Duchess Georgiana's 'The Pass of St Gothard', which appeared in French and Italian editions, was among the first publications to advertise the beauty of the Alps to those with the means to be tourists.
In August 1793 and returning to England from exile in Europe, Georgiana, accompanied by Lady Elizabeth Foster, crossed the Saint Gothard Pass. The experience elicited this poem. At the time of its writing, mountainous scenery had been regarded as 'horrid' – alarming and exciting – but not to be appreciated aesthetically. The Duchess's poem makes it clear that she was one of the first to view the Alps as beautiful, as well as giving a graphic account of crossing the pass. It is also one of the very few poems in English to celebrate the Swiss national hero William Tell.
In 1802, the poem was published in Paris with a translation by the Abbé de Lisle and went through three editions there that year. The same text in English and French was used again when it was reprinted after the duchess's death by Duchess Elizabeth (formerly Lady Elizabeth Foster), illustrated with 19 of her own drawings, reproduced by lithography.