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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT, 1820

XXIII. THE CHURCH OF SAN SALVADOR

SEEN FROM THE LAKE OF LUGANO

          THOU sacred Pile! whose turrets rise
          From yon steep mountain's loftiest stage,
          Guarded by lone San Salvador;
          Sink (if thou must) as heretofore,
          To sulphurous bolts a sacrifice,
          But ne'er to human rage!

          On Horeb's top, on Sinai, deigned
          To rest the universal Lord:
          Why leap the fountains from their cells
          Where everlasting Bounty dwells?--                          10
          That, while the Creature is sustained,
          His God may be adored.

          Cliffs, fountains, rivers, seasons, times--
          Let all remind the soul of heaven;
          Our slack devotion needs them all;
          And Faith--so oft of sense the thrall,
          While she, by aid of Nature, climbs--
          May hope to be forgiven.

          Glory, and patriotic Love,
          And all the Pomps of this frail "spot                       20
          Which men call Earth," have yearned to seek,
          Associate with the simply meek,
          Religion in the sainted grove,
          And in the hallowed grot.

          Thither, in time of adverse shocks,
          Of fainting hopes and backward wills,
          Did mighty Tell repair of old--
          A Hero cast in Nature's mould,
          Deliverer of the stedfast rocks
          And of the ancient hills!                                   30

          'He', too, of battle-martyrs chief!
          Who, to recall his daunted peers,
          For victory shaped an open space,
          By gathering with a wide embrace,
          Into his single breast, a sheaf
          Of fatal Austrian spears.


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