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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monument At Lucerne

When madden'd France shook her King's palace floor,
Nobly, heroic Swiss, ye met your doom.
Unflinching martyr to the oath he swore,
Each steadfast soldier faced a certain tomb.
Not for your own, but others' claims ye died:
The steep, hard path of fealty called to tread,
Threatened or soothed, ye never turned aside,
But held right on, where fatal duty led!
Reverent we stand beside the sculptured rock,
Your cenotaph—Helvetia's grateful stone;
And mark in wonderment, the breathing block,
Thorwaldsen's glorious trophy—in your own.

Yon dying lion is your monument!
Type of majestic suffering, the brave brute,
Human almost, in mighty languishment,
Lies wounded, not subdued; and, proudly mute,
Seems as for some great cause resigned to die:
And, hardly less than hero's parting breath,
Speaks to the spirit, thro' th' admiring eye,
Of courage—faith—and honourable death.
John Kenyon
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