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Their ravish'd toys though Romans mourn;
Oh! had they mark'd the avenging callx
Their brethren's murder gave, Disunion ne'er their ranks had mown, Nor patriot valour, desperate grown, Sought freedom in the grave!
Shall we, too, bend the stubborn head,
In Freedom's temple born,
No! though destruction o'er the land
Come pouring as a flood,
And set that night in blood.
The allusion is to the massacre of the Swiss Guards, on the fatal 10th August, 1792. It is painful, but not useless, to remark, that the passive temper with which the Swiss regarded the death of their bravest countrymen, mercilessly slaughtered in discharge of their duty, encouraged and authorized the progressive injustice, by which the Alps, once the seat of the most virtuous and free people upon the continent, have, at length, been converted into the citadel of a foreign and military despot. A state degraded is half enslaved.—1812.
For gold let Gallia's legions fight,
Or plunder's bloody gain; Unbribed, unbought, our swords we draw, To guard our king, to fence our law,
Nor shall their edge be vain.
If ever breath of British gale
Shall fan the tri-color,
Pollute our happy shore,—
Then farewell home! and farewell friends!
Adieu each tender tie!
To conquer or to die.
To horse! to horse! the sabres gleam;
High sounds our bugle call; Combined by honour's sacred tie, Our word is Laws and Liberty!
March forward, one and all!'
1 [Sir Walter Scott was, at the time when he wrote this song, Quartermaster of the Edinburgh Light Cavalry. See one of the Epistles Introductory to Marmion.—Ed.]