Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
 
Switzerland: Grütli
The Cavern of the Three Tells
Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)
 
O, ENTER not yon shadowy cave,
  Seek not the bright stars there,
Though the whispering pines that o’er it wave
  With freshness fill the air;
      For there the Patriot Three,        5
        In the garb of old arrayed,
      By their native forest-sea
        On a rocky couch are laid.
 
The Patriot Three that met of yore
  Beneath the midnight sky,        10
And leagued their hearts on Grütli shore,
  In the name of liberty!
      Now silently they sleep
        Amidst the hills they freed;
      But their rest is only deep,        15
        Till their country’s hour of need.
 
They start not at the hunter’s call,
  Nor the Lammer-geyer’s cry,
Nor the rush of a sudden torrent’s fall,
  Nor the Lanwine thundering by!        20
      And the Alpine herdsman’s lay,
        To a Switzer’s heart so dear!
      On the wild wind floats away,
        No more for them to hear.
 
But when the battle-horn is blown        25
  Till the Schreckhorn’s peaks reply,
When the Jungfrau’s cliffs send back the tone
  Through their eagle’s lonely sky;
      When spear-heads light the lakes,
        When trumpets loose the snows,        30
      When the rushing war-steed shakes
        The glacier’s mute repose;
 
When Uri’s beechen woods wave red
  In the burning hamlet’s light;
Then from the cavern of the dead        35
  Shall the sleepers wake in might!
      With a leap, like Tell’s proud leap,
        When away the helm he flung,
      And boldly up the steep
        From the flashing billow sprung!        40
 
They shall wake beside their forest-sea,
  In the ancient garb they wore
When they linked the hands that made us free,
  On the Grütli’s moonlight shore:
      And their voices shall be heard,        45
        And be answered with a shout,
      Till the echoing Alps are stirred,
        And the signal-fires blaze out.
 
And the land shall see such deeds again
  As those of that proud day,        50
When Winkelried, on Sempach’s plain,
  Through the serried spears made way;
      And when the rocks came down
        On the dark Morgarten dell,
      And the crowned casques, overthrown,        55
        Before our fathers fell!
 
For the Kühreihen’s notes must never sound
  In a land that wears the chain,
And the vines on freedom’s holy ground
  Untrampled must remain!        60
      And the yellow harvest wave
        For no stranger’s hand to reap,
      While within their silent cave
        The men of Grütli sleep!
 
 
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