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Did the land sleep?-the woodman's axe had ceas'd
Its ringing notes upon the beech and plane;
For there, where snows, in crowning glory spread,
To lay her withering hand on God's bright works e'en there?
Yet thus it was-amidst the fleet streams gushing
And the fresh pastures, where the herd's sweet bell
And hollow sounds that wake to Guilt's dull, stealthy tread.
But in a land of happy shepherd-homes,
On its green hills in quiet joy reclining
With their bright hearth-fires, 'midst the twilight-glooms, From bowery lattice through the fir-woods shining; A land of legends and wild songs, entwining Their memory with all memories lov'd and blestIn such a land there dwells a power, combining The strength of many a calm, but fearless breast; -And woe to him who breaks the sabbath of its rest!
A sound went up-the wave's dark sleep was broken
On Uri's lake was heard a midnight oar―
Of man's brief course a troubled moment's token
Th' eternal waters to their barriers bore;
And then their gloom a flashing image wore
They stood in arms-the wolf-spear and the bow
So met those men in Heaven's majestic face ;-
O'er their low pastoral valleys might the tide
As cottage-lamps, expiring, one by one,
In the dim glades, when midnight hath begun
Till some rash voice or step disturb its brooding might.
So were they roused-th' invading step had past
Th' enduring and magnificent array
Of sovereign Alps, that wing'd their eagles with the day?
This might not long be borne-the tameless hills
That He hath made man free!-and they whose
Was in those ancient fastnesses, gave ear;
The weight of sufferance from their hearts repelling,
They rose the forester, the mountaineer—
Oh! what hath earth more strong than the good peasantspear?
Sacred be Grütli's field!—their vigil keeping Through many a blue and starry summer-night, There, while the sons of happier lands were sleeping, Had those brave Switzers met; and in the sight
Of the just God, who pours forth burning might
To gird the oppress'd, had given their deep thoughts
And brac'd their spirits for the patriot-fight,
With lovely images of homes, that lay
Bower'd 'midst the rustling pines, or by the torrent-spray.