網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

“I rede ye, shrive ye of your sins,

Before ye farther go;
A skirmish in Helvetian hills

May send your souls to woe.”—
“ But where now shall we find a priest

Our shrift that he may hear?”—
“ The Switzer priest' has ta'en the field,

He deals a penance drear.
“Right heavily upon your head

He'll lay his hand of steel;
And with his trusty partisan

Your absolution deal.”
'Twas on a Monday morning then,

The corn was steep'd'in dew,
And merry maids had sickles ta’en,

When the host to Sempach drew.
The stalwart men of fair Lucerne

Together have they join'd;
The pith and core of manhood stern,
Was

as none cast looks behind.

It was the Lord of Hare-castle,

And to the Duke he said,
“ Yon little band of brethren true

Will meet us undismay’d.”

“O Hare-castle, thou heart of hare !"

Fierce Oxenstern replied.

1

* 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 ;
The peaks they hew'd from their boot-points

Might well-nigh load a wain.'
And thus they to each other said,

“ Yon handful down to hew
Will be no. boastful tale to tell,

The peasants are so few."

The gallant Swiss Confederates there

They pray'd to God aloud,
And he display'd his rainbow fair

Against a swarthy cloud.

Then heart and pulse throbb’d more and more

With courage firm and high,
And down the good Confed'rates bore

On the Austrian chivalry.
The Austrian Lion 'gan to growl,

And toss his main and tail;
And ball, and shaft, and crossbow bolt,

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 ;
I leave them to my country's care,

This field shall soon be won.

« These nobles lay their spears right thick,

And keep full firm array,
Yet shall my charge their order break,

And make my brethren way.

He rush'd against the Austrian band,

In desperate career,
And with his body, breast, and hand,

Bore down each hostile spear.

Four lances splinter'd on his crest,

Six shiver'd in his side;
Still on the serried files he pressid

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,
With sword, and axe, and partisan,

And hack, and stab, and thrust.

The daunted Lion 'gan to whine,

And granted ground amain,
The Mountain Bull' he bent his brows,

And gored his sides again.
Then lost was banner, spear, and shield,

At Sempach in the flight,
The cloister vaults at Konig'sfield

Hold many an Austrian knight.
It was the Archduke Leopold,

So lordly would he ride,
But he came against the Switzer churls,

And they slew him in his pride.
The heifer said unto the bull,

“And shall I not complain?
There came a foreign nobleman

To milk, me on the plain.
“One thrüst of thine outrageous horn

Has gall’d the knight so sore,
That to the churchyard he is borne

To range our glens no more."
An Austrian noble left the stour,

:
And fast the flight 'gan take;
And he arrived in luckless hour

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,
His shallop to the shore he steerd,

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.

« 上一頁繼續 »