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“I rede ye, shrive ye of your sins,
Before ye farther go;
May send your souls to woe.”—
Our shrift that he may hear?”—
He deals a penance drear.
He'll lay his hand of steel;
Your absolution deal.”
The corn was steep'd'in dew,
When the host to Sempach drew.
Together have they join'd;
as none cast looks behind.
It was the Lord of Hare-castle,
And to the Duke he said,
Will meet us undismay’d.”
“O Hare-castle, thou heart of hare !"
Fierce Oxenstern replied.
* All the Swiss clergy who were able to bear arms fought in this patriotic war.
* In the original, Haasenstein, or Hare-stone.
“ Shalt see then how the game will fare."
The taunted knight replied.
There was lacing then of helmets bright,
And closing ranks amain ;
Might well-nigh load a wain.'
“ Yon handful down to hew
The peasants are so few."
The gallant Swiss Confederates there
They pray'd to God aloud,
Against a swarthy cloud.
Then heart and pulse throbb’d more and more
With courage firm and high,
On the Austrian chivalry.
And toss his main and tail;
Went whistling forth like hail.
* This seems to allude to the preposterous fashion, during the middle ages, of wearing boots with the points or peaks turned upwards, and so long, that in some cases they were fastened to the knees of the wearer with small cho ns. When they alighted to fight upon foot, it would seem that the Austrian gentlemen found it necessary to cut off these peaks, that they might move with the necessary activity.
* A pun on the Archduke's name, Leopold
Lance, pike, and halbert, mingled there,
The game was nothing sweet; The boughs of many a stately tree
Lay shiver'd at their feet.
The Austrian men-at-arms stood fast,
So close their spears they laid ; It chafed the gallant Winkelreid,
Who to his comrades said
“I have a virtuous wife at home,
A wife and infant son ;
This field shall soon be won.
« These nobles lay their spears right thick,
And keep full firm array,
And make my brethren way.”
He rush'd against the Austrian band,
In desperate career,
Bore down each hostile spear.
Four lances splinter'd on his crest,
Six shiver'd in his side;
He broke their ranks, and died.
This patriot's self-devoted deed
First tamed the Lion's mood, And the four forest cantons freed
From thraldom by his blood
Right where his charge had made a lane,
His valiant comrades burst,
And hack, and stab, and thrust.
The daunted Lion 'gan to whine,
And granted ground amain,
And gored his sides again.
At Sempach in the flight,
Hold many an Austrian knight.
So lordly would he ride,
And they slew him in his pride.
“And shall I not complain?
To milk, me on the plain.
Has gall’d the knight so sore,
To range our glens no more."
At Sempach on the lake.
"A pun on the Urus, or wild-bull, which gives name to the Canton of Cri.
He and his squire a fisher callid,
(His name was Hans Von Rot,) “ For love, or meed, or charity,
Receive us in thy boat!"
Their anxious call the fisher heard,
And, glad the meed to win,
And took the flyers in.
And while against the tide and wind
Hans stoutly row'd his way, The noble to his follower sigo'd
He should the boatman slay.
The fisher's back was to them turn'd,
The squire his dagger drew, Hans saw his shadow in the lake,
The boat he overthrew.
He 'whelm'd the boat, and as they strove
He stunn'd them with his oar, “Now, drink ye deep, my gentle sirs,
You'll ne'er stab boatman more.
“ Two gilded fishes in the lake
This morning have I caught, Their silver scales may much avail,
Their carrion flesh is nought."
It was a messenger of woe
Has sought the Austrian land: “Ah! gracious lady, evil news !
My lord lies on the strand.