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LXVI.

E'en when the heart's with anguish cleft,

Revere the doom of Heav'n. Her soul is from her body reft ;

Her spirit be forgiven !"

THE

BATTLE OF SEMPACH.

THES

HESE verses are a literal translation of an ancient Swiss ballad upon the battle of Sempach, fought 9th July, 1386, being the victory by which the Swiss Cantons established their independence. The author, Albert Tchudi, denominated the Souter, from his profession of a shoemaker. He was a citizen of Lucerne, esteemed highly among his countrymen, both for his powers as a Meister-singer or minstrel, and his courage as a soldier ; so that he might share the praise conferred by Collins on Æschylus, that

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“ Not alone he nursed the poet's flame,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot steel.”

The circumstance of their being written by a poet returning from the well-fought field he describes, and in which his country's fortune was secured, may confer on Tchudi's verses an interest which they are not entitled to claim from their poetical merit. But ballad poetry, the more literally it is translated, the more it loses its simplicity, without acquiring either grace or strength; and therefore some of the faults of the verses must be imputed to the translator's feeling it a duty to keep as closely as possible to his original. The various puns, rude attempts at pleasantry, and disproportioned episodes, must be set down to Tchudi's account, or to the taste of his age.

The military antiquary will derive some amusement from the minute particulars which the martial poet has recorded. The mode in which the Austrian men-atarms received the charge of the Swiss, was by forming a phalanx, which they defended with their long lances. The gallant Winkelried, who sacrificed his own life by rushing among the spears, clasping in his arms as many as he could grasp, and thus opening a gap in these iron battalions, is celebrated in Swiss history. When fairly mingled together, the unwieldy length of their weapons, and cumbrous weight of their defensive armour,

rendered the Austrian men-at-arms a very unequal match for the light-armed mountaineers. The victories obtained by the Swiss over the German chivalry, hitherto deemed as formidable on foot as on horseback, led to important changes in the art of war. The poet describes the Austrian knights and squires as cutting the peaks from their boots ere they could act upon foot, in allusion to an inconvenient piece of foppery, often mentioned in the middle ages. Leopold III, Archduke of Austria, called, “ The handsome man-at-arms," was slain in the battle of Sempach, with the flower of his chivalry.

THE

BATTLE OF SEMPACH.

'Twas when among our linden trees

The bees had housed in swarms, (And grey-hair’d peasants say that these

Betoken foreign arms,)

Then look'd we down to Willisow,

The land was all in flame;
We knew the Archduke Leopold

With all his army came.

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