Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
 
Austria: Vienna
The Siege of Vienna
Vincenzo da Filicaja (1642–1707)
 
Anonymous translation

HOW long, O Lord, shall vengeance sleep,
And impious pride defy thy rod?
How long thy faithful servants weep,
Scourged by the fierce barbaric host?
Where, where, of thine almighty arm, O God,        5
Where is the ancient boast?
While Tartar brands are drawn to steep
Thy fairest plains in Christian gore,
Why slumbers thy devouring wrath,
Nor sweeps the offender from thy path?        10
And wilt thou hear thy sons deplore
Thy temples rifled, shrines no more,
Nor burst their galling chains asunder,
And arm thee with avenging thunder?
 
See the black cloud on Austria lower,        15
Big with terror, death, and woe!
Behold the wild barbarians pour
In rushing torrents o’er the land!
Lo! host on host, the infidel foe
Sweep along the Danube’s strand,        20
And darkly serried spears the light of day o’erpower!
There the innumerable swords,
The banners of the East unite;
All Asia girds her loins for fight:
The Don’s barbaric lords,        25
Sarmatia’s haughty hordes,
Warriors from Thrace, and many a swarthy file
Banded on Syria’s plains or by the Nile.
 
Mark the tide of blood that flows
Within Vienna’s proud imperial walls!        30
Beneath a thousand deadly blows,
Dismayed, enfeebled, sunk, subdued,
Austria’s queen of cities falls:
Vain are her lofty ramparts to elude
The fatal triumph of her foes;        35
Lo! her earth-fast battlements
Quiver and shake; hark to the thrilling cry
Of war, that rends the sky,
The groans of death, the wild laments,
The sobs of trembling innocents,        40
Of wildered matrons, pressing to their breast
All which they feared for most and loved the best!
 
Thine everlasting hand
Exalt, O Lord, that impious men may learn
How frail their armor to withstand        45
Thy power, the power of God supreme!
Let thy consuming vengeance burn
The guilty nations with its beam!
Bind them in slavery’s iron band;
Or, as the scattered dust in summer flies,        50
Chased by the raging blast of heaven,
Before thee be the Thracians driven!
Let trophied columns by the Danube rise,
And bear the inscription to the skies:
“Warring against the Christian Jove in vain,        55
Here was the Ottoman Typhœus slain!”
*        *        *        *        *
If Destiny decree,
If Fate’s eternal leaves declare,
That Germany shall bend the knee
Before a Turkish despot’s nod,        60
And Italy the Moslem yoke shall bear,
I bow in meek humility,
And kiss the holy rod.
Conquer, if such thy will,—
Conquer the Scythian, while he drains        65
The noblest blood from Europe’s veins,
And Havoc drinks her fill:
We yield thee trembling homage still;
We rest in thy command secure;
For thou alone art just and wise and pure.        70
 
But shall I live to see the day,
When Tartar ploughs Germanic soil divide,
And Arab herdsmen fearless stray
And watch their flocks along the Rhine,
Where princely cities now o’erlook his tide?        75
The Danube’s towers no longer shine,
For hostile flame has given them to decay:
Shall devastation wider spread?
Where the proud ramparts of Vienna swell,
Shall solitary Echo dwell,        80
And human footsteps cease to tread?
O God, avert the omen dread!
If Heaven the sentence did record,
O, let thy mercy blot the fatal word!
 
Hark to the votive hymn resounding        85
Through the temple’s cloistered aisles!
See, the sacred shrine surrounding,
Perfumed clouds of incense rise!
The pontiff opes the stately piles
Where many a buried treasure lies;        90
With liberal hand, rich, full, abounding,
He pours abroad the gold of Rome.
He summons every Christian king
Against the Moslemim to bring
Their forces leagued for Christendom:        95
The brave Teutonic nations come,
And warlike Poles like thunderbolts descend,
Moved by his voice their brethren to defend.
 
He stands upon the Esquiline,
And lifts to heaven his holy arm,        100
Like Moses, clothed in power divine,
While faith and hope his strength sustain.
Merciful God, has prayer no charm
Thy rage to soothe, thy love to gain?
The pious king of Judah’s line        105
Beneath thine anger lowly bended,
And thou didst give him added years;
The Assyrian Nineveh shed tears
Of humbled pride, when death impended,
And thus the fatal curse forefended:        110
And wilt thou turn away thy face,
When Heaven’s vicegerent seeks thy grace?
 
Sacred fury fires my breast,
And fills my laboring soul.
Ye who hold the lance in rest,        115
And gird you for the holy wars,
On, on, like ocean waves to conquest roll,
Christ and the Cross your leading star!
Already he proclaims your prowess blest:
Sound the loud trump of victory,        120
Rush to the combat, soldiers of the Cross!
High let your banners triumphantly toss;
For the heathen shall perish, and songs of the free
Ring through the heavens in jubilee!
Why delay ye? Buckle on the sword and targe,        125
And charge, victorious champions, charge!
 
 
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