Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

Swiss Song, On The Anniversary Of An Ancient Battle


Look on the white Alps round!
If yet they gird a land
Where freedom's voice and step are found,
Forget ye not the band,
The faithful band, our sires, who fell
Here, in the narrow battle-dell!

If yet, the wilds among,
Our silent hearts may burn,
When the deep mountain-horn hath rung,
And home our steps may turn,
-Home!-home!-if still that name be dear,
Praise to the men who perish'd here!

Look on the white Alps round!
Up to their shining snows
That day the stormy rolling sound,
The sound of battle rose!
Their caves prolong'd the trumpet's blast,
Their dark pines trembled as it pass'd!

They saw the princely crest,
They saw the knightly spear,
The banner and the mail-clad breast
Borne down, and trampled here!
They saw-and glorying there they stand,
Eternal records to the land!

Praise to the mountain-born,
The brethren of the glen!
By them no steel-array was worn,
They stood as peasant-men!
They left the vineyard and the field
To break an empire's lance and shield!

Look on the white Alps round!
If yet, along their steeps,
Our children's fearless feet may bound,
Free as the chamois leaps:
Teach them in song to bless the band
Amidst whose mossy graves we stand!

If, by the wood-fire's blaze,
When winter-stars gleam cold,
The glorious tales of elder days
May proudly yet be told,
Forget not then the shepherd-race,
Who made the hearth a holy place!

Look on the white Alps round!
If yet the sabbath bell
Comes o'er them with a gladdening sound,
Think on the battle-dell!
For blood first bath'd its flowery sod,
That chainless hearts might worship God!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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