PERUVIAN TALES.[Page ][Page ]
Description of Peru, and of its Productions — Virtues of the People; and of their Monarch, ATALIBA — His love for ALZIRA — Their Nuptials celebrated — Character of ZORAI, her Father — Descent of the Genius of Peru — Prediction of the Fall of that Empire.
1 WHERE the Pacific deep in silence laves
2 The western shore, with slow, and languid waves,
3 There, lost PERUVIA! bloom'd thy cultur'd bowers,
4 Thy vallies fragrant with perennial flowers;
5 There, far above, the Pine unbending rose,
6 Along the pathway of thy mountain snows;
7 The Palms fling high in air their feather'd heads,
8 While each broad leaf an ample shadow spreads;[Page 22]
9 The Orange, and the rich Ananas bloom,
10 And humid Balsams ever shed perfume;
11 The Bark, reviving shrub! Ah, not in vain
12 Thy rosy blossoms tinge PERUVIA'S plain;
13 Ye fost'ring gales around those blossoms blow,
14 Ye balmy dew-drops o'er the tendrils flow!
15 Lo, as the health-diffusing plant aspires,
16 Disease relents, and hov'ring death retires;
17 Affection sees new lustre light the eye,
18 And feels her vanish'd peace again is nigh.
19 The Pacas,*
* The Paca is a domestic animal of Peru. and Vicunnas†
† The Vicunna is a species of wild goat sport around,
20 And the meek Lamas‡
‡ The Lamas are employed as mules in carrying burdens., burden'd, press the ground.
21 The Mocking-bird his varying note essays,
22 And charms the grove with imitative lays;
23 The plaintive Humming-bird unfolds his wing
24 Of vivid plumage to the ray of spring;
25 Then sinks, soft burthen, on the humid flower,
26 His food, the dewdrops of the morning hour.
27 Nor less, PERUVIA, for thy favour'd clime,
28 The Virtues rose unsullied and sublime;
29 There melting Charity, with ardour warm,
30 Spreads her wide mantle o'er the shiv'ring form;
31 Cheer'd with the festal song her rural toils,
32 While in the lap of age she pour'd the spoils;*
* The people cheerfully assisted in reaping those fields of which the produce was given to old persons past their labour.
33 There the mild Inca, ATALIBA sway'd,
34 His high behest the willing heart obey'd;
35 Descendant of a scepter'd, sacred race,
36 Whose origin from glowing suns they trace.
37 Love's soft emotions now his soul possest,
38 And fix'd ALZIRA'S image in his breast.
39 In that blest clime affection never knew
40 A selfish purpose, or a thought untrue;
41 Not as on Europe's shore, where wealth and pride,
42 From mourning love the venal breast divide;
43 Yet Love, if there from sordid shackles free,
44 One faithful bosom yet belongs to thee;[Page 24]
45 On that fond heart the purest bliss bestow,
46 Or give, for thou canst give, a charm to woe;
47 Ah, never may that heart in vain deplore
48 The pang that tortures when belov'd no more.
49 And from that agony the spirit save,
50 When unrelenting yawns th' untimely grave;
51 When death dissolves the ties for ever dear,
52 When frantic passion pours her parting tear;
53 With all the wasting pains she only feels,
54 Hangs on the quiv'ring lip that silence seals;
55 Views fondness struggling in the closing eye,
56 And marks it mingling in the falt'ring sigh;
57 As the lov'd form, while folded to her breast,
58 Breathes the last moan that gives its struggles rest;
59 Leaves her to pine in grief that none can share,
60 And find the world a desert to despair.
61 Bright was the lustre of the orient ray
62 That joyful wak'd ALZIRA'S nuptial day;
63 Her auburn hair spread loosely on the wind,
64 The virgin train with rosy chaplets bind;[Page 25]
65 While the fresh flowers that form her bridal wreathe
66 Seem deeper hues and richer scents to breathe.
67 The gentle tribe now sought the hallow'd fane,
68 Where warbling vestals pour'd the choral strain;
69 There aged ZORAI his ALZIRA prest,
70 With love parental, to his anxious breast;
71 Priest of the Sun! within the sacred shrine
72 His fervent spirit breath'd the strain divine;
73 With careful hand the guiltless off'ring spread,
74 With pious zeal the clear libation shed.
75 Nor vain the incense of erroneous praise
76 When meek devotion's soul the tribute pays;
77 On wings of purity behold it rise,
78 While bending mercy wafts it to the skies!
79 PERUVIA! O delightful land in vain
80 The virtues flourish'd on thy beauteous plain;
81 For soon shall burst the unrelenting storm
82 O'er thy mild head, and crush thy prostrate form!
83 Recording Fame shall mark thy desp'rate fate,
84 And distant ages weep for ills so great! [Page 26]
85 Now o'er the deep dull Night her mantle flung,
86 Dim on the wave the moon's faint crescent hung;
87 PERUVIA'S Genius sought the liquid plain,
88 Sooth'd by the languid murmurs of the main;
89 When sudden clamour the illusion broke,
90 Wild on the surface of the deep it spoke;
91 A rising breeze expands her flowing veil,
92 Aghast with fear, she spies a flying sail —
93 The lofty mast impends, the banner waves,
94 The ruffled surge th' incumbent vessel laves;
95 With eager eye she views her destin'd foe
96 Lead to her peaceful shores th' advent'rous prow;
97 Trembling she knelt, with wild, disorder'd air,
98 And pour'd with frantic energy her prayer:
99 "O, ye avenging spirits of the deep!
100 Mount the blue lightning's wing, o'er ocean sweep;
101 Loud from your central caves the shell resound,
102 That summons death to your abyss profound;
103 Call the pale spectre from his dark abode,
104 To print the billow, swell the black'ning flood,[Page 27]
105 Rush o'er the waves, the rough'ning deep deform,
106 Howl in the blast, and animate the storm —
107 Relentless powers! for not one quiv'ring breeze
108 Has ruffled yet the surface of the seas —
109 Swift from your rocky steeps ye Condors*
* The Condor is an inhabitant of the Andes. Its wings, when expanded, are said to be eighteen feet wide. stray,
110 Wave your black plumes, and cleave th' aerial way;
111 Proud in terrific force your wings expand,
112 Press the firm earth, and darken all the strand;
113 Bid the stern foe retire with wild affright,
114 And shun the region veil'd in partial night.
115 Vain hope, devoted land! I read thy doom,
116 My sad prophetic soul can pierce the gloom;
117 I see, I see my lov'd, my favour'd clime
118 Consum'd, and wasted in its early prime.
119 But not in vain this beauteous land shall bleed,
120 Too late shall Europe's race deplore the deed.
121 Region abhorr'd! be gold the tempting bane,
122 The curse that desolates thy hostile plain;[Page 28]
123 May pleasure tinge with venom'd drops the bowl,
124 And luxury unnerve the sick'ning soul. "
125 Ah, not in vain she pour'd th' impassion'd tear;
126 Ah, not in vain she call'd the powers to hear!
127 When borne from lost PERUVIA'S bleeding land,
128 The guilty treasures beam'd on Europe's strand;
129 Each sweet affection fled the tainted shore,
130 And virtue wander'd, to return no more.
PIZARRO lands with the Forces — His meeting with ATALIBA — Its unhappy consequences — ZORAI dies — ATALIBA imprisoned, and strangled — Despair of ALZIRA.
1 FLUSH'D with impatient hope, the martial band,
2 By stern PIZARRO led, approach the land;
3 No terrors arm his hostile brow, for guile
4 Seeks to betray with candour's open smile.
5 Too artless for distrust, the Monarch springs
6 To meet his latent foe on friendship's wings.
7 On as he moves, with dazzling splendour crown'd,
8 His feather'd chiefs the golden throne surround;
9 The waving canopy its plume displays,
10 Whose waving hues reflect the morning rays;[Page 30]
11 With native grace he hails the warrior train,
12 Who stood majestic on PERUVIA'S plain,
13 In all the savage pomp of armour drest,
14 The frowning helmet, and the nodding crest.
15 Yet themes of joy PIZARRO'S lips impart,
16 And charm with eloquence the simple heart;
17 Unfolding to the monarch's wond'ring thought
18 All that inventive arts the rude have taught.
19 And now he bids the musing spirit rise
20 Above the circle of surrounding skies;
21 Presents the page that sheds Religion's light
22 O'er the dark mist of intellectual night:
23 While, thrill'd with awe, the monarch trembling stands,
24 He dropp'd the hallow'd volume from his hands.
* Pizarro, who during a long conference had with difficulty restrained his soldiers, eager to seize the rich spoils of which they had now so near a view, immediately gave the signal of assault. At once the martial music struck up, the cannon and muskets began to fire, the horse sallied out fiercely to the charge, the infantry rushed on sword in hand. The Peruvians, astonished at the suddenness of an attack which they did not expect, and dismayed with the destructive effects of the fire-arms, fled with universal consternation on every side. Pizarro, at the head of his chosen band, advanced directly towards the Inca; and though his nobles crowded around him with officious zeal, and fell in numbers at his feet, while they vied one with another in sacrificing their own lives that they might cover the sacred person of their sovereign, the Spaniards soon penetrated to the royal seat; and Pizarro, seizing the Inca by the arm, dragged him to the ground, and carried him a prisoner to his quarters. Robertson's History of America. while frantic zeal each breast inspires,
26 And shudd'ring demons fan the rising fires,
27 The bloody signal waves, the banners play,
28 The naked sabres flash their streaming ray;[Page 31]
29 The trumpet rolls its animating sound,
30 And the loud cannon rend the vault around;
31 While fierce in sanguine rage, the sons of Spain
32 Rush on Peru's unarm'd, defenceless train!
33 The fiends of slaughter urg'd their dire career,
34 And virtue's guardian spirits dropped a tear!
35 Mild ZORAI fell, deploring human strife,
36 And clos'd with prayer his consecrated life! —
37 In vain PERUVIA'S chiefs undaunted stood,
38 Shield their lov'd Prince, and bathe his robes in blood; —
39 Touch'd with heroic ardour, cling around,
40 And high of soul, receive each fatal wound;[Page 32]
41 Dragg'd from his throne, and hurried o'er the plain,
42 The wretched Monarch swells the captive train;
43 With iron grasp the frantic Prince they bear,
44 And feel their triumph in his wild despair. —
45 Deep in the gloomy dungeon's lone domain,
46 Lost ATALIBA wore the galling chain;
47 The earth's cold bed refus'd oblivious rest,
48 While throbb'd the woes of thousands at his breast;
49 ALZIRA'S desolating moan he hears,
50 And with the monarch's blends the lover's tears.
51 Soon had ALZIRA felt affliction's dart
52 Pierce her soft soul, and rend her bleeding heart;
53 Its quick pulsations paus'd, and chill'd with dread,
54 A livid hue her fading cheek o'erspread;
55 No tear the mourner shed, she breath'd no sigh,
56 Her lips were mute, and clos'd her languid eye;
57 Fainter, and slower heav'd her shiv'ring breast,
58 And her calm'd passions seem'd in death to rest. —
59 At length reviv'd, 'mid rising heaps of slain,
60 She prest with hurried step the crimson plain;[Page 33]
61 The dungeon's gloomy depth she fearless sought,
62 For love with scorn of danger arm'd her thought:
63 She reach'd the cell where ATALIBA lay,
64 Where human vultures haste to seize their prey. —
65 In vain her treasur'd wealth PERUVIA gave,
66 This dearer treasure from their grasp to save;
67 ALZIRA! lo, the ruthless murd'rers come,
68 This moment seals thy ATALIBA'S doom.
69 Ah, what avails the shriek that anguish pours?
70 The look that mercy's lenient aid implores?
71 Torn from thy clinging arms, thy throbbing breast,
72 The fatal cord his agony supprest! —
73 In vain the livid corpse she firmly clasps,
74 And pours her sorrows o'er the form she grasps,
75 The murd'rers soon their struggling victim tear
76 From the lost object of her soul's despair!
77 The swelling pang unable to sustain,
78 Distraction throbb'd in every beating vein;
79 Its sudden tumults seize her yielding soul,
80 And in her eye distemper'd glances roll —[Page 34]
81 "They come!" the mourner cried with panting breath,
82 "To give the lost ALZIRA rest in death!
83 One moment more, ye bloody forms, bestow,
84 One moment more for ever cares my woe —
85 Lo! where the purple evening sheds her light
86 On blest remains! O! hide them, pitying night!
87 Slow in the breeze I see the verdure wave,
88 That shrouds with tufted grass my lover's grave;
89 Hark! on its wand'ring wing in mildness blows
90 The murm'ring gale, nor wakes his deep repose —
91 And see, yon hoary form still lingers there!
92 Dishevell'd by rude winds his silver hair;
93 O'er his chill'd bosom falls the winter rain,
94 I feel the big drops on my wither'd brain.
95 Not for himself that tear his bosom steeps,
96 For his lost child it flows — for me he weeps!
97 No more the dagger's point shall pierce thy breast,
98 For calm and lovely is thy silent rest;
99 Yet still in dust these eyes shall see thee roll,
100 Still the sad thought shall waste ALZIRA'S soul —[Page 35]
101 What bleeding phantom moves along the storm?
102 It is my ATALIBA'S well-known form!
103 Approach! ALZIRA'S breast no terrors move,
104 Her fears are all for ever lost in love.
105 Safe on the hanging cliff I now can rest,
106 And press its pointed pillow to my breast —
107 He weeps! in heaven he weeps! — I feel his tear —
108 It chills my trembling heart, yet still 'tis dear.
109 To him all joyless are the realms above,
110 That pale look speaks of pity and of love!
111 Ah come, descend in yonder bending cloud,
112 And wrap ALZIRA in thy misty shroud!"
113 As roll'd her wand'ring glances wild around,
114 She snatch'd a reeking sabre from the ground;
115 Firmly her lifted hand the weapon prest,
116 And deep she plung'd it in her panting breast!
117 "'Tis but a few short moments that divide" —
118 She falt'ring said — then sunk on earth and died!
PIZARRO takes possession of Cuzco — The fanaticism of VALVERDA, a Spanish priest — Its dreadful effects — A Peruvian priest put to the torture — His Daughter's distress — He is rescued by LAS CASAS, a Spanish ecclesiastic — And led to a place of safety, where he dies — His Daughter's narration of her sufferings — Her death.
1 Now stern PIZARRO seeks the distant plains,
2 Where beauteous Cuzco lifts her golden fanes.
3 The meek Peruvians gaz'd in wild dismay,
4 Nor barr'd the dark Oppressor's sanguine way;
5 And soon on Cuzco, where the dawning light
6 Of glory shone, foretelling day more bright,
7 Where the young arts had shed unfolding flowers,
8 A scene of spreading desolation lowers! [Page 37]
9 While buried deep in everlasting shade,
10 That lustre sickens, and those blossoms fade.
11 And yet, devoted land, not gold alone,
12 Or dire ambition wak'd thy rising groan;
13 For lo! a fiercer fiend, with joy elate,
14 Feasts on thy suff'rings, and impels thy fate:
15 Fanatic Fury rears her sullen shrine,
16 Where vultures prey, where venom'd adders twine;
17 Her savage arm with purple torrents stains
18 Thy rocking temples, and thy falling fanes;
19 Her blazing torches flash the mounting fire,
20 She grasps the sabre, and she lights the pyre;
21 Her voice is thunder rending the still air,
22 Her glance the baleful lightning's lurid glare;
23 Her lips unhallow'd breathe their impious strain,
24 And pure Religion's sacred voice profane;
25 Whose precepts pity's mildest deeds approve,
26 Whose law is mercy, and whose soul is love.
27 And see, fanatic Fury wakes the storm —
28 She wears the stern VALVERDA'S hideous form;[Page 38]
29 His bosom never felt another's woes,
30 No shriek of anguish breaks its dark repose.
31 The temple nods — an aged form appears —
32 He beats his breast, he rends his silver hairs —
33 VALVERDA drags him from the blest abode,
34 Where his meek spirit humbly sought its God;
35 See, to his aid his child, soft ZILIA, springs,
36 And steeps in tears the robe to which she clings!
37 Now bursting from PERUVIA'S frighted throng,
38 Two warlike youths impetuous rush'd along;
39 One grasp'd his twanging bow with furious air,
40 While in his troubled eye sat fierce despair;
41 But all in vain his erring weapon flies,
42 Pierc'd by a thousand wounds, on earth he lies.
43 His drooping head the trembling ZILIA rais'd,
44 And on the youth in speechless anguish gaz'd;
45 While he who fondly shared his danger flew,
46 And from his bleeding breast a poignard drew.
47 "Deep in my faithful bosom let me hide
48 The fatal steel that would our souls divide," —[Page 39]
49 He quick exclaims — the dying warrior cries
50 "Ah yet forbear! — by all the sacred ties
51 That bind our hearts, forbear!" — in vain he spoke,
52 Friendship with frantic zeal impels the stroke!
53 "Thyself for ever lost, thou hop'st in vain,"
54 The youth replied, "my spirit to detain;
55 From thee my soul, in childhood's earliest year,
56 Caught the light pleasure and the passing tear;
57 Thy friendship then my young affections blest
58 The first pure passion of my infant breast;
59 And still in death I feel its strong controul,
60 Its sacred impulse wings my fleeting soul,
61 That only lingers here till thou depart,
62 Whose image lives upon my fainting heart!" —
63 In vain the gen'rous youth, with panting breath,
64 Pour'd these last murmurs in the ear of death;
65 He reads the fatal truth in ZILIA'S eye,
66 And gives to friendship his expiring sigh. —
67 But now with rage VALVERDA'S glances roll,
68 And mark the vengeance rankling in his soul;[Page 40]
69 He bends his gloomy brow — his lips impart
70 The brooding purpose of his venom'd heart;
71 He bids the hoary priest in mutter'd strains
72 Abjure his faith, forsake his native fanes,
73 While yet the ling'ring pangs of torture wait,
74 While yet VALVERDA'S power suspends his fate.
75 "Vain man," the victim cried, "to hoary years
76 Know death is mild, and virtue feels no fears;
77 Cruel of spirit, come! let tortures prove
78 The power I serv'd in life in death I love."
79 He ceas'd — with rugged cords his limbs they bound,
80 And drag the aged suff'rer on the ground;
81 They grasp his feeble frame, his tresses tear;
82 His robe they rend, his shrivell'd bosom bare.
83 Ah, see his uncomplaining soul sustain
84 The sting of insult and the dart of pain!
85 His stedfast spirit feels one pang alone,
86 A child's despair awakes one bitter groan —
87 The mourner kneels to catch his parting breath,
88 To soothe the agony of ling'ring death:[Page 41]
89 No moan she breath'd, no tear had power to flow,
90 Still on her lip expir'd th' unutter'd woe;
91 Yet ah, her livid cheek, her stedfast look,
92 The desolated soul's deep anguish spoke —
93 Mild victim! close not yet thy languid eyes;
94 Pure spirit! claim not yet thy kindred skies;
95 A pitying angel comes to stay thy flight,
96 LAS CASAS*
* LAS CASAS, that admirable ecclesiastic, who obtained by his humanity the title of Protector of the Indies. bids thee view returning light;
97 Ah, let that sacred drop, to virtue dear,
98 Efface thy wrongs — receive his precious tear;
99 See his flush'd cheek with indignation glow,
100 While from his lips the tones of pity flow. —
101 "Oh, suff'ring Lord!" he cried, "whose streaming blood,
102 Was pour'd for man — earth drank the sacred flood,
103 Whose mercy in the mortal pang forgave
104 The murd'rous band, Thy love alone could save;
105 Forgive — thy goodness bursts each narrow bound
106 Which feeble thought, and human hope surround;[Page 42]
107 Forgive the guilty wretch, whose impious hand
108 From thy pure altar flings the flaming brand;
109 In human blood that hallow'd altar steeps,
110 Libation dire! while groaning nature weeps;
111 The limits of thy mercy dares to scan,
112 The object of thy love, his victim, — man.
113 While yet I linger, lo, the suff'rer dies,
114 I see his frame convuls'd, — I hear his sighs!
115 Whoe'er controuls the purpose of my heart,
116 First in this breast shall plunge his guilty dart."
117 With hurried step he flew, with eager hands
118 He broke the fetters, burst the cruel bands.
119 As the fall'n angel heard with awful fear,
120 The cherub's grave rebuke, in grace severe,
121 And fled, while horror plum'd his impious crest,*
* "— — — on his crest Sat horror plum'd." Par. Lost xiv, 988.
122 The form of virtue as she stood confest;
123 So fierce VALVERDA sullen mov'd along,
124 Abash'd, and follow'd by the hostile throng. [Page 43]
125 At length the hoary victim, freed from chains,
126 LAS CASAS gently leads to safer plains;
127 His searching eye explores a secret cave,
128 Whose shaggy sides the languid billows lave;
129 "There rest secure," he cried, "the Christian's God
130 Will hover near, will guard the lone abode."
131 Oft to the gloomy cell his steps repair,
132 While night's chill breezes wave his silver'd hair;
133 Oft in the tones of love, the words of peace,
134 He bids the bitter tears of anguish cease;
135 Bids drooping hope uplift her languid eyes,
136 And points to bliss that dwells beyond the skies.
137 Yet ah! in vain his pious cares would save
138 The aged suff'rer from the op'ning grave;
139 For deep the pangs of torture pierc'd his frame,
140 And sunk his wasted life's expiring flame;
141 To his cold lip LAS CASAS' hand he prest,
142 He faintly clasp'd his ZILIA to his breast;
143 Then cried, "the God, whom now my vows adore,
144 My heart through life obey'd, unknowing more;[Page 44]
145 His mild forgiveness then my soul shall prove,
146 His mercy share, LAS CASAS' God is love. "
147 He spoke no more, his ZILIA'S hopeless moan
148 Was heard responsive to his dying groan.
149 " Victim of impious zeal, "LAS CASAS cries,
150 " Accept, departed shade, a Christian's sighs;
151 And thou, soft mourner, tender, drooping form,
152 What power shall guard thee from the fearful storm? "
153 " Weep not for me, "she cried," for ZILIA'S breast
154 Soon in the shelt'ring earth shall find its rest;
155 Seek not the victim of despair to save,
156 I ask but death — I only wish a grave.
157 Witness, thou mangled form, that earth retains,
158 Witness a murder'd lover's cold remains;
159 I liv'd my father's pangs to soothe, to share,
160 I bore to live, though life was all despair.
161 Ah! still my lover's dying moan I hear,
162 In every pulse I feel his parting tear —
163 I faint — an icy coldness chills each vein,
164 No more these feeble limbs their load sustain;[Page 45]
165 Spirit of pity! catch my fleeting breath,
166 A moment stay — and close my eyes in death.
167 LAS CASAS, thee thy God in mercy gave,
168 To soothe my pangs, to find the wretch a grave. "
169 She ceas'd, her spirit fled to purer spheres,
170 LAS CASAS bathes the pallid corse with tears;
171 Fly, minister of good! nor ling'ring shed
172 Those fruitless sorrows o'er th' unconscious dead;
173 I view the sanguine flood, the wasting flame,
174 I hear a suff'ring world LAS CASAS claim.
ALMAGRO'S expedition to Chili — His troops suffer great hardships from cold, in crossing the Andes — They reach Chili — The Chilians make a brave resistance — The revolt of the Peruvians in Cuzco — They are led on by MANCO CAPAC, the successor of ATALIBA — Parting with CORA, his wife — The Peruvians regain half their city — ALMAGRO leaves Chili — To avoid the Andes, he crosses a vast desert — His troops can find no water — They divide into two bands — ALPHONSO leads the second band, which soon reaches a fertile valley — The Spaniards observe that the natives are employed in searching the streams for gold — They resolve to attack them.
1 Now the stern partner of PIZARRO'S toils,
2 ALMAGRO, lur'd by hope of golden spoils,
3 To distant Chili's ever-verdant meads,
4 Through paths untrod, a band of warriors leads;
5 O'er the high Andes' frozen steeps they go,
6 And wander 'mid eternal hills of snow:[Page 47]
7 In vain the vivifying orb of day
8 Darts on th' impervious ice his fervent ray;
9 Cold, keen as chains the oceans of the pole,
10 Numbs the shrunk frame, and chills the vig'rous soul;
11 At length they reach luxuriant Chili's plain,
12 Where ends the dreary bound of winter's reign.
13 When first the brave Chilese, with eager glance,
14 Beheld the hostile sons of Spain advance,
15 Their threat'ning sabres red with purple streams,
16 Their lances quiv'ring in the solar beams,
17 With pale surprise they saw th' impending storm,
18 Where low'ring danger wore an unknown form;
19 But soon their spirits, stung with gen'rous shame,
20 Renounce each terror, and for vengeance flame;
21 Pant high with sacred freedom's ardent glow,
22 And meet intrepid the superior foe.
23 Long unsubdued by stern ALMAGRO'S train,
24 Their valiant tribes unequal fight maintain;
25 Long vict'ry hover'd doubtful o'er the field,
26 And oft she forc'd IBERIA'S band to yield;[Page 48]
27 Oft love from Spain's proud head her laurel bough,
28 And bade it blossom on PERUVIA'S brow;
29 When sudden tidings reach'd ALMAGRO'S ear,
30 That shook the warrior's soul with doubt and fear.
31 Of murder'd ATALIBA'S royal race
32 There yet remain'd a youth of blooming grace,
33 Who pin'd, the captive of relentless Spain,
34 And long in Cuzco dragg'd her galling chain;
35 CAPAC, whose lofty soul indignant bears
36 The rankling fetters, and revenge prepares.
37 But since his daring spirit must forego
38 The hope to rush upon the tyrant foe,
39 Led by his parent orb, that gives the day,
40 And fierce as darts the keen meridian ray,
41 He vows to bend unseen his hostile course,
42 Then on the victors rise with latent force,
43 As sudden from its cloud, the brooding storm,
44 Bursts in the thunder's voice, the light'ning's form.
45 For this, from stern PIZARRO he obtains
46 The boon, enlarg'd, to seek the neighb'ring plains,[Page 49]
47 For one bless'd day, and with his friend's unite,
48 To crown with solemn pomp an antient rite;
49 Share the dear pleasures of the social hour,
50 And 'mid their fetters twine one festal flower.
51 So spoke the Prince — far other thoughts possest,
52 Far other purpose animates his breast:
53 For now PERUVIA'S Nobles he commands
54 To lead, with silent step, her martial bands
55 Forth to the destin'd spot, prepared to dare
56 The fiercest shock of dire, unequal war;
57 While every sacred human interest pleads,
58 And urges the firm soul to lofty deeds.
59 Now CAPAC hail'd th' eventful morning's light,
60 Rose with its dawn, and panted for the fight;
61 But first with fondness to his heart he prest
62 The tender CORA, partner of his breast,
63 Who with her lord had sought the dungeon's gloom,
64 And wasted there in grief her early bloom.
65 "No more," he cried, "no more my love shall feel
66 The mingled agonies I fly to heal; —[Page 50]
67 I go, but soon exulting shall return,
68 And bid my faithful CORA cease to mourn;
69 For O, amid each pang my bosom knows,
70 What wastes, what wounds it most are CORA'S woes!
71 Sweet was the love that crown'd our happier hours,
72 And shed new fragrance o'er a path of flowers:
73 But sure divided sorrow more endears
74 The tie that passion seals with mutual tears!
75 He paus'd. Fast-flowing drops bedew'd her eyes,
76 While thus in mournful accents she replies: —
77 " Still let me feel the pressure of thy chain,
78 Still share the fetters which my love detain;
79 The piercing iron to my soul is dear,
80 Nor will its sharpness wound while thou art near.
81 Look on our helpless babe, in mis'ry nurst —
82 My child! my child, thy mother's heart will burst!
83 O, wherefore bid the raging battle rise,
84 Nor hear this harmless suff'rer's feeble cries?
85 Look on those blades that pour a crimson flood,
86 And plunge their cruel edge in infant blood! " [Page 51]
87 She could no more — he sees with tender pain
88 Her grief, and leads her to a shelt'ring fane.
89 Now high in air his feather'd standard waves,
90 And soon from shrouding woods and hollow caves
91 To Cuzco's gate advance increasing throngs,
92 And, such their ardour, rous'd by sense of wrongs,
93 That vainly would PIZARRO'S vet'ran force
94 Arrest the torrent in its raging course;
95 Danger and death PERUVIA'S sons disdain,
96 And half their captive city soon regain.
97 When stern ALMAGRO heard the voice of fame
98 The triumphs of PERUVIA loud proclaim,
99 Unconquer'd Chili's vale he swift forsakes,
100 And his bold course to distant Cuzco takes.
101 But now he shuns the Andes' frozen snows,
102 The arrowy gale that on their summit blows;
103 A burning desert undismay'd he past,
104 And meets the ardors of the fiery blast.
105 As o'er the sultry waste they slowly move,
106 The keenest pang of raging thirst they prove;[Page 52]
107 No cooling fruit its grateful juice distils,
108 Nor flows one balmy drop from crystal rills;
109 For nature sickens in the parching beam
110 That shrinks the vernal bud and dries the stream;
111 While horror, as his giant stature grows,
112 O'er the drear void his spreading shadow throws.
113 ALMAGRO'S band now pale and fainting stray,
114 While death oft barr'd the sinking warrior's way;
115 At length the chief divides his martial force,
116 And bids ALPHONSO by a sep'rate course
117 Lead o'er the hideous desert half his train —
118 "And search," he cried, "this vast, untrodden plain,
119 Perchance some fruitage, with'ring in the breeze,
120 The pains of lessen'd numbers may appease;
121 Or heaven in pity from some genial shower
122 On the parch'd lip one precious drop may pour."
123 Not far the troops of young ALPHONSO went,
124 When sudden from a rising hill's ascent
125 They view a valley fed by fertile springs,
126 Which Andes from his snowy summit flings;[Page 53]
127 Where summer's flowers humected odours shed,
128 And wildly bloom, a waste by beauty spread.
129 And now ALPHONSO and his martial band
130 On the rich border of the valley stand;
131 They quaff the limpid stream with eager haste,
132 And the pure juice that swells the fruitage taste;
133 Then give to balmy rest the night's still hours,
134 Fann'd by the cooling gale that shuts the flowers.
135 Soon as the purple beam of morning glows,
136 Refresh'd from all their toils, the warriors rose;
137 And saw the gentle natives of the mead
138 Search the clear currents for the golden seed,
139 Which from the mountain's height with headlong sweep
140 The torrents bear in many a shining heap;
141 IBERIA'S sons beheld with anxious brow
142 The tempting lure, then breathe th' unpitying vow
143 O'er those fair lawns to pour a sanguine flood,
144 And dye those lucid streams with guiltless blood.
145 Thus while the humming-bird, in beauty drest,
146 Enchanting offspring of the ardent west,[Page 54]
147 Attunes his tender song to notes of love,
148 Mild as the murmurs of the morning dove,
149 While his rich plumage glows with brighter hues,
150 And with soft bill he sips the scented dews,
151 The savage condor on terrific wings,
152 From Andes' frozen steeps relentless springs;
153 And, quiv'ring in his fangs, his helpless prey
154 Drops his weak wing, and sighs his soul away.
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.
1 IN this sweet scene, to all the virtues kind,
2 Mild ZAMOR own'd the richest gifts of mind;
3 For o'er his tuneful breast the heav'nly muse
4 Shed from her sacred spring inspiring dews;
5 She loves to breathe her hallow'd strain where art
6 Has never veil'd the soul, or warp'd the heart;[Page 56]
7 Where fancy glows with all her native fire,
8 And passion lives on the exulting lyre.
9 Nature, in terror rob'd or beauty dreast,
10 Could thrill with dear enchantment ZAMOR'S breast;
11 He lov'd the languid sigh the zephyr pours,
12 He lov'd the placid rill that feeds the flowers —
13 But more the hollow sound the wild winds form,
14 When black upon the billow hangs the storm;
15 The torrent rolling from the mountain steep,
16 Its white foam trembling on the darken'd deep —
17 And oft on Andes' heights with earnest gaze
18 He view'd the sinking sun's reflected rays
19 Glow like unnumber'd stars, that seem to rest
20 Sublime upon his ice-encircled breast.
21 Oft his wild warblings charm'd the festal hour,
22 Rose in the vale, and languish'd in the bower;
23 The heart's reponsive tones he well could move,
24 Whose song was nature, and whose theme was love.
25 ACILOE'S beauties his fond soul confest,
26 Yet more ACILOE'S virtues warm'd his breast. [Page 57]
27 Ah stay, ye tender hours of young delight,
28 Suspend, ye moments, your impatient flight;
29 Prolong the charm when passion's pure controul
30 Unfolds the first affections of the soul!
31 This gentle tribe ACILOE'S sire obey'd,
32 Who still in wisdom and in mercy sway'd.
33 From him the dear illusions long had fled
34 That o'er the morn of life enchantment shed;
35 But virtue's calm remembrance cheer'd his breast,
36 And life was joy serene, and death was rest:
37 Bright is the blushing Summer's glowing ray,
38 Yet not unlovely Autumn's temper'd day.
39 Now stern IBERIA'S ruthless sons advance,
40 Roll the fierce eye, and shake the pointed lance.
41 PERUVIA'S tribe behold the hostile throng
42 With desolating fury pour along;
43 The hoary chief to the dire conflict leads
44 His death-devoted train — the battle bleeds.
45 ACILOE'S searching eye can now no more
46 The form of ZAMOR or her sire explore;[Page 58]
47 While destin'd all the bitterness to prove
48 Of anxious duty and of mourning love,
49 Each name that's dearest wakes her bursting sigh,
50 Throbs at her soul, and trembles in her eye.
51 Now pierc'd by wounds, and breathless from the fight,
52 Her friend, the valiant OMAR, struck her sight: —
53 "OMAR," she cried, "you bleed, unhappy youth!
54 And sure that look unfolds some fatal truth;
55 Speak, pitying speak, my frantic fears forgive,
56 Say, does my father, does my ZAMOR live?" —
57 "All, all is lost!" the dying OMAR said,
58 "And endless griefs are thine, dear, wretched maid;
59 I saw thy aged sire a captive bound,
60 I saw thy ZAMOR press the crimson ground!" —
61 He could no more, he yields his fleeting breath,
62 While all in vain she seeks repose in death.
63 But O, how far each other pang above
64 Throbs the wild agony of hopeless love!
65 That woe, for which in vain would comfort shed
66 Her healing balm, or time in pity spread[Page 59]
67 The veil that throws a shade o'er other care,
68 For here, and here alone, profound despair
69 Casts o'er the suff'ring soul a lasting gloom,
70 And slowly leads her victim to the tomb.
71 Now rude tumultuous sounds assail her ear,
72 And soon ALPHONSO'S victor train appear;
73 Then, as with ling'ring step he mov'd along,
74 She saw her father 'mid the captive throng;
75 She saw with dire dismay, she wildly flew,
76 Her snowy arms around his form she threw; —
77 "He bleeds!" she cries; "I hear his moan of pain!
78 My father will not bear the galling chain!
79 Cruel ALPHONSO, let not helpless age
80 Feel thy hard yoke, and meet thy barb'rous rage;
81 Or, O, if ever mercy mov'd thy soul,
82 If ever thou hast felt her blest controul,
83 Grant my sad heart's desire, and let me share
84 The fetters which a father ill can bear."
85 While the young warrior, as she falt'ring spoke,
86 With fix'd attention and with ardent look[Page 60]
87 Hung on her tender glance, that love inspires,
88 The rage of conquest yields to milder fires.
89 Yet as he gaz'd enraptur'd on her form,
90 Her virtues awe the heart her beauties warm;
91 And while impassion'd tones his love reveal,
92 He asks with holy rites his vows to seal.
93 "Hops't thou," she cried, "those sacred ties shall join
94 This bleeding heart, this trembling hand to thine?
95 To thine, whose ruthless heart has caus'd my pains,
96 Whose barb'rous hand the blood of ZAMOR stains!
97 Canst thou, the murd'rer of my peace, controul
98 The grief that swells, the pang that rends my soul? —
99 That pang shall death, shall death alone remove,
100 And cure the anguish of despairing love."
101 At length, to madness stung by fixed disdain,
102 ALPHONSO now to fury gives the rein;
103 And with relentless mandate dooms her sire,
104 Stretch'd on the bed of torture to expire;
105 But O, what form of language can impart
106 The frantic grief that wrung ACILOE'S heart! [Page 61]
107 When to the height of hopeless sorrow wrought,
108 The fainting spirit feels a pang of thought,
109 Which, never painted in the hues of speech,
110 Lives at the soul, and mocks expression's reach!
111 At length she falt'ring cried, "the conflict's o'er,
112 My heart, my breaking heart can bear no more!
113 Yet spare his feeble age — my vows receive,
114 And O, in mercy bid my father live!"
115 "Wilt thou be mine?" th' enamour'd chief replies —
116 "Yes, cruel! — see, he dies! my father dies! —
117 Save, save my father!" — "Dear, unhappy maid,"
118 The charm'd ALPHONSO cried, "be swift obey'd —
119 Unbind his chains — Ah, calm each anxious pain,
120 ACILOE'S voice no more shall plead in vain;
121 Plac'd near his child, thy aged sire shall share
122 Our joys, still cherished by thy tender care. " —
123 "No more," she cried, "will fate that bliss allow;
124 Before my lips shall breathe the impartial vow,
125 Some faithful guide shall lead his aged feet
126 To distant scenes that yield a safe retreat;[Page 62]
127 Where some soft heart, some gentle hand will shed
128 The drops of comfort on his hoary head.
129 My ZAMOR, if thy spirit hovers near,
130 Forgive!" — she ceas'd, and shed no more a tear.
131 Now night descends, and steeps each weary breast,
132 Save sad ACILOE'S, in the balm of rest.
133 Her aged father's beauteous dwelling stood
134 Near the cool shelter of a waving wood;
135 But now the gales that bend its foliage die,
136 Soft on the silver turf its shadows lie;
137 While slowly wand'ring o'er the vale below,
138 The gazing moon look'd pale as silent woe.
139 The sacred shade, amid whose fragrant bowers
140 ZAMOR oft sooth'd with song the evening hours,
141 Pour'd to the lunar orb his magic lay,
142 More mild, more pensive than her musing ray,
143 That shade with trembling step the mourner sought,
144 And thus she breath'd her tender, plaintive thought: —
145 "Ah where, dear object of these piercing pains,
146 Where rests thy murder'd form, thy Lov'd remains? [Page 63]
147 On what sad spot, my ZAMOR, flow'd the wound
148 That purpled with thy streaming blood the ground?
149 O, had ACILOE in that hour been nigh,
150 Hadst thou but fix'd on me thy closing eye, —
151 Told with faint voice, 'twas death's worst pang to part,
152 And dropp'd thy last cold tear upon my heart!
153 A pang less bitter then would waste this breast,
154 That in the grave alone shall seek its rest.
155 Soon as some friendly hand in mercy leads
156 My aged father safe to Chili's meads,
157 Death shall for ever seal the nuptial tie,
158 The heart belov'd by thee is fix'd to die. " —
159 She ceas'd, when dimly thro' her flowing tears
160 She sees her ZAMOR'S form, his voice she hears.
161 "'Tis he!" she cries, "he moves upon the gale!
162 My ZAMOR'S sigh is deep — his look is pale —
163 I faint —" his arms receive her sinking frame, —
164 He calls his love by every tender name;
165 He stays her fleeting spirit — life anew
166 Warms her cold cheek — his tears her cheek bedew. [Page 64]
167 "Thy ZAMOR lives," he cried: "as on the ground
168 I senseless lay, some child of pity bound
169 My bleeding wounds, and bore me from the plain, —
170 But thou art lost, and I have liv'd in vain!"
171 "Forgive," she cried, in accents of despair,
172 ZAMOR, forgive thy wrongs, and O forbear,
173 The mild reproach that fills thy mournful eye,
174 The tear that wets thy cheek — I mean to die.
175 Could I behold my aged sire endure
176 The pains his wretched child had power to cure?
177 Still, still my father, stretch'd in death, I see,
178 His grey locks trembling while he gaz'd on me;
179 My ZAMOR, soft, breathe not so loud a sigh,
180 Some list'ning foe may pityless deny
181 This parting hour — hark, sure some step I hear,
182 ZAMOR again is lost — for now 'tis near. "—
183 She paus'd, when sudden from the shelt'ring wood
184 A venerable form before them stood:
185 " Fear not, soft maid, "he cried," nor think I come
186 To seal with deeper miseries thy doom;[Page 65]
187 To bruise the broken heart that sorrow rends,
188 Ah, not for this LAS CASAS hither bends —
189 He comes to bid those rising sorrows cease,
190 To pour upon thy wounds the balm of peace.
191 I rov'd with dire ALMAGRO'S ruthless train,
192 Through scenes of death, to Chili's verdant plain;
193 Their wish to bathe that verdant plain in gore,
194 Then from its bosom drag the golden ore:
195 But mine to check the stream of human blood,
196 Or mingle drops of pity with the flood;
197 When from those fair, unconquered vales they fled
198 This languid frame was stretch'd upon the bed
199 Of pale disease; when, helpless and alone,
200 The Chilese 'spied their friend, the murd'rers gone,
201 With eager fondness round my couch they drew,
202 And my cold hand with gushing tears bedew;
203 By day they soothe my pains with sweet delight,
204 And give to watchings the dull hours of night;
205 For me their gen'rous bosoms joy to prove
206 The cares of pity, and the toils of love —[Page 66]
207 At length for me the pathless wild they trac'd,
208 And softly bore me o'er its dreary waste;
209 Then parting, at my feet they bend, and clasp
210 These aged knees — my soul yet feels their grasp!
211 Now o'er the vale with painful step I stray'd,
212 And reach this shelt'ring grove; here, hapless maid,
213 My list'ning ear has caught thy piercing wail,
214 My heart has trembled to thy moving tale. "—
215 " And art thou he? "the mournful pair exclaim,
216 " How dear to mis'ry's soul LAS CASAS' name!
217 Spirit benign, who every grief can share,
218 Whose pity stoops to make the wretch its care,
219 Weep not for us — in vain thy tears shall flow
220 For cureless evils, and for hopeless woe! "—
221 " Come, "he replied," mild suff'rers, to the fane
222 Where rests ALPHONSO with his martial train;
223 My voice shall urge his soul to gen'rous deeds,
224 And bid him hear when truth and nature pleads. "
225 While in meek tones LAS CASAS thus exprest
226 His pious purpose, o'er ACILOE'S breast[Page 67]
227 A dawning ray of cheering comfort streams,
228 But faint the hope that on her spirit beams;
229 Faint as when ebbing life must soon depart,
230 The pulse that trembles while it warms the heart.
231 Before ALPHONSO now the lovers stand,
232 The aged suff'rer joined the mournful band;
233 While, with the look that guardian seraphs wear,
234 When sent to calm the throbs of mortal care,
235 The story of their woes LAS CASAS told,
236 Then cried," the wretched ZAMOR here behold —
237 Hop'st thou, fond man, a passion to controul
238 Fix'd in the breast, and woven in the soul?
239 Ah, know, mistaken youth, thy power in vain
240 Would bind thy victim in the nuptial chain;
241 That faithful heart will rend the galling tie,
242 That heart will break, that tender frame will die!
243 Then, by each sacred name to nature dear,
244 By faithful passion's agonizing tear,
245 By all the wasting pangs that tear her breast,
246 By the deep groan that gives the suff'rer rest,[Page 68]
247 Let mercy's pleading voice thy bosom move,
248 And fear to burst the bonds of plighted love! "
249 He paus'd — now ZAMOR'S moan ALPHONSO hears;
250 Now sees the cheek of age bedew'd with tears.
251 Pallid and motionless ACILOE stands,
252 Fix'd was her lifted eye, and clasp'd her hands;
253 Her heart was chill'd — her fainting heart — for there
254 Hope slowly sinks in cold and dark despair.
255 ALPHONSO'S soul was mov'd —" No more, "he cried,
256 " My hapless flame shall hearts like yours divide.
257 Live, tender spirit, soft ACILOE live,
258 And all the wrongs of madd'ning rage forgive!
259 Go from this desolated region far,
260 These plains, where av'rice spreads the waste of war;
261 Go where pure pleasures gild the peaceful scene,
262 Go where mild virtue sheds her ray serene! "
263 In vain th' enraptur'd lovers would impart
264 The rising joy that swells, that pains the heart;
265 LAS CASAS' feet in tears ACILOE steeps,
266 Looks on her sire and smiles, then turns and weeps;[Page 69]
267 Then smiles again, while her flush'd cheek reveals
268 The mingled tumult of delight she feels; —
269 So fall the crystal showers of fragrant Spring,
270 And o'er the pure, clear sky, soft-shadows fling;
271 Then paint the drooping clouds from which they flow
272 With the warm colours of the lucid bow.
273 Now o'er the barren desert ZAMOR leads
274 ACILOE and her sire to Chili's meads;
275 There many a wand'ring wretch, condemn'd to roam
276 By hard oppression, found a shelt'ring home:
277 ZAMOR to pity tun'd the vocal shell,
278 Bright'ning the tear of anguish as it fell.
279 Did e'er the human bosom throb with pain
280 The heav'nly muse has sought to soothe in vain?
281 She, who can still with harmony its sighs,
282 And wake the sound at which affection dies!
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.
1 AT length ALMAGRO and ALPHONSO'S train,
2 Each peril past, unite on Cuzco's plain;
3 CAPAC resolves beneath the shroud of night
4 To pierce the hostile camp, and brave the fight;
5 Though weak the wrong'd PERUVIANS' arrowy showers
6 To the dire weapons stern IBERIA pours,[Page 71]
7 Fierce was th' unequal contest, for the soul,
8 When rais'd by some high passion's strong controul,
9 New strings the nerves, and o'er the glowing frame
10 Breathes the warm spirit of heroic flame.
11 But from the scene where raging slaughter burns,
12 The timid muse with silent horror turns;
13 The blended sounds of grief she panting hears,
14 Where anguish dims a mother's eye with tears;
15 Or where the maid, who gave to love's soft power
16 Her faithful spirit, weeps the parting hour;
17 And O, till death shall ease the tender woe,
18 That soul must languish, and those tears must flow;
19 For never with the thrill that rapture proves,
20 Her voice again shall hail the youth she loves!
21 Her earnest eye no more his form shall view,
22 Her quiv'ring lip has breath'd the last adieu!
23 Now night, that pour'd upon the hollow gale
24 The din of battle, dropp'd her mournful veil.
25 The sun rose lovely from the sleeping flood,
26 And morning glitter'd o'er the field of blood;[Page 72]
27 Where, bath'd in gore, PERUVIA'S vanquish'd train
28 Lay cold and senseless on the sanguine plain.
29 The gen'rous CAPAC saw his warriors yield,
30 And fled indignant from the conquer'd field.
31 A wretched throng from Cuzco now repair,
32 Who tread 'mid slaughter'd heaps in mute despair;
33 O'er some lov'd corse the shroud of earth to spread,
34 And breathe some ritual that may soothe the dead.
35 No moan was heard, for agony supprest
36 The fond complaints which ease the swelling breast;
37 Each hope for ever lost, they only crave
38 The deep repose that wraps the shelt'ring grave: —
39 So the meek lama, lur'd by some decoy
40 Of man, from all his unembitter'd joy,
41 Erewhile as free as roves the wand'ring breeze,
42 Meets the hard burden on his bending knees;*[Page 73]
* The Lamas bend their knees and stoop their body in such a manner as not to discompose their burden. They move with a slow but firm pace, in countries that are impracticable to other animals. They are neither dispirited by fasting or drudgery, while they have any strength remaining; but when they are totally exhausted, or fall under their burdens, it is to no purpose to harass and beat them, they will continue striking their heads on the ground till they kill themselves,Raynal's History of the European Settlements.
43 O'er rocks and mountains, dark and waste he goes,
44 Nor shuns the path where no fresh herbage grows;
45 Till, worn with toil, on earth he prostrate lies,
46 Heeds not the barb'rous lash, and scornful dies.
47 Swift o'er the field of death sad CORA flew,
48 Her infant to his mother's bosom grew;
49 She seeks her wretched lord, who fled the plain
50 With the last remnant of his vanquish'd train:
51 Thro' the long glen, or forest's gloomy shade,
52 A dreary solitude, the mourner stray'd;
53 Her timid heart can now each danger dare,
54 Her drooping soul is arm'd by deep despair —
55 Long, long she wander'd, till oppress'd with toil,
56 Her trembling footsteps track with blood the soil.
57 Where o'er an ample vale a mountain rose,
58 Low at its base her fainting form she throws:[Page 74]
59 "And here, my child," she cried, with panting breath,
60 "Here let us wait the hour of ling'ring death;
61 This famish'd bosom can no more supply
62 The streams that nourish life — my babe must die!
63 In vain I strive to cherish, for thy sake,
64 My failing strength; but when my heart-strings break,
65 When my cold bosom can no longer warm,
66 My stiff'ning arms no more enfold thy form,
67 Soft on this bed of leaves my child shall sleep —
68 Close to his mother's corse, he will not weep!
69 O! weep not then, my tender babe — tho' near,
70 I shall not hear thy moan, nor see thy tear;
71 Hope not to move me by thy mournful cry,
72 Nor seek with earnest look my answering eye."
73 As thus the dying CORA'S plaints arose,
74 O'er the fair valley sudden darkness throws
75 A hideous horror; thro' the wounded air
76 Howl'd the shrill voice of nature in despair;
77 The birds dart screaming thro' the fluid sky,
78 And, dash'd upon the cliff's hard surface, die;[Page 75]
79 High o'er their rocky bounds the billows swell,
80 Then to their deep abyss affrighted fell;
81 Earth groaning heaves with dire convulsive throes,
82 While yawning gulphs its central caves disclose.
83 Now rush'd a frighted throng with trembling pace
84 Along the vale, and sought the mountain's base;
85 Purpos'd its perilous ascent to gain,
86 And shun the ruin low'ring o'er the plain.
87 They reach'd the spot where CORA clasp'd her child,
88 And gaz'd on present death with aspect wild:
89 They pitying pause — she lifts her mournful eye,
90 And views her lord! — he hears his CORA'S sigh —
91 He meets her looks — their melting souls unite,
92 O'erwhelmed, and agoniz'd with wild delight.
93 At length she faintly cried, "we yet must part!
94 Short are these rising joys — I feel my heart,
95 My suff'ring heart is cold, and mists arise,
96 That shroud thy image from my closing eyes!
97 O, save my child! — our helpless infant save,
98 And shed a tear upon thy CORA'S grave." [Page 76]
99 The fluttering pulse of life now ceas'd to play,
100 And in his arms a pallid corse she lay!
101 O'er her dear form he hung in speechless pain,
102 And still on CORA call'd — but call'd in vain;
103 Scarce could his soul in one short moment bear
104 The wild extremes of transport and despair.
105 Now o'er the west in melting softness streams
106 A lustre, milder than the morning beams;
107 A purer dawn dispell'd the fearful night,
108 And nature glow'd in all the blooms of light;
109 Then first the mourner, waking from his trance,
110 Cast on his smiling babe an eager glance:
111 Then rose the hollow voice on fancy's ear,
112 The parting words he hears, or seems to hear!
113 That sought with anxious tenderness to save
114 That dear memorial from the closing grave;
115 He clasps the object of his love's last care,
116 And vows for him the load of life to bear.
117 He journey'd o'er a dreary length of way,
118 To plains where freedom shed her hallow'd ray;[Page 77]
119 There, o'er the pathless wood, and mountain hoar,
120 His faithful band the lifeless CORA bore:
121 Ye who ne'er pin'd in sorrow's hopeless pain,
122 Deem not the toil that soothes its anguish vain;
123 Perchance the conscious spirit hovers near,
124 And love's fond tribute to the dead is dear.
125 Not long IBERIA'S sullied trophies wave,
126 Her guilty warriors press th' untimely grave;
127 For av'rice rising from the caves of earth,
128 Wakes all her savage spirit into birth:
129 Bids proud ALMAGRO feel her baleful flame,
130 And Cuzco's treasures from PIZARRO claim.
131 Now fierce in hostile rage each warlike train.
132 Purple with kindred blood PERUVIA'S plain;
133 While pensive on the hills, whose lofty brow
134 O'erhung with waving woods the vale below,
135 PERUVIA'S hapless tribes in scatter'd throngs,
136 Behold the fiends of strife avenge their wrongs:
137 Till, fetter'd in PIZARRO'S iron chain,
138 ALMAGRO swells the victor's captive train. [Page 78]
139 In vain his pleading voice, his suppliant eye,
140 Conjure his conqu'ror by the holy tie
141 That seal'd their mutual league with sacred force,
142 When first to climes unknown they bent their course;
143 When danger's rising horrors low'r'd afar,
144 The storms of ocean, and the toils of war,
145 The sad remains of wasted life to spare,
146 The shrivell'd bosom, and the silver'd hair —
147 ALMAGRO dies — the victor's barb'rous pride
148 To his pale corpse funereal rites denied;
149 Chill'd by the heavy dews of night it lay,
150 And wither'd in the sultry beam of day;
151 Till Indian bosoms, touch'd with gen'rous woe,
152 Paid the last duties to a prostrate foe.
153 With unrelenting hate the conqu'ror views
154 ALMAGRO'S band, and vengeance still pursues.
155 Condemns the victims of his power to stray
156 In drooping poverty's chill, thorny way;
157 To pine with famine's agony severe,
158 And all the ling'ring forms of death to fear;[Page 79]
159 Till, by despair impell'd, the rival train,
160 Rush to the haughty victor's splendid fane;
161 Swift on their foe with rage impetuous dart,
162 And plunge their daggers in his guilty heart.
163 How unavailing now the treasur'd ore
164 That made PERUVIA'S rifled bosom poor!
165 He falls — unpitied, and would vainly buy
166 With ANDES' mines, the tribute of a sigh.
167 Now faint with virtue's toil, LAS CASAS' soul
168 Sought, with exulting hope, her heavenly goal: —
169 But whence descends, in streams of lambent light,
170 That lovely vision on the raptur'd sight?
171 'Tis Sensibility! she stands confest:
172 With trembling step she moves, and panting breast;
173 To yon deserted grave, lo, swift she flies,
174 Where her lov'd victim, mild LAS CASAS lies!
175 I see her deck the solitary haunt
176 With chaplets twin'd from every weeping plant:
177 Its odours soft the simple violet shed,
178 The shrinking lily hung its drooping head;[Page 80]
179 A moaning zephyr sigh'd within the bower,
180 And bent the frail stem of the pliant flower:
181 "Hither," she cried, her melting tone I hear,
182 It vibrates full on fancy's wakeful ear;
183 "Ye to whose yielding hearts my power endears,
184 The transport blended with delicious tears,
185 The bliss that swells to agony the breast,
186 The sympathy that robs the soul of rest;
187 Hither, with fond devotion, pensive come,
188 Kiss the pale shrine, and murmur o'er the tomb;
189 Bend on the hallow'd turf the tearful eye,
190 And breathe the precious incense of a sigh.
191 LAS CASAS' tear has moisten'd misery's grave,
192 His sigh has moan'd the wretch he fail'd to save!
193 He, while conflicting pangs his bosom tear,
194 Has sought the lonely cavern of despair,
195 Where desolate she pin'd, and pour'd her thought
196 To the dread verge of wild distraction wrought.
197 While drops of mercy bath'd his hoary cheek,
198 He pour'd, by heav'n inspir'd, its accents meek;[Page 81]
199 In truth's clear mirror bade the mourner's view
200 Pierce the deep veil which error darkly drew,
201 And vanquish'd empire with a smile resign,
202 While brighter worlds in fair perspective shine."
203 She paus'd — yet still the sweet enthusiast bends
204 O'er the cold turf, and still her tear descends.
205 Ah, weak PERUVIA! oft thy murmur'd sighs,
206 Thy stifled groans in fancy's ear arise;
207 She views, as slow the years of bondage roll,
208 On solemn days*
* The Peruvians have solemn days, on which they assume their ancient dress. Some among them represent a tragedy, the subject of which is the Death of Ataliba; the audience, who begin with shedding tears, are afterwards transported into a kind of madness: it seldom happens in these festivals but that some Spaniard is slain. —Raynal's History. when sorrow mocks controul,
209 Thy captive sons their antique garb assume,
210 And wake remember'd images of gloom.
211 Lo! ATALIBA'S murder'd form appears,
212 The mournful object of eternal tears!
213 Wild o'er the scene indignant glances dart,
214 And pangs convulsive seize the throbbing heart —[Page 82]
215 Distraction soon each burning breast inflames,
216 And from the tyrant foe a victim claims!
217 But now, dispersing desolation's night,
218 A ray benignant cheers my gladden'd sight!
219 A blooming Chieftain of Peruvian race,
220 Whose soaring soul its high descent can trace,
221 The feather'd standard rears on Chili's*
* A descendant of the Incas had there reared the feathered standard, and obtained some victories over the Spaniards; the gold-mines were shut up, and the sound of independence was heard; but independence and hope soon vanished, and it was reserved for the Bolivars of other days to avenge the wrongs of the Peruvians. It was reserved also for Spain to make at present a noble atonement for the past! She has raised an expiatory altar to Liberty over the dungeons of the Inquisition: — may it never be thrown down! May the Old and New World form henceforth an Holy Alliance! And if liberty be menaced in either, may there always be found a Washington in the New World, and a La Fayette in the Old! plain,
222 And leads to glorious strife his gen'rous train.
223 And see, IBERIA bleeds! while Vict'ry twines
224 Her fairest garlands round PERUVIA'S shrines;
225 The gaping wounds of earth disclose no more
226 The lucid silver, and the blazing ore;[Page 83]
227 A brighter radiance gilds the passing hour,
228 While Freedom breaks the rod of lawless power;
229 On Andes' icy steep exulting glows,
230 And prints with rapid step th' eternal snows;
231 While, roll'd in dust her graceful feet beneath,
232 Fades the dark laurel of IBERIA'S wreath! —
233 PERU! the timid muse who mourn'd thy woes,
234 Whom pity robb'd so long of dear repose,
235 The muse whose pensive soul with anguish wrung,
236 Her early lyre for thee has trembling strung;
237 Shed the vain tear, and breath'd the powerless sigh,
238 Which in oblivion with her song must die;
239 Pants with the wish thy deeds may rise to fame;
240 Bright on some high-ton'd harp's immortal frame,
241 While on the string of ecstacy it pours
242 Thy future triumphs o'er unnumber'd shores.