Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
Austria: Cracow
The Passage of the Poles by Night near Cracow
August von Platen-Hallermünde (1796–1835)
Translated by A. Baskerville

THE CHILLY breezes blow,
In sadness do we go,
Led on by Destiny.
O’ershadowed is each star,
While Europe, from afar,        5
Looks on the tragedy.
Oft turning back our head,
Upon the bridge we tread
That quits our native land.
By torchlight’s sombre glow,        10
They who our sorrows know
Salute us on the strand.
Sold, vanquished, and betrayed,
Our noblest actions fade
Like vain and empty dreams,        15
No trace behind remains.
Farewell, beloved plains,
Ye valleys, hills, and streams!
Farewell! in every land
Will a life-wearied band        20
Find in the grave a home.
It is not death we flee,
No, ’t is but to be free,
We take our staff and roam.
From wife and child, from all        25
We part, our country’s fall
We may not hinder more,
For, lo! the knout of Russia
And scourging steel of Prussia
Are thirsting for our gore.        30
A tearless soul abhorred
Was given us as lord,
A stony heart unbent;
Born of a murderous race,
His forehead bears the trace        35
That brandeth his descent.
Let glory’s crown, O fame,
Illume our humble name!
Pour balm on every scar!
Then smart the wounds of none,        40
For Poland’s humblest son
Is greater than the Czar.
Alone inherit we
Our struggle’s memory
That leagued each Polish band,        45
Of war the pain and toil,
A handful of the soil
Snatched from our Fatherland.
O, happy they who drained
The cup of death, and gained        50
The laurels of the brave!
And ye, Volhynia’s sons,
From agony’s death-groans
Freed by the cold damp grave!
They urge the reeking steed,        55
Enclosed by foes, and speed
The Vistula to gain,
The stranger’s shore their goal;
Then swelled their noble soul,
Oppressed by woe and pain.        60
It wrung their hearts to roam,
Ne’er more to see that home
Of every wish the meed;
Then rushed the good and brave
Headlong into the wave        65
With weapon and with steed.
O thou, their country’s flood,
Who long hast swelled with blood,
Receive the valiant dead!
Soon wilt thou reach the sea,        70
O, bear the corpses free
On to free Ocean’s bed.

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