Imitation Of Lines
ADDRESSED BY M. D--, A YOUNG MAN OF TWENTY-
FOUR YEARS OF AGE, THE NIGHT BEFORE HIS
EXECUTION, TO A YOUNG LADY TO WHOM
HE WAS ENGAGED.-1794.
THE hour that calls to death is near,
It brings to me no throb of fear;
The breast that honour arms, can brave
The murd'rer's steel, th' untimely grave;
But thou, to whom I gave my heart,
From thee for ever must I part?
Wilt thou not hear my latest sigh?-
Ah, 'tis a cruel task to die!
To-morrow, my clos'd eyes no more
Shall gaze on beauty I adore;
To-morrow, sadd'ning every grace,
Unceasing tears shall bathe thy face;
To-morrow, chill'd by death's cold grasp,
This hand no longer thine shall clasp;
For thou-no more wilt thou be nigh-
Ah, 'tis a cruel task to die!
Lines Written On The Pillar Erecting To The Memory Of Mr. Barlow
Minister of the United States at Paris, WHO DIED AT NAROWITCH IN POLAND, ON HIS RETURN
FROM WILNA, DEC. 26, 1812.
WHERE o'er the Polish desert's trackless way
Relentless Winter rules with savage sway,-
Where the shrill Polar winds, as wild they blow,
Seem to repeat some plaint of mortal woe,-
Far o'er the cheerless waste, the traveller's eye
Shall this recording pillar long descry,
And give the sod a tear where BARLOW lies-
He who was simply great and nobly wise.
Here, led by patriot zeal, he met his doom,
And found, amid the frozen wastes, a tomb;
Far from his native soil the patriot fell,
Far from that Western World he sung so well!
Nor she, so long belov'd! nor she was nigh,
To catch the dying look, the parting sigh!
She who, the hopeless anguish to beguile,
In fond memorial rears the fun'ral pile!
Whose widow'd bosom on Columbia's shore
Shall mourn the moments that return no more;
While, bending o'er the broad Atlantic wave,
Sad fancy hovers on the distant grave.
Ode To Peace
She comes, benign enchantress, heav'n born PEACE!
With mercy beaming in her radiant eye;
She bids the horrid din of battle cease,
And at her glance the savage passions die.
'Tis Nature's festival, let earth rejoice,
And pour to Liberty exulting songs,
In distant regions, with according voice,
Let Man the vict'ry bless, its prize to Man belongs.
Resistless Freedom! when she nerves the arm,
No vulgar triumph crowns the hero's might;
She, she alone can spread a moral charm
O'er war's fell deeds, and sanctify the fight.
O, GALLIA ! in this bright immortal hour,
How proud a trophy binds thy laurel'd brow!
Republic, hail! whose independent power
All earth contested once, all earth confesses now.
Protecting spirits of the glorious dead!
Ah, not in vain the hero's noble toil,
Ah, not in vain the patriot's blood is shed,
That blood shall consecrate his native soil.
Illustrious names! to hist'ry's record dear,
And breath'd when some high impulse fires the bard,
For you shall virtue pour the glowing tear,
And your remember'd deeds shall still your country guard.
And thou, lov'd BRITAIN , my parental Isle!
Secure, encircled by thy subject waves,
Thou, land august, where Freedom rear'd her pile,
While gothic night obscur'd a world of slaves;
Thy genius, that indignant heard the shock
Of frantic combat, strife unmeet for thee,
Now views triumphant, from his sea-girt rock,
Thee unsubdued alone, for thou alone wert free!
O, happy thy misguided efforts fail'd,
My Country! when with tyrant-hosts combin'd--
O, hideous conquest, had thy sword prevail'd,
And crown'd the impious league against mankind!
Thou nurse of great design, of lofty thought,
What homicide, had thy insensate rage
Effac'd the sacred lesson thou hast taught,
And with thy purest blood inscrib'd on glory's page.
Ah, rather haste to Concord's holy shrine,
Ye rival nations, haste with joy elate;
Your blending garlands round her altar twine,
And bind the wounds of no immortal hate:
Go--breathe responsive rituals o'er the sod
Where Freedom martyrs press an early grave;
Go--vow that never shall their turf be trod
By the polluting step of tyrant or of slave.
And from your shores the abject vices chase,
That low Ambition generous souls disdain,
Corruption blasting every moral grace,
Servility that kneels to bless his chain;
O, Liberty, those demons far remove,
Come, nymph severely good, sublimely great!
Nor to the raptur'd hope of mortals prove
Like those illusive dreams that pass the iv'ry gate.
New Age! that roll'st o'er man thy dawning year,
Ah, sure all happy omens hail thy birth,
Sure whiter annals in thy train appear,
And purer glory cheers the gladden'd earth:
Like the young eagle, when his stedfast glance
Meets the full sun-beam in his upward flight,
So thou shalt with majestic step advance,
And fix thy dauntless eye on Liberty and Light.
An American Tale
"Ah! pity all the pangs I feel,
If pity e'er ye knew;--
An aged father's wounds to heal,
Through scenes of death I flew.
"Perhaps my hast'ning steps are vain,
Perhaps the warrior dies!--
Yet let me soothe each parting pain--
Yet lead me where he lies."
Thus to the list'ning band she calls,
Nor fruitless her desire,
They lead her, panting, to the walls
That hold her captive sire.
"And is a daughter come to bless
These aged eyes once more?
Thy father's pains will now be less--
His pains will now be o'er!"
"My father! by this waning lamp
Thy form I faintly trace:--
Yet sure thy brow is cold and damp,
And pale thy honour'd face!
"In vain thy wretched child is come,
She comes too late to save!
And only now can share thy doom,
And share thy peaceful grave!"
Soft, as amid the lunar beams
The falling shadows bend,
Upon the bosom of the streams,
So soft her tears descend.
"Those tears a father ill can bear,
He lives, my child, for thee!
A gentle youth, with pitying care,
Has lent his aid to me.
"Born in the western world, his hand
Maintains its hostile cause,
And fierce against Britannia's band
His erring sword he draws;
"Yet feels the captive Briton's woe;
For his ennobled mind
Forgets the name of Britain's foe,
In love of human kind!
"Yet know, my child, a dearer tie
Has link'd his heart to mine:
He mourns with Friendship's holy sigh,
The youth belov'd of thine!
"But hark! his welcome feet are near--
Thy rising grief suppress:
By darkness veil'd, he hastens here
To comfort and to bless."
"Stranger! for that dear father's sake,"
She cried, in accents mild,
"Who lives by thy kind pity, take
The blessings of his child!
"O, if in heaven, my EDWARD'S breast
This deed of mercy knew,
That gives my tortur'd bosom rest,
He sure would bless thee too!
"Ah, tell me where my lover fell?
The fatal scene recall;
His last, dear accents, stranger, tell,
O, haste and tell me all!
"Say, if he gave to love the sigh,
That set his spirit free?
Say, did he raise his closing eye,
As if it sought for me?"
"Ask not," her father cried, "to know
What, known, were added pain;
Nor think, my child, the tale of woe
Thy softness can sustain."
"Though every joy with EDWARD fled,
When EDWARD'S friend is near
It soothes my breaking heart," she said,
"To tell those joys were dear.
"The western ocean roll'd in vain
Its parting waves between,
My EDWARD brav'd the dang'rous main,
And bless'd our native scene.
"Soft Isis heard his artless tale,
Ah, stream for ever dear!
Whose waters, as they pass'd the vale,
Receiv'd a lover's tear.
"How could a heart that virtue lov'd,
(And sure that heart is mine)
Lamented youth! behold unmov'd,
The virtues that were thine?
"Calm, as the surface of the lake,
When all the winds are still;
Mild, as the beams of morning break,
When first they light the hill;
"So calm was his unruffled soul,
Where no rude passion strove;
So mild his soothing accents stole,
Upon the ear of love.
"Where are the dear illusions fled
Which sooth'd my former hours?
Where is the path that fancy spread,
Ah, vainly spread with flowers?
"I heard the battle's fearful sounds,
They seem'd my lover's knell--
I heard that, pierc'd with ghastly wounds,
My vent'rous lover fell!--
"My sorrows shall with life endure,
For he I lov'd is gone;
But something tells my heart, that sure
My life will not be long."
"My panting soul can bear no more,"
The youth impatient cried;
" 'Tis EDWARD bids thy griefs be o'er,
My love! my destin'd bride!
"The life which Heav'n preserv'd, how blest,
How fondly priz'd by me!
Since dear to my AMELIA'S breast,
Since valued still by thee!
"My father saw my constant pain
When thee I left behind,
Nor longer will his power restrain
The ties my soul would bind.
"And soon thy honor'd sire shall cease
The captive's lot to bear;
And we, my love, will soothe to peace
His griefs, with filial care.
"Then come for ever to my soul!
AMELIA come, and prove
How calm our blissful years will roll
Along, a life of love!"
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!
Peruvian Tales: Alzira, Tale I
Description of Peru, and of its Productions--Virtues of the People;
and of their Monarch, ATALIBA --His love for ALZIRA --Their Nup-
tials celebrated--Character of ZORAI , her Father--Descent of the
Genius of Peru--Prediction of the Fall of that Empire.
Where the Pacific deep in silence laves
The western shore, with slow, and languid waves,
There, lost PERUVlA ! bloom'd thy cultur'd bowers,
Thy vallies fragrant with perennial flowers;
There, far above, the Pine unbending rose,
Along the pathway of thy mountain snows;
The Palms fling high in air their feather'd heads,
While each broad leaf an ample shadow spreads;
The Orange, and the rich Ananas bloom,
And humid Balsams ever shed perfume;
The Bark, reviving shrub! Ah, not in vain
Thy rosy blossoms tinge PERUVIA'S plain;
Ye fost'ring gales around those blossoms blow,
Ye balmy dew-drops o'er the tendrils flow!
Lo, as the health-diffusing plant aspires,
Disease relents, and hov'ring death retires;
Affection sees new lustre light the eye,
And feels her vanish'd peace again is nigh.
The Pacas,* and Vicunnas+ sport around,
And the meek Lamas+ , burden'd, press the ground.
The Mocking-bird his varying note essays,
And charms the grove with imitative lays;
The plaintive Humming-bird unfolds his wing
Of vivid plumage to the ray of spring;
Then sinks, soft burthen, on the humid flower,
His food, the dewdrops of the morning hour.
Nor less, PERUVIA , for thy favour'd clime,
The Virtues rose unsullied and sublime;
There melting Charity, with ardour warm,
Spreads her wide mantle o'er the shiv'ring form;
Cheer'd with the festal song her rural toils,
While in the lap of age she pour'd the spoils;*
There the mild Inca, ATALIBA sway'd,
His high behest the willing heart obey'd;
Descendant of a scepter'd, sacred race,
Whose origin from glowing suns they trace.
Love's soft emotions now his soul possest,
And fix'd ALZIRA'S image in his breast.
In that blest clime affection never knew
A selfish purpose, or a thought untrue;
Not as on Europe's shore, where wealth and pride,
From mourning love the venal breast divide;
Yet Love, if there from sordid shackles free,
One faithful bosom yet belongs to thee;
On that fond heart the purest bliss bestow,
Or give, for thou canst give, a charm to woe;
Ah, never may that heart in vain deplore
The pang that tortures when belov'd no more.
And from that agony the spirit save,
When unrelenting yawns th' untimely grave;
When death dissolves the ties for ever dear,
When frantic passion pours her parting tear;
With all the wasting pains she only feels,
Hangs on the quiv'ring lip that silence seals;
Views fondness struggling in the closing eye,
And marks it mingling in the falt'ring sigh;
As the lov'd form, while folded to her breast,
Breathes the last moan that gives its struggles rest;
Leaves her to pine in grief that none can share,
And find the world a desert to despair.
Bright was the lustre of the orient ray
That joyful wak'd ALZIRA'S nuptial day;
Her auburn hair spread loosely on the wind,
The virgin train with rosy chaplets bind;
While the fresh flowers that form her bridal wreathe
Seem deeper hues and richer scents to breathe.
The gentle tribe now sought the hallow'd fane,
Where warbling vestals pour'd the choral strain;
There aged ZORAI his ALZIRA prest,
With love parental, to his anxious breast;
Priest of the Sun! within the sacred shrine
His fervent spirit breath'd the strain divine;
With careful hand the guiltless off'ring spread,
With pious zeal the clear libation shed.
Nor vain the incense of erroneous praise
When meek devotion's soul the tribute pays;
On wings of purity behold it rise,
While bending mercy wafts it to the skies!
PERUVIA ! O delightful land in vain
The virtues flourish'd on thy beauteous plain;
For soon shall burst the unrelenting storm
O'er thy mild head, and crush thy prostrate form!
Recording Fame shall mark thy desp'rate fate,
And distant ages weep for ills so great!
Now o'er the deep dull Night her mantle flung,
Dim on the wave the moon's faint crescent hung;
PERUVIA'S Genius sought the liquid plain,
Sooth'd by the languid murmurs of the main;
When sudden clamour the illusion broke,
Wild on the surface of the deep it spoke;
A rising breeze expands her flowing veil,
Aghast with fear, she spies a flying sail--
The lofty mast impends, the banner waves,
The ruffled surge th' incumbent vessel laves;
With eager eye she views her destin'd foe
Lead to her peaceful shores th' advent'rous prow;
Trembling she knelt, with wild, disorder'd air,
And pour'd with frantic energy her prayer:
"O, ye avenging spirits of the deep!
Mount the blue lightning's wing, o'er ocean sweep;
Loud from your central caves the shell resound,
That summons death to your abyss profound;
Call the pale spectre from his dark abode,
To print the billow, swell the black'ning flood,
Rush o'er the waves, the rough'ning deep deform,
Howl in the blast, and animate the storm--
Relentless powers! for not one quiv'ring breeze
Has ruffled yet the surface of the seas--
Swift from your rocky steeps ye Condors* stray,
Wave your black plumes, and cleave th' aerial way;
Proud in terrific force your wings expand,
Press the firm earth, and darken all the strand;
Bid the stern foe retire with wild affright,
And shun the region veil'd in partial night.
Vain hope, devoted land! I read thy doom,
My sad prophetic soul can pierce the gloom;
I see, I see my lov'd, my favour'd clime
Consum'd, and wasted in its early prime.
But not in vain this beauteous land shall bleed,
Too late shall Europe's race deplore the deed.
Region abhorr'd! be gold the tempting bane,
The curse that desolates thy hostile plain;
May pleasure tinge with venom'd drops the bowl,
And luxury unnerve the sick'ning soul."
Ah, not in vain she pour'd th' impassion'd tear;
Ah, not in vain she call'd the powers to hear!
When borne from lost PERUVIA'S bleeding land,
The guilty treasures beam'd on Europe's strand;
Each sweet affection fled the tainted shore,
And virtue wander'd, to return no more.
As roam'd a pilgrim o'er the mountain drear,
On whose lone verge the foaming billows roar,
The wail of hopeless sorrow pierc'd his ear,
And swell'd at distance on the sounding shore.
The mourner breath'd her deep complaint to night,
Her moan she mingled with the rapid blast,
That bar'd her bosom in its wasting flight,
And o'er the earth her scatter'd tresses cast,
"Ye winds," she cried, "still heave the lab'ring deep,
The mountain shake, the howling forest rend;
Still dash the shiv'ring fragments from the steep,
Nor for a wretch like me the storm suspend.
"Ah, wherefore wish the rising storm to spare?
Ah, why implore the raging winds to save?
What refuge can the breast, where lives despair,
Desire but death?--what shelter but the grave?
"To me congenial is the gloom of night,
The savage howlings that infest the air;
I unappall'd can view the fatal light
That issues from the pointed lightning's glare.
"And yet erewhile, if night her shadows threw
O'er the known woodlands of my native vale,
Fancy in visions wild the landscape drew,
And swell'd with boding sounds the whisp'ring gale.
"But deep despair has arm'd my timid soul,
And agony has numb'd the throb of fear;
Taught a weak heart its terrors to controul,
And more to court than shun the danger near.
"Yet could I welcome the return of light,
Its glimm'ring beam might guide my searching eye;
The sacred spot might then emerge from night
On which a lover's bleeding relics lie.
"For sure 'twas here, as late a shepherd stray'd,
Bewilder'd, o'er the mountain's dreary bound,
Close to the pointed cliff he saw him laid,
Where heav'd the waters of the deep around.
"Alas, no longer could his heart endure
The woes that heart was doom'd for me to prove;
He sought for death--for death the only cure
That fate has not refus'd to hopeless love!
"My sire, unjust while passion swell'd his breast,
From the lov'd ALFRED his EUPHELIA tore;
Mock'd the keen sorrows that my soul opprest,
And bade me--vainly bade me, love no more.
"He told me love was like yon troubled deep,
Whose restless billows never know repose,
Are wildly dash'd upon the rocky steep,
And tremble to the slightest breeze that blows!
"From those rude scenes remote her gentle balm,
Dear to the suff'ring spirit, peace applies;
Peace! 'tis th' oblivious lake's detested calm,
Whose dull, slow waters never fall or rise.
"Ah, what avails a parent's stern command,
The force of conqu'ring passion to subdue?
Ah, wherefore seek to rend with cruel hand
The ties enchanted love so fondly drew?
"Yet I could see my ALFRED'S fix'd despair,
And, aw'd by filial fear, conceal my woes!
My coward heart could separation bear,
And check the struggling anguish as it rose!
"'Twas guilt the barb'rous mandate to obey,
Which bade no parting sigh my bosom move!
Victim of duty's unrelenting sway,
I seem'd a traitor, while a slave to love!
"Let her who seal'd a lover's fate, endure
The sharpest pressure of deserv'd distress;
'Twere added perfidy to seek a cure,
And, stain'd with falsehood, wish to suffer less.
"For wretches doom'd in other griefs to pine,
Oft will benignant hope her ray impart;
And pity oft from her celestial shrine
Drop a warm tear upon the fainting heart:
"But o'er the lasting gloom of love's despair,
Can hope's bright ray its cheering visions shed?
Can pity sooth the woes that breast must bear
Which vainly loves, and vainly mourns the dead?
"No! ling'ring still, and still prolong'd, the moan
Shall never pause 'till heaves my latest breath;
Till memory's distracting pang is flown,
And all my sorrows shall be hush'd in death.
And death is pitying come, whose hand shall tear
From this afflicted heart the sense of pain;
My fainting limbs refuse their load to bear,
And life no longer will my form sustain.
"Yet once did health's enliv'ning glow adorn,
And pleasure shed for me her loveliest ray,
Pure as the gentle star that gilds the morn,
And constant as the equal light of day.
"Now, those lost pleasures trac'd by mem'ry, seem
Like yon illusive meteor's glancing light,
That o'er the darkness threw its instant gleam,
Then sunk, and vanish'd in the depth of night.
"My native vale, and thou, delightful bower!
Scenes to my hopeless love for ever dear!
Sweet vale, for whom the morning wak'd her flower,
Fresh bower, for whom the evening pour'd her tear:
"I ask no more to see your beauties rise;
Ye rocks and mountains, on whose rugged breast
My ALFRED , murder'd by EUPHELIA , lies,
In your deep solitudes, I come to rest!
"And sure the dawning ray that lights the steep,
And slowly wanders o'er the purple wave,
Will shew me where his sacred relics sleep,
Will lead his mourner to her destin'd grave!"--
O'er the high precipice unmov'd she bent,
A fearful path the beams of morning shew;
The pilgrim reach'd with toil the rude ascent,
And saw her brooding o'er the deep below.
"EUPHELIA , stay!" he cried, "thy ALFRED calls--
O, stay--in desperation yet more dear!--
I come!"--in vain the tender accent falls,
Alas, it reach'd not her distracted ear.
"Ah what avails," she said, "that morning rose,
With fruitless pain I seek his mould'ring clay;
Vain search! to fill the measure of my woes,
The foaming surge has wash'd his corse away.
"This cruel agony why longer bear?
Death, death alone, can all my pangs remove--
Kind death will banish from my heart despair,
And when I live again--I live to love."
She said, and plung'd into the awful deep!
He saw her meet the fury of the wave,
He frantic saw! and, darting to the steep,
With desp'rate anguish, sought her wat'ry grave.
He clasp'd her dying form, he shar'd her sighs,
He check'd the billow rushing on her breast;
She felt his dear embrace!--her closing eyes
Were fix'd on ALFRED, and her death was blest!
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.
An Address To Poetry
While envious crowds the summit view,
Where Danger with Ambition strays;
Or far, with anxious step, pursue
Pale Av'rice, thro' his winding ways;
The selfish passions in their train,
Whose force the social ties unbind,
And chill the love of human kind,
And make fond Nature's best emotions vain;
O, poesy! O nymph most dear,
To whom I early gave my heart,--
Whose voice is sweetest to my ear
Of aught in nature or in art;
Thou, who canst all my breast controul,
Come, and thy harp of various cadence bring,
And long with melting music swell the string
That suits the present temper of my soul.
O! ever gild my path of woe,
And I the ills of life can bear;
Let but thy lovely visions glow,
And chase the forms of real care;
O still, when tempted to repine
At partial Fortune's frown severe,
Wipe from my eyes the anxious tear,
And whisper that thy soothing joys are mine!
When did my fancy ever frame
A dream of joy by thee unblest?
When first my lips pronounc'd thy name,
New pleasure warm'd my infant breast.
I lov'd to form the jingling rhyme,
The measur'd sounds, tho' rude, my ear could please,
Could give the little pains of childhood ease,
And long have sooth'd the keener pains of time.
The idle crowd in fashion's train,
Their trifling comment, pert reply,
Who talk so much, yet talk in vain,
How pleas'd for thee, O nymph, I fly!
For thine is all the wealth of mind,
Thine the unborrow'd gems of thought;
The flash of light by souls refin'd,
From heav'n's empyreal source exulting caught.
And ah! when destin'd to forego
The social hour with those I love,--
That charm which brightens all below,
That joy all other joys above,
And dearer to this breast of mine,
O Muse! than aught thy magic power can give,--
Then on the gloom of lonely sadness shine,
And bid thy airy forms around me live.
Thy page, O SHAKESPEARE ! let me view,
Thine! at whose name my bosom glows;
Proud that my earliest breath I drew
In that blest isle where SHAKESPEARE rose!
Where shall my dazzled glances roll?
Shall I pursue gay Ariel's flight?
Or wander where those hags of night
With deeds unnam'd shall freeze my trembling soul?
Plunge me, foul sisters! in the gloom
Ye wrap around yon blasted heath:
To hear the harrowing rite I come,
That calls the angry shades from death!
Away--my frighted bosom spare!
Let true Cordelia pour her filial sigh,
Let Desdemona lift her pleading eye,
And poor Ophelia sing in wild despair!
When the bright noon of summer streams
In one wide flash of lavish day,
As soon shall mortal count the beams,
As tell the powers of SHAKESPEARE'S lay!
O, Nature's Poet! the untaught,
The simple mind thy tale pursues,
And wonders by what art it views
The perfect image of each native thought.
In those still moments, when the breast,
Expanded, leaves its cares behind,
Glows by some higher thought possest,
And feels the energies of mind;
Then, awful MILTON , raise the veil
That hides from human eye the heav'nly throng!
Immortal sons of light! I hear your song,
I hear your high-tun'd harps creation hail!
Well might creation claim your care,
And well the string of rapture move,
When all was perfect, good, and fair,
When all was music, joy, and love!
Ere Evil's inauspicious birth
Chang'd Nature's harmony to strife;
And wild Remorse, abhorring life,
And deep Affliction, spread their shade on earth.
Blest Poesy! O, sent to calm
The human pains which all must feel,
Still shed on life thy precious balm,
And every wound of nature heal!
Is there a heart of human frame
Along the burning track of torrid light,
Or 'mid the fearful waste of polar night,
That never glow'd at thy inspiring name?
Ye Southern Isles,* emerg'd so late
Where the Pacific billow rolls,
Witness, though rude your simple state,
How heav'n-taught verse can melt your souls!
Say, when you hear the wand'ring bard,
How thrill'd ye listen to his lay,
By what kind arts ye court his stay,--
All savage life affords his sure reward.
So, when great HOMER 'S chiefs prepare,
Awhile from War's rude toils releas'd,
The pious hecatomb, and share
The flowing bowl, and genial feast:
Some heav'nly minstrel sweeps the lyre,
While all applaud the poet's native art;
For him they heap the viand's choicest part,
And copious goblets crown the Muse's fire.
Ev'n here , in scenes of pride and gain,
Where faint each genuine feeling glows;
Here , Nature asks, in want and pain,
The dear illusions verse bestows;
The poor, from hunger, and from cold,
Spare one small coin, the ballad's price,
Admire their poet's quaint device,
And marvel much at all his rhymes unfold.
Ye children, lost in forests drear,
Still o'er your wrongs each bosom grieves,
And long the red-breast shall be dear,
Who strew'd each little corpse with leaves;
For you my earliest tears were shed,
For you the gaudy doll I pleas'd forsook,
And heard, with hands uprais'd, and eager look,
The cruel tale, and wish'd ye were not dead!
And still on Scotia's northern shore,
"At times, between the rushing blast,"
Recording mem'ry loves to pour
The mournful song of ages past;
Come, lonely Bard "of other years!"
While dim the half-seen moon of varying skies,
While sad the wind along the grey moss sighs,
And give my pensive heart "the joy of tears!"
The various tropes that splendour dart
Around the modern poet's line,
Where, borrow'd from the sphere of art,
Unnumber'd gay allusions shine,
Have not a charm my breast to please
Like the blue mist, the meteor's beam,
The dark-brow'd rock, the mountain stream,
And the light thistle waving in the breeze.
Wild Poesy, in haunts sublime,
Delights her lofty note to pour;
She loves the hanging rock to climb,
And hear the sweeping torrent roar!
The little scene of cultur'd grace
But faintly her expanded bosom warms;
She seeks the daring stroke, the awful charms,
Which Nature's pencil throws on Nature's face.
O, Nature! thou whose works divine
Such rapture in this breast inspire,
As makes me dream one spark is mine
Of Poesy's celestial fire;
When doom'd, "in cities pent," to leave
The kindling morn's unfolding view,
Which ever wears some aspect new,
And all the shadowy forms of soothing eve;
Then, THOMSON , then be ever near,
And paint whatever season reigns;
Still let me see the varying year,
And worship Nature in thy strains;
Now, when the wint'ry tempests roll,
Unfold their dark and desolating form,
Rush in the savage madness of the storm,
And spread those horrors that exalt my soul!
And, POPE the music of thy verse
Shall winter's dreary gloom dispel,
And fond remembrance oft rehearse
The moral song she knows so well;
The sportive sylphs shall flutter here,--
There Eloise, in anguish pale,
"Kiss with cold lips the sacred veil,
"And drop with every bead too soft a tear!"
When disappointment's sick'ning pain
With chilling sadness numbs my breast,
That feels its dearest hope was vain,
And bids its fruitless struggles rest;
When those for whom I wish to live,
With cold suspicion wrong my aching heart;
Or, doom'd from those for ever lov'd to part,
And feel a sharper pang than death can give;
Then with the mournful Bard I go,
Whom "melancholy mark'd her own,"
While tolls the curfew, solemn, slow,
And wander amid graves unknown;
With yon pale orb, lov'd poet, come!
While from those elms long shadows spread,
And where the lines of light are shed,
Read the fond record of the rustic tomb!
Or let me o'er old Conway's flood
Hang on the frowning rock, and trace
The characters that, wove in blood,
Stamp'd the dire fate of EDWARD'S race;
Proud tyrant! tear thy laurell'd plume;
How poor thy vain pretence to deathless fame!
The injur'd Muse records thy lasting shame,
And she has power to "ratify thy doom."
Nature, when first she smiling came,
To wake within the human breast
The sacred Muse's hallow'd flame,
And earth, with heav'n's rich spirit blest!
Nature in that auspicious hour,
With awful mandate, bade the Bard
The register of glory guard,
And gave him o'er all mortal honours power.
Can Fame on Painting's aid rely?
Or lean on Sculpture's trophy'd bust?--
The faithless colours bloom to die,
The crumbling pillar mocks its trust;
But thou, O Muse, immortal maid!
Canst paint the godlike deeds that praise inspire,
Or worth, that lives but in the mind's desire,
In tints that only shall with Nature fade!
O tell me, partial nymph! what rite,
What incense sweet, what homage true,
Draws from thy fount of purest light
The flame it lends a chosen few?
Alas! these lips can never frame
The mystic vow that moves thy breast;
Yet by thy joys my life is blest,
And my fond soul shall consecrate thy name.
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.
Edwin And Eltrada, A Legendary Tale
Where the pure Derwent's waters glide
Along their mossy bed,
Close by the river's verdant side,
A castle rear'd its head.
The antient pile by time is raz'd,
Where gothic trophies frown'd,
Where once the gilded armour blaz'd,
And banners wav'd around.
There liv'd a chief well known to fame,
A bold adven'trous knight,
Renown'd for victory, his name
In glory's annals bright.
Yet milder virtues he possest,
And gentler passions felt,
For in his calm and yielding breast
The soft affections dwelt.
No rugged toils the heart could steel,
By nature form'd to prove
Whate'er the tender mind can feel
In friendship or in love.
He lost the partner of his breast,
Who sooth'd each rising care,
And ever charm'd the pains to rest
She ever lov'd to share.
From solitude he hop'd relief
And this lone mansion sought,
To cherish there his faithful grief,
To nurse the tender thought.
There, to his bosom fondly dear,
A blooming daughter smil'd,
And oft' the mourner's falling tear
Bedew'd his EMMA'S child.
As drest in charms the lonely flower
Smiles in the distant vale,
With beauty gilds the morning hour,
And scents the evening gale;
So liv'd in solitude, unseen,
This lovely, peerless maid;
So grac'd the wild sequester'd scene,
And blossom'd in the shade.
Yet love could pierce the lone recess,
For there he likes to dwell,
To leave the noisy crowd, and bless
With happiness the cell.
To wing his sure resistless dart
Where all its power is known,
And rule the undivided heart
Despotic and alone.
Young EDWIN charm'd her gentle breast,
Though scanty all his store,
No hoarded treasure he possest,
Yet he could boast of more:
For he could boast the lib'ral heart,
And honour, sense, and truth,
Unwarp'd by vanity or art,
Adorn'd the gen'rous youth.
The maxims of a servile age,
The mean, the selfish care,
The sordid views that now engage
The mercenary fair,
Whom riches can unite or part,
To them were all unknown,
For then each sympathetic breast
Was join'd by love alone.
They little knew that wealth had power
To make the constant rove;
They little knew the weighty dower
Could add one bliss to love.
ELTRADA o'er the distant mead
Would haste at closing day,
And to the bleating mother lead
The lamb that chanc'd to stray.
For the bruis'd insect on the waste
A sigh would heave her breast;
And oft her careful hand replac'd
The linnet's fallen nest.
To her sensations calm as these
Could sweet delight impart,
Those simple pleasures most can please
The uncorrupted heart.
And oft with eager step she flies
To cheer the roofless cot,
Where the lone widow breathes her sighs,
And wails her desp'rate lot.
Their weeping mother's trembling knees
Her lisping infants clasp,
Their meek imploring look she sees,
She feels their tender grasp.
On her pale cheek, where hung the tear
Of agonizing woe,
ELTRADA bids a smile appear,
A tear of rapture flow.
Thus on soft wing the moments flew,
(Tho' love would court their stay,)
While some new virtue rose to view,
And mark'd each fleeting day.
The youthful poet's soothing dream
Of golden ages past,
The muse's fond ideal theme
Seem'd realiz'd at last.
But here, how weak to hope that bliss
Unchanging will endure;
Ah, in a world so vain as this,
What heart can rest secure!
For now arose the fatal day
For civil discord fam'd,
When YORK from LANCASTER'S proud sway
The regal sceptre claim'd.
Each moment now the horrors brought
Of desolating rage,
The fam'd achievements now were wrought
That swell th' historic page.
The good old ALBERT pants again
To dare the hostile field,
The cause of HENRY to maintain,
For him the lance to wield.
But O, a thousand gen'rous ties
That bind the hero's soul,
A thousand sacred claims arise,
And EDWIN'S breast controul.
Though passion pleads in HENRY'S cause,
And EDWIN'S heart would sway,
Yet honour's stern, imperious laws,
The brave will still obey.
Oppress'd with many an anxious care,
Full oft ELTRADA sigh'd,
Complaining that relentless war
Should those she lov'd divide.
At length the parting morn arose,
For her in sadness drest,
While boding thoughts of future woes
With terror heav'd her breast.
A thousand pangs her father feels,
A thousand tender fears,
While clinging at his feet she kneels,
And bathes them with her tears.
One pitying tear bedew'd his cheek--
From his lov'd child he flew,
O'erwhelmed, the father could not speak,
He could not say--"adieu!"--
Arm'd for the field her lover came,
He saw her pallid look,
And trembling seize her drooping frame,
While, falt'ring, thus he spoke:
"This cruel tenderness but wounds
The heart it means to bless,
Those falling tears, those mournful sounds
Increase the vain distress!"--
"If fate," she answer'd, "has decreed
That on the hostile plain
My EDWIN'S faithful heart must bleed,
And swell the heep of slain:
"Trust me, I never will complain,
I'll shed no fruitless tear,
Not one weak drop my cheek shall stain,
Or tell what passes here!
"O, let thy fate of others claim
A tear, a mournful sigh;
I'll only murmur thy dear name,
I'll call on thee--and die!"--
But ah, how vain for words to tell
The pang their bosoms prov'd,
They only will conceive it well,
They only, who have lov'd.
The timid muse forbears to say
What laurels EDWIN gain'd;
How ALBERT , long renown'd, that day
His ancient fame maintain'd.
The bard, who feels congenial fire,
May sing of martial strife,
And with heroic sounds inspire
The gen'rous scorn of life.
But ill the theme would suit her reed,
Who, wand'ring through the grove,
Forgets the conqu'ring hero's meed,
And gives a tear to love!
Though long the closing day was fled,
The fight they still maintain,
While night a deeper horror shed
Along the darken'd plain.
To ALBERT'S breast an arrow flew,
He felt a mortal wound--
The drops that warm'd his heart bedew
The cold and flinty ground.
The foe who aim'd the fatal dart
Now heard his dying sighs;
Compassion touch'd his yielding heart,
To ALBERT'S aid he flies.
While round the chief his arms he cast,
While oft he deeply sigh'd,
And seem'd as if he mourn'd the past,
Old ALBERT faintly cried:
"Though nature heaves these parting groans,
Without complaint I die;
Yet one dear care my heart still owns,
Still feels one tender tie.
"For YORK , a warrior known to fame,
Uplifts the hostile spear,
EDWIN the blooming hero's name,
To ALBERT'S bosom dear.
"O tell him my expiring sigh,
Say my last words implor'd
To my despairing child to fly,
To her he once ador'd!"
He spoke! but O, what mournful strain,
Whose force the soul can melt,
What moving numbers shall explain
The pang that EDWIN felt?
The pang that EDWIN now reveal'd--
For he the warrior prest
(Whom the dark shades of night conceal'd)
Close to his throbbing breast.
"Fly, fly," he cried, "my touch profane--
O, how the rest impart!
Rever'd old man! could EDWIN stain
With ALBERT'S blood the dart?"
His languid eyes lie weakly rais'd,
Which seem'd for ever clos'd,
On the pale youth with pity gaz'd,
And then in death repos'd.
"I'll go," the hapless EDWIN said,
"And breathe a last adieu!
And with the drops despair will shed,
My mournful love bedew.
"I'll go to her for ever dear,
To catch her trembling sigh,
To wipe from her pale cheek the tear,
And at her feet to die!"
And as to her for ever dear
The frantic mourner flew,
To wipe from her pale cheek the tear,
And breathe a last adieu;
Appall'd his troubled fancy sees
That tear of anguish flow,
And hears in every passing breeze
The plaintive sound of woe.
Meanwhile the anxious maid, whose tears
In vain would heav'n implore,
Of ALBERT'S fate despairing hears,
But yet had heard no more.
"What woes," she cried, "this breast must prove,
Its dearest ties are broke;--
O, say what ruthless arm, my love,
Could aim the fatal stroke?
"Could not thy hand, my EDWIN , thine
Have warded off the blow?
For O, he was not only mine,
He was thy father too!--
"Why does thy bosom throb with pain?--
O speak, my EDWIN , speak!
Or sure, unable to sustain
This grief, my heart will break."
"Yes, it will break,"--he falt'ring cried,
"For we will life resign--
Then trembling know, thy father died--
And know, the guilt was mine!
"It is enough!" with short quick breath,
Exclaim'd the fainting maid;
She spoke no more, but seem'd from death
To look for instant aid.
In plaintive accents EDWIN cries,
"And have I murder'd thee?
To other worlds thy spirit flies,
And mine this stroke shall free!"--
His hand the lifted weapon grasp'd,
The steel he firmly prest,
When wildly she arose, and clasp'd
Her lover to her breast.
"Methought," she cried, with panting breath,
"My EDWIN talk'd of peace;
I knew 'twas only found in death,
And fear'd that sad release.
"I clasp him still! 'twas but a dream--
Help yon wide wound to close,
From which a father's spirits stream,
A father's life-blood flows.
"But see!--from thee he shrinks, nor would
Be blasted by thy touch!--
Ah, though my EDWIN spilt thy blood,
Yet once he lov'd thee much.
"My father, yet in pity stay!--
I see his white beard wave--
A spirit beckons him away,
And points to yonder grave.
"Alas, my love, I trembling hear
A father's last adieu;
I see, I see the falling tear
His wrinkled cheek bedew.
"He's gone, and here his ashes sleep--
I do not heave a sigh,
His child a father does not weep--
For ah, my brain is dry!
"But come, together let us rove,
At the pale hour of night,
When the moon wand'ring through the grove,
Shall pour her faintest light.
"We'll gather from the rosy bower
The fairest wreaths that bloom,
We'll cull, my love, each op'ning flower
To deck his hallow'd tomb;
"We'll thither from the distant dale
A weeping willow bear;
And plant a lily of the vale,
A drooping lily, there.
"We'll shun the face of glaring day,
Eternal silence keep;
Through the dark wood together stray,
And only live to weep.
"But hark, 'tis come--the fatal time,
When, EDWIN , we must part:
Some angel tells me 'tis a crime
To hold thee to my heart.
"Yet, EDWIN , if th' offence be thine,
Too soon I can forgive;
But O, the guilt would all be mine,
Could I endure to live.
"Farewell, my love, for O, I faint,
Of pale despair I die;
And see! that hoary, murder'd saint
Descends from yon blue sky.
"Poor weak old man! he comes, my love,
To lead to heav'n the way;
He knows not heav'n will joyless prove,
If EDWIN here must stay!"
"O, who can bear this pang?" he cried,
Then to his bosom prest
The dying maid, who piteous sigh'd,
And sunk to endless rest.
He saw her eyes for ever close,
He heard her latest sigh,
And yet no tear of anguish flows
From his distracted eye.
He feels within his shiv'ring veins
A mortal chillness rise!
Her pallid corse he feebly strains,
And on her bosom dies.
No longer may their hapless lot
The mournful muse engage,
She wipes away the tears that blot
The melancholy page.
For heav'n in love dissolves the ties
That chain the spirit here,
And distant, and for ever flies
The blessing held most dear;
To bid the suff'ring soul aspire
A higher bliss to prove,
To wake the pure, refin'd desire,
The hope that rests above!
Peruvian Tales: Aciloe, Tale V
Character of ZAMOR , a bard--His passion for ACILOE , daughter of the Cazique who rules the valley--The Peruvian tribe prepare to defend themselves--A battle--The PERUVIANS are vanquished--ACILOE'S father is made a prisoner, and ZAMOR is supposed to have fallen in the engagement--ALPHONSO becomes enamoured of ACILOE --Offers to marry her--She rejects him--In revenge he puts her father to the torture--She appears to consent, in order to save him--Meets ZAMOR in a wood--LAS CASAS joins them--Leads the two lovers to ALPHONSO , and obtains their freedom--ZAMOR conducts ACILOE and her father to Chili--A reflection on the influence of Poetry over the human mind.
In this sweet scene, to all the virtues kind,
Mild ZAMOR own'd the richest gifts of mind;
For o'er his tuneful breast the heav'nly muse
Shed from her sacred spring inspiring dews;
She loves to breathe her hallow'd strain where art
Has never veil'd the soul, or warp'd the heart;
Where fancy glows with all her native fire,
And passion lives on the exulting lyre.
Nature, in terror rob'd or beauty dreast,
Could thrill with dear enchantment ZAMOR'S breast;
He lov'd the languid sigh the zephyr pours,
He lov'd the placid rill that feeds the flowers--
But more the hollow sound the wild winds form,
When black upon the billow hangs the storm;
The torrent rolling from the mountain steep,
Its white foam trembling on the darken'd deep--
And oft on Andes' heights with earnest gaze
He view'd the sinking sun's reflected rays
Glow like unnumber'd stars, that seem to rest
Sublime upon his ice-encircled breast.
Oft his wild warblings charm'd the festal hour,
Rose in the vale, and languish'd in the bower;
The heart's reponsive tones he well could move,
Whose song was nature, and whose theme was love.
ACILOE'S beauties his fond soul confest,
Yet more ACILOE'S virtues warm'd his breast.
Ah stay, ye tender hours of young delight,
Suspend, ye moments, your impatient flight;
Prolong the charm when passion's pure controul
Unfolds the first affections of the soul!
This gentle tribe ACILOE'S sire obey'd,
Who still in wisdom and in mercy sway'd.
From him the dear illusions long had fled
That o'er the morn of life enchantment shed;
But virtue's calm remembrance cheer'd his breast,
And life was joy serene, and death was rest:
Bright is the blushing Summer's glowing ray,
Yet not unlovely Autumn's temper'd day.
Now stern IBERIA'S ruthless sons advance,
Roll the fierce eye, and shake the pointed lance.
PERUVIA'S tribe behold the hostile throng
With desolating fury pour along;
The hoary chief to the dire conflict leads
His death-devoted train--the battle bleeds.
ACILOE'S searching eye can now no more
The form of ZAMOR or her sire explore;
While destin'd all the bitterness to prove
Of anxious duty and of mourning love,
Each name that's dearest wakes her bursting sigh,
Throbs at her soul, and trembles in her eye.
Now pierc'd by wounds, and breathless from the fight,
Her friend, the valiant OMAR , struck her sight:--
"OMAR ," she cried, "you bleed, unhappy youth!
And sure that look unfolds some fatal truth;
Speak, pitying speak, my frantic fears forgive,
Say, does my father, does my ZAMOR live?"--
"All, all is lost!" the dying OMAR said,
"And endless griefs are thine, dear, wretched maid;
I saw thy aged sire a captive bound,
I saw thy ZAMOR press the crimson ground!"--
He could no more, he yields his fleeting breath,
While all in vain she seeks repose in death.
But O, how far each other pang above
Throbs the wild agony of hopeless love!
That woe, for which in vain would comfort shed
Her healing balm, or time in pity spread
The veil that throws a shade o'er other care,
For here, and here alone, profound despair
Casts o'er the suff'ring soul a lasting gloom,
And slowly leads her victim to the tomb.
Now rude tumultuous sounds assail her ear,
And soon ALPHONSO'S victor train appear;
Then, as with ling'ring step he mov'd along,
She saw her father 'mid the captive throng;
She saw with dire dismay, she wildly flew,
Her snowy arms around his form she threw;--
"He bleeds!" she cries; "I hear his moan of pain!
My father will not bear the galling chain!
Cruel ALPHONSO , let not helpless age
Feel thy hard yoke, and meet thy barb'rous rage;
Or, O, if ever mercy mov'd thy soul,
If ever thou hast felt her blest controul,
Grant my sad heart's desire, and let me share
The fetters which a father ill can bear."
While the young warrior, as she falt'ring spoke,
With fix'd attention and with ardent look
Hung on her tender glance, that love inspires,
The rage of conquest yields to milder fires.
Yet as he gaz'd enraptur'd on her form,
Her virtues awe the heart her beauties warm;
And while impassion'd tones his love reveal,
He asks with holy rites his vows to seal.
"Hops't thou," she cried, "those sacred ties shall join
This bleeding heart, this trembling hand to thine?
To thine, whose ruthless heart has caus'd my pains,
Whose barb'rous hand the blood of ZAMOR stains!
Canst thou, the murd'rer of my peace, controul
The grief that swells, the pang that rends my soul?--
That pang shall death, shall death alone remove,
And cure the anguish of despairing love."
At length, to madness stung by fixed disdain,
ALPHONSO now to fury gives the rein;
And with relentless mandate dooms her sire,
Stretch'd on the bed of torture to expire;
But O, what form of language can impart
The frantic grief that wrung ACILOE'S heart!
When to the height of hopeless sorrow wrought,
The fainting spirit feels a pang of thought,
Which, never painted in the hues of speech,
Lives at the soul, and mocks expression's reach!
At length she falt'ring cried, "the conflict's o'er,
My heart, my breaking heart can bear no more!
Yet spare his feeble age--my vows receive,
And O, in mercy bid my father live!"
"Wilt thou be mine?" th' enamour'd chief replies--
"Yes, cruel!--see, he dies! my father dies!--
Save, save my father!"--"Dear, unhappy maid,"
The charm'd ALPHONSO cried, "be swift obey'd--
Unbind his chains--Ah, calm each anxious pain,
ACILOE'S voice no more shall plead in vain;
Plac'd near his child, thy aged sire shall share
Our joys, still cherished by thy tender care."--
"No more," she cried, "will fate that bliss allow;
Before my lips shall breathe the impartial vow,
Some faithful guide shall lead his aged feet
To distant scenes that yield a safe retreat;
Where some soft heart, some gentle hand will shed
The drops of comfort on his hoary head.
My ZAMOR , if thy spirit hovers near,
Forgive!"--she ceas'd, and shed no more a tear.
Now night descends, and steeps each weary breast,
Save sad ACILOE'S , in the balm of rest.
Her aged father's beauteous dwelling stood
Near the cool shelter of a waving wood;
But now the gales that bend its foliage die,
Soft on the silver turf its shadows lie;
While slowly wand'ring o'er the vale below,
The gazing moon look'd pale as silent woe.
The sacred shade, amid whose fragrant bowers
ZAMOR oft sooth'd with song the evening hours,
Pour'd to the lunar orb his magic lay,
More mild, more pensive than her musing ray,
That shade with trembling step the mourner sought,
And thus she breath'd her tender, plaintive thought:--
"Ah where, dear object of these piercing pains,
Where rests thy murder'd form, thy Lov'd remains?
On what sad spot, my ZAMOR , flow'd the wound
That purpled with thy streaming blood the ground?
O, had ACILOE in that hour been nigh,
Hadst thou but fix'd on me thy closing eye,--
Told with faint voice, 'twas death's worst pang to part,
And dropp'd thy last cold tear upon my heart!
A pang less bitter then would waste this breast,
That in the grave alone shall seek its rest.
Soon as some friendly hand in mercy leads
My aged father safe to Chili's meads,
Death shall for ever seal the nuptial tie,
The heart belov'd by thee is fix'd to die."--
She ceas'd, when dimly thro' her flowing tears
She sees her ZAMOR'S form, his voice she hears.
" 'Tis he!" she cries, "he moves upon the gale!
My ZAMOR'S sigh is deep---his look is pale--
I faint--" his arms receive her sinking frame,--
He calls his love by every tender name;
He stays her fleeting spirit--life anew
Warms her cold cheek--his tears her cheek bedew.
"Thy ZAMOR lives," he cried: "as on the ground
I senseless lay, some child of pity bound
My bleeding wounds, and bore me from the plain,--
But thou art lost, and I have liv'd in vain!"
"Forgive," she cried, in accents of despair,
ZAMOR , forgive thy wrongs, and O forbear,
The mild reproach that fills thy mournful eye,
The tear that wets thy cheek--I mean to die.
Could I behold my aged sire endure
The pains his wretched child had power to cure?
Still, still my father, stretch'd in death, I see,
His grey locks trembling while he gaz'd on me;
My ZAMOR , soft, breathe not so loud a sigh,
Some list'ning foe may pityless deny
This parting hour--hark, sure some step I hear,
ZAMOR again is lost--for now 'tis near."--
She paus'd, when sudden from the shelt'ring wood
A venerable form before them stood:
"Fear not, soft maid," he cried, "nor think I come
To seal with deeper miseries thy doom;
To bruise the broken heart that sorrow rends,
Ah, not for this LAS CASAS hither bends--
He comes to bid those rising sorrows cease,
To pour upon thy wounds the balm of peace.
I rov'd with dire ALMAGRO'S ruthless train,
Through scenes of death, to Chili's verdant plain;
Their wish to bathe that verdant plain in gore,
Then from its bosom drag the golden ore:
But mine to check the stream of human blood,
Or mingle drops of pity with the flood;
When from those fair, unconquered vales they fled
This languid frame was stretch'd upon the bed
Of pale disease; when, helpless and alone,
The Chilese 'spied their friend, the murd'rers gone,
With eager fondness round my couch they drew,
And my cold hand with gushing tears bedew;
By day they soothe my pains with sweet delight,
And give to watchings the dull hours of night;
For me their gen'rous bosoms joy to prove
The cares of pity, and the toils of love--
At length for me the pathless wild they trac'd,
And softly bore me o'er its dreary waste;
Then parting, at my feet they bend, and clasp
These aged knees--my soul yet feels their grasp!
Now o'er the vale with painful step I stray'd,
And reach this shelt'ring grove; here, hapless maid,
My list'ning ear has caught thy piercing wail,
My heart has trembled to thy moving tale."--
"And art thou he?" the mournful pair exclaim,
'"How dear to mis'ry's soul LAS CASAS ' name!
Spirit benign, who every grief can share,
Whose pity stoops to make the wretch its care,
Weep not for us--in vain thy tears shall flow
For cureless evils, and for hopeless woe!"--
"Come," he replied, "mild suff'rers, to the fane
Where rests ALPHONSO with his martial train;
My voice shall urge his soul to gen'rous deeds,
And bid him hear when truth and nature pleads."
While in meek tones LAS CASAS thus exprest
His pious purpose, o'er ACILOE'S breast
A dawning ray of cheering comfort streams,
But faint the hope that on her spirit beams;
Faint as when ebbing life must soon depart,
The pulse that trembles while it warms the heart.
Before ALPHONSO now the lovers stand,
The aged suff'rer joined the mournful band;
While, with the look that guardian seraphs wear,
When sent to calm the throbs of mortal care,
The story of their woes LAS CASAS told,
Then cried, "the wretched ZAMOR here behold--
Hop'st thou, fond man, a passion to controul
Fix'd in the breast, and woven in the soul?
Ah, know, mistaken youth, thy power in vain
Would bind thy victim in the nuptial chain;
That faithful heart will rend the galling tie,
That heart will break, that tender frame will die!
Then, by each sacred name to nature dear,
By faithful passion's agonizing tear,
By all the wasting pangs that tear her breast,
By the deep groan that gives the suff'rer rest,
Let mercy's pleading voice thy bosom move,
And fear to burst the bonds of plighted love!"
He paus'd--now ZAMOR'S moan ALPHONSO hears;
Now sees the cheek of age bedew'd with tears.
Pallid and motionless ACILOE stands,
Fix'd was her lifted eye, and clasp'd her hands;
Her heart was chill'd--her fainting heart--for there
Hope slowly sinks in cold and dark despair.
ALPHONSO'S soul was mov'd--"No more," he cried,
"My hapless flame shall hearts like yours divide.
Live, tender spirit, soft ACILOE live,
And all the wrongs of madd'ning rage forgive!
Go from this desolated region far,
These plains, where av'rice spreads the waste of war;
Go where pure pleasures gild the peaceful scene,
Go where mild virtue sheds her ray serene!"
In vain th' enraptur'd lovers would impart
The rising joy that swells, that pains the heart;
LAS CASAS ' feet in tears ACILOE steeps,
Looks on her sire and smiles, then turns and weeps;
Then smiles again, while her flush'd cheek reveals
The mingled tumult of delight she feels;--
So fall the crystal showers of fragrant Spring,
And o'er the pure, clear sky, soft-shadows fling;
Then paint the drooping clouds from which they flow
With the warm colours of the lucid bow.
Now o'er the barren desert ZAMOR leads
ACILOE and her sire to Chili's meads;
There many a wand'ring wretch, condemn'd to roam
By hard oppression, found a shelt'ring home:
ZAMOR to pity tun'd the vocal shell,
Bright'ning the tear of anguish as it fell.
Did e'er the human bosom throb with pain
The heav'nly muse has sought to soothe in vain?
She, who can still with harmony its sighs,
And wake the sound at which affection dies!