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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.


A Song of the Huguenots

By Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay (1800–1859)

  • Moncontour is a village of France, about twenty-five miles northwest of Poictiers. In 1569, Coligny, the leader of the Huguenots, was defeated here by Henry the Third, when Duke of Anjou.

  • O, WEEP for Moncontour! O, weep for the hour

    When the children of darkness and evil had power;

    When the horsemen of Valois triumphantly trod

    On the bosoms that bled for their rights and their God!

    O, weep for Moncontour! O, weep for the slain

    Who for faith and for freedom lay slaughtered in vain!

    O, weep for the living, who linger to bear

    The renegade’s shame or the exile’s despair!

    One look, one last look, to the cots and the towers,

    To the rows of our vines, and the beds of our flowers,

    To the church where the bones of our fathers decayed,

    Where we fondly had deemed that our own should be laid.

    Alas! we must leave thee, dear desolate home,

    To the spearmen of Uri, the shavelings of Rome,

    To the serpent of Florence, the vulture of Spain,

    To the pride of Anjou, and the guile of Lorraine.

    Farewell to thy fountain, farewell to thy shades,

    To the song of thy youths and the dance of thy maids,

    To the breath of thy garden, the hum of thy bees,

    And the long waving line of the blue Pyrenees.

    Farewell, and forever! The priest and the slave

    May rule in the halls of the free and the brave;—

    Our hearths we abandon; our lands we resign;

    But, Father, we kneel to no altar but thine.