"Make Way for Liberty"
The Switzers knelt in prayerAnd sware upon their sword hilts,
The oath their fathers sware.Under the oaks of Sempach ,
Their fathers swords they bared,And dared the powers of Slavery
Their valiant fathers dared.
Duke Leopold's knights in armor.
Duke Leopold's spearmen tall,With shields o erlapped and lance points,
Stood up like castle wall:And when the Swissmen smote them,
Their angry armor rang ,Like anvils under hammers,
With hoarse and sullen clang!
And when the Switzers charged them,
So well they bore the shock,The mountain men fell backward,
Like billows from a rock—Fell back with dead and dying,
Fell back with doubts and fearsThat none might pass the shield-wall,
Or break the hedge of spears!
Behold! the fateful moment—
The hour of Freedom's stress,Then stood forth Arnold Winkelried
From all the dubious press,He looked upon the Switzers.
And saw their fear and doubt—"I'll make a path for LIBERTY!"
Bold Winkelried cried out.
He turned upon the Austrians,
And flung his arms apart:He clasped a score of lance-points,
And joined them at his heart.As bride embraces bridegroom,
He hugged the lovely death:
"I make a path for LIBERTY!"
He said with dying breath.
And after him the Switzers
No more knew doubts or fears;
They passed the broken shield wall,
They passed the hedge of spears;
And where he fell they mounted,
O er shattered helm and shield,
And drove the Austrian spoilers,
From Sempach's gory field!
Five hundred years have mouldered
O'er Winkelried the Swiss ;
No slave hath breathed in Switzerland
From that brave day to this
And as the LORD yet liveth,
I cannot help but pray
Some Winkelried might lift his voice
In mine own land to day!
Some stern and loyal leader,
To shame our doubts and fears.
And cleave for us the shield wall
And break the hedge of spears!
Some hero man, o'ermastering
A slavish time like this—
To make a path for LIBERTY—
Like Winkelried the Swiss!
New York, Jan. 1, 1862