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114

THE BATTLE OF MORGARTEN.

THE BATTLE OF MORGARTEN.1

The wine-month 2 shone in its golden prime,

And the red grapes clustering hung;
But a deeper sound, through the Switzer's clime,
Than the vintage music, rung-

A sound through vaulted cave,

A sound through echoing glen,
Like the hollow swell of a rushing wave;

'Twas the tread of steel-girt men.

And a trumpet, pealing wild and far,

Midst the ancient rocks was blown,
Till the Alps replied to that voice of war
With a thousand of their own.

And through the forest-glooms

Flashed helmets to the day ;
And the winds were tossing knightly plumes,

Like the larch-boughs in their play.

In Hasli’s 3 wilds there was gleaming steel

As the host of the Austrian passed ;
And the Schreckhorn's 4 rocks, with a savage peal,
Made mirth of his clarion's 5 blast.

Up midst the Righi & snows

The stormy march was heard,
With the charger's tramp, whence fire-sparks rose,

And the leader's gathering-word.

But a band, the noblest band of all,

Through the rude Morgarten strait,
With blazoned streamers and lances tall,
Moved onwards in princely state.

They came with heavy chains

For the race despised so long-
But amidst his Alp domains,

The herdsman's arm is strong!

The sun was reddening the clouds of morn

When they entered the rock-defile, And shrill as a joyous hunter's horn Their bugles rang the while.

But on the misty height

Where the mountain-people stood, There was stillness as of night,

When storms at distance brood.

There was stillness as of deep, dead night,

And a pause-but not of fear, While the Switzers gazed on the gathering might? Of the hostile shield and spear.

On wound those columns bright

Between the lake and wood,
But they looked not to the misty height

Where the mountain-people stood.

The pass was filled with their serried power,

All helmed and mail-arrayed, And their steps had sounds like a thunder-shower In the rustling forest-shade.

Then were prince and crested knight,

Hemmed in by cliff and flood,
When a shout arose from the misty height

Where the mountain-people stood.

And the mighty rocks came bounding down

Their startled foes among, With a joyous whirl from the summit thrownOh! the herdsman's arm is strong!

They came like lawine 8 hurled

From alp to alp in play,
When the echoes shout through the snowy world,

And the pines are borne away.
The fir-woods crashed on the mountain-side,

And the Switzers rushed from high,
With a sudden charge, on the flower and pride

Of the Austrian chivalry :

116

THE BATTLE OF MORGARTEN,

Like hunters of the deer,

They stormed the narrow dell ;
And first in the shock, with Uri's spear,

Was the arm of William Tell.
There was tumult in the crowded strait,

And a cry of wild dismay;
And many a warrior met his fate
From a peasant's hand that day!

And the empire's banner 10 then

From its place of waving free,
Went down before the shepherd-men,

The Men of the Forest-sea, 11
With their pikes and massy clubs they brake

The cuirass and the shield,
And the war-horse dashed to the reddening lake
From the reapers of the field !

The field-but not of sheaves

Proud crests and pennons lay
Strewn o'er it thick as the birch-wood leaves

In the autumn tempest's way.
Oh! the sun in heaven fierce havoc viewed

When the Austrian turned to fly,
And the brave in the trampling multitude,
Had a fearful death to die !

And the leader of the war

At eve unhelmed was seen,
With a hurrying step on the wilds afar,

And a pale and troubled mien.
But the sons of the land which the freeman tills

Went back from the battle-toil,
To their cabin homes 'midst the deep green hills,
All burdened with royal spoil.

There were songs and festal fires

On the soaring Alps that night,
When children sprang to greet their sires
From the wild Morgarten fight.

Mrs Hemans.

1 This famous battle-the first of the

three by which the Swiss secured their independence and kept at bay the great Austrian empirewas fought on the 15th Nov. 1315. Morgarten Pass is about three miles long, and lies between Lake

Egeri and Mount Sattel. 2 Wine-month, the month during which

the vine-dresser gathers his grapes. 3 Hasli, a fertile valley of the canton

of Bern, in the north-east corner of

the Oberland. 4 Schreckhorn, a very high mountain

in the canton of Bern. 5 Clarion, a kind of trumpet having a

narrow tube and emitting a shrill

clear tone. 6 Righi, a mountain of Central Switzer

land, almost isolated from other

Alpine giants. ? Might, strength arising from numbers. 8 Lawine (Ger.), avalanche. 9 With Uri's spear, &c. Uri, Schwyz,

and Unterwalden were the three Forest cantons which leagued together against the Austrians. They all lie along the southern

shores of Lake Lucerne. 10 The empire's banner-namely, the

Austrian empire. 11 Forest-sea. The four original Swiss

cantons are known as the Forest cantons; and the Lake of Lucerne, on which they border, is here called the Forest-sea, in imitation of the German, in which a lake is called a see, that is, a sea.

THE LAST OF THE RED MEN.

The sun's last ray was glowing fair on crag, and tree, and

flood;

And fell in mellow softness where the lonely Indian stood. Beneath his eye, in living gold, the broad Pacific lay ; Unruffled there, a skiff might hold its bright and fearless way.

Far, far behind him, mountains blue in shadowy distance

melt ;? And far beyond the dark woods grew, where his forefathers

dwelt. No breathing sound was in the air, as, leaning on his bow, A lone and weary pilgrim there, he murmured stern and low : 'Far by Ohio's mighty river, bright star, I've worshipped

thee ! My native streamits bosom never the Red Man more may

see !

The Pale-face rears his wigwam 3 where our Indian hunters

roved ; His hatchet fells the forest fair our Indian maidens loved.

1-18

THE LAST OF THE RED MEN.

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A thousand warriors bore in war the token of my sires : On all the hills were seen afar their blazing council-fires ! 4 The foeman heard their war-whoop 5 shrill, and held his

breath in fear; And in the wood, and on the hill, their arrows pierced the deer. •Where are they now?—the stranger's tread is on their silent

place! Yon fading light on me is shed, the last of all my race ! Where are they now ?-in summer's light, go, seek the

winter's snow ! Forgotten is our name and might, and broken is our bow ! The white man came ; his bayonets gleam where sachems 6

held their sway ; And, like the shadow of a dream, our tribe has passed away! Cursed be their race ! to faith untrue ! false heart! deceitful

tongue ! Hear me, O evil Manitou !7—revenge the Indian's wrong! "I hear him in the hollow moan of the dark heaving sea ; And whispers murmur in the tone, of vengeance yet to be! What if no stone shall mark the spot where lonely sleep the

brave? Their mighty arm is unforgot, their glory has no grave! • But to our foes we leave a shame !-disgrace can never die; Their sons shall blush to hear a name still blackened with a

lie! So be it ever to their race-false friends and bitter cares ! By fraud they have the Indian's place; the Indian's curse is theirs !'

Bryant.

1 Melt, vanish.
2 Ohio's mighty river, a great river of

the United States, which flows

into the Mississippi. 3 Wigwam, an Indian hut or cabin. 4 Council-fire, the meeting-place of

Indian tribes, where the warriors and sages discuss and arrange intended hostilities, &c.

5 War-whoop, the war - cry of the

Indian. 6 Sachems, Indian chiefs. 7 Manitou, a spirit. To Matchi Mani

tou, the bad spirit, he ascribes misfortune, thunder, tempests, conflagrations, &c.

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