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

Switzerland: Bürglen

Tell’s Birthplace

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

MARK this holy chapel well!

The birthplace, this, of William Tell.

Here, where stands God’s altar dread,

Stood his parents’ marriage-bed.

Here first, an infant to her breast,

Him his loving mother prest;

And kissed the babe, and blessed the day,

And prayed as mothers use to pray:

“Vouchsafe him health, O God, and give

The child thy servant still to live!”

But God has destined to do more

Through him than through an armed power.

God gave him reverence of laws,

Yet stirring blood in Freedom’s cause,—

A spirit to his rocks akin,

The eye of the hawk, and the fire therein!

To Nature and to Holy Writ

Alone did God the boy commit:

Where flashed and roared the torrent, oft

His soul found wings, and soared aloft!

The straining oar and chamois chase

Had formed his limbs to strength and grace:

On wave and wind the boy would toss,

Was great, nor knew how great he was!

He knew not that his chosen hand,

Made strong by God, his native land

Would rescue from the shameful yoke

Of Slavery,—the which he broke!