?

What girdeth thy life In its daily scope

For the labour of love, and the patience of hope?

Tho freedom from self, and the high intent,

"The soul of the child that my God hath lent."

« 上一页继续 »