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

Switzerland: Morat (Murten)


By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

ABOVE me are the Alps,

The palaces of nature, whose vast walls

Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps,

And throned eternity in icy halls

Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls

The avalanche,—the thunderbolt of snow!

All that expands the spirit, yet appalls,

Gathers around these summits, as to show

How earth may pierce to heaven, yet leave vain man below.

But ere these matchless heights I dare to scan,

There is a spot should not be passed in vain,—

Morat! the proud, the patriot field! where man

May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain,

Nor blush for those who conquered on that plain;

Here Burgundy bequeathed his tombless host,

A bony heap, through ages to remain,

Themselves their monument;—the Stygian coast

Unsepulchred they roamed, and shrieked each wandering ghost.

While Waterloo with Cannæ’s carnage vies,

Morat and Marathon twin names shall stand;

They were true glory’s stainless victories,

Won by the unambitious heart and hand

Of a proud, brotherly, and civic band,

All unbought champions in no princely cause

Of vice-entailed corruption; they no land

Doomed to bewail the blasphemy of laws

Making kings’ rights divine, by some Draconic clause.