Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SWISS EMIGRANT, by LUCY AIKEN



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THE SWISS EMIGRANT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Farewell, farewell, my native land
Last Line: In absence near, -- in misery true.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Lucy
Subject(s): Immigrants; Switzerland; Emigrant; Emigration; Immigration; Swiss


FAREWELL, farewell, my native land,
A long farewell to joy and thee!
On thy last rock I lingering stand,
Thy last rude rock how dear to me!

Once more I view thy valleys fair,
But dimly view, with tearful eye;
Once more I breathe thy healthful air,
But breathe it in how deep a sigh!

Ye vales, with downy verdure spread,
Ye groves that drink the sparkling stream,
As bursting from the mountain's head
Its foaming waves in silver gleam;

Ye lakes, that catch the golden beam
That floods with fire yon peak of snow,
As evening vapours bluely steam
And dimly roll their volumes stow;

Scenes on this bursting heart imprest
By every thrill of joy, of woe,
The bliss of childhood's vacant breast,
Of warmer youth's impassioned glow,

The tears by filial duty shed
Upon the low, the peaceful tomb,
Where sleep, too blest, the reverend dead
Unconscious of their country's doom;

Say, can Helvetia's patriot child
A wretched exile bear to roam,
Nor sink upon the lonely wild,
Nor die to leave his native home?

His native home? No home has he;
He scorns in servile yoke to bow;
He scorns the land no longer free;
Alas! he has no country now!

Ye snow-clad Alps, whose mighty mound,
Great Nature's adamantine wall,
In vain opposed its awful bound
To check the prone-descending Gaul,

What hunter now with daring leaps
Shall chase the ibex over your rocks?
Who clothe with vines your rugged steeps?
Who guard from wolves your rambling flocks?

While low the freeborn sons of toil
Lie sunk amid the slaughtered brave,
To freedom true the stubborn soil
Shall pine and starve the puny slave.

Spoilers, who poured your ravening bands
To gorge on Latium's fertile plains,
And filled your gold-rapacious hands
From regal domes and sculptured fanes,

What seek ye here? -- Our niggard earth
Nor gold nor sculptured trophies owns;
Our wealth was peace and guileless mirth,
Our trophies are the' invader's bones!

Burst not, my heart, as dimly swell
Morat's proud glories on my view!
Heroic scenes, a long farewell!
I fly from madness and from you.

Beyond the dread Atlantic deep
One gleam of comfort shines for me;
There shall these bones untroubled sleep,
And press the earth of Liberty.

Wide, wide that waste of waters rolls,
And sadly smiles that stranger land;
Yet there I hail congenial souls,
And freemen give the brother's hand.

Columbia, bear the exile's prayer;
To him thy fostering love impart;
So shall he watch with patriot care,
So guard thee with a filial heart!

Yet O forgive, with anguish fraught
If sometimes start the unbidden tear,
As tyrant Memory wakes the thought,
"Still, still I am a stranger here!"

Thou vanquisht land, once proud and free,
Where first this fleeting breath I drew,
This heart must ever beat for thee,
In absence near, -- in misery true.








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