Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI. 1876–79.

Switzerland: Brunnen


By James Montgomery (1771–1854)

(From The Wanderer of Switzerland)

ON the princely towers of Berne

Fell the Gallic thunder-stroke;

To the lake of poor Lucerne,

All submitted to the yoke.

Reding then his standard raised,

Drew his sword on Brunnen’s plain;

But in vain his banner blazed,

Reding drew his sword in vain.

Where our conquering fathers died,

Where their awful bones repose,

Thrice the battle’s fate he tried,

Thrice o’erthrew his country’s foes.

Happy then were those who fell

Fighting on their father’s graves!

Wretched those who lived to tell

Treason made the victors slaves!

Thus my country’s life retired,

Slowly driven from part to part;

Underwalden last expired,

Underwalden was the heart.

In the valley of their birth,

Where our guardian mountains stand;

In the eye of heaven and earth,

Met the warriors of our land.

Like their sires in olden time,

Armed they met in stern debate;

While in every breast sublime

Glowed the spirit of the state.

Gallia’s menace fired their blood:

With one heart and voice they rose;

Hand in hand the heroes stood,

And defied their faithless foes.

Then to heaven, in calm despair,

As they turned the tearless eye,

By their country’s wrongs they sware

With their country’s rights to die.