A few years ago, i had the opportunity to visit Switzerland as a language chaperone (aka translator) for my Ma. We spent a night in Lucerne, and saw the magnificent Lion Monument - a carving of a dying lion carved right into a wall, its body pierced with a spear, its paw protecting the French armour, with the Swiss armour beside its head. As i understand, the carving was made in honour of more than 700 Swiss soldiers who died while in service of the French King, King Louis the 16th. It was a moving experience, to see the magnificent animal dying, but all the while protecting the King it served. Just goes to show what loyal warriors the Swiss Guards were.
"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."
– Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880 (Adapted from Wikipedia, 2010)
Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti (To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss)