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Often lost their quivering beam,

Still the lights move slow before, Till they rest their ghastly gleam Right against an iron door.

Thundering voices from within,

Mix'd with peals of laughter, rose; As they fell, a solemn strain

Lent its wild and wondrous close!

Midst the din, he seem'd to hear

Voice of friends, by death removed;Well he knew that solemn air, 'Twas the lay that Alice loved.

Hark! for now a solemn knell

Four times on the still night broke; Four times, at its deaden'd swell, Echoes from the ruins spoke.

As the lengthen'd clangours die, Slowly opes the iron door! Straight a banquet met his eye, But a funeral's form it wore !

Coffins for the seats extend;

All with black the board was spread; Girt by parent, brother, friend,

Long since number'd with the dead!

Alice, in her grave-clothes bound, Ghastly smiling, points a seat; All arose, with thundering sound; All the expected stranger greet.

High their meagre arms they wave,

Wild their notes of welcome swell;~~~ "Welcome, traitor, to the grave! Perjured, bid the light farewell!”

The Battle of Sempach.


THESE 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 Eschylus, that

Not alone he nursed the poet's flame,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot stee)."


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 trength; 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 menat-arms received the charge of the Swiss, was by forming a phalanx, which they defended with their long lances. The gallant Winkelreid, 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 those 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.


"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.

The Austrian nobles made their vow,
So hot their heart and bold,
"On Switzer carles we'll trample now,
And slay both young and old."

With clarion loud, and banner proud,
From Zurich on the lake,
In martial pomp and fair array,

Their onward march they make.

"Now list, ye lowland nobles all-

Ye seek the mountain strand,
Nor wot ye what shall be your lot

In such a dangerous land.

"I rede ye, shrive ye of your sins,
Before ye farther go;

A skirmish in Helvetian hills

May send your souls to woe.".

"But where now shall we find a priest

Our shrift that he may hear?"-
"The Switzer priest has ta'en the field,
He deals a penance drear.

"Right heavily upon your head

He'll lay his hand of steel;
And with his trusty partisan

Your absolution deal."

'Twas on a Monday morning then,

The corn was steep'd in dew,
And merry maids had sickles ta'en,

When the host to Sempach drew.

The stalwart men of fair Lucerne
Together have they join'd;
The pith and core of manhood stern,
Was none cast looks behind.

It was the Lord of Hare-castle,
And to the Duke he said,
"Yon little band of brethren true
Will meet us undismay'd."-

"O Hare-castle, thou heart of hare!"
Fierce Oxenstern replied.-
"Shalt see then how the game will fare,"
The taunted knight replied.

There was lacing then of helmets bright,
And closing ranks amain;

The peaks they hew'd from their boot-points
Might wellnigh load a wain."

This translation first appeared in Blackwood's Edinburgh the middle ages, of wearing boots with the points or peaks Magazine for February 1818.-ED.

turned upwards, and so long, that in some cases they were

2 All the Swiss clergy who were able to bear arms fought in fastened to the knees of the wearer with small chains. When this patriotic wai

8 In the original, Haasenstein, or Hare-stone.

they alighted to fight upon foot, it would seem that the Aus trian gentlemen found it necessary to cut off these peaks, that

This seems to allude to the preposterous fashion, during they might move with the necessary activity

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"Two gilded fishes in the lake
This morning have I caught,
Their silver scales may much avail,
Their carrion flesh is naught."

It was a messenger of woe
Has sought the Austrian land:
"Ah! gracious lady, evil news!
My lord lies on the strand.

"At Sempach, on the battle-field,

His bloody corpse lies there.""Ah, gracious God!" the lady cried, "What tidings of despair!"

Now would you know the minstrel wight
Who sings of strife so stern,
Albert the Souter is he hight,
A burgher of Lucerne.

A merry man was he, I wot,
The night he made the lay,
Returning from the bloody spot,
Where God had judged the day.

The Noble Moringer.




THE original of these verses occurs in a collection of German popular songs, entitled, Sammlung Deutschen Volkslieder, Berlin, 1807, published by Messrs. Busching and Von der Hagen, both, and more especially the last, distinguished for their acquaintance with the ancient popular poetry and legendary history of Germany.

was, by birth, of the house of Moringer. This lady he supposes to have been Moringer's daughter, mentioned in the ballad. He quotes the same authority for the death of Berckhold Von Neuffen, in the same year. The editors, on the whole, seem to embrace the opinion of Professor Smith of Ulm, who, from the language of the ballad, ascribes its date to the 15th century.

The legend itself turns on an incident not peculiar to Germany, and which, perhaps, was not unlikely to happen in more instances than one, when crusaders abode long in the Holy Land, and their disconsolate dames received no tidings of their fate. A story, very similar in circumstances, but without the miraculous machinery of Saint Thomas, is told of one of the ancient Lords of Haigh-hall in Lancashire, the patrimonial inheritance of the late Countess of Balcarras; and the particulars are represented on stained glass upon a window in that ancient manor-house.2

O, WILL you hear a knightly tale of old Bohemian day,

It was the noble Moringer in wedlock bed he lay;
He halsed and kiss'd his dearest dame, that was as
sweet as May,

And said, "Now, lady of my heart, attend the words
I say.

""Tis I have vow'd a pilgrimage unto a distant shrine, And I must seek Saint Thomas-land, and leave the land that 's mine;

Here shalt thou dwell the while in state, so thou wilt pledge thy fay,

That thou for my return wilt wait seven twelvemonths and a day."

Then out and spoke that Lady bright, sore troubled in her cheer,

"Now tell me true, thou noble knight, what order takest thou here;

And who shall lead thy vassal band, and hold thy lordly sway,

And be thy lady's guardian true when thou art far away?"

In the German Editor's notice of the ballad, it is stated to have been extracted from a manuscript Chronicle of Nicolaus Thomann, chaplain to Saint Leonard in Weisenhorn, which bears the date 1533; and the song is stated by the author to have been generally sung in the neighbourhood at that early eriod. Thomann, as quoted by the German Editor, seems faithfully to have believed the event he narrates. He quotes tombstones and obituaries to prove Out spoke the noble Moringer, "Of that have thou the existence of the personages of the ballad, and discovers that there actually died, on the 11th May 1349, a Lady Von Neuffen, Countess of Marstetten, who

1 The translation of the Noble Moringer appeared originally in the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1816, (published in 1819.) It was composed during Sir Walter Scott's severe and alarming illness of April, 1819, and dictated, in the in

There's many a valiant gentleman of me holds living fair;

tervals of exquisite pain, to his daughter Sophia, and his friend
William Laidlaw.-ED. See Life of Scott, vcl. vi., p. 71.
2 See Introduction to "The Betrothed," Waverley Novels.
vol. xxxvii.

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The trustiest shall rule my land, my vassals and my And pledge thee for my Lady's faith till seven long
years are gone,

And be a guardian tried and true to thee, my lovely And guard her as Our Lady dear was guarded by

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"As Christian-man, I needs must keep the vow which Marstetten's heir was kind and true, but fiery, hot,
I have plight,
and young,
When I am far in foreign land, remember thy true And readily he answer made with too presumptuous

And cease, my dearest dame, to grieve, for vain were "My noble lord, cast care away, and on your journey
sorrow now,

But grant thy Moringer his leave, since God hath And trust this charge to me until your pilgrimage
heard his vow."

have end.

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It was the noble Moringer from bed he made him" Rely upon my plighted faith, which shall be truly
And met him there his Chamberlain, with ewer and To guard your lands, and ward your towers, and with
with gown:
your vassals ride;
He flung the mantle on his back, 'twas furr'd with And for your lovely Lady's faith, so virtuous and so
He dipp'd his hand in water cold, and bathed his I'll gage my head it knows no change, be absent thirty
forehead fair.


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"Now hear," he said, "Sir Chamberlain, true vassal The noble Moringer took cheer when thus he heard
art thou mine,
him speak,
And such the trust that I repose in that proved worth And doubt forsook his troubled brow, and sorrow left
of thine,
his cheek;
For seven years shalt thou rule my towers, and lead A long adieu he bids to all-hoists topsails, and away,
my vassal train,
And wanders in Saint Thomas-land seven twelve-

And pledge thee for my Lady's faith till I return


months and a day.


It was the noble Moringer within an orchard slept, The Chamberlain was blunt and true, and sturdily When on the Baron's slumbering sense a boding vision said he,


"Abide, my lord, and rule your own, and take this And whisper'd in his ear a voice, ""Tis time, Siz
rede from me;
Knight, to wake,

That woman's faith 's a brittle trust-Seven twelve- Thy lady and thy heritage another master take.
months didst thou say?

I'll pledge me for no lady's truth beyond the seventh
fair day."

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"Thy tower another banner knows, thy steeds another rein,

And stoop them to another's will thy gallant vassa! train;

And she, the Lady of thy love, so faithful once and fair,

This night within thy fathers' hall she weds Marstetten's heir."


It is the noble Moringer starts up and tears his beard, "Oh would that I had ne'er been born! what tidings have I heard!

"To watch and ward my castle strong, and to protect To lose my lordship and my lands the less would be my land,

my care,

And to the hunting or the host to lead my vassal But, God! that e'er a squire untrue should wed my
Lady fair.


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