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'Twas there that now, as wont in heaven to shine,
Forms of angelic mould and grace divine
Assembled. All, exiled the realms of rest,
In vain the sadness of their souls suppressed ;
Yet of their glory many a scattered ray
Shot thro' the gathering shadows of decay.
Each moved a God; and all, as Gods, possessed
One half the globe ; from pole to pole confessed !
Oh could I now-but how in mortal verse-
Their numbers, their heroic deeds rehearse!
These in dim shrines and barbarous symbols reign,
Where PLATA and MARAGNON meet the Main.
Those the wild hunter worships as he roves,
In the green shade of Chili's fragrant groves;
Or warrior-tribes with rites of blood implore,
Whose night-fires gleam along the sullen shore
Of HURON or ONTARIO, inland seas,
What time the song of death is in the breeze!
'Twas now in dismal pomp and order due, While the vast concave flashed with lightnings blue, On shining pavements of metallic ore, That many an age the fusing sulphur bore, They held high council. All was silence round, When, with a voice most sweet yet most profound,
A sovereign Spirit burst the gates of night,
And from his wings of gold shook drops of liquid light!
MERION, commissioned with his host to sweep
From age to age the melancholy deep!
Chief of the ZEMI, whom the Isles obeyed,
By Ocean severed from a world of shade.
• Prepare, again prepare,”
Thus o'er the soul the thrilling accents came,
“ Thrones to resign for lakes of living flame,
And triumph for despair.
He, on whose call afflicting thunders wait,
Has willed it; and his will is fate!
In vain the legions, emulous to save,
Hung in the tempest o'er the troubled main; Turned each presumptuous prow that broke the wave,
And dashed it on its shores again. All is fulfilled! Behold, in close array, What mighty banners stream in the bright track of day!
“No voice as erst shall in the desert rise Nor ancient, dread solemnities
With scorn of death the trembling tribes inspire.
Wreaths for the Conqueror's brow the victims bind !
Yet, tho' we fled yon firmament of fire,
Still shall we fly, all hope of rule resigned ?”
He spoke; and all was silence, all was night! Each had already winged his formidable flight.
“Ah, why look back, tho' all is left behind ?
No sounds of life are stirring in the wind.-
And you, ye birds, winging your passage home,
are! We know not where we roam.
We go," they cried, “ go to return no more;
Nor ours, alas, the transport to explore
A human footstep on a desert shore !"
-Still, as beyond this mortal life impelled
By some mysterious energy, He held
His everlasting course. Still self-possessed,
High on the deck He stood, disdaining rest ;
(His amber chain the only badge he bore,
His mantle blue such as his fathers wore)
Fathomed, with searching hand, the dark profound,
And scattered hope and glad assurance round;
Tho', like some strange portentous dream, the Past
Still hovered, and the cloudless sky o'ercast.
At daybreak might the Caravels* be seen,
Chasing their shadows o'er the deep serene;
Their burnished prows lashed by the sparkling tide,
Their green-cross standards waving far and wide.
And now once more to better thoughts inclined,
The seaman, mounting, clamoured in the wind.
The soldier told his tales of love and war;
The courtier sung—sung to his gay guitar.
Round, at Primero, sate a whiskered band;
So Fortune smiled, careless of sea or land!
LEON, MONTALVAN, (serving side by side ;
Two with one soul—and, as they lived, they died)
Vasco the brave, thrice found among the slain,
Thrice, and how soon, up and in arms again,
As soon to wish he had been sought in vain ;
Chained down in Fez, beneath the bitter thong,
To the hard bench and heavy oar so long!
* Light vessels, formerly used by the Spaniards and Portuguese.
ALBERT of FLORENCE, who, at twilight-time,
In my rapt ear poured Dante's tragic rhyme,
Screened by the sail as near the mast we lay,
Our nights illumined by the ocean-spray ;
And MANFRED, who espoused with jewelled ring
Young Isabel, then left her sorrowing:
LERMA 'the generous,' Avila 'the proud ;'
VELASQUEZ, GARCIA, thro' the echoing crowd
Traced by their mirth—from EBro's classic shore,
From golden Tavo, to return no more !
Yet who but He undaunted could explore
A world of waves, a sea without a shore,
Trackless and vast and wild as that revealed
When round the Ark the birds of tempest wheeled ;
When all was still in the destroying hour-
No sign of man! no vestige of his power!