The saddest rock in the world according to Mark Twain [4 pictures]
The Lion Monument is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was hewn in 1820-21 to commemorate the 1792 deaths of the Swiss Guards during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed 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.