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THE BATTLE OF SEMPACH.

'twas when among our linden-trees
The bees had housed in swarms,

(And grey-hair'd peasants say that these
Betoken foreign arms,)

Then look'd we down to Willisow,

The land was all in flame;
We knew the Archduke Leopold

With all his army came.

The Austrian nobles made their vow,

So hot their heart and bold,
"On Switzer carles we'll trample now,

And slay both young and old."

With clarion loud, and banner proud,

From Zurich on the lake,
In martial pomp and fair array,

Their onward march they make.

[1 This translation first appeared in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for February, 1818.—Ed.]

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"Now list, ye lowland nobles all— Ye seek the mountain strand,
Nor wot ye what shall be your lot In such a dangerous land.

"I rede ye, shrive ye of your sins,

Before ye farther go;
A skirmish in Helvetian hills

May send your souls to woe."—

"But where now shall we find a priest
Our shrift that he may hear ?"—

"The Switzer priest' has ta'en the field,
He deals a penance drear.

"Right heavily upon your head

He'll lay his hand of steel;
And with his trusty partisan

Your absolution deal."—

'Twas on a Monday morning then,

The corn was steep'd in dew,
And merry maids had sickles ta'en,

When the host to Sempach drew.

The stalwart men of fair Lucerne
Together have they join'd;

1 All the Swiss clergy who were able to bear arms fought in this patriotic war.

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The pith and core of manhood stern,
Was none cast looks behind.

It was the Lord of Hare-castle,

And to the Duke he said, "Yon little band of brethren true

Will meet us undismay'd."—

"O Hare-castle,1 thou heart of hare!"

Fierce Oxenstern replied.— "Shalt see then how the game will fare,"

The taunted knight replied.

There was lacing then of helmets bright,

And closing ranks amain; The peaks they hew'd from their boot-points

Might wellnigh load a wain.2

And thus they to each other said,

"Yon handful down to hew Will be no boastful tale to tell,

The peasants are so few."—

1 In the original, Haasenslein, or Bare-stone.

s This seems to allude to the preposterous fashion, during the middle ages, of wearing boots with the points or peaks turned upwards, and so long, that in some cases they were fastened to the knees of the wearer with small chains. When they alighted to fight upon foot, it would seem that the Austrian gentlemen found it necessary to cut off these peaks that they might move with the necessary activity.

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The gallant Swiss Confederates there

They pray'd to God aloud,
And he display'd his rainbow fair

Against a swarthy cloud.

Then heart and pulse throbb'd more and more

With courage firm and high,
And down the good Confed'rates bore

On the Austrian chivalry.

The Austrian Lion1 'gan to growl,

And toss his mane and tail;
And ball, and shaft, and crossbow bolt,

Went whistling forth like hail.

Lance, pike, and halbert, mingled there,

The game was nothing sweet; The boughs of many a stately tree

Lay shiver'd at their feet.

The Austrian men-at-arms stood fast, So close their spears they laid;It chafed the gallant Winkelreid, Who to his comrades said—

"I have a virtuous wife at home, A wife and infant son;

'A pun on the Archduke's name, Leopold.

I leave them to my country's care,—
This field shall soon be won.

"These nobles lay their spears right thick,

And keep full firm array,
Yet shall my charge their order break,

And make my brethren way."

He rush'd against the Austrian band, In desperate career,
And with his body, breast, and hand, Bore down each hostile spear.

Four lances splinter'd on his crest,

Six shiver'd in his side;
Still on the serried files he press'd—

He broke their ranks, and died.

This patriot's self-devoted deed
First tamed the Lion's mood,

And the four forest cantons freed
From thraldom by his blood.

Right where his charge had made a lane,

His valiant comrades burst, With sword, and axe, and partisan,

And hack, and stab, and thrust.

The daunted Lion 'gan to whine,
And granted ground amain,

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