Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

The Cavern Of The Three Tells


Oh! enter not yon shadowy cave,
Seek not the bright spars there,
Though the whispering pines that o'er it wave,
With freshness fill the air:
For there the Patriot Three,
In the garb of old array'd,
By their native Forest-sea
On a rocky couch are laid.

The Patriot Three that met of yore
Beneath the midnight sky,
And leagued their hearts on the Grütli shore,
In the name of liberty!
Now silently they sleep
Amidst the hills they freed;
But their rest is only deep,
Till their country's hour of need.

They start not at the hunter's call,
Nor the Lammer-geyer's cry,
Nor the rush of a sudden torrent's fall,
Nor the Lauwine thundering by!
And the Alpine herdsman's lay,
To a Switzer's heart so dear
On the wild wind floats away,
No more for them to hear.

But when the battle-horn is blown
Till the Schreckhorn's peaks reply,
When the Jungfrau's cliffs send back the tone
Through their eagles' lonely sky;

When spear-heads light the lakes,
When trumpets loose the snows,
When the rushing war-steed shakes
The glacier's mute repose;

When Uri's beechen woods wave red
In the burning hamlet's light ;-
Then from the cavern of the dead,
Shall the sleepers wake in might!
With a leap, like Tell's proud leap,
When away the helm he flung,
And boldly up the steep
From the flashing billow sprung!

They shall wake beside their Forest-sea,
In the ancient garb they wore
When they link'd the hands that made us free,
On the Grütli's moonlight shore:
And their voices shall be heard,
And be answer'd with a shout,
Till the echoing Alps are stirr'd,
And the signal-fires blaze out.

And the land shall see such deeds again
As those of that proud day,
When Winkelried, on Sempach's plain,
Through the serried spears made way;
And when the rocks came down
On the dark Morgarten dell,
And the crowned casques* , o'erthrown,
Before our fathers fell!

For the Kühreihen's+ notes must never sound
In a land that wears the chain,
And the vines on freedom's holy ground
Untrampled must remain!
And the yellow harvests wave
For no stranger's hand to reap,
While within their silent cave
The men of Grütli sleep!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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