Peruvian Tales: Alzira, Tale Ii
PIZARRO lands with the Forces--His meeting with ATALIBA --Its un-
happy consequences--ZORAI dies--ATALIBA imprisoned, and strangled
--Despair of ALZIRA .
Flush'd with impatient hope, the martial band,
By stern PIZARRO led, approach the land;
No terrors arm his hostile brow, for guile
Seeks to betray with candour's open smile.
Too artless for distrust, the Monarch springs
To meet his latent foe on friendship's wings.
On as he moves, with dazzling splendour crown'd,
His feather'd chiefs the golden throne surround;
The waving canopy its plume displays,
Whose waving hues reflect the morning rays;
With native grace he hails the warrior train,
Who stood majestic on PERUVIA'S plain,
In all the savage pomp of armour drest,
The frowning helmet, and the nodding crest.
Yet themes of joy PIZARRO'S lips impart,
And charm with eloquence the simple heart;
Unfolding to the monarch's wond'ring thought
All that inventive arts the rude have taught.
And now he bids the musing spirit rise
Above the circle of surrounding skies;
Presents the page that sheds Religion's light
O'er the dark mist of intellectual night:
While, thrill'd with awe, the monarch trembling stands,
He dropp'd the hallow'd volume from his hands.
Sudden,* while frantic zeal each breast inspires,
And shudd'ring demons fan the rising fires,
The bloody signal waves, the banners play,
The naked sabres flash their streaming ray;
The trumpet rolls its animating sound,
And the loud cannon rend the vault around;
While fierce in sanguine rage, the sons of Spain
Rush on Peru's unarm'd, defenceless train!
The fiends of slaughter urg'd their dire career,
And virtue's guardian spirits dropped a tear!
Mild ZORAI fell, deploring human strife,
And clos'd with prayer his consecrated life!--
In vain PERUVIA'S chiefs undaunted stood,
Shield their lov'd Prince, and bathe his robes in blood;--
Touch'd with heroic ardour, cling around,
And high of soul, receive each fatal wound;
Dragg'd from his throne, and hurried o'er the plain,
The wretched Monarch swells the captive train;
With iron grasp the frantic Prince they bear,
And feel their triumph in his wild despair.--
Deep in the gloomy dungeon's lone domain,
Lost ATALIBA wore the galling chain;
The earth's cold bed refus'd oblivious rest,
While throbb'd the woes of thousands at his breast;
ALZIRA'S desolating moan he hears,
And with the monarch's blends the lover's tears.
Soon had ALZIRA felt affliction's dart
Pierce her soft soul, and rend her bleeding heart;
Its quick pulsations paus'd, and chill'd with dread,
A livid hue her fading cheek o'erspread;
No tear the mourner shed, she breath'd no sigh,
Her lips were mute, and clos'd her languid eye;
Fainter, and slower heav'd her shiv'ring breast,
And her calm'd passions seem'd in death to rest.--
At length reviv'd, 'mid rising heaps of slain,
She prest with hurried step the crimson plain;
The dungeon's gloomy depth she fearless sought,
For love with scorn of danger arm'd her thought:
She reach'd the cell where ATALIBA lay,
Where human vultures haste to seize their prey.--
In vain her treasur'd wealth PERUVIA gave,
This dearer treasure from their grasp to save;
ALZIRA ! lo, the ruthless murd'rers come,
This moment seals thy ATALIBA'S doom.
Ah, what avails the shriek that anguish pours?
The look that mercy's lenient aid implores?
Torn from thy clinging arms, thy throbbing breast,
The fatal cord his agony supprest!--
In vain the livid corpse she firmly clasps,
And pours her sorrows o'er the form she grasps,
The murd'rers soon their struggling victim tear
From the lost object of her soul's despair!
The swelling pang unable to sustain,
Distraction throbb'd in every beating vein;
Its sudden tumults seize her yielding soul,
And in her eye distemper'd glances roll--
"They come!" the mourner cried with panting breath,
"To give the lost ALZIRA rest in death!
One moment more, ye bloody forms, bestow,
One moment more for ever cares my woe--
Lo! where the purple evening sheds her light
On blest remains! O! hide them, pitying night!
Slow in the breeze I see the verdure wave,
That shrouds with tufted grass my lover's grave;
Hark! on its wand'ring wing in mildness blows
The murm'ring gale, nor wakes his deep repose--
And see, yon hoary form still lingers there!
Dishevell'd by rude winds his silver hair;
O'er his chill'd bosom falls the winter rain,
I feel the big drops on my wither'd brain.
Not for himself that tear his bosom steeps,
For his lost child it flows--for me he weeps!
No more the dagger's point shall pierce thy breast,
For calm and lovely is thy silent rest;
Yet still in dust these eyes shall see thee roll,
Still the sad thought shall waste ALZIRA'S soul--
What bleeding phantom moves along the storm?
It is my ATALIBA'S well-known form!
Approach! ALZIRA'S breast no terrors move,
Her fears are all for ever lost in love.
Safe on the hanging cliff I now can rest,
And press its pointed pillow to my breast--
He weeps! in heaven he weeps!--I feel his tear--
It chills my trembling heart, yet still 'tis dear.
To him all joyless are the realms above,
That pale look speaks of pity and of love!
Ah come, descend in yonder bending cloud,
And wrap ALZIRA in thy misty shroud!"
As roll'd her wand'ring glances wild around,
She snatch'd a reeking sabre from the ground;
Firmly her lifted hand the weapon prest,
And deep she plung'd it in her panting breast!
" 'Tis but a few short moments that divide "--
She falt'ring said--then sunk on earth and died!
FAIR OTAHEITE , fondly blest
By him who long was doom'd to brave
The fury of the Polar wave,
That fiercely mounts the frozen rock
Where the harsh sea-bird rears her nest,
And learns the raging surge to mock--
There Night, that loves eternal storm,
Deep and lengthened darkness throws,
And untried danger's doubtful form
Its half-seen horror shews!
While Nature, with a look so wild,
Leans on the cliffs, in chaos pil'd,
That here the aw'd, astonish'd mind
Forgets, in that o'erwhelming hour,
When her rude hands the storms unbind
In all the madness of her power,
That she who spreads the savage gloom,
That she can dress in melting grace,
In sportive Summer's lavish bloom,
The awful terrors of her face;
And wear the sweet perennial smile
That charms in OTAHEITE'S isle.
Yet, amid her fragrant bowers,
Where Spring, whose dewy fingers strew
O'er other lands some fleeting flowers,
Lives, in blossoms ever new;
Whence arose that shriek of pain?
Whence the tear that flows in vain?
Death! thy unrelenting hand
Bursts some transient, human band.
What art thou, Death?--terrific shade,
In unpierc'd gloom array'd!--
Oft will daring Fancy stray
Far in the central wastes, where night
Divides no cheering hour with day,
And unnam'd horrors meet her sight;
There thy form she dimly sees,
And round the shape unfinish'd throws
All her frantic vision shews,
When numbing fears her spirit freeze.
But can mortal voice declare,
If Fancy paints thee as thou art?--
Thy aspect may a terror wear
Her pencil never shall impart;
The eye that once on thee shall gaze
No more its stiffen'd orb can raise;
The lips that could thy power reveal,
Shall lasting silence instant seal.
In vain the icy hand we fold,
In vain the breast with tears we steep,
The heart that shar'd each pang is cold,
The vacant eye no more can weep.
Yet from the shore where Ganges rolls
His waves beneath the torrid ray,
To earth's chill verge, where o'er the poles
Falls the last beam of ling'ring day,
For ever sacred are the dead!
Sweet Fancy comes in sorrow's aid,
And bids the mourner lightly tread
Where th' insensate clay is laid;
Bids partial gloom the sod invest
By the mould'ring relics prest;
There lavish strews with sad delight,
Whate'er her consecrating power
Reveres, of herb or fruit, or flower,
And fondly weaves the various rite.
See! o'er OTAHEITE'S plain
Moves the long funereal train;
Slow the pallid corse they bear,
Oft they breathe the solemn prayer.
Where the Ocean bathes the land,
Thrice and thrice, with pious hand,
The priest, where high the billow springs,
From the wave unsullied, flings
Waters pure, that sprinkled near,
Sanctify the hallow'd bier;
But never may one drop profane
The relics with forbidden stain!
Now around the fun'ral shrine,
Led in mystic mazes, twine
Garlands, where the plantain weaves
With the palm's luxuriant leaves,
And o'er each sacred knot is spread
The plant devoted to the dead.
Five pale moons with trembling light
Shall gaze upon the lengthen'd rite;
Shall see distracted beauty tear
The tresses of her flowing hair;
Those graceful locks, no longer dear,
She wildly scatters o'er the bier,
And frantic gives the frequent wound
That purples with her blood the ground!
Where along the western sky
Day's reflected colours die,
And twilight rules the doubtful hour
Ere slow-pac'd night resumes her power,
Mark the cloud that lingers still
Darkly on the hanging hill:
There the disembodied mind
Hears, upon the hollow wind,
Low, in mournful cadence thrown,
Sorrow's oft repeated moan--
Still some human passions sway
The spirit, late immers'd in clay;
Still the hopeless sigh is dear,
Still belov'd the fruitless tear!
Five waning moons with wand'ring light
Have past the shadowy bound of night,
And mingled their departing ray
With the soft fires of early day;
Let the last sad rites be paid,
Grateful to the conscious shade.
Let the priest with pious care
Now the wasted relics bear,
Where the MORAI'S awful gloom
Shrouds the consecrated tomb.
Let the plantain lift its head;
Cherish'd emblem of the dead;
Slow, and solemn, o'er the grave
Let the twisted plumage wave,
Symbol hallow'd and divine
Of the god who guards the shrine.
Hark!--that shriek of strange despair
Never shall disturb the air;
Never, never shall it rise,
But for Nature's broken ties!--
Bright Crescent! that with lucid smile
Gild'st the MORAI'S lofty pile;
Whose broad lines of shadow throw
A gloomy horror far below,
Witness, O recording moon,
All the rites are duly done;
Be the faithful tribute o'er,
The hov'ring spirit asks no more!
Mortals, cease the pile to tread,
Leave to silence, leave the dead.
But where may she who loves to stray
'Mid shadows of funereal gloom,
And courts the sadness of the tomb,
Where may she seek that proud MORAI ,
Whose dear memorial points the place
Where fell the friend of human race?
Ye lonely Isles, on Ocean's bound,
Ye bloom'd thro' Time's long flight unknown,
Till Cook the untrack'd billow past!
Till he along the surges cast
Philanthropy's connecting zone,
And spread her loveliest blessings round!--
Not like that murd'rous band he came,
Who stain'd with blood the new-found West;
Nor as, with unrelenting breast,
From BRITAIN'S free, enlightened land,
Her sons now seek ANGOLA'S strand,*
The ties most sacred to unbind,--
To load with chains a brother's frame,
And plunge a dagger in the mind;
Mock the sharp anguish bleeding there
Of nature in her last despair!
Great COOK ! Ambition's lofty flame,
So oft directed to destroy,
Led thee to circle with thy name
The smile of love, and hope, and joy!
Those fires that lend the dang'rous blaze
The devious comet trails afar,
Might form the pure, benignant rays
That gild the morning's gentle star.
Sure, where the hero's ashes rest,
The nations late emerg'd from night
Still haste--with love's unwearied care,
That spot in lavish flowers is drest,
And fancy's dear, inventive rite
Still paid with fond observance there?--
Ah, no! around his fatal grave
No lavish flowers were ever strew'd,
No votive gift was ever laid--
His blood a savage shore bedew'd!
His mangled limbs, one hasty prayer,
One pious tear by friendship paid,
Were cast upon the raging wave!
Deep in the wild abyss he lies,
Far from the cherish'd scene of home;
Far, far from her whose faithful sighs
A husband's trackless course pursue;
Whose tender fancy loves to roam
With him o'er lands and oceans new;
And gilds with hope's deluding form
The gloomy pathway of the storm!
Yet, Cook! immortal wreathes are thine!
While Albion's grateful toil shall raise
The marble tomb, the trophied bust,
For ages faithful to its trust;
While, eager to record thy praise,
She bids the muse of history twine
The chaplet of undying fame,
And tell each polish'd land thy worth,
The ruder natives of the earth
Shall oft repeat thy honour'd name,
While infants catch the frequent sound,
And learn to lisp the oral tale,
Whose fond remembrance shall prevail
Till Time has reach'd her destin'd bound!
Part Of An Irregular Fragment
Rise, winds of night! relentless tempests, rise!
Rush from the troubled clouds, and o'er me roll!
In this chill pause a deeper horror lies,
A wilder fear appals my shudd'ring soul!--
'Twas on this day,* this hour accurst,
That Nature, starting from repose,
Heard the dire shrieks of murder burst--
From infant innocence they rose,--
And shook these solemn towers!
I shudd'ring pass that fatal room,
For ages wrapt in central gloom!--
I shudd'ring pass that iron door,
Which fate perchance unlocks no more;
Death, smear'd with blood, o'er the dark portal lowers!
How fearfully my step resounds
Along these lonely bounds!--
Spare, savage blast! the taper's quiv'ring fires;
Deep in these gath'ring shades its flame expires.
Ye host of heaven! the door recedes--
It mocks my grasp--what unseen hands
Have burst its iron bands?
No mortal force this gate unbarr'd,
Where danger lives, which terrors guard--
Dread powers! its screaming hinges close
On this dire scene of impious deeds--
My feet are fix'd!--Dismay has bound
My step on this polluted ground!
But lo! the pitying moon a line of light
Athwart the horrid darkness dimly throws,
And from yon grated window chases night.
Ye visions that before me roll,
That freeze my blood, that shake my soul!
Are ye the phantoms of a dream?--
Pale spectres! are ye what ye seem?--
They glide more near!
Their forms unfold!
Fix'd are their eyes--on me they bend--
Their glaring look is cold!
And hark!--I hear
Sounds that the throbbing pulse of life suspend:
"No wild illusion cheats thy sight
With shapes that only live in night--
Mark the native glories spread
Around my bleeding brow!
The crown of Albion wreath'd my head,
When my father shook his spear,
When his banner sought the skies,
Her baffled host recoil'd with fear,
Nor turn'd their shrinking eyes.
Soon as the daring eagle springs,
To bask in heav'n's empyreal light,
The vultures ply their baleful wings,
A cloud of deep'ning colour marks their flight,
Staining the golden day:--
But see! amid the rav'nous brood
A bird of fiercer aspect soar--
The spirits of a rival race*
Hang on the noxious blast, and trace
With gloomy joy his destin'd prey;
Inflame th' ambitious wish that thirsts for blood,
And plunge his talons deep in kindred gore.
"View the stern form that hovers nigh:
Fierce rolls his dauntless eye,
In scorn of hideous death;
Till starting at a brother's* name,
Horror shrinks his glowing frame;
Locks the half-utter'd groan,
And chills the parting breath:--
Astonish'd Nature heav'd a moan!
When her affrighted eye beheld the hands
She form'd to cherish, rend her holy bands.
"Look where a royal infant+ kneels;
Shrieking, and agoniz'd with fear,
He sees the dagger pointed near
A much-lov'd brother's+ breast,
And tells an absent mother all he feels!
His eager eye he casts around,--
Where shall her guardian form be found,
On which his eager eye would rest?
On her he calls in accents wild,
And wonders why her step is slow
To save her suff'ring child!
Rob'd in the regal garb, his brother stands
In more majestic woe,
And meets the impious stroke with bosom bare,
Then fearless grasps the murd'rer's hands,
And asks the minister of hell to spare
The child, whose feeble arms sustain
His bleeding form, from cruel death.
In vain fraternal fondness pleads,
For cold is now his livid cheek,
And cold his last, expiring breath;
And now, with aspect meek,
The infant lifts its mournful eye,
And asks, with trembling voice, to die,
If death will cure his heaving heart of pain!
His heaving heart now bleeds!--
Foul tyrant! o'er the gilded hour
That beams with all the blaze of power,
Remorse shall spread her thickest shroud!
The furies in thy tortur'd ear
Shall howl, with curses deep and loud,
And wake distracting fear!
I see the ghastly spectre rise,
Whose blood is cold, whose hollow eyes
Seem from his head to start!--
With upright hair and shiv'ring heart,
Dark o'er thy midnight couch he bends,
And clasps thy shrinking frame, thy impious spirit rends."
Now his thrilling accents die--
His shape eludes my searching eye.
But who is he,* convuls'd with pain,
That writhes in every swelling vein?
Yet in so deep, so wild a groan,
A sharper anguish seems to live
Than life's expiring pang can give!--
He dies deserted, and alone.
If pity can allay thy woes,
Sad spirit, they shall find repose:
Thy friend, thy long-lov'd friend is near;
He comes to pour the parting tear,
He comes to catch the parting breath.
Ah, heaven! no melting look he wears,
His alter'd eye with vengeance glares;
Each frantic passion at his soul;
'Tis he has dash'd that venom'd bowl
With agony and death!
But whence arose that solemn call?
Yon bloody phantom waves his hand,
And beckons me to deeper gloom!
Rest, troubled form! I come--
Some unknown power my step impels
To horror's secret cells.
"For thee I raise this sable pall,
It shrouds a ghastly band:
Stretch'd beneath, thy eye shall trace
A mangled regal race!
A thousand suns have roll'd, since light
Rush'd on their solid night!
See, o'er that tender frame grim Famine hangs,
And mocks a mother's pangs!
The last, last drop which warm'd her veins
That meagre infant drains,
Then gnaws her fond, sustaining breast!
Stretch'd on her feeble knees, behold
Another victim sinks to lasting rest;
Another yet her matron arms would fold,
Who strives to reach her matron arms in vain--
Too weak her wasted form to raise,
On him she bends her eager gaze;
She sees the soft imploring eye
That asks her dear embrace, the cure of pain--
She sees her child at distance die!
But now her stedfast heart can bear,
Unmov'd, the pressure of despair.
When first the winds of winter urge their course
O'er the pure stream, whose current smoothly glides,
The heaving river swells its troubled tides;
But when the bitter blast with keener force
O'er the high wave an icy fetter throws,
The harden'd wave is fix'd in dead repose."
"Say, who that hoary form? alone he stands,
And meekly lifts his wither'd hands;
His white beard streams with blood!
I see him with a smile deride
The wounds that pierce his shrivell'd side,
Whence flows a purple flood;
But sudden pangs his bosom tear--
On one big drop, of deeper dye,
I see him fix his haggard eye
In dark, and wild despair!
That sanguine drop which wakes his woe,
Say, Spirit! whence its source?"
"Ask no more its source to know--
Ne'er shall mortal eye explore
Whence flow'd that drop of human gore,
Till the starting dead shall rise,
Unchain'd from earth, and mount the skies,
And Time shall end his fated course.
Now th' unfathom'd depth behold:
Look but once--a second glance
Wraps a heart of human mould
In death's eternal trance!
"That shapeless phantom, sinking slow
Deep down the vast abyss below,
Darts thro' the mists that shroud his frame,
A horror, nature hates to name!
Mortal, could thine eyes behold
All those sullen mists enfold,
Thy sinews at the sight accurst
Would wither, and thy heart-strings burst;
Death would grasp with icy hand,
And drag thee to our grizly band!
Away! the sable pall I spread,
And give to rest th' unquiet dead;
Haste! ere its horrid shroud enclose
Thy form, benumb'd with wild affright,
And plunge thee far through wastes of night,
In yon black gulph's abhorr'd repose!"
As, starting at each step, I fly,
Why backward turns my frantic eye,
That closing portal past?
Two sullen shades, half-seen, advance!
On me, a blasting look they cast,
And fix my view with dang'rous spells,
Where burning frenzy dwells!--
Again! their vengeful look--and now a speechless--
Peruvian Tales: Zilia, Tale Iii
PIZARRO takes possession of Cuzco--The fanaticism of VALVERDA , a
Spanish priest--Its dreadful effects--A Peruvian priest put to the tor-
ture--His Daughter's distress--He is rescued by LAS CASAS , a Spa-
nish ecclesiastic--And led to a place of safety, where he dies--His
Daughter's narration of her sufferings--Her death.
Now stern PIZARRO seeks the distant plains,
Where beauteous Cuzco lifts her golden fanes.
The meek Peruvians gaz'd in wild dismay,
Nor barr'd the dark Oppressor's sanguine way;
And soon on Cuzco, where the dawning light
Of glory shone, foretelling day more bright,
Where the young arts had shed unfolding flowers,
A scene of spreading desolation lowers!
While buried deep in everlasting shade,
That lustre sickens, and those blossoms fade.
And yet, devoted land, not gold alone,
Or dire ambition wak'd thy rising groan;
For lo! a fiercer fiend, with joy elate,
Feasts on thy suff'rings, and impels thy fate:
Fanatic Fury rears her sullen shrine,
Where vultures prey, where venom'd adders twine;
Her savage arm with purple torrents stains
Thy rocking temples, and thy falling fanes;
Her blazing torches flash the mounting fire,
She grasps the sabre, and she lights the pyre;
Her voice is thunder rending the still air,
Her glance the baleful lightning's lurid glare;
Her lips unhallow'd breathe their impious strain,
And pure Religion's sacred voice profane;
Whose precepts pity's mildest deeds approve,
Whose law is mercy, and whose soul is love.
And see, fanatic Fury wakes the storm--
She wears the stern VALVERDA'S hideous form;
His bosom never felt another's woes,
No shriek of anguish breaks its dark repose.
The temple nods--an aged form appears--
He beats his breast, he rends his silver hairs--
VALVERDA drags him from the blest abode,
Where his meek spirit humbly sought its God;
See, to his aid his child, soft ZILIA , springs,
And steeps in tears the robe to which she clings!
Now bursting from PERUVIA'S frighted throng,
Two warlike youths impetuous rush'd along;
One grasp'd his twanging bow with furious air,
While in his troubled eye sat fierce despair;
But all in vain his erring weapon flies,
Pierc'd by a thousand wounds, on earth he lies.
His drooping head the trembling ZILIA rais'd,
And on the youth in speechless anguish gaz'd;
While he who fondly shared his danger flew,
And from his bleeding breast a poignard drew.
"Deep in my faithful bosom let me hide
The fatal steel that would our souls divide,"--
He quick exclaims--the dying warrior cries
"Ah yet forbear!--by all the sacred ties
That bind our hearts, forbear!"--in vain he spoke,
Friendship with frantic zeal impels the stroke!
"Thyself for ever lost, thou hop'st in vain,"
The youth replied, "my spirit to detain;
From thee my soul, in childhood's earliest year,
Caught the light pleasure and the passing tear;
Thy friendship then my young affections blest
The first pure passion of my infant breast;
And still in death I feel its strong controul,
Its sacred impulse wings my fleeting soul,
That only lingers here till thou depart,
Whose image lives upon my fainting heart!"--
In vain the gen'rous youth, with panting breath,
Pour'd these last murmurs in the ear of death;
He reads the fatal truth in ZILIA'S eye,
And gives to friendship his expiring sigh.--
But now with rage VALVERDA'S glances roll,
And mark the vengeance rankling in his soul;
He bends his gloomy brow --his lips impart
The brooding purpose of his venom'd heart;
He bids the hoary priest in mutter'd strains
Abjure his faith, forsake his native fanes,
While yet the ling'ring pangs of torture wait,
While yet VALVERDA'S power suspends his fate.
"Vain man," the victim cried, "to hoary years
Know death is mild, and virtue feels no fears;
Cruel of spirit, come! let tortures prove
The power I serv'd in life in death I love."
He ceas'd--with rugged cords his limbs they bound,
And drag the aged suff'rer on the ground;
They grasp his feeble frame, his tresses tear;
His robe they rend, his shrivell'd bosom bare.
Ah, see his uncomplaining soul sustain
The sting of insult and the dart of pain!
His stedfast spirit feels one pang alone,
A child's despair awakes one bitter groan--
The mourner kneels to catch his parting breath,
To soothe the agony of ling'ring death:
No moan she breath'd, no tear had power to flow,
Still on her lip expir'd th' unutter'd woe;
Yet ah, her livid cheek, her stedfast look,
The desolated soul's deep anguish spoke--
Mild victim! close not yet thy languid eyes;
Pure spirit! claim not yet thy kindred skies;
A pitying angel comes to stay thy flight,
LAS CASAS * bids thee view returning light;
Ah, let that sacred drop, to virtue dear,
Efface thy wrongs--receive his precious tear;
See his flush'd cheek with indignation glow,
While from his lips the tones of pity flow.--
"Oh, suff'ring Lord!" he cried, "whose streaming blood,
Was pour'd for man--earth drank the sacred flood,
Whose mercy in the mortal pang forgave
The murd'rous band, Thy love alone could save;
Forgive--thy goodness bursts each narrow bound
Which feeble thought, and human hope surround;
Forgive the guilty wretch, whose impious hand
From thy pure altar flings the flaming brand;
In human blood that hallow'd altar steeps,
Libation dire! while groaning nature weeps;
The limits of thy mercy dares to scan,
The object of thy love, his victim,--man.
While yet I linger, lo, the suff'rer dies,
I see his frame convuls'd,--I hear his sighs!
Whoe'er controuls the purpose of my heart,
First in this breast shall plunge his guilty dart."
With hurried step he flew, with eager hands
He broke the fetters, burst the cruel bands.
As the fall'n angel heard with awful fear,
The cherub's grave rebuke, in grace severe,
And fled, while horror plum'd his impious crest,*
The form of virtue as she stood confest;
So fierce VALVERDA sullen mov'd along,
Abash'd, and follow'd by the hostile throng.
At length the hoary victim, freed from chains,
LAS CASAS gently leads to safer plains;
His searching eye explores a secret cave,
Whose shaggy sides the languid billows lave;
"There rest secure," he cried, "the Christian's God
Will hover near, will guard the lone abode."
Oft to the gloomy cell his steps repair,
While night's chill breezes wave his silver'd hair;
Oft in the tones of love, the words of peace,
He bids the bitter tears of anguish cease;
Bids drooping hope uplift her languid eyes,
And points to bliss that dwells beyond the skies.
Yet ah! in vain his pious cares would save
The aged suff'rer from the op'ning grave;
For deep the pangs of torture pierc'd his frame,
And sunk his wasted life's expiring flame;
To his cold lip LAS CASAS ' hand he prest,
He faintly clasp'd his ZILIA to his breast;
Then cried, "the God, whom now my vows adore,
My heart through life obey'd, unknowing more;
His mild forgiveness then my soul shall prove,
His mercy share, LAS CASAS ' God is love."
He spoke no more, his ZILIA'S hopeless moan
Was heard responsive to his dying groan.
"Victim of impious zeal," LAS CASAS cries,
"Accept, departed shade, a Christian's sighs;
And thou, soft mourner, tender, drooping form,
What power shall guard thee from the fearful storm?"
"Weep not for me," she cried, "for ZILIA'S breast
Soon in the shelt'ring earth shall find its rest;
Seek not the victim of despair to save,
I ask but death--I only wish a grave.
Witness, thou mangled form, that earth retains,
Witness a murder'd lover's cold remains;
I liv'd my father's pangs to soothe, to share,
I bore to live, though life was all despair.
Ah! still my lover's dying moan I hear,
In every pulse I feel his parting tear--
I faint--an icy coldness chills each vein,
No more these feeble limbs their load sustain;
Spirit of pity! catch my fleeting breath,
A moment stay--and close my eyes in death.
LAS CASAS , thee thy God in mercy gave,
To soothe my pangs, to find the wretch a grave."
She ceas'd, her spirit fled to purer spheres,
LAS CASAS bathes the pallid corse with tears;
Fly, minister of good! nor ling'ring shed
Those fruitless sorrows o'er th' unconscious dead;
I view the sanguine flood, the wasting flame,
I hear a suff'ring world LAS CASAS claim.
On The Bill Which Was Passed In England For Regulating The Slave-Trade
The hollow winds of night no more
In wild, unequal cadence pour,
On musing fancy's wakeful ear,
The groan of agony severe
From yon dark vessel, which contains
The wretch new bound in hopeless chains!
Whose soul with keener anguish bleeds,
As AFRIC'S less'ning shore recedes--
No more where Ocean's unseen bound
Leaves a drear world of waters round,
Between the howling gust, shall rise
The stifled captive's latest sighs!--
No more shall suffocating death
Seize the pent victim's sinking breath;
The pang of that convulsive hour,
Reproaching man's insatiate power;
Man! who to AFRIC'S shore has past,
Relentless, as the annual blast
That sweeps the Western Isles, and flings
Destruction from its furious wings!--
And woman, she, too weak to bear
The galling chain, the tainted air,--
Of mind too feeble to sustain
The vast, accumulated pain,--
No more, in desperation wild,
Shall madly strain her gasping child;
With all the mother at her soul,
With eyes where tears have ceas'd to roll,
Shall catch the livid infant's breath,
Then sink in agonizing death!
BRITAIN! the noble, blest decree
That soothes despair, is fram'd by thee!
Thy powerful arm has interpos'd,
And one dire scene for ever clos'd;
Its horror shall no more belong
To that foul drama, deep with wrong.
O, first of EUROPE'S polish'd lands
To ease the captive's iron bands;
Long, as thy glorious annals shine,
This proud distinction shall be thine!
Not first alone when valour leads
To rush on danger's noblest deeds;
When mercy calls thee to explore
A gloomy path, untrod before,
Thy ardent spirit springs to heal,
And, greatly gen'rous, dares to feel!--
Valour is like the meteor's light,
Whose partial flash leaves deeper night;
While Mercy, like the lunar ray,
Gilds the thick shade with softer day.
Blest deed! that met consenting minds
In all but those whom av'rice binds,--
Who creep in interest's crooked ways,
Nor ever pass her narrow maze;
Or those whom hard indiff'rence steels
To every pang another feels.
For them has fortune round their bowers
Twin'd, partial nymph! her lavish flowers;
For them , from unsunn'd caves, she brings
Her summer ice; for them she springs
To climes where hotter suns produce
The richer fruit's delicious juice;
While they , whom wasted blessings tire,
Nor leave one want to feed desire,
With cool, insulting ease demand
Why, for yon hopeless, captive band,
Is ask'd, to mitigate despair,
The mercy of the common air?
The boon of larger space to breathe,
While coop'd that hollow deck beneath?
A lengthen'd plank, on which to throw
Their shackled limbs, while fiercely glow
The beams direct, that on each head
The fury of contagion shed?--
And dare presumptuous, guilty man,
Load with offence his fleeting span?
Deform creation with the gloom
Of crimes that blot its cheerful bloom?
Darken a work so perfect made,
And cast the universe in shade?--
Alas! to AFRIC'S fetter'd race
Creation wears no form of grace!
To them earth's pleasant vales are found
A blasted waste, a sterile bound;
Where the poor wand'rer must sustain
The load of unremitted pain;
A region in whose ample scope
His eye discerns no gleam of hope;
Where thought no kind asylum knows
On which its anguish may repose;
But death, that to the ravag'd breast
Comes not in shapes of terror drest;
Points to green hills where freedom roves,
And minds renew their former loves;
Or, hov'ring in the troubled air,
Hangs the fierce spectre of Despair;
Whose soul abhors the gift of life,
Who stedfast grasps the reeking knife,
Bids the charg'd heart in torrents bleed,
And smiles in frenzy at the deed!
Ye noble minds! who o'er a sky
Where clouds are roll'd, and tempests fly,
Have bid the lambent lustre play
Of one pure, lovely, azure ray;
O, far diffuse its op'ning bloom,
And the wide Hemisphere illume!
Ye, who one bitter drop have drain'd
From slav'ry's cup, with horror stain'd,
O, let no fatal dregs be found,
But dash her chalice on the ground,
While still she links her impious chain,
And calculates the price of pain;
Weighs agony in sordid scales,
And marks if death or life prevails;
Decides how near the mangling scourge
May to the grave its victim urge,--
Yet for awhile, with prudent care,
The half-worn wretch, if useful, spare;
And speculates, with skill refin'd,
How deep a wound will stab the mind;
How far the spirit can endure
Calamity, that hopes no cure!--
Ye! who can selfish cares forego,
To pity those which others know,--
As light that from its centre strays
To glad all nature with its rays,--
O, ease the pangs ye stoop to share,
And rescue millions from despair!--
For you, while morn in graces gay
Wakes the fresh bloom of op'ning day,
Gilds with her purple light your dome,
Renewing all the joys of home,--
Of that dear shed which first ye knew,
Where first the sweet affections grew;
Whose charm alike the heart can draw,
If form'd of marble or of straw;
Whether the voice of pleasure calls,
And gladness echoes through its walls,
Or to its hallow'd roof we fly
With those we love to pour the sigh;
The load of mingled pain to bear,
And soften every pang we share!--
Ah, think how desolate his state,
How he the cheerful light must hate,
Whom, sever'd from his native soil,
The morning wakes to fruitless toil
To labours hope shall never cheer,
Or fond domestic joy endear!
Poor wretch! on whose despairing eyes
His cherish'd home shall never rise!
Condemn'd, severe extreme, to live
When all is fled that life can give:--
And ah, the blessings valued most
By human minds, are blessings lost!
Unlike the objects of the eye,
Enlarging as we bring them nigh;
Our joys at distance strike the breast,
And seem diminish'd when possest.
Who from his far-divided shore
The half-expiring captive bore?
Those whom the traffic of their race
Has robb'd of every human grace;
Whose harden'd souls no more retain
Impressions nature stamp'd in vain:
As streams that once the landscape gave
Reflected on the trembling wave,
Their substance change when lock'd in frost,
And rest in dead contraction lost;
Who view, unmoved, the look that tells
The pang that in the bosom dwells;
Heed not the nerves that terror shakes,
The heart convulsive anguish breaks;
The shriek that would their crimes upbraid,
But deem despair a part of trade.
Such only for detested gain
The barb'rous commerce would maintain;
The gen'rous sailor, he who dares
All forms of danger, while he bears
The British flag o'er sultry seas,
And spreads it on the Polar breeze;
He to whose guardian arm we owe
Each blessing that the happy know;
Whatever charms the soften'd heart,
Each cultur'd grace, each finer art,
E'en thine, most lovely of the train!
Sweet Poetry, thy heav'n-taught strain,
His breast, where nobler passions burn,
In honest poverty, would spurn
The wealth oppression can bestow,
And scorn to wound a fetter'd foe!
True courage in the unconquered soul
Yields to Compassion's mild control;
As, the resisting frame of steel
The magnet's secret force can feel.
When borne at length to Western lands,
Chain'd on the beach the captive stands,
Where Man, dire merchandize! is sold,
And barter'd life is paid for gold!
In mute affliction, see him try
To read his new possessor's eye;
If one blest glance of mercy there,
One half-form'd tear may check despair!
Ah, if that eye with sorrow sees
His languid look, his quiv'ring knees,
Those limbs which scarce their load sustain,
That form consum'd in wasting pain,
Such sorrow fills his ruthless eye
Who sees the lamb he doom'd to die;
In pining sickness yield his life,
And thus elude the sharpen'd knife.
Or if where savage habit steels
The vulgar mind, one bosom feels
The sacred claim of helpless woe--
If pity in that soil can grow!
Yet why on one poor chance must rest
The int'rest of a kindred breast?
Why yield to passion's wayward laws
Humanity's devoted cause?--
Ah ye, who one fix'd purpose own,
Whose untir'd aim is self alone;
Who think in gold the essence lies
From which extracted bliss shall rise;
Does fleeting life proportion bear
To all the wealth ye heap with care?
When soon your days in rapid flight
Shall sink in death's terrific night,
Then seize the moments in your power,
To Mercy consecrate the hour!
Risk something in her cause at last,
And thus atone for all the past.
Does avarice, your god, delight
With agony to feast his sight?
Does he require that victims slain,
And human blood his altars stain?--
Ah, not alone of power possest
To check each virtue of the breast:
As when the numbing frosts arise
The charm of vegetation dies;
His sway the harden'd bosom leads
To cruelty's remorseless deeds;
Like the blue lightning, when it springs
With fury on its livid wings,
Darts to its goal with baleful force,
Nor heeds that ruin marks its course!
O, Eloquence! prevailing art!
Whose force can chain the list'ning heart;
The throb of sympathy inspire,
And kindle every great desire;
With magic energy control,
And reign the sov'reign of the soul!
That dreams, while all its passions swell,
It shares the power it feels so well:
As visual objects seem possest
Of those clear hues by light imprest.
O, skill'd in every grace to charm,
To soften, to appal, to warm,--
Fill with thy noblest rage the breast,
Bid on those lips thy spirit rest,
That shall, in Britain's Senate, trace
The wrongs of AFRIC'S captive race!--
But Fancy o'er the tale of woe
In vain one heighten'd tint would throw;
For ah, the truth is all we guess
Of anguish in its last excess!
Fancy may dress in deeper shade
The storm that hangs along the glade;
Spreads o'er the ruffled stream its wing,
And chills awhile the flowers of spring;
But where the wint'ry tempests sweep
In madness o'er the darken'd deep,--
Where the wild surge, the raging wave,
Point to the hopeless wretch a grave;
And death surrounds the threat'ning shore--
Can fancy add one horror more?--
Lov'd BRITAIN ! whose protecting hand,
Stretch'd o'er the globe, on AFRIC'S strand
The honour'd base of freedom lays,
Soon, soon the finish'd fabric raise!
And when surrounding realms would frame,
Touch'd with a spark of gen'rous flame,
Some pure, ennobling, great design,
Some lofty act, almost divine,
Which earth may hail with rapture high,
And heav'n may view with fav'ring eye,--
Teach them to make all nature free,
And shine by emulating thee!
An Ode On The Piece
As wand'ring late on Albion's shore
That chains the rude tempestuous deep,
I heard the hollow surges roar
And vainly beat her guardian steep;
I heard the rising sounds of woe
Loud on the storm's wild pinion flow;
And still they vibrate on the mournful lyre,
That tunes to grief its sympathetic wire.
From shores the wide Atlantic laves,
The spirit of the ocean bears
In moans, along his western waves,
Afflicted nature's hopeless cares:
Enchanting scenes of young delight,
How chang'd since first ye rose to sight;
Since first ye rose in infant glories drest
Fresh from the wave, and rear'd your ample breast.
Her crested serpents, discord throws
O'er scenes which love with roses grac'd;
The flow'ry chain his hands compose,
She wildly scatters o'er the waste:
Her glance his playful smile deforms,
Her frantic voice awakes the storms,
From land to land, her torches spread their fires,
While love's pure flame in streams of blood expires.
Now burns the savage soul of war,
While terror flashes from his eyes,
Lo! waving o'er his fiery car
Aloft his bloody banner flies:
The battle wakes—with awful sound
He thunders o'er the echoing ground,
He grasps his reeking blade, while streams of blood
Tinge the vast plain, and swell the purple flood.
But softer sounds of sorrow flow;
On drooping wing the murm'ring gales
Have borne the deep complaints of woe
That rose along the lonely vales—
Those breezes waft the orphan's cries,
They tremble to parental sighs,
And drink a tear for keener anguish shed,
The tear of faithful love when hope is fled.
The object of her anxious fear
Lies pale on earth, expiring, cold,
Ere, wing'd by happy love, one year
Too rapid in its course, has roll'd;
In vain the dying hand she grasps,
Hangs on the quiv'ring lip, and clasps
The fainting form, that slowly sinks in death,
To catch the parting glance, the fleeting breath.
Pale as the livid corse her cheek,
Her tresses torn, her glances wild,—
How fearful was her frantic shriek!
She wept—and then in horrors smil'd:
She gazes now with wild affright,
Lo! bleeding phantoms rush in sight—
Hark! on yon mangled form the mourner calls,
Then on the earth a senseless weight she falls.
And see! o'er gentle Andre's tomb,
The victim of his own despair,
Who fell in life's exulting bloom,
Nor deem'd that life deserv'd a care;
O'er the cold earth his relicks prest,
Lo! Britain's drooping legions rest;
For him the swords they sternly grasp, appear
Dim with a sigh, and sullied with a tear.
While Seward sweeps her plaintive strings,
While pensive round his sable shrine,
A radiant zone she graceful flings,
Where full emblaz'd his virtues shine;
The mournful loves that tremble nigh
Shall catch her warm melodious sigh;
The mournful loves shall drink the tears that flow
From Pity's hov'ring soul, dissolv'd in woe.
And hark, in Albion's flow'ry vale
A parent's deep complaint I hear!
A sister calls the western gale
To waft her soul-expressive tear;
'Tis Asgill claims that piercing sigh,
That dropp which dims the beauteous eye,
While on the rack of Doubt Affection proves
How strong the force which binds the ties she loves.
How oft in every dawning grace
That blossom'd in his early hours,
Her soul some comfort lov'd to trace,
And deck'd futurity in flowers!
But lo! in Fancy's troubled sight
The dear illusions sink in night;
She views the murder'd form—the quiv'ring breath,
The rising virtues chill'd in shades of death.
Cease, cease ye throbs of hopeless woe;
He lives the future hours to bless,
He lives, the purest joy to know,
Parental transports fond excess;
His sight a father's eye shall chear,
A sister's drooping charms endear:—
The private pang was Albion's gen'rous care,
For him she breath'd a warm accepted prayer.
And lo! a radiant stream of light
Defending, gilds the murky cloud,
Where Desolation's gloomy night
Retiring, folds her sable shroud;
It flashes o'er the bright'ning deep,
It softens Britain's frowning steep—
'Tis mild benignant Peace, enchanting form!
That gilds the black abyss, that lulls the storm.
So thro' the dark, impending sky,
Where clouds, and fallen vapours roll'd,
Their curling wreaths dissolving fly
As the faint hues of light unfold—
The air with spreading azure streams,
The sun now darts his orient beams—
And now the mountains glow—the woods are bright—
While nature hails the season of delight.
Mild Peace! from Albion's fairest bowers
Pure spirit! cull with snowy hands,
The buds that drink the morning showers,
And bind the realms in flow'ry bands:
Thy smiles the angry passions chase,
Thy glance is pleasure's native grace;
Around thy form th' exulting virtues move,
And thy soft call awakes the strain of love.
Bless, all ye powers! the patriot name
That courts fair Peace, thy gentle stay;
Ah! gild with glory's light, his fame,
And glad his life with pleasure's ray!
While, like th' affrighted dove, thy form
Still shrinks, and fears some latent storm,
His cares shall sooth thy panting soul to rest,
And spread thy vernal couch on Albion's breast.
Ye, who have mourn'd the parting hour,
Which love in darker horrors drew,
Ye, who have vainly tried to pour
With falt'ring voice the last adieu!
When the pale cheek, the bursting sigh,
The soul that hov'ring in the eye,
Express'd the pains it felt, the pains it fear'd—
Ah! paint the youth's return, by grief endear'd.
Yon hoary form, with aspect mild,
Deserted kneels by anguish prest,
And seeks from Heav'n his long-lost child,
To smooth the path that leads to rest!—
He comes!—to close the sinking eye,
To catch the faint, expiring sigh;
A moment's transport stays the fleeting breath,
And sooths the soul on the pale verge of death.
No more the sanguine wreath shall twine
On the lost hero's early tomb,
But hung around thy simple shrine
Fair Peace! shall milder glories bloom.
Lo! commerce lifts her drooping head
Triumphal, Thames! from thy deep bed;
And bears to Albion, on her sail sublime,
The riches Nature gives each happier clime.
She fearless prints the polar snows,
Mid' horrors that reject the day;
Along the burning line she glows,
Nor shrinks beneath the torrid ray:
She opens India's glitt'ring mine,
Where streams of light reflected shine;
Wafts the bright gems to Britain's temp'rate vale,
And breathes her odours on the northern gale.
While from the far-divided shore
Where liberty unconquer'd roves,
Her ardent glance shall oft' explore
The parent isle her spirit loves;
Shall spread upon the western main
—Harmonious concord's golden chain,
While stern on Gallia's ever hostile strand
From Albion's cliff she pours her daring band.
Yet hide the sabre's hideous glare
Whose edge is bath'd in streams of blood,
The lance that quivers high in air,
And falling drinks a purple flood;
For Britain! fear shall seize thy foes,
While freedom in thy senate glows,
While peace shall smile upon thy cultur'd plain,
With grace and beauty her attendant train.
Enchanting visions sooth my sight—
The finer arts no more oppress'd,
Benignant source of pure delight!
On her soft bosom love to rest.
While each discordant sound expires,
Strike harmony! strike all thy wires;
The fine vibrations of the spirit move
And touch the springs of rapture and of love.
Bright painting's living forms shall rise;
And wrapt in Ugolino's woe,
Shall Reynolds wake unbidden sighs;
And Romney's graceful pencil flow,
That Nature's look benign pourtrays,
When to her infant Shakspeare's gaze
The partial nymph 'unveil'd her awful face,'
And bade his 'colours clear' her features trace.
And poesy! thy deep-ton'd shell
The heart shall sooth, the spirit fire,
And all the passion sink, or swell,
In true accordance to the lyre.
Oh! ever wake its heav'nly sound,
Oh! call thy lovely visions round;
Strew the soft path of peace with fancy's flowers,
With raptures bless the soul that feels thy powers.
While Hayley wakes thy magic string,
His shades shall no rude sound profane,
But stillness on her folded wing,
Enamour'd catch his soothing strain:
Tho' genius breathe its purest flame
—Around his lyre's enchanting frame;
Tho' music there in every period roll,
More warm his friendship, and more pure his soul.
While taste refines a polish'd age,
While her own Hurd shall bid us trace
The lustre of the finish'd page
Where symmetry sheds perfect grace;
With sober and collected ray
To fancy, judgment shall display
The faultless model, where accomplish'd art
From nature draws a charm that leads the heart.
Th' historic Muse illumes the maze
For ages veil'd in gloomy night,
Where empire with meridian blaze
Once trod ambition's giddy height:
Tho' headlong from the dang'rous steep
Its pageants roll'd with wasteful sweep,
Her tablet still records the deeds of fame
And wakes the patriot's, and the hero's flame.
While meek philosophy explores
Creation's vast stupendous round;
Sublime her piercing vision soars,
And bursts the system's distant bound.
Lo! mid' the dark deep void of space
A rushing world her eye can trace!—
It moves majestic in its ample sphere,
Sheds its long light, and rolls its ling'ring year.
Ah! still diffuse thy genial ray,
Fair Science, on my Albion's plain!
And still thy grateful homage pay
Where Montagu has rear'd her fane;
Where eloquence and wit entwine
Their attic wreath around her shrine;
And still, while Learning shall unfold her store,
With their bright signet stamp the classic ore.
Enlight'ning Peace! for thine the hours
That wisdom decks in moral grace,
And thine invention's fairy powers,
The charm improv'd of nature's face;
Propitious come! in silence laid
Beneath thy olive's grateful shade,
Pour the mild bliss that sooths the tuneful mind,
And in thy zone the hostile spirit bind.
While Albion on her parent deep
Shall rest, may glory light her shore,
May honour there his vigils keep
Till time shall wing its course no more;
Till angels wrap the spheres in fire,
Till earth and yon fair orbs expire,
While chaos mounted on the wasting flame,
Shall spread eternal shade o'er nature's frame.
Peruvian Tales: Cora, Tale Vi
The troops of ALMAGRO and ALPHONSO meet on the plain of CUZCO --. MANCO -CAPAC attacks them by nights--His army is defeated, and he is forced to fly with its scattered remains--CORA goes in search of him-- Her infant in her arms--Overcome with fatigue, she rests at the foot of a mountain--An earthquake--A band of Indians fly to the mountain for shelter--CORA discovers her husband--Their interview--Her death --He escapes with his infant--ALMAGRO claims a share of the spoils of Cuzco--His contention with PIZARRO --The Spaniards destroy each other--ALMAGRO is taken prisoner, and put to death--His soldiers, in revenge, assassinate PIZARRO in his palace--LAS CASAS dies--The annual festival of the PERUVIANS --Their victories over the Spaniards in Chili--A wish for the restoration of their liberty--Conclusion.
At length ALMAGRO and ALPHONSO'S train,
Each peril past, unite on Cuzco's plain;
CAPAC resolves beneath the shroud of night
To pierce the hostile camp, and brave the fight;
Though weak the wrong'd PERUVIANS ' arrowy showers
To the dire weapons stern IBERIA pours,
Fierce was th' unequal contest, for the soul,
When rais'd by some high passion's strong controul,
New strings the nerves, and o'er the glowing frame
Breathes the warm spirit of heroic flame.
But from the scene where raging slaughter burns,
The timid muse with silent horror turns;
The blended sounds of grief she panting hears,
Where anguish dims a mother's eye with tears;
Or where the maid, who gave to love's soft power
Her faithful spirit, weeps the parting hour;
And O, till death shall ease the tender woe,
That soul must languish, and those tears must flow;
For never with the thrill that rapture proves,
Her voice again shall hail the youth she loves!
Her earnest eye no more his form shall view,
Her quiv'ring lip has breath'd the last adieu!
Now night, that pour'd upon the hollow gale
The din of battle, dropp'd her mournful veil.
The sun rose lovely from the sleeping flood,
And morning glitter'd o'er the field of blood;
Where, bath'd in gore, PERUVIA'S vanquish'd train
Lay cold and senseless on the sanguine plain.
The gen'rous CAPAC saw his warriors yield,
And fled indignant from the conquer'd field.
A wretched throng from Cuzco now repair,
Who tread 'mid slaughter'd heaps in mute despair;
O'er some lov'd corse the shroud of earth to spread,
And breathe some ritual that may soothe the dead.
No moan was heard, for agony supprest
The fond complaints which ease the swelling breast;
Each hope for ever lost, they only crave
The deep repose that wraps the shelt'ring grave:--
So the meek lama, lur'd by some decoy
Of man, from all his unembitter'd joy,
Erewhile as free as roves the wand'ring breeze,
Meets the hard burden on his bending knees;
O'er rocks and mountains, dark and waste he goes,
Nor shuns the path where no fresh herbage grows;
Till, worn with toil, on earth he prostrate lies,
Heeds not the barb'rous lash, and scornful dies.
Swift o'er the field of death sad CORA flew,
Her infant to his mother's bosom grew;
She seeks her wretched lord, who fled the plain
With the last remnant of his vanquish'd train:
Thro' the long glen, or forest's gloomy shade,
A dreary solitude, the mourner stray'd;
Her timid heart can now each danger dare,
Her drooping soul is arm'd by deep despair--
Long, long she wander'd, till oppress'd with toil,
Her trembling footsteps track with blood the soil.
Where o'er an ample vale a mountain rose,
Low at its base her fainting form she throws:
"And here, my child," she cried, with panting breath,
"Here let us wait the hour of ling'ring death;
This famish'd bosom can no more supply
The streams that nourish life--my babe must die!
In vain I strive to cherish, for thy sake,
My failing strength; but when my heart-strings break,
When my cold bosom can no longer warm,
My stiff'ning arms no more enfold thy form,
Soft on this bed of leaves my child shall sleep--
Close to his mother's corse, he will not weep!
O! weep not then, my tender babe--tho' near,
I shall not hear thy moan, nor see thy tear;
Hope not to move me by thy mournful cry,
Nor seek with earnest look my answering eye."
As thus the dying CORA'S plaints arose,
O'er the fair valley sudden darkness throws
A hideous horror; thro' the wounded air
Howl'd the shrill voice of nature in despair;
The birds dart screaming thro' the fluid sky,
And, dash'd upon the cliff's hard surface, die;
High o'er their rocky bounds the billows swell,
Then to their deep abyss affrighted fell;
Earth groaning heaves with dire convulsive throes,
While yawning gulphs its central caves disclose.
Now rush'd a frighted throng with trembling pace
Along the vale, and sought the mountain's base;
Purpos'd its perilous ascent to gain,
And shun the ruin low'ring o'er the plain.
They reach'd the spot where CORA clasp'd her child,
And gaz'd on present death with aspect wild:
They pitying pause--she lifts her mournful eye,
And views her lord!--he hears his CORA'S sigh--
He meets her looks--their melting souls unite,
O'erwhelmed, and agoniz'd with wild delight.
At length she faintly cried, "we yet must part!
Short are these rising joys--I feel my heart,
My suff'ring heart is cold, and mists arise,
That shroud thy image from my closing eyes!
O, save my child!--our helpless infant save,
And shed a tear upon thy CORA'S grave."
The fluttering pulse of life now ceas'd to play,
And in his arms a pallid corse she lay!
O'er her dear form he hung in speechless pain,
And still on CORA call'd--but call'd in vain;
Scarce could his soul in one short moment bear
The wild extremes of transport and despair.
Now o'er the west in melting softness streams
A lustre, milder than the morning beams;
A purer dawn dispell'd the fearful night,
And nature glow'd in all the blooms of light;
Then first the mourner, waking from his trance,
Cast on his smiling babe an eager glance:
Then rose the hollow voice on fancy's ear,
The parting words he hears, or seems to hear!
That sought with anxious tenderness to save
That dear memorial from the closing grave;
He clasps the object of his love's last care,
And vows for him the load of life to bear.
He journey'd o'er a dreary length of way,
To plains where freedom shed her hallow'd ray;
There, o'er the pathless wood, and mountain hoar,
His faithful band the lifeless CORA bore:
Ye who ne'er pin'd in sorrow's hopeless pain,
Deem not the toil that soothes its anguish vain;
Perchance the conscious spirit hovers near,
And love's fond tribute to the dead is dear.
Not long IBERIA'S sullied trophies wave,
Her guilty warriors press th' untimely grave;
For av'rice rising from the caves of earth,
Wakes all her savage spirit into birth:
Bids proud ALMAGRO feel her baleful flame,
And Cuzco's treasures from PIZARRO claim.
Now fierce in hostile rage each warlike train.
Purple with kindred blood PERUVIA'S plain;
While pensive on the hills, whose lofty brow
O'erhung with waving woods the vale below,
PERUVIA'S hapless tribes in scatter'd throngs,
Behold the fiends of strife avenge their wrongs:
Till, fetter'd in PIZARRO'S iron chain,
ALMAGRO swells the victor's captive train.
In vain his pleading voice, his suppliant eye,
Conjure his conqu'ror by the holy tie
That seal'd their mutual league with sacred force,
When first to climes unknown they bent their course;
When danger's rising horrors low'r'd afar,
The storms of ocean, and the toils of war,
The sad remains of wasted life to spare,
The shrivell'd bosom, and the silver'd hair--
ALMAGRO dies--the victor's barb'rous pride
To his pale corpse funereal rites denied;
Chill'd by the heavy dews of night it lay,
And wither'd in the sultry beam of day;
Till Indian bosoms, touch'd with gen'rous woe,
Paid the last duties to a prostrate foe.
With unrelenting hate the conqu'ror views
ALMAGRO'S band, and vengeance still pursues.
Condemns the victims of his power to stray
In drooping poverty's chill, thorny way;
To pine with famine's agony severe,
And all the ling'ring forms of death to fear;
Till, by despair impell'd, the rival train,
Rush to the haughty victor's splendid fane;
Swift on their foe with rage impetuous dart,
And plunge their daggers in his guilty heart.
How unavailing now the treasur'd ore
That made PERUVIA'S rifled bosom poor!
He falls--unpitied, and would vainly buy
With ANDES ' mines, the tribute of a sigh.
Now faint with virtue's toil, LAS CASAS ' soul
Sought, with exulting hope, her heavenly goal:--
But whence descends, in streams of lambent light,
That lovely vision on the raptur'd sight?
'Tis Sensibility! she stands confest:
With trembling step she moves, and panting breast;
To yon deserted grave, lo, swift she flies,
Where her lov'd victim, mild LAS CASAS lies!
I see her deck the solitary haunt
With chaplets twin'd from every weeping plant:
Its odours soft the simple violet shed,
The shrinking lily hung its drooping head;
A moaning zephyr sigh'd within the bower,
And bent the frail stem of the pliant flower:
"Hither," she cried, her melting tone I hear,
It vibrates full on fancy's wakeful ear;
"Ye to whose yielding hearts my power endears,
The transport blended with delicious tears,
The bliss that swells to agony the breast,
The sympathy that robs the soul of rest;
Hither, with fond devotion, pensive come,
Kiss the pale shrine, and murmur o'er the tomb;
Bend on the hallow'd turf the tearful eye,
And breathe the precious incense of a sigh.
LAS CASAS ' tear has moisten'd misery's grave,
His sigh has moan'd the wretch he fail'd to save!
He, while conflicting pangs his bosom tear,
Has sought the lonely cavern of despair,
Where desolate she pin'd, and pour'd her thought
To the dread verge of wild distraction wrought.
While drops of mercy bath'd his hoary cheek,
He pour'd, by heav'n inspir'd, its accents meek;
In truth's clear mirror bade the mourner's view
Pierce the deep veil which error darkly drew,
And vanquish'd empire with a smile resign,
While brighter worlds in fair perspective shine."
She paus'd--yet still the sweet enthusiast bends
O'er the cold turf, and still her tear descends.
Ah, weak PERUVIA ! oft thy murmur'd sighs,
Thy stifled groans in fancy's ear arise;
She views, as slow the years of bondage roll,
On solemn days* when sorrow mocks controul,
Thy captive sons their antique garb assume,
And wake remember'd images of gloom.
Lo! ATALIBA'S murder'd form appears,
The mournful object of eternal tears!
Wild o'er the scene indignant glances dart,
And pangs convulsive seize the throbbing heart--
Distraction soon each burning breast inflames,
And from the tyrant foe a victim claims!
But now, dispersing desolation's night,
A ray benignant cheers my gladden'd sight!
A blooming Chieftain of Peruvian race,
Whose soaring soul its high descent can trace,
The feather'd standard rears on Chili's* plain,
And leads to glorious strife his gen'rous train.
And see, IBERIA bleeds! while Vict'ry twines
Her fairest garlands round PERUVIA'S shrines;
The gaping wounds of earth disclose no more
The lucid silver, and the blazing ore;
A brighter radiance gilds the passing hour,
While Freedom breaks the rod of lawless power;
On Andes' icy steep exulting glows,
And prints with rapid step th' eternal snows;
While, roll'd in dust her graceful feet beneath,
Fades the dark laurel of IBERIA'S wreath!--
PERU ! the timid muse who mourn'd thy woes,
Whom pity robb'd so long of dear repose,
The muse whose pensive soul with anguish wrung,
Her early lyre for thee has trembling strung;
Shed the vain tear, and breath'd the powerless sigh,
Which in oblivion with her song must die;
Pants with the wish thy deeds may rise to fame;
Bright on some high-ton'd harp's immortal frame,
While on the string of ecstacy it pours
Thy future triumphs o'er unnumber'd shores.