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and armed to maintain her laws, roused by his powerful voice the slumbering spirit of his countrymen, groaning under the weight of their chains; taught them to change their ploughshares for the sword of the hero, conquered the armed bands which tyrants sent to oppose him, and founded in a barbarous barbarous age, upon barren rocks, a retreat for Reason and Virtue, the daughters of Heaven, who descended to console mankind.
I do not invoke thee now, O divine Poetry! thou whom I have adored from my infancy! thou whose brilliant fables were wont to delight me! thy enchanting imagery would but disfigure the hero whose deeds I celebrate. Ill would thy fanciful wreaths become his stern forehead; and in thy presence, his calm but terrible features would wear too mild an expression.
Add no splendour to his mountain. pomp! Leave him his rough garb, and his strong yew bow! and let him walk alone over his native rocks, or by the brink of sparkling torrents! Follow him indeed, but at a distance, and strew timidly in the paths which he has trodden. a few flowers of the wild eglantine.
In the midst of Ancient Helvetia, that country so renowned for valour, three Cantons, enclosed on all sides by the steepest rocks, had preserved for many ages their simple manners. Industry, frugality, truth, and modesty those virtues which the conquering kings of the earth delight to banish-took refuge among these mountains.
There they remained long concealed, nor complained of their peaceful obscurity. Liberty, in her turn, fixed her seat on the summit of these mountains; and
from that fortunate moment, none who are truly brave or wise have pronounced without respect the names of Uri, of Schwitz, or Underwalden. The natives of these three cantons pursued their daily labours in the fields, and escaped for many ages the misery produced by the guilty madness of those fierce chieftains who conquered the Roman Empire. They formed out of its ruins numbers of smaller kingdoms, which they governed by the worst laws that ignorance could invent in favour of tyranny. But they despised, perhaps, the poor shepherds and husbandmen of Uri, and on that account permitted them to keep the cherished name of freemen. They barely submitted to these new Cæsars, and preserved their ancient customs, their laws, and their virtues.
Each father of a family, sole master in
his peaceful hut, grew old, surrounded by his children, whose tender and grateful care softened the decline of his days. The young, knowing no evil, fearing God, and obedient to their parents, had no other hope, no higher aim, than to resemble those to whom they owed their birth. To honour and to imitate them, formed the plan of their lives; and this simple and virtuous race was protected by its poverty from the envy of the wicked.
Not far from Altorf, their capital, on the shore of the lake which gives its name to the town, is a high mountain, from which the traveller, who pauses after the toil of climbing its steep sides, may discover a crowd of valleys enclosed by rocks of different size and shape.
Rivulets, or rapid torrents, sometimes falling in cascades across the rocks,