« PreviousContinue »
It moves !—what form unseen, what being there
With torch-like lustre fires the murky air ?
His instincts, passions, say, how like our own?
Oh! when will day reveal a world unknown ?”
Long on the deep the mists of morning lay,
Then rose, revealing, as they rolled away,
Half-circling hills, whose everlasting woods
Sweep with their sable skirts the shadowy floods :
And say, when all, to holy transport given,
Embraced and wept as at the gates of Heaven,
When one and all of us, repentant, ran,
And, on our faces, blessed the wondrous Man ;
Say, was I then deceived, or from the skies
Burst on my ear seraphic harmonies?
Glory to God !” unnumbered voices sung, Glory to God!" the vales and mountains rung,
Voices that hailed Creation's primal morn,
And to the shepherds sung a Saviour born.
Slowly, bare-headed, thro' the surf we bore The sacred cross, and, kneeling, kissed the shore. But what a scene was there! Nymphs of romance, Youths graceful as the Faun, with eager glance, Spring from the glades, and down the alleys peep, Then headlong rush, bounding from steep to steep, And clap their hands, exclaiming as they run, “Come and behold the Children of the Sun !" When hark, a signal-shot! The voice, it came Over the sea in darkness and in flame! They saw, they heard ; and up the highest hill, As in a picture, all at once were still! Creatures so fair, in garments strangely wrought, From citadels, with Heaven's own thunder fraught, Checked their light footsteps-statue-like they stood As worshipped forms, the Genii of the Wood!
At length the spell dissolves! The warrior's lance Rings on the tortoise with wild dissonance ! And see, the regal plumes, the couch of state ! Still where it moves the wise in council wait!
See now borne forth the monstrous mask of gold,
And ebon chair of many a serpent-fold ;
These now exchanged for gifts that thrice surpass
The wondrous ring, and lamp, and horse of brass.
What long-drawn tube transports the gazer home,
Kindling with stars at noon the ethereal dome?
'Tis here: and here circles of solid light
Charm with another self the cheated sight;
As man to man another self disclose,
That now with terror starts, with triumph glows !
Cora—Luxuriant Vegetation—the Humming-bird—the Fountain
THEN Cora came, the youngest of her race,
And in her hands she hid her lovely face ;
Yet oft by stealth a timid glance she cast,
And now with playful step the Mirror passed,
Each bright reflection brighter than the last !
And oft behind it few, and oft before ;
The more she searched, pleased and perplexed the
And look'd and laugh’d, and blush'd with quick sur
Her lips all mirth, all ecstasy her eyes!
But soon the telescope attracts her view;
And lo, her lover in his light canoe
Rocking, at noon-tide, on the silent sea,
Before her lies! It cannot, cannot be.
Late as he left the shore, she lingered there,
Till, less and less, he melted into air ! -
Sigh after sigh steals from her gentle frame,
And say—that murmur—was it not his name?
She turns, and thinks; and, lost in wild amaze,
Gazes again, and could for ever gaze!
Nor can thy flute, Alonso, now excite
As in VALENCIA, when, with fond delight,
FRANCISCA, waking, to the lattice flew,
So soon to love and to be wretched too!
Hers thro' a convent-grate to send her last adieu.
-Yet who now comes uncalled ; and round and round,
And near and nearer flutters to the sound
Then stirs not, breathes not-on enchanted ground?
Who now lets fall the flowers she culled to wear
When he, who promised, should at eve be there;
And faintly smiles, and hangs her head aside
The tear that glistens on her cheek to hide!
Ah, who but Cora ?—till inspired, possessed,
At once she springs, and clasps it to her breast !
Soon from the bay the mingling crowd ascends,
Kindred first met! by sacred instinct Friends!
Thro' citron-groves, and fields of yellow maize,
Thro' plantain-walks where not a sunbeam plays.
Here blue savannas fade into the sky,
There forests frown in midnight majesty ;
Ceiba, and Indian fig, and plane sublime,
Nature's first-born, and reverenced by Time!
There sits the bird that speaks! there, quivering, rise
Wings that reflect the glow of evening skies!
Half bird, half fly, the fairy king of flowers
Reigns there, and revels thro' the fragrant hours ;
Gem full of life, and joy, and song divine,
Soon in the virgin's graceful ear to shine.
'Twas he that sung, if ancient Fame speaks truth, “Come! follow, follow to the Fount of Youth ! I quaff the ambrosial mists that round it rise, Dissolved and lost in dreams of Paradise !" For there called forth, to bless a happier hour, It met the sun in many a rainbow-shower!