« PreviousContinue »
And you, ye birds, winging your passage home,
-Still, as beyond this mortal life impell’a
At day-break might the Caravels? be seen, Chasing their shadows o'er the deep serene; Their burnishid prows lash'd by the sparkling tide, Their green-cross standards3 waving far and wide. And now once more to better thoughts inclined, The sea-man, mounting, clamour'd in the wind. The soldier (24) told his tales of love and war; The courtier sung-sung to bis gay guitar. Round, at Primero, sate a whisker'd band; So Fortune smiled, careless of sca or land! (25) 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, Chain'd down in Fez, beneath the bitter thong, To the hard bench and heavy oar so long! Albert of Florence, whio, at twilight-time, In my rapi car pourd Dante's tragic rhyme, Screen'd by the sail as near the mast we lay, Our nights illumined by the occan-spray; And Manfred, who espoused with jewell'd ring Young Isabel, then left her sorrowing: Lerma « the generous,» Avila « ihe proud ; » 4 Velasquez, Garcia, through the echoing crowd Traced by their mirth—from Ebro's classic shore, From golden Tajo, to return no more!
Then sunk his generous spirit, and he wept. The friend, the father rose; the hero slept. Palos, thy port, with many a pang resign'd, Fill'd with its busy scenes his lonely mind; The solemn march, the vows in concert given, (27) The bended knees and lifted hands to heaven, The incensed rites, and choral harmonies, The Guardian's blessings mingling with his sighs ; While his dear boys-ah, on his neck they hung, (28) And long at parting to his garments clung.
Oft in the silent night-watch doubt and fear Broke in uncertain murmurs on his car. Oft the stern Catalan, at noon of day, Mutter'd dark threats, and linger'd to obey; Though that brave Youth—he, whom his courser bore Right through the midst, when, fetlock-deep in gore, The
great Gonzalo (29) battled with the Moor (What time the Alhambra shook-soon to unfold Its sacred courts, and fountains yet untold, Its holy texts and arabesques of gold), Though Roldan, (30) sleep and death to him alike, Grasp'd his good sword and half unsheathed to strikc. « Oh born to wander with your flocks," he cried, And bask and dream along the mountain-side ; To urge your mules, tinkling from hill to hill; Or at the vintage-feast to drink yoår fill, And strike your castanets, with gipsy-maid Dancing Fandangos in the chesnut shadeCome on,, he cried, and threw his glove in scorn, • Not this your wonted pledge, the brimming horn, Valiant in peace! adventurous at home! Oh, had ye vowed with pilgrim-staff to roam; Or with banditti sought the shelteriny wood, Where mouldering crosses mark the scene of blood !-He said, he drew; then, at his Master's frown, Sullcnly sheathed, plunging the weapon down.
The Voyage continued. Yet who but He undaunted could explore (26) A world of waves, a sea without a shore, Trackless and vast and wild as that reveala When round the Ark the birds of tempest wheel'd; When all was still in the destroying hourNo sign of man! no vestage of his power! One at the stern before the hour-glass stood, As 't were to count the sands; one o'er the flood Gazed for St Elmo ;5 while another cried • Once more good morrow!, and sate down and sigh’d. Day, when it came, came only with its light; Though long invoked, 't was sadder than the night! Look where He would, for ever as He turn'd, He met the eye of one that inly mourn'd.
F. Columbus, c. 33. a Light vessels, formerly used by the Spaniards and Portuguese. * F. Columbus, c. 23. • Many such appellations occur in Bernal Diaz. c. 204. . A luminous appearance of good omen.
The flight of an Angel of Darkness. War with the Great in War let others sing, Havoc and spoil, and tears and triumphing, The morning-march that flashes to the sun, The feast of vultures when the day is done; And the strange tale of many slain for one! I sing a Man, amidst his sufferings here, Who watch'd and served in humbleness and fear; Gentle to others, to himself severe.
Still unsubdued by Danger's varying form, Still, as unconscious of the coming storm, He look'd elate; and, with his wonted smile, On the great Ordinance leaning, would beguile The hour with talk. His board, his mien sublime, Shadow'd hy Age-hy Age before the time,' From many a sorrow borne in many a clime, Moved
And now in opener skies Stars yet unnamed of purer radiance rise! Stars, milder suns, that love a shade to cast, And on the bright wave fling the trembling mast! Another firmament! the orbs that roll, Singly or clustering, round the Southern pole! Not yet the four that glorify the Night
IF. Col. c. 3.
Ah, how forget when to my ravish'd sight
(That in the aisles at midnight haunt me still, The Cross shone forth in everlasting light! (31) Turning my lonely thoughts from good to ill)
'T was the mid hour, when He, whose accents dread • Were there no graves-none in our land, they cry,
Silent with sorrow, long within his cloak
His face he muffled-then the Hero spoke.
Why shake at shadows in your mid career ?
The glorious privilege to serve mankind !
Clung to the shatter'd oar 'mid wrecks of flame! From the Antarctic, from the Land of Fire
- Was it for this I lingered life away, To where Alaska's wintry wilds retire ; (34)
The scorn of Folly, and of Fraud the prey ; (44) From mines of gold, (35) and giant-sons of earth, Bow'd down my mind, the gift His bounty gave, To grots of ice, and tribes of pigmy birth
At courts a suitor, and to slaves a slave? Who freeze alive, nor, dead, in dust repose,
-Yet in His name whom only we should fear High-hung in forests to the casing snows. (36)
("T is all, all I shall ask, or you shall hear), Now 'mid angelic multitudes he flies,
Grant but three days — He spoke not uninspired ; (45)
At length among us came an unknown Voice!
« Go, if ye will; and, if ye can, rejoice. Then, like a meteor, shooting to the main,
Go, with unbidden guests the banquet share; Melts into pure intelligence again.
In his own shape shall Death receive you there.» (46)
A mutiny excited.
Then the long line found rest—in coral groves
Silent and dark, where the sea-lion roves :Hope fled for ever, and with Hope fled Fear.
And all on deck, kindling to life again, Blest with each gift indulgent Fortune sends,
Sent forth their anxious spirits o'er the main. Birth and its rights, wealth and its train of friends, • Oh whence, as wafted from Elysium, whence Star-like he shone! Now beggar'd and alone,
These perfumes, strangers to the raptured sense?
These boughs of gold, and fruits of heavenly hue,
Whose cunning carved this vegetable bowl,
Symbol of social rites, and intercourse of soul?»
Such to their grateful ear the gush of springs,
'Mid kneeling camels round the sacred well; On yonder cliffs beckoning their fellow-prey,
Who, ere the terrors of his pomp be past, The spectres stalk, and murmur at delay!
Fall to the demon in the redd'ning blast.” - Yet if thou canst (not for myself I plead!
The sails were furld : with many a melting close, Mine but to follow where 't is thine to lead)
Solemn and slow the evening-anthem rose, Oh turn and save! To thee, with streaming eyes,
Rose to the Virgin. (47) 'T was the hour of day,
When setting suns o'er summer-seas display
To golden climes, and islands of the blest ;
And human voices, on the silent air, These climb the mast, and shift the swelling sail.
Went o'er the waves in songs of gladness there! These snatch the helm; and round me now I hear
Chosen of Men! (48) t' was thine, at noon of night, Smiting of hands, out-cries of grief and fear,
First from the prow to hail the glimmering light ; (49)
"Ex ligno lucido confectum, et arte mira laboratum. P. Martyr. 'Tierra del Fuego
dec. i, 5.
a The Simoom.
(Emblem of Truth divine, whose secret ray Enters the soul, and makes the darkness day!)
CANTO X. • Pedro! Rodrigo! (50) there, methought it shone! There in the west' and now, alas, 't is gone!
Cora--luxuriant Vegetation-the Humming-bird--the Fountain of 'T was all a dream! we gaze and gaze in vain!
Taen Cora came, the youngest of her race,
And in her bands she hid her lovely face; His instincts, passions, say, how like our own?
Yet oft by stealth a timid glance she cast,
And now with playful step the Mirror pass'd,
And oft behind it flew, and oft before;
The more she search'd, pleased and perplex'd the more!
ller lips all mirth, all ecstasy her eyes! Long on the wave the morning-mists reposed,
But soon the telescope attracts her view; Then broke--and, melting into light, disclosed
And lo, her lover in his light canoe Half-circling hills, whose everlasting woods
Rocking, at noon-tide, on the silent sca, Sweep with their sable skirts the shadowy floods :
Before her lies! It cannot, cannot be. And say, when all, to holy transport given,
Late as he left the shore, she linger'd there, Embraced and wept as at the gates of licaven,
Till, less and less, he melted into air!When one and all of us, repentant, ran,
Sigh after sigh steals from her gentle frame, And, on our faces, bless'd the wondrous Man ;
And said that murmur-was it not his namc? Say, was I then deceived, or from the skies
She turns, and thinks; and, lost in wild amaze, Burst on my ear seraphic harmonies ?
Gazes again, and could for ever gaze! « Glory to God!» unnumbered voices sung,
Nor can thy tlute, Alonso, now excite, Glory to God!» the vales and mountains rung,
As in Valencia, when, with fond delight, Voices that hail'd Creation's primal morn,
Francisca, waking, to the lattice flew, And to the shepherds sung a Saviour born.
So soon to love and to be wretched too! Slowly, bare-beaded, through the surf we bore
Hers through a convent grate to send her last adieu. The sacred cross, (51) and, kneeling, kiss'd the shore.
- Yet who now comes uncall'd; and round and round, But what a scene was there? (52) Nymphs of romance, (53) And near and nearer flutters to its sound; Youths graceful as the Faun, with eager glance,
Then stirs not, breathes not-on enchanted ground? Spring from the glades, and down the alleys peep,
Who now lets fall the flowers she cullid to wear Then licad-long rush, bounding from stecp to steep,
When he, who promised, should al cve be there; And clap their hands, exclaiming as they run,
And faintly smiles, and hangs her head aside • Come and behold the Children of the Sun!,
The tear that glistens on her cheek to hide! When hark, a signal-sliot! The voice, it came
Ah, who but Cora ?- till inspired, possess'd, Over the sea in darkness and in flame!
At once she springs, and clasps it to her breast! They saw, they heard ; and up the highest hill,
Soon from the bay the mingling crowd ascends, As in a picture, all at once were still!
Kindred first met! by sacred instinct Friends! Creatures so fair, in garments strangely wrought,
Through citron-groves, and fields of yellow maize (57), From citadels, with Heaven's own thunder fraught,
Throu;la plantain-walks where not a sun-beam plays. Check'd their light footsteps-statue-like they stood,
Here blue savannas fade into the sky, As worshipp'd forms, the Genii of the Wood!
There forests frown in midnight majesty; Ar length the spell dissolves! The warrior's lance
Ceiba, (58) and Indian fig, and plane sublime, Rings on the tortoise with wild dissonance!
Nature's first-born, and reverenced by Time! the regal plumes, the couch of state! (54) There sits the bird that speaks! (59) there, quivering Still, where it moves, the wise in council wait!
rise See now borne forth the monstrous mask of gold,
Wings that reflect the glow of evening skies ! And ebon chair' of many a serpent-fold ;
Dalf bird, half fly, (60) the fairy king of flowers (61) Thiese now exchanged for gifts that thrice surpass
Reigns there, and revels (62) through the fragrant hours; The wond'rous ring, and lamp, and horse of br.iss. (55) Gem full of life, and joy, and song divine, What long-drawn tube (56) transports the gazer home, Soon in the virgin's graceful ear to shine. (63) Kindling with stars at noon the ethereal dome?
'T was he that
if ancient fame speaks trutlı, 'T is here: and here circles of solid light?
• Come! follow, follow to the Fount of Youth! Charm with another self the cheated sight;
I quaff the ambrosial mists that round it rise, As man to man another self disclose,
Dissolved and lost in dreams of Paradise!, That now with terror starts, with triumph glows! For there called forth, to bless a happier hour,
It met the sun in many a rainbow-shower! 'F. Columbus, c. 28. apil 34. :F. Columbus, c. 69.
Murmuring delight, its living waters rolla
That night, transported, with a sigh I said
'T is all a dream!»--Now, like a dream, 't is fled;
And I alonc remain to watch and pray!
Yet oft in darkness, on my bed of straw,
Oft I awake and think on what I saw!
Who among us a life of sorrow spent, (72)
Still, if the time allow'd! My hour draws near;
But fe will prompt me when I faint with fear,
- Alas, He hears me not! He cannot liear!
Twice the Moon fill'd her silver urn with light,
He, who unfix'd the compass, and assigu'd
O'er the wild waves a pathway to the wind;
Signs like the ethereal bow-that shall endure!(73)
As he descended through the upper air,
Day broke on day as God himself were there!
He stood, and thus his secret soul address'd :(74)
* The wind recalls thee; its still voice obey,
Millions await thy coming; hence, away.
To thee blest tidings of great joy consign'd,
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! though assembling in the fields of air,
Not then to leave Thee! to their vengeance cast,
To other eyes shall Mexico unfold
There destined soon rich argosies to ride.
Hung in thy chamber, buried in thy grave! (78)
Thy reverend form, (79) to time and grief a prey, And Cora's self, in pride of beauty here,
A phantom wandering in the light of day! Trembles with grief and joy, and hope and fear!
• What though thy grey hairs to the dust descend, (She who, the fairest, ever flew the first,
Their scent shall track thee, track thee to the end ; *
And on his world inscribed another's name!
" P. Martyr, Epist. 133, 153.
See the Eumenides of Æschylus, v. 305, etc. " P. Martyr, dee. i, 5.
· P. Martyr, dec, iii, c. 7. 3 Clavigero, VII, 52. 3 Rochefort, c. II.
* See the Eumenides, v. 246.
These gardens of the sun, sacred to song,
Not thine the olive, but the sword to bring,
peace, but war! Yet from these shores shall spring Peace without end;' from these, with blood defiled, Spread the pure spirit of thy Master mild ! Here, in His train, shall arts and arms attend, (83) Arts to adorn, and arms but to defend. Assembling here, (84) all nations shall be blest; The sad be comforted; the weary rest : Untouch'd shall drop the fetters from the slave; (85) And He shall rule the world he died to save!
« Hence, and rejoice. The glorious work is done. A spark is thrown that shall eclipse the sun! And though bad men shall long thy course pursue, As erst the ravening brood o'er chaos flew, ' lle, whom I serve, shall vindicate his reign; 'The spoiler spoild of all; (86) the slayer slain; (87) The tyrani's self, oppressing and opprest, 'Mid gems and gold unenvied and unblest : (88). While to the starry sphere thy name shall rise, (Not there unsung thy generous enterprise!) Thine in all hearts to dwell-by Fame enshrined, With those the Few, that live but for Mankind : Thine evermore, transcendant happiness! World beyond world to visit and to bless.»
On the two last leaves, and written in another hand, are some stanzas in the romance or ballad measure of the Spaniards. The subject is an adventure soon related.
Thy lonely watch-lower, Larenille,
habiliment Two Strangers at the Convent-gate. They ascended by steps hewn out in the rock; and, having asked for admittance, were lodged there.
Brothers in arms the Guests appear'd;
An image of St Jobn be wore. The Eldest had a rougher aspect, and there was craft in his eye. He stood a little behind in a long black mantle, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword; and his white hat and white shoes glittered in the moonshine. 5
The Eldest swore by our Lady, 6 the Youngest by his conscience; 7 while the Franciscan, sitting by in his grey habit, turned away and crossed himself again and again. Here is a little book,, said he at last, – the work of him in his shroud below. It tells of things you have mentioned; and, were Cortes and Pizarro here, it might perhaps make them reflect for a moment., The Youngest smiled as he took it into his hand. He read it aloud to his companion with an unfaltering voice; but, when he laid it down, a silence ensued; nor was he seen to smile again that night. 8 « The curse is heavy,» said he at parting, « but Cortes may live lo disappoint it.» • Aye, and Pizarro too !,
Not here unwelcome, tho' unknown.
Enter and rest! tbe Friar said. * See Washington's farewell-address to his fellow-citizens. See Paradise Lost, X.
3 The Convent of Rábida. * See Bernal Diaz, c. 203; and also a well-known portrait of Cortes, ascribed to Titian. Cortes was now in the 43d, Pizarro in the both year of his age.
5 Augustin, Zaratė, lib. iv, c. 9.
* A circnmstance, recorded by Herrera, renders this visit not im-
* Late Superior of the House.
3 The words of the epitaph. « A Castilia ya Leon nuevo Mundo dio
. B. Diaz, c. 203.