• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Book the first
 Book the second
 Book the third
 Life of Florian
 Andreas Hofer, the tyrolese
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: William Tell : the patriot of Switzerland
Title: William Tell
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002205/00001
 Material Information
Title: William Tell the patriot of Switzerland
Physical Description: 240 p. : ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Butler, Thomas W ( Engraver )
D. Appleton and Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: D. Appleton & Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1852
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Switzerland   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
individual biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: translated from the French of M. de Florian ; together with the life of the author, to which is added, Andreas Hoffer, the "Tell" of the Tyrol ; illustrated with engravings on wood, by Butler.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002205
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002249144
oclc - 45805619
notis - ALK0877

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Book the first
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
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        Page 50
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        Page 52
        Page 52a
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Book the second
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
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        Page 69
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        Page 72a
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        Page 74a
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        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    Book the third
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
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        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
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        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 110a
        Page 111
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        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Life of Florian
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    Andreas Hofer, the tyrolese
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
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        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 226a
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 234a
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
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WILLIAM TELL,

THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.








































, Td shooting at the Apple on his Son's Head.







WILLIAM TELL,

THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND


TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF M. DE FLOREIN.


TOOETHBR WITH

THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.


TO WHICH IS ADDED,


ANDREAS HOFER,

THE "TELL" OF THE TYROL.



ILLUSTRATED WITH ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD, BT BUTLER.






NEW-YORK :
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY.
1852.








WILLIAM TELL.




BOOK THE FIRST.


LISTEN to me, friends of Liberty! you whose
lofty souls and feeling hearts would teach you to
die for your independence, or to live for the happi-
ness of your country! Come, and I will tell you
how a man, born in a barbarous country, in the
midst of a people enslaved under the rod of an
oppressor, alone, with no other aid than his own
courage and magnanimity, gave to his desponding
countrymen Liberty and a new existence, and
taught them to know their birth-right.
This man, whom nature called her son, and
armed to maintain her laws, roused up his powerful





WILLIAM TELL,


voice the slumbering spirit of his countrymen,
groaning under the weight of their chains ; taught
them to change their ploughshares for the sword of
the hero, conquered the armed bands which tyrants
sent to oppose him, and founded in a barbarous age,
upon barren rocks, a retreat for Reason and Virtue,
the daughters of Heaven, who descended to console
mankind.
I do not invoke thee now, 0 divine Poetry! thou
whom I have adored from my infancy I thou whose
brilliant fables were wont to delight me thy en-
chanting imagery would but disfigure the hero,
whose deeds I celebrate. Ill would thy fanciful
wreaths become his stern forehead; and in thy pre-
sence, his calm but terrible features would wear
too mild an expression.
Add no splendour to his mountain pomp! Leave
him his rough grab, and his strong yew bow and
let him walk alone over his native rocks, or by the
brink of sparkling torrents I Follow him indeed,
but at a distance, and strew timidly in the paths





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


which he has trodden a few flowers of the wild
eglantine.
In the midst of Ancient Helvetia, that country
so renowned for valour, three cantons, enclosed on
all sides by the steepest rocks, had preserved for many
ages their simple manners. Industry, frugality, truth,
and modesty-those virtues which the conquering
kings of the earth delight to banish-took refuge
among these mountains.
There they remained long concealed, nor com-
plained of their peaceful obscurity. Liberty in her
turn fixed her seat on the summit of these moun
tains, and from that fortunate moment, none who
are truly brave or wise have pronounced without
respect the names of Uri, of Schwitz, or Under-
walden, The natives of these three cantons pur-
sued their daily labour in the fields, and escaped
for many ages the misery produced by the guilty
madness of those fierce chieftains who conquered
the Roman Empire. They formed out of its ruins
lnumrn rs of smaller kingdoms, which theygoverned





WILLIAM TELL,


by the worst laws that ignorance could invent in
favour of tyranny. But they despised, perhaps, the
poar shepherds and husbandmen of Uri, and on
that account permitted them to keep the cherished
name of freemen. They barely submitted to these
new Casars, and preserved their ancient customs,
their laws, and their virtues.
Each father of a family, sole master in his peace-
ful hut, grew old surrounded by his children, whose
tender and grateful care softened the decline of his
days. The young, knowing no evil, fearing God,
and obedient to their parents, had no other hope, no
higher aim, than to resemble those to whom they
owed their birth. To honour and to imitate them,
formed the plan of their lives; and this simple and
virtuous race was protected by its poverty from the
envy of the wicked.
Not far from Altorff, their capital, on the shore
)f the lake which gives its name to the town, is a
high mountain, from which the traveller, who
pauses after the toil of climbing its steep sides, may





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


discover a crowd of valleys enclosed by rocts of
different size and shape.
Rivulets, or rapid torrents, sometimes falling in
cascades, across the rocks, sometimes winding
through beds of moss, descend into the valley to
water meadows covered with vast flocks, or to
supply the clear lake, in which the young heifers
delight to cool themselves.
On the summit of this mountain was a poor hut
surrounded by a small field, a vineyard, and an
orchard. A labourer, or rather a hero, though as
yet he knew not his own powers, whose heart
glowed with the love of his country, received from
his father, at the age of twenty years, this small
inheritance. "My son," said the old man to him on
his death-bed, my toils are over, my life is fin-
ished. For sixty years I have lived in this peaceful
dwelling, and never has vice attempted to enter my
doors; nor has my sleep been disturbed for a single
night by remorse. Be like me, my son; love in-
dustry : choose a wife whose love, whose confidence,





WILLIAM TELL,


whose patient friendship, may double thy innocent
pleasures, and deprive misfortune of half its bitter-
ness. Adieu, my son do not weep for me; death
is only painful to the wicked. When I sent thee to
carry a part of our fruits and bread to our poor
brethren who had none, didst thou not return with
joy to tell me what thou hadst done ? Well, my
son! I am going to my Father to give him an ac-
count of the good which he has enabled me to do in
so long a life. He will receive me as I used to re-
ceive thee; and in his presence I trust that you and
I shall meet again. While thou continues here
below, be virtuous; and while thou art free, it will
be easy to be so. But if ever a tyrant should dare
to attack our ancient liberty, fear not to die, William,
for thy country, and thou wilt find that death is
not bitter in such a cause."
These words sank deeply into the feeling heart
of Tell ; he paid the last solemn duties to his revered
parent; dug his tomb at the foot of the fir-tree that
shaded his cottage; and there he took a sacred oath,





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


which he never violated, to visit alone every day
this honoured tomb; there to call to mind all his
actions, and ask if his father were content with
his son.-How many virtues did Tell owe to this
pious custom! How much did the fear of shame
when he should question the shade of his father,
teach him to curb the fire of youth, and conquer all
his passions! Thus he became the master over
his own desires, and could always turn them to the
side of wisdom. Inheriting his father's land, he
won a second harvest from the soil by a double
portion of labour, and shared its fruits with his
poorer neighbours.
Rising with the earliest dawn, and holding a
plough which two oxen could scarcely draw, he
plunged the sharp steel into the flinty earth, and
hastened the slow cattle with the goad that he
held in his hand, nor stopped to wipe the drops
of toil from his forehead till he retired home to-
wards evening, pitying those unfortunate people
who had no plough.





WILLIAM TELL,


This idea accompanied him as he led home
his oxen, and visited him even in his sleep. The
next morning he would rise still earlier, that he
might, unknown to his poor friends, go and plough
their fields, and sow their seeds while they were
absent, to spare his modesty the pain of being
thanked by his equals. Such was his toil, and
such were his pleasures; kindness and industry
were his employment and his delight.
Nature, who had given Tell this pure and
lofty soul, endowed him also with a strong and
active body. He was a head taller than the tallest
of his companions. He could climb with a firm
step the most stupendous rocks; could leap over
roaring torrents, or chase the wild chamois in
their fullest speed to the top of the icy summits.
His arms could alone bend and break down the
stubborn oak after a few strokes of the axe, and
his shoulders could bear its vast weight with all
its leafy branches.
On days of rejoicing,in'the midst of the games






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


which the young archers carried on, Tell, who had
no equal in the art of shooting with a bow and
arrow, was obliged to be idle while the prize was
disputed. He was seated in spite of his youth,
among the old men, who were there as judges.
Confused at this honour, he could scarcely stir or
breathe, in his eagerness to watch the flight of the
swift arrows. He applauded with rapture the
archer whose aim was the truest, and held out his
arms as if to embrace a rival worthy of himself.
But if it happened that the quiver was emptied
in vain, and no one had struck the dove; if the
bird, tired of its useless struggles, was perched
upon the top of the mast, and looking down with
a fearless eye upon its feeble enemies, then William
would rise, and taking his great bow with three
of the fallen arrows, with the first he would strike
the mast and put the bird to flight, with the second
he would cut the string which hindered it from
soaring on high, and with the third seek it'in the
midst of the clouds, and king it palpitating to the





WILLIAM TELL,


feet of the astonished judges.-But Tell was not
vain of his skill : he preferred the remembrance of
a good action, though known only to himself, to
the most brilliant triumph. He began to be angry
with himself for obeying too slowly his father's
advice. He resolved to become a husband, and
the youthful Edmea attracted his notice.
Edmea was the loveliest, as well as the most
retiring of the daughters of Uri. Her heart, pure
as the first breath of morning, was the seat of peace,
reason, and gentleness. She was an orphan, and
had no portion. From hei infancy she had lived
with an old relation, the last of her indigent race.
Edmea took care of the sheep that belonged to this
good old man. Every morning, before the rising
sun had gilded the topmost branches of the dark fir-
trees, Edmea was on the mountains, spinning in the
midst of the flock, to provide linen for her bene-
factor.
She returned in the dusk of evening to put his
cottage in order, prepare his supper and his meals





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


for the next day, and see that he would want
nothing in her absence. Then she would give
herself up to repose, happy that on that day she had
fulfilled the sweet obligation of gratitude, and know-
ing that the morrow would bring her the same
content.
Tell knew her, and loved her. He went during
her absence to visit her old relation. With him
he talked with frankness and delight on the subject
of Edmea; and the old man was never better
pleased than in sounding her praises, telling of her
most trifling actions, or repeating her very words.
The tears came into his eyes as he told of the
patience, the gentleness, the never-failing goodness,
which rendered this orphan so dear to him.
These praises, which were echoed by Tell's heart,
increased his affection more than the sight of its
object; and when Edmea returned in the midst of
their conversation, Tell read in her modest looks
and manner all that he had lately been told.
"Edmea," said he to her one festival-day, as they







WILLIAM TELL,


were leaving the temple, "I love, I honour thee;
if thou canst be happy with me, receive my hand
and my heart; come and dwell in my cottage; and
on the grave of my father I will teach thee those
virtues which he taught me."
Edmea, looking on the ground, blushed for the
first time; but soon feeling her confidence restored,
and certain that her thoughts might be known,
" William," she said, "William, I thank thee for
having chosen me. Happy as I am at present, I feel
that I am still more blessed in being able to confess
to thee, that thou wouldest have been the object of
my choice." At these words she gave him her
hand, which Tell pressed in his own; their eyes
met, and their vows were pronounced in silence.
This marriage completed Tell's happiness. His
daily toil had new charms, for it was Edmea who
would reap the fruit of it. The good which he was
able to do gave more satisfaction, because it was
known to Edmea. The birth of a son increased
their delight; he was at first entirely under the






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


care of his mother, but, when he reached his sixth
year, the charming little Gemmi never quitted his
father's side. He went with him into the fields or
the pastures : and as his father shewed him the earth
covered with corn, the mountains, the waters, the
forests, he made him lift his eyes to Ieaven, and
pronounce-with fear the awful name of God! He
taught him that this God, who knows and judges
all our thoughts, has commanded man to be good
only that he may be happy for ever! Every morn-
ing and evening he repeated to him this truth, and
shewed him by his example what it was to be
good. Then, without regard to his childish weak-
ness or fears, he led him among the snows, taught
him to walk on the slippery ice, or with his little
hands to unyoke and caress the oxen, and lead
these formidable animals wherever he ordered
him.
This child, who with his father was serious and
patient, was no longer the same timid silent boy,
when, on returning to the cottage, he ran to throw
2






WILLIAM TELL,


himself into his mother's arms. Tender, caressing,
and obedient to her slightest wishes, how happy did
this dear child render his mother! Often would
she press him to her bosom, and fondly tell him
that her existence depended upon his life and happi-
ness.
Tell, added to these blessings, had one which is
equally valuable in prosperity or adversity. He
had a friend. This friend, nearly of his own age,
lived among the rocks which divided Uri from
Underwalden. It was because their hearts were
both warm and generous, that these friends had
been attached to each other from infancy, and not
because their characters were alike. Melctal, like
Tell, was brave, and capable of great actions; de-
voted besides to his native country; but the impe-
tuosity of his temper would not allow him to bear
with patience. Too warm and hasty in his feelings
to conceal them, they found relief in words, and
were exhausted by their own violence. But Tell,
when any great emotion filled his soul, increased it






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


by confining it to his own breast, nor suffered a
word to escape from his lips, or a glance from his
eye, that might lead to its discovery.
Both abhorred tyranny and injustice, but the
former would openly defy the oppressor; while the
latter would observe in silence, that he might re-
dress the wrong.
Melctal and William would frequently cross the
little space between their dwellings, that they might
spend together their days of rest and leisure. These
days, to which they looked forward with impatience,
were shared between them.
Sometimes Edmea set out with her husband
and son, carrying to Melctal's cottage fruit, milk, oi
the fresh produce of their vine and their orchard.
At other times Melctal arrived, supporting on one
arm his aged father, and holding by his other hand
his daughter, the only pledge that remained to him
of a wife whose loss he still lamented. Tell waited
for them at the door of his dwelling. A seat was
always ready for the old man, and a cup of wine







WILLIAM TELL,


that sparkled in Edmea's hands. And Gemmi,
whose eyes had long sought for them on the road,
held in his hands a nosegay for Clara.
Oh! how pure and touching were these simple
pleasures, when thus partaken together! And how
would they prolong their cheerful repast, so full of
contentment and glee As soon as it was finished,
old Melctal, in spite of the burden of eighty years,
with no other aid than his stick, would climb the
highest summit of the mountain, and, seated there,
in the midst of his children and his friends, would
bare his venerable head to receive the warmth of
the sun upon his silver hairs. Then, after satisfy-
ing his eyes with the enchanting prospect, he would
begin to talk of his youthful days; of his pains and
his pleasures; of the disappointments of life, and
the consolations of virtue.
Tell, Melctal, and Edmea, would listen with at-
tentive respect; while Clara and Gemmi, between
the old man's knees, would gather instruction from
his discourse.






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


Clara and Gemmi grew together, and their love
for each other increased with their age. Already
the happy days which they spent in each other's
company seemed to come too slowly. Gemmi,
during the long weeks which he passed away from
his friend, would invent excuses to steal away from
his own home in order to fly to that of Clara.
Sometimes he had to tell Melctal that a bear had
been seen on the mountains ready to devour his
flocks; or that the cold north wind which blew the
night before, had. withered the young buds of his
vine. Melctal listened to him with a smile, and
thanked him for his attentive care; and Clara made
haste to offer him a bowl of milk fresh from the cow.
Gemmi, content with this visit, and pleased with
his excursion, returned to his father, thinking as
he went along what pretence he should have on the
morrow for another walk to Melctal's cottage.
Thus lived these two families, and thus a whole
people of brothers ; till all at once the death of Rodol-
phus threatened to put an end to their happiness.






WILLIAM TELL,


Rodolphus, whom fortune had seated on the
throne of the Caesars, had always respected the
liberty of Switzerland. The haughty Albert who
succeeded him, puffed up with his vain titles, his
vast dominions, and the command of all the armies
of the empire, was enraged that a few labourers and
herdsmen should dare to think of being independent
of his government. He sent a Governor among
them to subdue their noble spirit: and this Gover-
nor was Gesler, the basest and most insolent of the
new Emperor's servants.
Gesler, followed by armed slaves, of whom he
made executioners at his pleasure, took up his
abode at Altorff. Of a violent temper, and con-
sumed by a restless spirit, which could only be
gratified by wicked actions, Gesler made himself
still more miserable by tormenting those who were
in his power. Trembling at the very name of Lib-
erty, as a wolf shudders at the whistling of the
arrows which the hunters send after him, he re-
solved, he vowed, to destroy this empty name. Al-






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


lowing his infamous soldiers to glut themselves
with crime, he himself gave them an example of
rapine, murder, and the most horrid insult.
In vain did the people complain; their murmurs
were punished as guilt. Virtue affrighted, hid her-
self in the interior of the cottages. The labourer
cursed the ground for giving to his toil an abundant
harvest, which he must never reap. The old, re-
joicing in their feebleness, which promised them
that death would soon come to their release, joined
their prayers to those of their sons, that they might
not survive them. In short, the veil of misery was
extended like a funereal crape over the three Can-
tons by the cruel hand of Gesler; from the instant
of whose arrival, Tell had foreseen the wretchedness
to which his country would be brought. Without
letting Melctal know his thoughts; without alarm-
ing his family, Tell's great soul prepared itself, not
to suffer slavery, but to rescue his country. Crimes
grew more common; the three Cantons, struck with
fear, lay trembling at the feet of Gesler. Tell






WILLIAM TELL,


trembled not; he was not surprised. He watched
the crimes of the tyrant with the same eye with
which he was accustomed to observe on the rocks
the bramble armed with its thorns. And when
his ardent friend Melctal poured, forth his indigna-
tion in his presence, Tell heard him without reply.
He shed no tears, nor did a single change of coun-
tenance betray his secret project. He esteemed his
friend, and was certain of his honour, but he dis-
trusted his impatience, and dared not yet confide to
him the purpose of his soul. He resolved to conceal
his design from him till the moment of execution,
a moment which he knew must soon arrive. He
grew stern and thoughtful; spent long days without
embracing his child, or beholding his wife. He
rose even before his usual time; harnessed his team,
led them into the field, and guided the plough with
an unsteady hand: often he dropped his whip; and
suddenly stopping in the middle of an ill-traced
furrow, his head hung down on his breast, while
his eyes were fixed on the ground. In this thought-






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


ful posture he stood, scarcely breathing, considering
the power of the tyrant, and his own feeble means
of opposing him. On the one hand, he had to
weigh the cruel Gesler, surrounded by his creatures,
and armed by boundless power; on the other, a
poor labourer determined to be free !
One evening, as William and his wife were seated
together before their cottage, looking at Gemmi,
who was at a little distance, trying his strength
against the chief ram of their flock, the sight of this
boy abandoning himself to his natural gaiety, and
thoughtless of the misery which slavery was prepar-
ing for him, increased his father's melancholy, and
made him shed tears for the first time in his life.
Edmea looked at him, and watched him in silence
for some time, but, yielding at last to her love,
which made her desire to share the troubles of one
so dear to her, she drew nearer to him, took hold of
his hand, and looking earnestly at him-" What
have I done," said she, to merit this distrust ?-to
have lost that confidence which-was always my






WILLIAM TELL,


pride ? Thou art unhappy, and thy wife is igno.
rant of the cause of thy grief! And thou believes
that it would be more painful for her to bear than
for thee. And yet thou knowest that for fifteen
years even my thoughts have been thine; and 1
have felt happy only because all my enjoyments
came from thee My heart is the same, but thine
is altered. Nothing is changed in our peaceful
dwelling, but thou art gloomy and sad. Look at
our hut; at that field which thou hast dug, and
which has not only supported us, but left us every
year something to give away to our poor neigh-
bours! See the moon rising in all her splendour
behind the mountains, to announce to us a morrow
as calm and as bright as the day that is now depart-
ing. And yonder is our son, whose innocent merri-
ment seems intended to raise our spirits, and bid us
be as happy as himself."
"Edmea," answered Tell, "talk not to me of
happiness; thou wilt render more terrible the gloom
that oppresses me every hour of the day. How I






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


pity thee, that thou canst even dream of joy while
Switzerland groans with the weight of her irons,
and the barbarous Gesler, that insolent tool of a still
prouder despot, does but insult her misery! Thou
biddest' me look at the harvest which my toil has
obtained-one word from Gesler can snatch it from
me. Thou pointest to the hut where my virtuous
ancestors have lived for three hundred years,-
Gesler can destroy it in a moment -and that child,
so dear to us both, that beloved child, is the proper-
ty of Gesler; my wife, my son, even my father's
tomb belong to the tyrant, without whose permission
we cannot even breathe our pure native *---Oh,
ignominy a whole people bend to the caprice of a
single man! But what do I say ? a man !-My God !
pardon me for having profaned the name of thy no-
blest work! Nature has nothing in common with
tyrants; but she must bow to them till the moment
when, resuming her rights, she shall revenge the
wrongs of ages. The thought that such an instant
will arrive, consoles and animates me. Scarcely does





WILLIAM TELL,


my whole soul suffice to the greatness of my designs
Disturb not my thoughts by recalling them to thy-
self or my son. A slave has no wife, no son ;-while
I am one, all nature is dead to me. Thy eyes take
pleasure in viewing this hut and this lovely scene,
which has beheld our happiness. Mine, which virtue
has awakened, can only see yon dreadful fortress,
built on the steep rock to keep Uri in chains."
Edmea replied, "And couldst thou believe that
I could love thee without hating our tyrants? Am
not I thy wife, and if thou lovest thy country, do not
I adore it for being thy country as well as my own ?
Speak, then, with confidence to me of thy designs,
and, if from the feebleness of my sex I cannot aid
thee, I shall know at least how to die for thee."
Tell at these words embraced Edmea, and was
beginning to open his most secret soul to her, when
cries and sobs resounded from the side of the hut.
They rose up in haste, and beheld their son pale
and weeping, his arms raised to heaven, and run-
ning towards them with terror. "Oh! father," cried





THE PATRIOT OP SWITZERLAND.


he in a broken voice, "come, come and help him !
Melctal, old Melctal, the barbarians have dared-"
As he was speaking, Clara came forward, supporting
the tottering steps of the wretched old man. His
right arm leaned upon a stick, and his left upon the
arm of the unhappy Clara. At every step he called
upon Tell, and extending his arms to meet him, his
feet stumbled over the flinty stones, and obliged him
once more to seek the support he had quitted.
William ran to his aged friend, caught hold of him,
looked at him, and uttered a piercing cry! His
hair stood on end when he saw, on that venerable
face, only the bloody sockets of those eyes which
had been barbarously put out. Struck with fear
and horror, Tell drew back, and would have fallen,
but for the rock against which he leaned to support
himself. Edmea fainted, and Gemmi hastened to
assist her: while Clara, calling back William, looked
up to Heaven through her streaming tears.
"Dost thou leave me, my only friend ?" said
Melctal with a feeble voice; "dost thou fear to be





WILLIAM TELL,


sprinkled with the blood that falls from my wound !
Ah come back that I may embrace thee! My
heart, my heart is not torn from me; let me feel it
beat against thine, that 1 may know at least that
the barbarians who have taken my sight, have not
robbed me of my friend."
"Pardon," cried Tell, rushing into his arms,
"pardon the first emotion of my pity-of my hor-
ror Oh virtuous old man thy sufferings cannot
make me respect thee more, but they add to my
tenderness, and make the bond which unites us
stronger and more sacred. But how and where did
these villains, mad in pursuit of crime, dare to lay
their guilty hands upon old age and virtue ? How
hadst thou offended them, Melctal ? Did thy son
perish in defending thee, or has he left thee to the
care of a poor weak girl, who, alas! can do nothing
but weep? But I will be to thee as a son; this
day I inherit his tenderness, and his desire of re-
venge."
Do not accuse my son," said the old man; do





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


not judge thy friend without hearing him. Let me
sit down among you all. William, do not quit my
side, nor thou, my Clara; and Edmea and Gemini,
listen to me with attention."
They led him to a hillock covered with moss, and
placed him close by William; Edmea sat behind
him, and supported his venerable head. Clara and
Gemmi, sitting at his feet, seized his hand, kissed it,
and bathed it with their tears.
"And now," said Melctal, "listen to me, and in-
dulge not this useless grief and indignation. This
morning, when the last sun which I must ever behold
gilded with its beams our mountain tops, Clara, my
son, and myself were in the fields. Clara was help-
ing me to bind the sheaves of our harvest, and my
son lifted them into the waggon, to which two oxen
were yoked in order to carry it to the cottage. All
at once arrived a soldier, one of Gesler's guard; he
came towards us trampling upon our corn, and,
going up to the cart, looked at it, and began to
anfasten the oxen. 'By what right,' said my son






WILLIAM TELL,


to him, would you rob me of those animals, .ny
only riches, by which I support my family, and
enable thy master to pay thee thy wages ?'-' Obey !'
answered the soldier, 'and question not thy rulers.'
At these words I saw fury flash from the eyes of my
son. He seized the thong which had fastened the
oxen, and which the soldier had loosened, snatched
it out of his hands, and raising it, was going to strike
him; but, prevented by my cries, Wretch,' said he,
'thou mayest thank my father, that his voice, all-
powerful over me, has prevented me from ridding
the earth of a foe to humanity! Fly or tremble
lest this field become thy tomb!' The soldier
escaped in an instant. I held Melctal fast, that he
might not follow him. My son,' I said, 'withdraw
thyself this instant, in the name of Heaven, from
the rage of Gesler: I know him, he will never for-
give thee. He will pursue thee to death, and my
grey hairs will be sprinkled with thy blood. Oh !
hasten, my son, to preserve my life by saving
thy own.'-' No I my father,' replied he, in a voice







THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


of mingled piety and rage, 'no! I will never leave
thee. I wbuld sooner die in defending thee than
tremble one moment for thy safety. My wish, my
duty is'-- To obey me,' I answered sternly.
'You have nothing to fear on my account; leave
me to guard thy cottage, and thy daughter; let it
be my task to preserve for thy child her father and
her inheritance. And do thou conceal thyself for
aI few days in the mountains of Underwalden.
Clara and I will come to thee, when the storm is
overpast. Go! and lose not another moment, I
implore, I command you! I order you as a father.'
At these words the high-spirited Melctal looked
sadly on the ground, threw himself on his knees,
bade me farewell, and begged my blessing. I pressed
him to my heart, and bathed him with my tears.
Clara hung about his neck, and kissed away the
tears which her afflicted father could not conceal.
Then he tore himself from his daughter's arms,
and, placing her in mine, hurried away, not daring
to look back. Clara and I returned alone to our
3






WILLIAM TELL,


hut. I wished to go that instant to Altorff, to find
out the tyrant, and see if every sentiment of justice
was a stranger to his soul. But all at once my
cottage was surrounded by armed men. They all
demanded Melctal with loud cries; questioned me
angrily, loaded me with chains, and dragged me
before Gesler.
"'Where is thy son ?' said the tyrant furiously.
'Thou must suffer for his crime, or bring him be-
fore me.'
'Strike,' I replied, 'and I- will offer thanks to
Heaven if thy brutality enables me to give my son
his life a second time.'
"Gesler frowned upon me with eyes in which I
could perceive, at once, cold-blooded cruelty, and
uncertainty how to fix upon a method of torture
which the length of my days would not render less
severe.
At last, after a long silence, he made a sign to
his assassins; and these wretches, while he looked
on with that horrid smile by which tyrants shew






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


that they glory in crimes for which no mortal can
punish them, seized, bound, and overpowered me,
and then tore out my aged eyes with a red-hot iron.
'Enough,' said Gesler, 'let the blind old criminal
have his life. Loose his fetters, and then let him
seek his son.' They dragged, they pushed me
rudely out of the palace: I walked on, holding out
my arms, and fell into those of Clara.
She had followed me as far as the outer gate of
the palace, which the guards would not allow her
to enter. In the midst of my agony it was some
relief to hear myself called by a name so dear to my
heart; to feel her embrace, though bathed in her
tears. I tried to stop her cries: I concealed from
her my anguish, and desired that she would lead
me to the house of my friend, of my son's friend.
SWe are on the road to it,' she said; 'my own
heart directed me to it.' We arrived here. Oh!
my dear William, I can see thee no longer, but 1
feel thee near me; I press thy hand in my own-it
trembles at the tale of my woes. My son is safe--





WILLIAM TELL,


my friend is spared to me:-ah! I have many
blessings left !"
As soon as the old man had finished, Edmea,
Clara, and Gemmi rushed to embrace him, and
hung over him, sobbing and bathing him with
their tears. Tell stood still, supporting his head
with one hand, while his eyes looked stedfastly
upon the ground. Large tears fell, drop by drop,
from his half-closed eyes; and, as if oppressed with
a terrible weight, he could scarcely breathe. The
hand upon which his head leaned trembled con-
vulsively. After a long and gloomy silence, he
roused himself suddenly, embraced the blind old
man, tried to speak, but could only utter in a bro-
ken voice these words-" My father, thou shalt be
avenged."
Then he once more became thoughtful; he stood
in gloomy silence. Again and again he thought
over his secret purpose; and at last, recovering
his spirits, he asked the old man calmly, if he knew
where Melctal had concealed himself? Yes !"






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


replied the unhappy father, "my son is gone to
hide in the darkest caverns of Mount Faigel;
among those desert rocks which are unknown to
the creatures of the tyrant. Melctal has promised,
has sworn to me, not to quit them till he has my
permission." "Now is the time then," said Tell,
"to release him from his oath: it is I who demand
it in his name; and, my son, thou must prepare
this very hour to leave us. By travelling all night,
thou wilt arrive by day-break at the Faigel moun
tain. Seek out Melctal; take no rest till thou hast
discovered him, and, when thou hast found him,
speak thus to him: 'Thy friend has sent me to
make known to thee new crimes of the execrable
Gesler. He has put but thy father's eyes !-William
sends thee this sword."
Tell then drew from his girdle the sword which
never before left his side. Gemmi approached with
respect, took the sword, and concealed it in his
bosom. Edmea and Clara trembled, but dared
not question William. They fixed their anxious






WILLIAM TELL,


eyes, first upon Gemmi, then on each other, and
feared to shew their alarm at the thoughts of his
dangerous expedition.
Old Melctal, surprised at the order he had just
heard Tell give his son, asked what were his in-
tentions ? "Thy son knows them, Willian replied;
"and the sight of this sword will be enough to
inform him what to do. Time is precious; let us
lose it no longer. My father, thou shalt be avenged!"
Then taking Gemmi by the hand, he led him in
silence to his father's grave; and after he had
obliged him to take an oath, he gave him some
knowledge of his secret plans : told him what assis-
tance he could depend upon; and what instructions
he was to give to Melctal. They then came back,
fired with a generous purpose. Gemmi was im-
patient to begin his route. Clara asked to accom-
pany him. She would embrace her father, and
carry to him some nourishment, of which he must
be in want in those bleak mountains. Old Melctal
consA ed to her request, and Edmea soon prepared






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


for her a basket of provisions. She added some
milk and wine, and, giving the basket to her son,
she pressed him to her bosom, and bade him adieu.
Again she embraced him, and ehtreated Clara, in
a whisper, to watch over this dear child. Gemmi,
armed with a stick pointed with iron, that his
father had taught him to use, put the basket on his
head, gave his arm to Clara, and they set out thus,
like two young fawns wandering in the dark in
search of fresh pasture. William, when he had
seen them depart, clad himself in the wolf-skin
which he always wore when he hunted wild
animals at a distance from home. This skin,
fastened to his body by a broad girdle, covered even
his head, and the animal's teeth shone brightly
upon his forehead. His legs were partly covered
with bearskin trowsers; on his shoulders he bore a
quiver full of the brightest arrows, and on his arm
that terrible bow which he had. never bent in vain.
On this bow he leaned for a few moments, looking
calmly at Edmea. My wife," said he, "I am going





WILLIAM TELL,


to leave you : I must set out this instant. To your
care I commit our guest; the father of my friend,
the old man whom I revere, whom I cherish as my
parent. You will be his constant attendant; let
it be your delight to watch him from morning till
night, to relieve, to prevent his sufferings. Forget
not for a moment what is due to friendship, to mis-
fortune, to old age! We shall soon meet again;
two days will suffice for my undertaking. Let my
absence be a secret, and let the door of my house
be closed until I return."-Thus he spoke, and left
the hut, and, taking a different route from that by
which he had sent Gemmi, he hurried abruptly
away.
By this time Clara and Gemmi were half-way
down the mountain in their way towards the
narrow paths which lead to Underwalden. They
went round by Altorff, and knocked at the door of
a fisherman, a friend of Tell's, in order to ask
him to give them a passage in his boat across the
lake.






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


The good fisherman, fond of children, and glad
to be of use to them, ran to unfasten his boat,
handed them into it, seized the oars, and divided
the clear waters with rapid and equal strokes.
When they reached the opposite shore, the chil-
dren thanked the good fisherman, and began to
climb the hard rocks which surrounded the lake
on every side. Clara wished to carry in her turn
the basket which Gemmi had borne thus far:
Gemmi would not yield this precious burden to
her: and at last they agreed to share it, and each
taking hold of the handle, they shortened the dis-
tance by mutual kindness, and exchanged, while
they talked, looks full of sad but tender feeling,
as they remembered the sufferings of those who
were dearest to them.
The moon had already disappeared; and the
dawn, which in this cold season is so tedious in
its arrival, had already begun to gild the summit
of the snows, when the young travellers arrived at
the foot of Mount Faigel.






WILLIAM TELL,


They looked about while they ascended, in hopes
of finding some goatherd or shepherd who might
shew them the cavern in which Melctal was con-
cealed. But no one appeared among those desert
rocks. In vain did the two children look around
as far as their sight could reach. They sa,
nothing but ice, and could only discern the wild
goats hanging over the precipices, and vanishing
as swiftly as the birds of air the moment they were
perceived.
At last, about the eighth hour, a thin smoke
caught Gemmi's eye, curling upwards among the
rocks. He pointed it out to Clara; both flew to-
wards this smoke, leaped over frozen torrents,
crossed a wood of fir-trees, and reached a cavern:
and perceived from its entrance a fire that blazed
brightly at the other end. A man who sat by this
fire was feeding the flame with dry branches. At
the first sound of their footsreps he turned his head,.
rose up, took his axe in his hand, and lifting it up
high, came forward to meet the young travellers.






THE PATRIOT OP SWITZERLAND.


"What do you seek?" he asked in an angry
tone. We are your children, my father," replied
Clara, running up to him. "Gemmi and your
daughter are come to embrace you, and to bring
you some food." She threw herself upon her father's
neck, who, flinging away his axe, received his child,
pressed her to his heart, and covered her with
kisses. Then turning towards Gemmi, who had
stood looking at him in silence, he caressed him
also, and bathed him with his tears. Then he pro.
nounced the name of his father, and that of his
friend Tell,--questioned the children with agitation,
and interrupted their answers by his kisses. At
last he led them to the fire, and, seating one of them
on each side of him, he forced himself to restrain
his tears, that he might listen to them calmly.
Clara began to tell him, with great caution, the
errand which brought them so far,-and the sacred
orders of the aged Henry. Her voice soon failed;
she wished, but was not able to tell him of the
dreadful misfortune for which her tears flowed-of






WILLIAM TELL,


Gesler's horrible cruelty! Three times she began,
and three times she was obliged to pause in the
dreadful story. Gemmi came to her assistance.
"Oh Melctal," he said, "behold our tears, which
announce to thee new misfortunes! My father has
ordered me to bring thee the terrible tidings. My
father said tiat his friend would endure them with
firmness; that, in pity to his daughter Clara, he
would moderate his grief." Then he told him how
Gesler, the infamous Gesler, had revenged himself
on the old man. At this news Melctal, the enraged
Melctal, seized his axe, and was on the point of
rushing out of the cavern in order to go that instant
and bathe his hands in the blood of the cruel tyrant
Clara kneeled to him-Gemmi stood before him.
" Remember my father !" said he; have you for-
gotten his words? Is he no longer thy friend?
Hear at least what he bade me tell thee. This very
moment he is with Verner, and that alone will tell
thee his purpose. These are my father's orders-
he repeated them to me three times: 'Go, my son,






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


and when thou hast made known to Melctal this
new crime of the tyrant's, remind him that fury
alone will not be sufficient to repair our wrongs.
Courage and prudence must be ours. I go to Schwitz,
to find my friend Verner, and to rouse his canton
to arms. Let him repair to Stantz-there are his
friends, and the chiefs of Underwalden. Let him
assemble them, and persuade them to arm; and
then let him await me in the cavern of Grutty,
where Verner and I shall soon follow.'"
While Melctal listened to Gemmi, the sweet joy
of vengeance appeared on his countenance. I will
obey my friend," cried he with delight: T will
hasten to assemble my friends. To-morrow, Gemmi,
your father may depend upon two hundred brave
men, the sons of freedom, who will die to redeem
their liberty: but who before death will not fail to
sacrifice numbers of slaves, and raise in the streets
of Stantz the standard of liberty !-I myself burn
with impatience to attack the perfidious Gesler
Let him come; let him dare to meet us, with hi






WILLIAM TELL,


innumerable band of slavish followers,'armed with
all his power. I shall be stronger than he-strong
in the cause of filial piety and insulted humanity !"
When he had spoken, he would instantly have
taken the road to Stantz; but Clara detained him.
She entreated him to give a few moments at least
to the claims of nature-to grant but one hour to
his daughter and to refresh himself with the nourish-
ment which she had brought him.
Melctal at last consented to sit down between the
two children, close to the fire, and partook along
with them of a slight repast. Then, taking the
children in his arms, he embraced them again and
again, and giving way for a moment to his tears,
seemed to forget the vengeance which had roused
him before. Then he bade them adieu, after re-
minding them once more of what they were to say
to William; seized his axe, and taking the road to
Stantz, was soon at a distance from the cave.
The children remained alone, trembling with a
thousand fears and presentiments. Gemmi, who






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


was the first to recover his presence of mind, said to
Clara, "Let us go back to my mother, to give her
an account of our journey, and comfort thy poor old
grandfather with the hope of a speedy revenge''
Clara could not answer, but, taking hold of his
hand, they left the cavern.
The sun had as yet completed but half of its
daily course; and, nevertheless, it only darted a
few pale beams across the dark increasing clouds.
A misty veil that seemed to be thrown over every
part of the sky, concealed its pure azure, while
flakes of snow flying through the air like wool that
brambles have torn from the fleece, came thicker
from the North. Soon a bleak wind sprang up,
and increased the force of this dazzling snow. It
fell like a violent storm of rain: it filled every path;
covered and concealed each precipice; and weighed
down the eyelids of the poor young travellers, who
had not strength to hear its violence. They could
go no farther, and were driven to the rocks in
search of shelter; but the snow followed them into






WILLIAM TELL.


their retreat, and fell upon their heads. Gemmi
was fearful on Clara's account; and she, to lessen
his alarm, only smiled when she found herself
covered with the snow-flakes, or shook them off her
clothes.
At last the storm seemed to have spent its rage;
and the bright star of day piercing through the
misty veil that hid its splendour, shed its rays
on the snow, which appeared to sparkle with dia-
monds. The children once more began their walk,
but were no longer able to find the path, which
was concealed by a thick white carpet spread all
over the rocks. Gemmi, holding Clara's hand,
walked on carefully, finding with his stick the depth
of the snow; and this long and toilsome walk, full
of fresh dangers at every step, had still charms for
the affectionate Clara.
Forced to take a winding path, and to follow
the course of torrents, the rapidity of whose waters
had left their channels dry, the wanderers wore
out the day, and did not arrive till towards evening







THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


at the village of Erfeld. Then Gemmi remembered
the road, and knew that before night they must
arrive at Altorff. He encouraged his more timid
companion, and made her observe the rising moon,
which would prevent them from losing their path
any more. They then followed with more safety
the left branch of the river that crosses the Canton
of Uri; when they were suddenly joined by a man
armed with a long cross-bow, and covered with a
cloak that entirely enveloped his figure. They
could only perceive the snow and the ice that shone
at the top of the cap which he wore upon his head,
on his cloak, and even on his hair, which was
entirely frozen.
This man came up close to the children, who
stopped on seeing him, and speaking in a feigned
voice, "My young friends," he said, "you see a
hunter who has lost his road; my companions have
left me, and I have no one to direct me how to
reach Altorff, where I am certain that my absence
gives much alarm. If you, my children, will be






OU WILLIAM TELLt

my guides, I will amply reward your readiness and
- diligence."
The service will be its own reward," answered
Clara; "we know the road to Altorff, and shall
be as much pleased to bring you back to your
family, as you could be in restoring us to our dear
parents. Follow us, and in one hour you will
certainly arrive there." The hunter then joined
the children, and, observing them attentively by
the moonlight, walked silently on with them.
Soon he turned to Gemmi and said, "My boy,
who are your parents ? and in what part of Altorff
do they live ?"-" I am the son of a peasant," said
Gemmi, without looking at him, "and my father
does not live in the town."-" Where then is his
dwelling ?"--" Among the mountains, in a solitary
desert, where he digs the ground and practises
virtue."
"Virtue!" replied the hunter, with an ironical
smile; "I should not have thought that thou
couldst know the meaning of such a word."






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


"It was the first word that I was taught to
speak," replied Gemmi, firmly.-" You know, then,
what it signifies ?"-" I hope so."-" Explain it
then to me."--" Three words are sufficient. To
fear God, to love mankind, and to hate their oppres-
sors."-" And whom do you call their oppressors ?"
-" Tyrants and their flatterers."-" There are no
tyrants in Switzerland."-At these words Clara
uttered a cry of horror; Gemmi was silent; and the
hunter, holding down his head, walked on for some
time without speaking. As they drew near to Al-
torff, they saw the shining spears that belonged
to the guards who kept watch at the gates. Sud-
denly the gloomy stranger said fiercely to Gemmi,
"What is thy father's name 7" Clara, trembling,
pressed Gemmi's hand, and he, to whom falsehood
was impossible, paused for a moment. But when
the stranger repeated the question, looking boldly
at him, he replied, "We have agreed to shew you
your road, but beyond that we can place no con-
fidence in you; nor will I inform you of my father's





WILLIAM TELL,


name-only his friends shall know it."-"Rash
boy !" exclaimed the hunter, in an angry tone, "thy
father shall not escape me-chains await thee,
which thou shalt wear till thou hast consented to
name the rebellious family to which thou belongest.
Come with me, and thou shalt find I have means
to discover and to punish the guilty."
As he spoke they arrived at the gates; the
hunter pronounced the name of Gesler, at which
the servile guard came instantly, and presented
their lances to him. "Seize these children," said
he, drag them into prison, and be careful to bring
before me the first inhabitant of Altorff who shall
claim them as his own."
He was obeyed; the guard surrounded Clara
and Gemmi, led them into the fort, and, without
pity for their youth, and the fatigue they suffered
after so long a walk, they locked them up together
in a dungeon.
The children were calm, and, looking affection-
ately at one another, gave secret thanks to their











































Tbh Children in Prison.





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


tormentors for not having put them in separate
dungeons: they listened undismayed to the heavy
clanging of their prison gates; sat down on the
straw which a small touch of compassion had
allowed them, and shared together the coarse bread
which had been provided for their food. They
had no terror, because they felt no remorse; and
their only uneasiness was for the fate of their
parents, and the dangers which would befall Wil
liam if he should offer to claim them from the
tyrant. They hoped, they prayed, that Edmea
and the elder Melctal might believe them still in
the cavern with Melctal; that ignorant of their
adventure, it might prove unfortunate to themselves
alone. Consoled with this pious thought, these
two children, though in prison, and in the power
of an unmerciful tyrant, slept peaceably by each
other's side; and, undisturbed by dismal dreams,
enjoyed that calm, that sweet repose, which belongs
to virtue even in chains;-while the Governor,
in the depth of his palace, guarded by numerous






WILLIAM TELL,


soldiers, armed with power, and able by one word
to destroy all who offended him-the Governor
could not sleep, and the darkest terrors agitated his
soul.
IIe said within himself, "Oh I how unbounded
must the hatred of my subjects be, when even their
children betray it to the traveller whom chance
leads to converse with them! What then would
be the language of their fathers and their grand-
fathers ? What have I not to fear from this race
of rebels, all of whom, from the old man to the
infant, cherish the hope of depriving me of my
power, perhaps of my life! Ah! I must prevent
their rebellion; I must strike with awe the wretches
who would escape the arm of justice! The boldest
of them, at least, shall be the first to fall under
the sword of my vengeance." Then giving him-
self up to the wild rage and pride that possessed
him, he turned in his mind various absurd plans;
and seized upon the most ridiculous, as if to shew
to the utmwc the contempt which he felt for a





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


people whom he could not help fearing. At last
he thought of the stupid project of setting up in
the market-place the hat which he usually wore,
that all who passed might humble themselves to
his power by bowing lowly to this sign of his
authority. He did not listen to reason, which
would have shewn him the dangers to which this
rain and foolish command would expose him.
Reason, indeed, seemed to desert him entirely. He
called together the chiefs of his guards, and anx-
iously questioned them about the zeal and fidelity
of his hirelings. His fears conquered even his
avarice, and he lavished his gold upon the soldiers,
and placed at their head Sarnem, the guilty tool of
all his secret crimes.
STo-morrow, by day-break," said he, thou
must cause a long pole to be set up in the midst
of Altorff; on the top of that pole thou shalt place
the hat which I wear; and now I give it unto thy
hands, that thou mayest fix it where all the people
may behold it. My soldiers must guard every





WILLIAM TELL


entrance to the market-place, that they may oblige
all passengers to bow with reverence to this sign
of the majesty and power of the Governor of the
three Cantons. The least murmur, the smallest
opposition to this command, must be punished with
chains. Thou wilt read in the countenances, in
the eyes of this vile people, whom Nature intended
for slaves, the secret feeling of hatred and inde-
pendence, or even of courage;-for courage itself
is criminal in those who have only to obey. Go !
hasten to put my order in execution, and let my
soldiers endeavour, above all, to discover who are
the parents of the two children whom I have sent
to prison."
He spoke, and Sarnem flew to obey his orders.
The soldiers were paid beforehand the price of
the crimes they were expected to commit. Gold
and wine were bestowed on them freely. Spies
were scattered about the city and its suburbs, who
introduced themselves artfully into families, in order
to become acquainted with their secret opinions.





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


With pretended compassion these wretches told
the people the story of the two children whom
Gesler had used so cruelly; then, observing their
looks and expressions, they reported every emotion
of pity or indignation as a crime.
But Heaven in its justice watched over Tell's cot-
tage, and concealed it from these infamous spies.
They did not find Edmea, who, with the good
old Melctal, was counting the hours as they passed
in the absence of her husband and son. She passed
the night in watchfulness, nor ever extinguished
the lamp which lighted her cottage, nor took a
moment's repose. The old Melctal was equally
impatient; and they could speak of nothing but
their absent children. A hundred times they left
off talking, that they might listen to the least noise
that was heard near their door. The cold wind
that whistled among the bare branches of the trees,
or the barking of the faithful dog that was taking
his walks round the house, continually startled
Edmea, and she rose every time to open the door,






0 WILLIAM TELL,

believing that it might be Gemmi. When she
looked out and saw only the darkness of night-
when she listened in silence, and only heard the
torrent roar, then she went mournfully back to the
distracted old man, and tried to conceal from him
her terrors.
"They are with your son," she said to him,
sighing; "he detains them; sleep, good old man,
and I will keep watch till morning."
Yes, my daughter," answered Henry, "my son
must have kept them with him. I will try to sleep;
do not think of me, but try to calm the agitation
of thy spirits." Then, that he might not add to
her uneasiness, the good old Melctal would appear
as if he slept in tranquillity.
Both kept silence, in hopes of deceiving each
other; but, if they heard the least noise, they rose,
and found that they could dissemble no longer.





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


BOOK THE SECOND.



MEANTIME Tell pursued his journey, and long
before day-break he had reached the walls of
Schwitz. He knocked at Verner's door; the dogs
that kept watch in the court filled the air with
their barking. Verner had risen already, and was
standing before a wood-fire in anxious thought.
He hastened to the door, and, hearing the voice
of his friend, he opened it, embraced him, and led
him to the hearth. The noisy dogs no sooner
remembered their master's friend than they came
fawning around him, and offered their enormous
heads to be stroked by his benumbed hands.
"My friend !" said the hero to Verner, "the
moment is arrived in which we must give freedom
to our country, or perish in the attempt. I come
not now to consult with prudence, nor to ask wis-





WILLIAM TELL,


dom or advice from thee. It is time to act, and I
bring thee arms. Our watch-word shall be the
Tyrant's Last Crime."
As soon as Tell had spoken these words, he laid
at Verner's feet a heavy bundle of lances, arrows,
cross-bows, and sharp-edged swords, which he had
borne upon his shoulders. Verner looked at them
with calm satisfaction. "Before I hear more," said
he, let us go and hide this treasure in a place
of safety. Here it might be taken from us unex-
pectedly; for, in a country which is governed by
tyrants, no man can call his house his own."
They then lifted the bundle together, and carried
it to a cave below; then returning and seating
themselves by the hearth, William gave Verner
the history of Gesler's barbarity, the agony of old
Melctal, and the flight of his son-how he had sent
Gemmi to the latter, who was perhaps at that very
moment giving him instructions to meet them at
Grutti that evening, that they might be certain of
ample revenge.





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


Verner, after listening with attention, made Wil-
liam repeat all the particulars of his great design;
weighed and considered them with him, and brought
forward all the obstacles which he imagined they
might have to overcome. Satisfied at last with
Tell's replies, who had foreseen every tiing, and
was prepared for the worst, "Let us begin our
work, my friend," he said, "I am ready!" Then
they separated, and each went singly to carry to his
friends the arms which they had hidden; with
which they supplied not only those of their par-
tisans who lived in the town of Schwitz, but also
those of the villages in the neighbourhood.
Thus they gave to the enemies of tyranny the
means of destroying their oppressors: and were
grateful to the hoar-frost, and the abundant snow,
which darkened the air, and prevented them from
meeting with any one who might suspect their
designs. A hundred times they went backward
and forward, not daring to carry bundles of arms
at once. They spent twelve hours in carrying






OX WILLIAM TELL,

these weapons, and in trying to give vigour and
courage to the hearts of those on whom they
bestowed them. They received their oaths in the
sight of Heaven, while they informed them of the
tyrant's fresh crime.
Their ardour in the cause of liberty gave them
on every occasion fresh strength, and new words
to animate the courage of those with whom they
conversed, and inspire them with the love of free-
dom.
After a whole day of such laborious toil, their
arms were distributed. Tell reserved for himself
only his strong bow; Verner a single lance. They
returned excessively weary to Verner's cottage, took
a hasty meal in order to recruit their strength; and,
urged by the flight of time, and their promise to
Melctal, they hastened, without taking a moment's
rest, to the cave of Grutti.
They marched through snows which the North
wind drifted around them. They arrived at the
shore of the lake, and, seeking a boat in the dark,





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


they discovered a small one, moored by strong
cords, and tost by the violence of the waves against
the shore.
Verner, seeing the agitation of the lake, paused a
little, and asked Tell if his skill in managing a
boat, which was so famous, could struggle with
the tempest's rage. Melctal is expecting us," an-
swered Tell, "and the fate of our country depends
upon our meeting with him-how canst thou in-
quire, then, if I have courage to cross the lake!
That I shall be, able to brave the tempest, I know
not; but that it is my duty to do so, I know full
well. I rely not on my own skill, but I trust in
the God of Heaven, who guards the pure in
heart, and will protect those to whom liberty is
dear !"
He said, then leaped into the boat, and Verner
quickly followed him. Tell cut the cord, seized
the oar, and darted away from the land. Either
from chance, or because the just and powerful
Being whom Tell's heart invoked, protected the






WILLIAM TELL,


deliverers of Switzerland, the wind became suddenly
calm, the waves rolled no longer, and the boat, im-
pelled by the arm of T11, who made it fly like an
arrow, glided peaceably over the smooth lake, and
soon arrived at the opposite shore. They left the
boat in safe mooring, and hastened to the cavern
which had long been familiar to them.
Meletal awaited them at the entrance. When
he saw Tell, he ran to meet him, embraced him,
bathed him with his tears, and, naming with emo-
tion his father and his friend, could hardly restrain
the feelings that oppressed him.
William's tears fell likewise; he took hold of
his hand, pressed it with warmth; led him to the
bottom of the cavern, and there, while darkness
surrounded them as they sat on the steep rock,
they dismissed all thoughts of their private wrongs,
their private interests, and considered the welfare of
their country alone.
Tell spoke first.
"Melctal," he said, "your father is alive; he is in





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


my house; set thy tenderness, thy filial piety at
rest. Let us examine, let us try to discover the
surest means of rescuing our country; of restoring
its freedom; of revenging the injuries it has long
endured from the barbarity of its rulers. Each of
us enjoys the confidence, the esteem of the Canton
to which we belong. The brave inhabitants of
Schwitz will rise at the call of Verner,-nor will
they want for arms; since Verner and myself have
furnished them with plenty this very day; two
hundred soldiers will obey Verner as their captain,
-we have their word, their oath, and may rely
upon them as upon themselves.
"In Uri, within the very walls of Altorff, where
the presence of the tyrant makes the danger greatest
-where he has built that dreadful fort, which
seems to secure his power for ever-I have fowud
it more difficult to procure comrades. Every heart
sighs for freedom; but Gesler's armed followers,
and his secret spies, watch with fresh vigilance to
detect and punish the least spark of so sacred a flame.
5






WILLIAM TELL,


"As yet, I dare not depend upon the citizens of
Altorff. Trembling, groaning under the rod of a
despot, they dare not attack, but they will not
defend him. I have found in the villages around
a -hundred brave men, ready to die for me. They
have arms, and they are valiant; and that is all
that I can offer.-And now, Melctal, it is thy turn
to speak: tell us what success thou hast had in
Underwalden, and let us decide at last upon the
moment, when, uniting our forces, we shall hasten
to death or liberty !"
"My friend," said Melctal, scarcely master of
his feelings, "I expected not the assistance you
have obtained, and yet I was certain of success. A
hundred and fifty youths of Underwalden are al-
ready in arms,-I have beheld them this very day.
They have chosen me for their chief; they burn
for combat. My friends, let us lose not a moment:
let us march this very night to the walls of Altorff,
-let us assemble our warriors in the heart of that
city,-let us instantly attack the fort, the people






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


will second us, and we shall be revenged on the
infamous Gesler. I will have his eyes torn out on
the spot where my father- But I am confused;-
pardon the most unhappy of sons. My advice is,
I repeat it,-in spite of darkness, spite of the snows
that cover the ground and conceal the roads,-that
we should march before day-break into Altorff,
and bring on a battle that may make us instantly
masters of the fortress, or destroy us at once."
"Yes! destroy us," replied Verner calmly; "and
how will this death, a glorious one certainly, avail
our country? Didst thou not listen, Melctal, to
William? The hundred youths whom he has
armed in Uri, dispersed about the villages, will
require time in order to unite-while the tyrant
is incessantly surrounded with his base soldiers.
The people of Altorff, driven to despair by the pre-
sence of the tyrant, will want courage to join us.
And our small troop, reaching the place one by
one in disorder, would he cut to pieces under its
walls. Trust to my experience: let us be certain






WILLIAM TELL,


of aid before we attempt any dangerous enterprise.
Do you think that we are the only Swiss whose
hearts pant for liberty ? Do not Zurich, Lucerne,
and the mountaineers of Zug-do not Glaris and Ap-
penzel, detest, like ourselves, the thoughts of slavery ?
Doubt it not; like us, these brave people sigh for
freedom; and my heart tells me, that one day they
will unite in a body with our three Cantons, and
form a republic, whose name shall be respected,
and shall be dreaded by all the kings in the world.
Let us hasten these glorious days, let us send de-
puties to Lucerne, to Zug, to Zurich; let them be
invited to join their forces to ours. Let a day, a
sacred day, be fixed on which at the same
hour all the Swiss, all the friends of liberty, shall
attack their tyrants. Then we will declare our-
selves; then Altorff shall awake, and the frightened
Governor, surrounded by our arms, shall fall an
easy prey to our valour, before his messengers,
stopped in every direction, shall have had time to
inform the Emperor of bi danger!"






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


Here Verner ended; but Melctal still uttered a
faint murmur: he would have disputed with Verner,
but Tell began to speak, and both listened to him
with attention.
Melctal," he said, "I love thy courage, I excuse
thy impetuosity; but it might nevertheless be fatal
to our cause. Verner, I admire thy prudence, but
that might also be dangerous. No hope would be
left for our sacred project, did we suffer it to depend
upon time or the secrecy of more than a few faith-
ful hearts. The slightest mistake, a word, a trifling
accident, often overturns the labour of years. If
but a single traitor in all the towns thou hast
named were associated with us, he would have
power to enslave his countrymen once more, and to
behold the torture of her chosen sons. No Let
our generous purpose be confined to ourselves
alone! Let us suffer, as I trust we shall have
courage to suffer, in the cause of freedom; and
when Uri, Schwitz, and Underwalden, shall have
reared the standard of liberty upon their moun-







WILLIAM TELL,


tains, we or our children shall find that the rest of
the Cantons will be eager to fight under our ban-
ners, or repose under their protection.
"Verner, it is time to act-but I ask of you,
Melctal, a short delay; in the mean time listen
to my scheme,--Schwitz and Underwalden are in
arms. Three hundred and fifty warriors are, you
say, in readiness to follow your command. Let
them assemble, not in the midst of a town or a
village, but in a low valley, a desert spot, where
they may unite, and from whence they may begin
their march. This care belongs to you; I shall
return into Uri, and aided by the brave Furst, to
whom alone I have confided our secret, I shall
assemble, if I can, the hundred enemies of the
tyrant whose spirit and whose courage shew them
worthy to conquer with us. The brave Furst
shall seek them in Maderan and Urseren, in the
mountains which give rise to the Aar, the Tesino,
the Rhine, and the Rhone. I alone will remain in
Altorff, and will await a messenger from Furst to






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


inform me of the moment when his .troop are ready
to march. At that moment I will set fire to an
immense pile, which I have already prepared, on
the mountain on which my dwelling is situated.
You will see the flame, Verner; you, Melctal, will
see it; and both must hasten to the place of rendez-
vous: thence march instantly to Altorff with your
united troops. I have calculated the time and the dis-
tance. Furst with the patriots of Uri, Verner with his
friends from Schwitz, and Melctal with the warriors
of Underwalden, will arrive almost at the same
moment at the north, south, and east gates of the
city. I shall be there, my friends; I alone shall
be there, in the midst of a people whom my voice,
my efforts, will rouse to assert their liberty. Yes!
my tongue shall proclaim that sacred name which
is become our war-cry! You shall pronounce it
as you enter; and at such a sight and sech a sound,
the astonished people, when they behold Uri, Schwitz,
and Underwalden, shall fly at once to their succour,
and then, listening to their hatred alone, shall turn






WILLIAM TELL,


all their fury against Gesler, and swell the number
of our valiant troops. Then shall our banners
be soon seen floating on the top of that terrible
bulwark, and all Switzerland, animated by this
first success, shall come impatiently to share our
future victories."
Thus spoke Tell, and Melctal rushed into the
arms of his heroic friend, and bathed him with tears
of joy. Even Verner was convinced. Verner
adopted his advice. No new oaths were wanting
to bind the faith of these three heroes, to whose
great souls such forms were useless. They sepa-
rated, after repeating that they would not begin
their march till the flaming signal should be given
by William.
Melctal returned into Stantz to prepare his
friends. Verner and Tell went back to their boat,
recrossed the lake, which was still calm, and, when
they reached the opposite shore, Verner took the
road to Schwitz, and William hastened to Altorff.
He walked along the shore of the lake. Before he











































Tell refusing to bow io Go1aes Hat.






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


saw Edmea he wished to talk with his friends in
Altorff, and inform them of his great designs.
He entered the town, and advanced into the
market-place; the first object he saw was, on the
top of a long upright pole, a hat richly embrodiered
with gold. Numerous soldiers ranged around the
pole, and walking in silence, seemed to guard with
respect this ensign of power. William approached
with amazement: but when he saw the citizens
of Altorff bow down before this hat, before the pole-
when he beheld the soldiers forcing them with
their spears to crouch closer to the ground, hardly
master of his indignation, he stopped short at the
sight. He could not believe his eyes-he remained
dumb and motionless, leaning on his bow, and
surveying with scorn the base crowd and the
infamous soldiers.
Sarnem commanded these guards,--Sarnem,
whose fierce zeal delighted to exceed the orders
of the tyrant. He soon perceived the man whk
alone in the midst of the kneeling crowd, stood, with







WILLIAM TELL,


his head proudly erect. He flew towards him, and
glancing upon him eyes inflamed with rage, Who-
ever thou art," said he, tremble, lest I punish thy
slowness in obeying the orders of Gesler. Dost
thou not know that a law is published to oblige
every citizen of Altorff to bow with reverence to
this sign of his power ?"
"I knew no such law," replied Tell, "noi could
I ever have believed to what an excess of tyranny
and madness the possession of unbounded power
would lead. But when I see the base submission
of this people, I could almost excuse, nay approve
of Gesler's folly. Well may he call us slaves!
he can never sufficiently despise those who will
thus degrade themselves. As for me, I bow to God
alone !"
"Rash man !" replied Sarnem, "soon wilt thou
repent of thy insolence. Fall instantly on thy
knees, if thou wouldst prevent this arm from chas-
tising thee."
"My own arm shall punish me," said Tell, look-











































ToUl bw the Tyrant Gslrw.





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


ing sternly upon him, were I capable of obeying
thee."
At these words the cruel Sarnem made a sign
to his soldiers, who instantly seized upon William.
They snatched from him his bow and his quiver;
they pointed their shining swords to his breast,
and led, or rather dragged him, to the palace of the
Governor.
Calm in the midst of the soldiers, deaf to their
rude threats, and folding his arms across his
breast, William stood before the tyrant. He re-
garded him disdainfully, and allowed his eager
accusers to speak without interruption, waiting in
proud silence till Gesler should think fit to question
him.
His aspect, his manner, his undisturbed air,
astonished and appalled the Governor. A kind
of terror, a secret presentiment, warned him that
the man who then stood before him was come to
avenge his crimes. Scarcely dared he to look
towards him; much less to speak to him. At last.





WILLIAM TELL,


with a faltering voice, "What motive," he said,
"hadst thou to disobey my command, and refuse
to the emblem of my power, whatever it might
be, the respect which is due to myself? Speak
if thou hast any thing to say in thy defence. Re-
member I have power to pardon !"
Tell, at these words, fixed his eyes upon him,
and bitter was the smile that accompanied that
look. "Punish me," he replied, "but seek not to
dive into my thoughts. How couldst thou, to
whom truth is a stranger, endure to listen to its
voice ?"
"I would hear the truth from thyself," said the
Governor; "from thee I seek to know my failings
and my duties."
"I pretend not to instruct tyrants, although the
horror that I feel in their presence does not deprive
me of my courage. I can remind them of their
crimes, and I can shew them what their end will
be. Listen then, Gesler, to me, since thou hast
commanded me to speak.





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND


"Our measure is full. The cup of misery, which
the angry Heavens have placed in thy hands,
overflows on all sides. God, who has made thee
his instrument to punish our guilt, has now pre-
pared a thunderbolt for thee. Hear the cries of
the innocent whom thou hast imprisoned-of the
widows and orphans who demand of thee their
husbands and their fathers, who have perished in
torments by thy inhuman orders. Their bloody
shadows haunt thy dwelling, pursue thee in dreams,
and point to their open wounds, to their mangled
and distorted limbs! Their blood sprinkles thy
hands, and awakens thee in the midst of the night
Even the darkness cannot hide from thee this
horrid sight; and vainly dost thou close thine eyes
in the hope of forgetting it. Those few whom thou
hast permitted to live, wandering far from their
homes, and leaving to thy avarice their wealth,
which was earned by their toil, fly to conceal
themselves in the hollows of rocks, or in the depths
of forests. And how do these miserable people em.






WILLIAM TELL,


ploy themselves in their retreat ? Fearing the sound
of thy name more than the noise of the falling
avalanche, that buries villages under its weight,
how do they spend their days, their nights? On
the rocks they kneel, with uplifted hands; and pray-
ing to the God of vengeance, they implore him to
destroy the scourge of their country! Well, Ges-
ler, it is for me to inform thee, that the prayers of
our people, the cries of those innocent men who
have been prosecuted, plundered, slaughtered by
thy commands, the blood which thou hast never
ceased to shed, and which still sprinkles all thy paths,
the cry of this blood has reached unto Heaven; our
complaints have ascended to the throne of the High-
est; His justice is ready to strike thee; my country
will soon be free !
Such are my hopes, such my prayers and my
thoughts. Thou hast desired to hear them. I
have satisfied thee, and now I have nothing left
to tell thee, for I will not debase my reason by
touching even for a moment on the caprice, the






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


folly, which has this day obliged all the citizens
(f Uri to bend their knees to the hat which thou
hast worn. Thou knowest all that passed, and
mayest command my death."
Gesler listened without speaking. He restrained
his anger, however, only that he might be more
certain of his vengeance. His rage was suspended
awhile, by the hope of discovering or inventing
some new mode of tormenting a man who seemed
to despise death. He thought of the two children,
whom the evening before he had loaded with
chains. Comparing their freedom of speech with
what he had just heard, his fury quickening, his
sagacity made him at first suspect, and afterwards
be certain, that these children who bore so lofty
a contempt for tyrants, could belong to him only
who had just had the boldness to defy him. Wish-
ing to discover that instant tle truth of his suspi-
cion, he gave a secret order for these children
to be brought before him. Sarnem flew to bring
thin. Meanwhile the artful Gesler, dissembling







WILLIAM TELL,


his rage, and feigning not to have been troubled
by the words of Tell, coolly began to question him
about his condition, his family, and the rank which
he held in Uri.
William told his name; and that name, so re-
nowned in Altorff, struck and alarmed the Go
vernor. "What !" said he, with surprise, is it
thou, whose skill in guiding a boat is so famous?
thou, whose arrow was never known to miss its
aim ?"--" It is I," replied Tell "and I blush that
my name should only be known by triumphs so use.
less to my country. Such vain exploits have far less
value in my eyes than the death which I must soon
suffer only for pronouncing the name of Liberty !"
At this moment Sarnem appeared, bringing with
him Clara and Gemmi. When Tell perceived his
son, he uttered a cry, and sprang towards him.
" Oh! Gemmi," he said, "oh! my son, I may
embrace thee, then, once more: but in what a place!
how, and why-" "No no!" replied Gemmi, you
are not my father; no! I do not know you; my





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


family are far from hence," said the boy abruptly,
for he saw the danger of William, and knew the
fate prepared by Gesler for his unhappy-parents.
William remained in astonishment, with his arms
still extended, and unable to understand why his
son refused his caresses, and dared to disown him.
Clara added to his amazement by repeating what
Gemmi had declared, that Tell did not belong to
them. His heart murmured at all this; he began to
feel angry with the children; and Gesler, whose
fierce eyes observed all his emotions-Gesler, who
perceived clearly what to Tell seemed mysterious
-the cruel Gesler enjoyed at once the terror,
the surprise, and the agony, of the parent and the
child.
His countenance betrayed the infernal joy which
filled his savage heart. "I am not deceived," said
he; "William, this boy is thy son; and thy son has
displeased me. I have borne with patience all thy
insulting language, till I could find a punishment
that might equal thy audacity; hear now what
6






WILLIAM TELL,


I have decreed for thee. I desire, even while I
chastise thy insolence, to do homage to that rare
skill which is the boast of thy happy country and
that the citizens of Altorff, while they witness my
rigid justice, may applaud thy dexterity. Thy
bow shall be returned to thee. Thy son shall stand
before thee at the distance of a hundred paces.
On his head shall be placed an apple, as a mark
for thine arrow to hit. If thy hand, so proud of its
steadiness, shall carry off the apple from thy son's
head, I will pardon both him and yourself; but if
thou refusest this trial, he must instantly be put to
death in thy sight."
Barbarian," answered Tell, what demon from
hell has inspired thee with this horrible idea ? And
thou, 0 just God, who hearest it, wilt thou suffer
such an impious excess of cruel tyranny? No! 1
will not accept this trial-I will not expose myself
to become the murderer of my child. I demand
to die, Gesler! I implore death by the hands of
thine assassins, whom I here behold ready to imbrue






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


once more in blood those hands that have been
guilty of so many murders. I demand, I intreat,
that I may die innocent as a man and a father!
Hear me, Gesler! Thy numerous guards, the
example of all my fellow-citizens, the certainty of
death, have not prevailed upon me to bow before
the emblem of thy power. I -chose death before
such abasement. Well! now I am ready, in order
to obtain such a death, and escape the dreadful risk
of piercing with my own hand my son's heart,
to prostrate myself before thee, tyrant as thou art.
Promise me but death, Gesler, and I will do homage
to thy power."
"No !" cried Gemmi at that instant, with a voice
that touched even the soldiers who surrounded
him; "no do not humble thyself to a tyrant, my
father. I accept, I rejoice at the trial. Whatever
be the result, thou, my father, wilt -be at liberty.
Take courage then; fear not, and Heaven will
direct thy hand-thy son will not perish, he is safe,
he certain; and pardon him if for a moment he dared







WILLIAM TELL,


to disown thee I feared for thy life, for thine only;
and with the hope of saving what is dearest to me
on earth, I resigned the cherished name of thy son.
Forgive me, oh! my father and suffer me now to
repent a hundred times the name which I dare not
utter. Take courage, my father! thou wilt not
kill me-a secret voice informs me that I shall be
safe. Let them lead me to the spot-let them take
me there this instant; and, Clara, do thou return to
thy home, but let not my mother know what has
happened." Gemmi then threw himself on the
bosom of Tell, who received him, embraced him,
and pressed him to his heart. He tried to speak to
him, but could only bathe him with his tears, while
he uttered his name with a trembling and half-
choked voice-" No! my son; no, my dear son !"
Clara fainted; the soldiers carried her into the
palace, and the hard-hearted Gesler, without feeling
any pity at the sight, repeated his dreadful order,
offering William for the last time the fatal choice,






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


either to see his son expire or make the barbarous
trial of his own skill.
For some moments William heard him without
reply; looking on the ground as if in despair, and
still holding Gemmi in his arms. Then suddenly
raising his head and turning on Gesler, his eyes
red with weeping, which darted fire through their
tears-"1 will obey," he exclaimed, "let me be
taken to the place of trial!" Instantly the guards
surrounded the father and the son, who held each
other by the hand, and were taken from the palace
together under the command of Sarnem. Already
crowds of people, who had heard the report of the
horrible transaction, had assembled in the market-
place. Almost all groaned inwardly, but no one
dared to utter a single word of compassion. Their
timid eyes sought William, and discovered himn
through the naked swords of the soldiers, walking
with Gemmi, who looked up to his father with
smiles.






WILLIAM TELL,


Tears sprang to their eyes on beholding Tell's
countenance; but terror obliged them to conceal
these signs of pity from the soldiers. Gesler would
have punished them as a crime. All fixed their
eyes on the ground; a sullen silence reigned among
the people: they groaned, they suffered, but they
dared not to complain.
The fierce Sarnem quickly measured the ground.
A space was inclosed on three sides with a double
file of soldiers. The people pressed closely behind
them.-Gemmi with calm looks surveyed these
preparations from the farthest end of the space.
Gesler stood at a distance behind Tell, surround-
ed by his guards, and could not drive from his
troubled mind the fears with which the silence
of the people had occupied it. William remained
in the midst of the glittering spears of the soldiery,
his eyes cast down, and motionless as a statue.
His bow was given to him with one arrow only,
the point of which he tried, it broke, and he threw
it away, demanding his quiver. It was brought





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


to him: as it lay at his feet, he stooped down,
and appeared to be making choice of an arrow;
but when he had a favourable opportunity, he hid
mne in his clothes, and seized another with which
he meant to shoot. Sarnem ordered the remainder
to be carried away, and Tell began slowly to bend
his bow. He looked at his son-he paused; lifted
his eyes to Heaven, threw away his bow and arrow,
and demanded to speak with Gemmi.
Four soldiers conducted him to his child. My
son," said he, "I must once more fold thee in my
arms, and repeat to thee what I have said before.
Thou must not stir, my son; thou must be firm-
rest one knee on the ground, for so it appears
to me thou wilt be less likely to move. Thou
must pray to God, my child, to protect thy unhappy
father! No! pray only for thyself; let no thought
of me soften thee, and depress that high-souled
courage which I admire, but cannot imitate. Oh !
my son, why cannot I shew myself as great as
thyself? Do not lose this firmness, of which I





WILLIAM TELL,


cannot give thee-an example. Yes! stand thus,
my son; this is just what I desire-what I desire!
unhappy as I am! And wilt thou suffer it, oh!
just God ?-Hear me, turn away thy face,-thou
dost not know, thou canst not foresee the effect
which this arrow's point will produce on thee;-
this sharp steel aimed at thy forehead;-turn thy
head, my child, and do not look at me."
Yes yes !" replied Gemmi, I will, I must look
at thee-I shall not see the arrow; I shall only
behold my father !"
Oh! my dear son," cried Tell, "speak not to
me-speak not; thy voice, thy words will deprive
me of my strength. Be silent, pray to God, and do
not stir !"
While he spoke, William embraced him, tried to
leave him, embraced him again-repeated his last
words, placed the apple on his head; then turning
hastily from him, he walked with hurried steps to
his former post.
There, grasping his bow and arrow, and turning






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


his eyes towards the beloved mark to which he
must direct his aim, twice he endeavoured to shoot,
but in vain. The bow fell from his hands. At
last, rousing all his skill, his strength, his courage,
and wiping away the tears which had dimmed
his sight, he invoked that all-powerful Being, who
beholds from the highest Heaven parental anguish:
then nerving his trembling arm, he forced, he
accustomed his eye to look only at the apple.
Seizing the moment, as rapid as thought, in which
he could forget his son's danger, he took his aim;
he drew his bow, and struck the apple, which
the arrow carried with it as it flew.-The market-
place echoed with shouts of joy! Gemmi ran to
his father's arms, who, pale and motionless, exhaust-
ed by this amazing effort, could not return his
embrace. He looked wildly about him; he could
not speak; and hardly heard the voice of his child.
He could scarcely stand, and would have fallen
but for Gemmi, who supported him. The arrow
concealed in his clothes fell to the ground, and





WILLIAM TELL,


was perceived by Gesler, who was instantly by
his side. Tell, who was beginning to recover
his senses, turned away his head at the sight of the
tyrant.
"Incomparable archer !" said Gesler to him, "I
shad keep my promise, and pay thee the price
of thy 'matchless skill. .But, first, let me hear for
what purpose thou hast reserved this arrow which
thou hadst concealed ? One only sufficed for thee,
why then didst thou hide this ?"-" Tyrant," said
Tell, "this arrow was to have pierced thy heart,
if my ill-fated hand had been the cause of my son's
death!" At these words, wrung from a father's
agony, the terrified Gesler retreated into the midst
of his guard.
Revoking his promise, he ordered the cruel
Sarnem instantly to load Tell with chains, and
conduct him to the fort. He was obeyed. They
tore him from Gemmi's embrace, who vainly de-
manded to accompany his father. The guards
drove him away. The people murmured, and





THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 91

appeared moved: Gesler hastened to his palace,
and ordered all his soldiers to arms. Vast bodies
of Austrian troops marched in all parts of the
city, and obliged the terrified people to hide them-
selves in their habitations. Terror reigned in every
street; and the soldiers were ready to glut them-
selves with the blood of new victims.






WILLIAM TELL,


BOOK THE THIRD.


WHILE the restless tyrant shut himself up in
his fortress, and surrounded it with troops, the
wretched Gemmi ran about distracted, and de-
manded with loud cries to be taken to his father.
Repulsed by the cruel soldiers, he ran about the
walls of the fort, giving vent to his grief in tears
and bewailings.
Clara, who had been detained in the palace
during the dreadful scene, escaped at last, and
sought for Gemmi on all sides. She no sooner
discovered him, than she ran into his arms, and
tried to console him. "My father is in prison,"
he said to her: "my unfortunate father will be
murdered. Hear me, Clara; I have lost all hope
of joining him in his dungeon, of there waiting
upon him, of dying with him. I am going to try






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.


now the only means that remain to me of saving
his life. I will go into Underwalden; I will warn
thy father of his friend's danger: Melctal has cou-
rage, he has arms, and he has friends; he will
come to my father's rescue. And do thou, my
good Clara, return to my mother,--tell her what
has happened, and where I am going. Go, Clara;
console her, and tell her that I will not return
without Melctal-I will perish, or I will save my
father:-thou must support my mother instead of
me." He said, and, instantly departing, he walked
with hurried steps out of the city. Clara took
immediately the road to Tell's cottage, where the
aged Henry, and the virtuous Edmea, far from their
children, and ignorant what had become of them,
were consuming the time in fruitless anxiety.
Clara, who arrived pale, terror-struck, and bathed
in tears, only redoubled Edmea's alarm. She rose,
and running to meet her cried out, "Gemmi oh!
what is become of Gemmi ?"
"He is alive, he is at liberty," replied Clara






WILLIAM TELL,


immediately, as she rushed into the arms of her
blind old grandfather. She embraced him, then
Edmea, and with a broken voice she told them
all that the cruel Gesler had done; how she and
Gemmi had been taken from their prison into his
presence-and the horrible trial to which the father
and son had been exposed. She knew not the
event, except that William was in chains, and that
Gemmi was gone to find Melctal and implore him
to assist his father. Tell was threatened with death,
-so the governor had sworn.
At this account Edmea's heart failed, and she
fell almost senseless into the seat which she had
quitted. The blind old man, almost distracted,
began to utter loud lamentations. He desired that
his son might come to him-that he might fight by
his side, and die in the attempt, or rescue Tell.
Clara quitted the old man, and soothed Edmea,
but her efforts were hardly sufficient to console both
these unhappy beings.
At last, after the first moments of such deep and






THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND&


piercing grief, the old Melctal, recovering at once
his reason, his courage, and his prudence, seized
both the hands of Edmea, and pressing them to his
heart, "Weep not, oh my virtuous friend," said
he; "let us not lose in tears the time which may
be precious to us if we employ it. Gemmi is gone
to Underwalden. A few hours will bring him to
my son. I know Melctal; this very night I am
certain that he and his friends, will take the road
to Altorff. To-morrow by day-break he will be
there, and he will attempt every exploit to save
Williaip. But his friends, so few in number, will
be unequal to the enterprise. I have friends in
Altorff,-I will go myself and rouse their courage;
I will inspire them with ardour. They shall guide
me into the market-place, by the first dawn of day;
they shall lead me into the midst of the people.
There will I speak; there will I shew the wounds
still fresh which the cruel Gesler has inflicted
upon me. I will point to these empty sockets
whence my eyes have been torn by his ferocious




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