The Mournful Stone

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The Lion Monument in Lucerne, Swtizerland – designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and sculpted by Lukas Ahorn in 1820-21 – commemorates the massacre of Swiss Guards in 1792 during the French Revolution during the storming of the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

In his 1880 book A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain called the work ”the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” He continued:

The Lion lies in his lair in the perpendicular face of a low cliff — for he is carved from the living rock of the cliff. His size is colossal, his attitude is noble. His head is bowed, the broken spear is sticking in his shoulder, his protecting paw rests upon the lilies of France. Vines hang down the cliff and wave in the wind, and a clear stream trickles from above and empties into a pond at the base, and in the smooth surface of the pond the lion is mirrored, among the water-lilies.
Around about are green trees and grass. The place is a sheltered, reposeful woodland nook, remote from noise and stir and confusion — and all this is fitting, for lions do die in such places, and not on granite pedestals in public squares fenced with fancy iron railings. The Lion of Lucerne would be impressive anywhere, but nowhere so impressive as where he is.

Beyond mmf.

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