« PreviousContinue »
Who now danced forth to strew our path with flowers,
And hymn our welcome to celestial bowers.
There odorous lamps adorned the festal rite,
And guavas blushed as in the vales of light.
There silent sate many an unbidden Guest,
Whose steadfast looks a secret dread impressed;
Not there forgot the sacred fruit that fed
At nightly feasts the Spirits of the Dead,
Mingling in scenes that mirth to mortals give,
But by their sadness known from those that live.
There met, as erst, within the wonted grove,
Unmarried girls and youths that died for love!
Sons now beheld their ancient sires again;
And sires, alas, their sons in battle slain !
But whence that sigh? 'Twas from a heart that broke! And whence that voice? As from the grave it spoke! And who, as unresolved the feast to share, Sits half-withdrawn in faded splendour there? 'Tis he of yore, the warrior and the sage, Whose lips have moved in prayer from age to age; Whose eyes, that wandered as in search before, Now on COLUMBUS fixed—to search no more! Cazziva, gifted in his day to know The gathering signs of a long night of woe; Gifted by Those who give but to enslave; No rest in death! no refuge in the grave!
* P. Martyr. dec. i. 5.
- With sudden spring as at the shout of war,
He flies ! and, turning in his flight, from far
Glares thro' the gloom like some portentous star!
Unseen, unheard! Hence, Minister of Ill!
Hence, 'tis not yet the hour! tho' come it will!
They that foretold—too soon shall they fulfil;
When forth they rush as with the torrent's sweep,
And deeds are done that make the Angels weep!
Hark, o'er the busy mead the shell proclaims
Triumphs, and masques, and high heroic games.
And now the old sit round; and now the young
Climb the green boughs, the murmuring doves among.
Who claims the prize, when winged feet contend;
When twanging bows the flaming arrows send ? +
Who stands self-centred in the field of fame,
And, grappling, flings to earth a giant's frame?
Whilst all, with anxious hearts and eager eyes,
Bend as he bends, and, as he rises, rise !
And Cora's self, in pride of beauty here,
Trembles with grief and joy, and hope and fear!
(She who, the fairest, ever flew the first,
With cup of balm to quench his burning thirst;
Knelt at his head, her fan-leaf in her hand,
And hummed the air that pleased him, while she fanned)
How blest his lot!--tho', by the Muse unsung,
His name shall perish, when his knell is rung.
* P. Martyr, dec. iii. c. 7. + Rochefort. c. xx.
That night, transported, with a sigh I said “ 'Tis all a dream!"-Now, like a dream, 'tis fled; And many and many a year has passed away, And I alone remain to watch and pray! Yet oft in darkness, on my bed of straw, Oft I awake and think on what I saw! The groves, the birds, the youths, the nymphs recall, And Cora, loveliest, sweetest of them all!
STILL would I speak of Him before I went,
Who among us a life of sorrow spent,
And, dying, left a world his monument;
Still, if the time allowed! My Hour draws near;
But He will prompt me when I faint with fear.
Alas, He hears me not! He cannot hear!
Twice the Moon filled her silver urn with light.
Then from the Throne an Angel winged his flight;
He, who unfixed the compass, and assigned
O'er the wild waves a pathway to the wind;
Who, while approached by none but Spirits pure,
Wrought, in his progress thro' the dread obscure,
Signs like the ethereal bow—that shall endure !
As he descended thro' the upper air,
Day broke on day as God Himself were there!
Before the great Discoverer, laid to rest,
He stood, and thus his secret soul addressed.
“ The wind recalls thee; its still voice obey.
Millions await thy coming; hence, away.
To thee blest tidings of great joy consigned,
Another Nature, and a new Mankind !
The vain to dream, the wise to doubt shall cease;
Young men be glad, and old depart in peace ! *
Hence! tho' assembling in the fields of air,
Now, in a night of clouds, thy Foes prepare
To rock the globe with elemental wars,
And dash the floods of ocean to the stars;
To bid the meek repine, the valiant weep,
And Thee restore thy Secret to the Deep!
“ Not then to leave Thee! to their vengeance cast, Thy heart their aliment, their dire repast! +
To other eyes shall Mexico unfold
Her feathered tapestries, and roofs of gold.
To other eyes, from distant cliff descried, .
Shall the Pacific roll his ample tide;
There destined soon rich argosies to ride.
Chains thy reward! beyond the ATLANTIC wave
Hung in thy chamber, buried in thy grave!
Thy reverend form to time and grief a prey,
A phantom wandering in the light of day!
" What tho' thy grey hairs to the dust descend, Their scent shall track thee, track thee to the end ; #
* P. Martyr, Epist. 133. 152. + See the Eumenides of Æschylus, v. 305, &c. Ibid. v. 246.