Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TELL'S BIRTHPLACE, by SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TELL'S BIRTHPLACE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Mark this holy chapel well
Last Line: Of slavery, -- the which he broke!
Subject(s): Burglen, Switzerland; Tell, William

MARK this holy chapel well!
The birthplace, this, of William Tell.
Here, where stands God's altar dread,
Stood his parents' marriage-bed.

Here first, an infant to her breast,
Him his loving mother prest;
And kissed the babe, and blessed the day,
And prayed as mothers use to pray:

"Vouchsafe him health, O God, and give
The child thy servant still to live!"
But God has destined to do more
Through him than through an armed power.

God gave him reverence of laws,
Yet stirring blood in Freedom's cause, --
A spirit to his rocks akin,
The eye of the hawk, and the fire therein!

To Nature and to Holy Writ
Alone did God the boy commit:
Where flashed and roared the torrent, oft
His soul found wings, and soared aloft!

The straining oar and chamois chase
Had formed his limbs to strength and grace:
On wave and wind the boy would toss,
Was great, nor knew how great he was!

He knew not that his chosen hand,
Made strong by God, his native land
Would rescue from the shameful yoke
Of Slavery, -- the which he broke!

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