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.
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.
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!