Page images
PDF
EPUB

A path of glory, opening in the west
To golden climes, and islands of the blest;
And human voices, on the silent air,
Went o’er the waves in songs of gladness there !

Chosen of Men !* 'Twas thine, at noon of night, First from the prow to hail the glimmering light;t (Emblem of Truth divine, whose secret ray Enters the soul, and makes the darkness day!) “ PEDRO! RODRIGO !| there, methought, it shone ! There-in the west! and now, alas, 'tis gone! 'Twas all a dream! we gaze and gaze in vain! -But mark and speak not, there it comes again!

* I believe that he was chosen for this great service; and that, because he was to be so truly an apostle, as in effect he proved to be, therefore was his origin obscure; that therein he might resemble those who were called to make known the name of the Lord from seas and rivers, and not from courts and palaces. And I believe also, that, as in most of his doings he was guarded by some special providence, his very name was not without some mystery; for in it is expressed the wonder he performed; inasmuch as he conveyed to a new world the grace of the Holy Ghost, &c.-Hist. c. 1.

+ A light in the midst of darkness, signifying the spiritual light that he came to spread there.-F. Col. c. 22. Herrera, I. i. 12.

Pedro Gutierrez, a Page of the King's Chamber. Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, Comptroller of the Fleet.

K

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?

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

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,

* Signifying to the Infernal Powers (all' infierno todo) the will of the Most High, that they should renounce a world over which they had tyrannised for so many ages.- Ovalle, iv. 5.

t“ This country excels all others, as far as the day surpasses the night in splendour.– Nor is there a better people in the world. They love their neighbour as themselves; their conversation is the sweetest imaginable, their faces always smiling; and so gentle, so affectionate are they, that I swear to your Highnesses,” &c.—Hist. c. 30, 33.

| Dryades formosissimas, aut nativas fontium nymphas de quibus fabulatur antiquitas, se vidisse arbitrati sunt.-P. Mar. tyr, dec. i. lib. v.

And an eminent Painter of the present day, when he first saw the Apollo of the Belvidere, was struck with its resemblance to an American warrior.-West's discourses in the Royal Academy, 1794.

Spring from the glades, and down the alleys peep,
Then head-long rush, bounding from stcep 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,

* So, in like manner, when Cortes and his companions appeared at the gates of Mexico, the young exclaimed, “ They are Gods !' while the old shook their heads, saying, ' They are those of whom the Prophets spake; and they are come to reign over us!'-Herrera.

“ The Cacique came to the shore in a sort of palanquinattended by his ancient men.—The gifts, which he received from me, were afterwards carried before him.”—Hist. c. 32.

« PreviousContinue »