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The son of Llaian. A cold air comes out;-
It chills him, and his feet recoil;-in vain
His feet recoil;-in vain he turns to fly,
Affrighted at the sudden gloom that spreads
Around ;—the den is closed, and he is left
In solitude and darkness, left to die!

XIII. Coatcl.

That morn from Aztlan Coatel had gone,
In search of flowers amid the woods and crags,
To deck the shrine of Coatlantona;
Such flowers as in the solitary wilds
Hiding their modest beauty, made their worth
More valued for its rareness. "T was to her
A grateful task; not only for she fled
Those cruel rites, to which nor reverent use
Nor frequent custom could familiarize
Her gentle heart, and teach it to put off
All womanly feeling;-but that from all eyes
Escaped, and all obtrusive fellowship,
She, in that solitude, might send her soul
To where Lincoya with the Strangers dwelt.
She, from the summit of the woodland heights,
Gazed on the lake below. The sound of song
And instrument, in soften’d harmony,
Had reach'd her where she stray'd; and she beheld
The pomp, and listen'd to the floating sounds,
A moment, with delight: but then a fear
Came on her, for she knew with what design
The Tyger and Ocellopan had sought
The dwellings of the Cymry–Now the boats
Drew nearer, and she knew the Stranger's child.
She watch'd them land below; she saw them wind
The ascent:—and now from that abhorred cave
The stone is roll'd away, and now the child
From light and life is cavern'd. Coatel
Thought of his mother then, of all the ills
Her fear would augur, and how worse than all
Which even a mother's maddening fear could feign,
His dreadful fate. She thought of this, and bow'd
Her face upon her knees, and closed her eyes,
Shuddering. Suddenly in the brake beside,
A rustling startled her, and from the shrubs,
A vulture rose.

She moved toward the spot,
Led by an idle impulse, as it seem’d,
To view from whence the carrion bird had fled.
The bushes overhung a narrow chasm
Which pierced the hill: upon its mossy sides
Shade-loving herbs and slowers luxuriant grew:
And jutting crags made easy the descent.
A little way descending, Contel
Stoop'd for the flowers, and heard, or thought she heard,
A feeble sound below. She raised her head,
And anxiously she listencá for the sound,
Not without fear—Feebly again, and like
A distant cry, it came; and then she thought,
Perhaps it was the voice of that poor child,
By the slow pain of hunger doom'd to die.
She shudder'd at the thought, and breathed a groan
Of unavailing pity;-but the sound
Canne nearer, and her trembling heart conceived

A dangerous hope. The Vulture from that chasm
Had fled, perchance accustom'd in the cave
To seek his banquet, and by living feet
Alarm'd:—there was an entrance then below;
And were it possible that she could save
The Stranger's child,—Oh what a joy it were
To tell Lincoya that!
It was a thought
Which made her heart with terror and delight
Throb audibly. From crag to crag she past
Descending, and beheld a narrow cave
Enter the hill. A little way the light
Fell,—but its feeble glimmering she herself
Obstructed half, as stooping in she went.
The arch grew loftier, and the increasing gloom
Filled her with more affright; and now she paused;
For at a sudden and abrupt descent
She stood, and feared its unseen depth; her heart
Failed, and she back had hastened; but the cry
Reached her again, the near and certain cry
Of that most pitiable innocent.
Again adown the dark descent she looked,
Straining her eyes; by this the strengthened sight
Had grown adapted to the gloom around,
And her dilated pupils now received
Dim sense of objects near. Something below,
White, in the darkness lay : it marked the depth.
Still Coatel stood dubious; but she heard
The wailing of the child, and his loud sobs;–
Then, clinging to the rock, with fearful hands,
Her feet explored below, and twice she felt
Firm footing, ere her fearful hold relaxed.
The sound she made, along the hollow rock
Ran echoing. Hoel heard it, and he came
Groping along the side. A dim, dim light
Broke on the darkness of his sepulchre; .
A human form drew near him ;—he sprang on,
Screaming with joy, and clung to Coatel,
And cried, O take me from this dismal place!
She answered not; she understood him not;
But clasped the little victim to her breast,
And shed delightful tears.
But from that den
Of darkness and of horror, Coatel
Durst not convey the child, though in her heart
There was a female tenderness which yearned,
Even with maternal love, to cherish him.
She hushed his clamours, fearful lest the sound
Might reach some other ear; she kissed away
The tears that streamed adown his little cheeks;
She gave him food which in the morn she brought,
For her own wants from Aztlan. Some few words
Of Britain's ancient language she had learnt
From her Lincoya, in those happy days
Of peace, when Aztlan was the Stranger's friend:
Aptly she learnt, what willingly he taught,
Terms of endearment, and the parting words
which promised quick return. She on the child
the endearing phrase bestowed; and if it chanced
Imperfect knowledge, or some difficult sound
Checked her heart's utterance, then the gentle tone,
The fond caress, intelligibly spake
Affection's language.
But when she arose,
And would have climbed the ascent, the affrighted boy
Close clasped her, and his tears interpreted

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Who comes to Aztlan, bounding like a deer
Along the plain –The herald of success;
For lo! his locks are braided, and his loins
Cinctured with white; and see, he lifts the shield,
And brandishes the sword. The populace
Flock round, impatient for the tale of joy,
And follow to the palace in his path.
Joy! joy! the Tiger hath achieved his quest
They bring a captive home!—Triumphantly
Coanocotzin and his Chiefs go forth
To greet the youth triumphant, and receive
The victim whom the gracious gods have given,
Sure omen and first fruits of victory.
A woman leads the train, young, beautiful,—
More beautiful for that translucent joy
Flushing her cheek, and sparkling in her eye;—
Her hair is twined with festal flowers, her robe
With flowing wreaths adorned; she holds a child,
He, too, bedecked and garlanded with flowers,
And, lifting him, with agile force of arm,
In graceful action, to harmonious step
Accordant, leads the dance. It is the wife
Of Tlalala, who, with his child, goes forth
To meet her hero husband.

And behold
The Tiger comes 1 and ere the shouts and sounds
Of gratulation cease, his followers bear
The captive Prince. At that so welcome sight
Loud rose the glad acclaim; nor knew they yet
That he who there lay patient in his bonds,
Expecting the inevitable lot,
Was Madoc. Patient in his bonds he lay,
Exhausted with vain efforts, desperate now,
And silently resigned. But when the King
Approached the prisoner, and beheld his face,
And knew the Chief of Strangers, at that sound
Electric joy shot through the multitude,
And, like the raging of the hurricane,
Their thundering transports pealed. A deeper joy,
A nobler triumph kindled Tlalala,
As, limb by limb, his eye surveyed the Prince,
With a calm fierceness. And by this the Priests
Approached their victim, clad in vestments white
Of sacrifice, which from the shoulders fell,
As from the breast unbending, broad and straight
Leaving their black arms bare. The blood-red robe,
The turquoise pendant from his down-drawn lip,
The crown of glossy plumage, whose green hue
Vied with his emerald ear-drops, marked their Chicf,
Tezozomoc: his thin and ghastly cheek,
Which,-save the temple serpents, 47 when he brought
Their human banquet, never living eye
Rejoiced to see, became more ghastly now,

As, in Mexitli's name, upon the Prince
He laid his murthcrous hand. But as he spake,
Updarted Tlalala his eagle glance—
Away! away! he shall not perish so!
The warrior cried—Not tamely, by the knife,
Nor on the jasper-stone, his blood shall flow !
The Gods of Aztlan love a Warrior Priest'
I am their Priest to-day!

A murmuring
Ran through the train; nor waited he to hear
Denial thence; but on the multitude
Aloud he called—When first our fathers seized
This land, there was a savage Chief who stopt
Their progress. He had gained the rank he bore,
By long probation: stripes, which laid his flesh
All bleeding bare, had forced not one complaint;
Not, when the working bowels might be seen,
One movement: hand-bound, he had been confined
Where myriad insects on his nakedness
Infixed their venomous anger, and no start,
No shudder, shook his frame : 4° last, in a net
Suspended, he had felt the agony
Of fire, which to his bones and marrow pierced,
And breathed the suffocating smoke which filled
His lungs with fire, without a groan, a breatlı,
A look betokening sense; so gallantly
Had he subdued his nature. This brave man
Met Aztlan in the war, and put her Chiefs
To shame. Our Elders have not yet forgot
How from the slaughtered brother of their King
He stript the skin, and formed of it a drum,
Whose sound affrighted armies.49 With this man
My father coped in battle; here he led him,
An offering to the God, and, man to man,
Ile slew him here in fight. I was a child,
Just old enough to lift my father's shield;
But I remember, on that glorious day,
When from the sacred combat he returned,
His red hands reeking with the hot heart's blood,
How in his arms he took me, and besought
The God whom he had served, to bless his boy,
And make me like my father. Men of Aztlan'
Mexitli heard his prayer!—Here I have brought
The Stranger-Chief, the noblest sacrifice
That ever graced the altar of the God;
Let then his death be noble! so my boy
Shall, in the day of battle, think of me;
And as I followed my brave father's steps,
Pursue my path of glory.

Ere the Priest Could frame denial, had the Monarch's look Bespake assent.—Refuse not this, he cried, O servant of the Gods! He hath not here Ilis arms to save him; and the Tiger's strength Yields to no mortal might. Then for his sword He called, and bade Yuhidthiton address The Stranger-Chief.

Yuhidthiton began:

The Gods of Aztlam triumph, and thy blood
Must wet their altars. Prince, thou shalt not die
The coward's death; but, sworded, and in fight,
Fall as becomes the valiant. Should thine arm
Subdue in battle six successive foes,
Life, liberty, and glory, will repay
The noble conquest. * Madoc, hope not this!
Strong are the brave of Aztlan'

- Then they loosed

The Ocean Chieftain's bonds; they rent away
llis garments; and, with songs and shouts of joy,
They led him to the Stone of Sacrifice.
Round was that Stone of blood! the half-raised arm
Of one of manly growth, who stood below,
Might rest upon its height; the circle small,
An active boy might almost bound across.
Nor needed, for the combat, ampler space;
For in the centre was the prisoner's foot
Fast fettered down. Thus fettered Madoc stood.
He held a buckler, light and small, of cane
O'erlaid with beaten gold; his sword the King,
Honouring a noble enemy, had given,
A weapon tried in war, to Madoc's grasp
Strange and unwieldy: 't was a broad strong staff,
Set thick with transverse stones, on either side
Keen-edged as Syrian steel. But when he felt
The weapon, Madoc called to mind his deeds
Done on the Saxon in his father's land,
And hope arose within him. Nor though now
Naked he stood, did fear, for that, assail
His steady heart; for often had he seen
His gallant countrymen, with naked breasts,
Rush on their iron-coated enemy, *
And win the conquest.

Now hath Tlalala
Arrayed himself for battle. First he donned
A gipion, quilted close of gossampine;
O'er that a jointed mail of plates of gold,
Bespotted like the tyger's speckled pride,
To speak his rank; it clad his arms half-way,
Half-way his thighs; but cuishes had he none,
Nor gauntlets, nor feet-armour. On his helm
There yawned the semblance of a tiger's head,
The long white teeth extended, as for prey;
Proud crest, to blazon his proud title forth.
And now toward the fatal stage, equipped
For war, he went; when, from the press behind,
A warrior's voice was heard, and clad in arms,
And shaking in his angry grasp the sword,
Ocellopan rushed on, and called aloud
On Tlalala, and claimed the holy fight.
The Tiger, heedless of his clamour, sprung
Upon the stone, and turned him to the war.
Fierce leaping forward came Oceilopan,
And bounded up the ascent, and seized his arm —
why wouldst thou rob me of a deed like this?
Equal our peril in the enterprise,
Equal our merit; —thou wouldst reap alone
The guerdon Never shall my children lift
Their little hands at thee, and say, Lo! there
The Chief who slew the White King!—Tlalala,
Trust to the lot, or turn on me, and prove,
By the best chance to which the brave appeal,
Who best deserves this glory !

Stung by wrath,

The Tiger answered not; he raised his sword,
And they had rushed to battle; but the Priests
Came hastening up, and by their common Gods,
And by their common country, bade them cease
Their impious strife, and let the lot decide
From whom Mexitli should that day receive
IIis noble victim. Both unsatisfied,
But both obedient, heard. Two cqual shafts,
As outwardly they seemed, the Paba brought;

His mantle hid their points; and Tlalala
Drew forth the broken stave. A bitter smile
Darkened his check, as angrily he cast
To earth the hostile lot.—Shedder of Blood,
Thine is the first adventure! he exclaimed:
But thou mayest perish here!—and in his heart,
The Tiger hoped Ocellopan might fall,
As sullenly retiring from the stage,
He mingled with the crowd. -
And now opposed
In battle, on the Stone of Sacrisice,
Prince Madoc and the Life-Destroyer stood.
This clad in arms complete, free to advance
In quick assault, or shun the threatened blow,
Wielding his wonted sword; the other, stript,
Save of that fragile shield, of all defence;
His weapon strange and cumbrous; and pinned down,
Disabled from all onset, all retreat. -

With looks of greedy joy, Ocellopan
Surveyed his foe, and wondered to behold
The breast so broad, the bare and brawny limbs,
Of matchless strength. The eye of Madoc, too,
Dwelt on his foe; his countenance was calm,
Something more pale than wonted; like a man
Prepared to meet his death. The Azteca
Fiercely began the fight; now here, now there,
Aright, aleft, above, below, he wheeled
The rapid sword: still Madoc's rapid eye
Pursued the motion, and his ready shield,
In prompt interposition, caught the blow,
Or turned its edge aside. Nor did the Prince
Yet aim the sword to wound, but held it forth,
Another shield, to save him, till his hand,
Familiar with its weight and shape uncouth,
Might wield it well to vengeance. Thus he stood,
Bafiling the impatient enemy, who now
Waxed wrathful, thus to waste in idle strokes,
Reiterate so oft his bootless strength.
And now yet more exasperate he grew;
For, from the eager multitude, was heard,
Amid the din of undistinguished sounds,
The Tiger's murmured name, as though they thought.
Had he been on the stone, ere this, be sure,
The Gods had tasted of their sacrifice,
Now all too long delayed. Then fiercelier,
And yet more rapidly, he drove the sword;
But still the wary Prince or met its fall,
And broke the force, or bent him from the blow;
And now retiring, and advancing now,
As one free foot permitted, still provoked,
And baffled still the savage; and sometimes,
With cautious strength did Madoc aim attack,
Mastering each moment now with abler sway
The acquainted sword. But, though as yet unharmed
In life or limb, more perilous the strife
Grew momently; for, with repeated strokes,
Battered and broken now, the shield hung loose;
And shouts of triumph from the multitude
Arose, as, piece-meal, they beheld it fall,
And saw the Prince exposed.

That welcome sight,
Those welcome sounds, inspired Ocellopan:
He felt each limb new-strung. Impatient now
Of conquest lous; delayed, with wilder rage
He drives the weapon; Madoc's lifted sword

Received its edge, and shivered with the blow.
A shriek of transport burst from all around;
For lo! the White King, shieldless, weaponless,
Naked before his foe! That savage foe,
Dallying with the delight of victory,
Drew back a moment to enjoy the sight,
Then yelled in triumph, and sprang on to give
The consummating blow. Madoc beheld
The coming death; he darted up his hand
Instinctively to save, and caught the wrist
In its mid fall, and drove with desperate force
The splintered truncheon of his broken sword
Full in the enemy's face. Beneath his eye
It broke its way, and where the nasal nerves
Branch in fine fibrils o'er their mazy seat,
Burst through, and slanting upward in the brain
Buried its jagged point.
Madoc himself

Stood at his fall astonished, at escape
Unhoped, and strange success. The multitude
Beheld, and they were silent, and they stood
Gazing in terror. But far other thoughts
Rose in the Tiger's heart; it was a joy
To Tlalala; and forth he sprung, and up
The Stone of Sacrifice, and called aloud
To bring the Prince another sword and shield,
For his last strife. Then in that interval,
Upon Ocellopan he fixed his eyes,
Contemplating the dead, as though thereby
To kindle in his heart a fiercer thirst
For vengeance. Norto Madoc was the sting
Of anger wanting, when, in Tlalala,
He knew the captive whom his mercy freed,
The man whose ambush had that day destroyed
Young Hoel and himself;-for, sure, he deemed
Young Hoel was with God, and he himself
At his death-day arrived. And now he graspt
A second sword, and held again the shield;
And from the Stone of Blood Ocellopan
Was borne away; and, fresh in arms, and fierce
With all that makes a savage thirst for war,
Hope, vengeance, courage, superstitious hate,
A second foe came on. By this the Prince
Could wield his weapon well; and dreading now
Lest, in protracted combat, he should stand
Again defenceless, he put forth his strength,
As oft assailing as assailed, and watched
So well the Tiger's motions, and received
The Tiger's blows so warily, and aimed
His own so fierce and fast, that in the crowd
Doubt and alarm prevailed. Ilanquel grew
Pale at her husband's danger; and she clasped
The infant to her breast, whom late she held
On high, to see his victory. The throng
Of the beholders silently looked on;
And in their silence might at times be heard
An indrawn breath of terror; and the Priests
Angrily murmured, that in evil hour,
Coanocotzin had indulged the pride
Of vaunting valour, and from certain death
Reprieved the foe.

But now a murmur rose
Amid the multitude; and they who stood
So thickly thronged, and with such eager eyes
Late watched the fight, hastily now broke up,
And with disordered speed and sudden arms,

Ran to the city gates. More eager now,
Conscious of what had chanced, fought Talala;
And hope invigorated Madoc's heart;
For well he weened Cadwallon was at hand,
Leading his gallant friends. Aright he weened;
At hand Cadwallon was! His gallant friends
Came from the mountains with impetuous speed,
To save or to revenge. Nor long endured
The combat now : the Priests ascend the stone,
And bid the Tiger hasten to defend
His country and his Gods; and, hand and foot,
Binding the captive Prince, they bear him thence
And lay him in the temple. Then his heart
Resigned itself to death, and Madoc thought
Of Llaian and Goervy!; and he felt
That death was dreadful. But not so the King
Permitted; but not so had Heaven decreed;
For noble was the King of Aztlan's heart,
And pure his tongue from falsehood: he had said,
That by the warrior's death should Madoc die;
Nor dared the Pabas violently break
The irrevocable word. There Madoc lay
In solitude; the distant battle reached
His ear; inactive and in bonds he lay,
Expecting the dread issue, and almost
Wished for the perils of the fight again.

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Not unprepared Cadwallon found the sons
Of Aztlan, nor defenceless were her walls;
But when the Britons' distant march was seen,
A ready army issued from her gates,
And dight themselves to battle: these the King
Coanocotzin had, with timely care,
And provident for danger, thus arrayed.
Forth issuing from the gates, they met the foe,
And with the sound of sonorous instruments,
And with their shouts and screams and yells, drove back
The Britons' fainter war-cry, ** as the swell
Of ocean, flowing onward, up its course
Forces the river-stream. Their darts and stones
Fell like the rain-drops of the summer-shower,
So fast; and on the helmet and the shield,
On the strong corselet and the netted mail,
So innocent they fell. But not in vain
The bowmen of Deheubarth sent, that day,
Their iron bolts abroad; those winged deaths
Descended on the naked multitude,
And through the chieftain's quilted gossampine,
Through feathery breastplate and effulgent gold,
They reached the life.

But soon no interval
For archer's art was left, nor scope for flight
Of stone from whirling sling : both hosts, alike
Impatient for the proof of war, press on:
The Aztecas, to shun the arrowy storm,
The Cymry, to release their Lord, or heap
Aztlan in ruins, for his monument.
Spear against spear, and shield to shield, and breast
To breast they met; equal in force of limb
And strength of heart, in resolute resolve,
And stubborn effort of determined wrath:

The few, advantaged by their iron mail;
The weaklier armed, of near retreat assured
And succour close at hand, in tenfold troops
Their foemen overnumbering. And of all
That mighty multitude, did every man
Of either host, alike inspired by all
That stings to will and strengthens to perform,
Then put forth all his power; for well they knew
Aztlan that day must triumph or must fall.
Then sword and mace on helm and buckler rang,
And hurtling javelins whirred along the sky.
Nor when they hurled the javelin, did the sons
Of Aztlan, prodigal of weapons, loose
The lance, to serve them for no second stroke ;
A line of ample measure still retained
The missile shaft;53 and when its blow was spent,
Swiftly the dexterous spearman coiled the string,
And sped again the artificer of death.
Rattling, like summer hailstones, they descend,
But from the Britons' iron panoply,
Baffled and blunted, fell; nor more availed
The stony falchion there, whose broken edge
Inflicts no second wound; nor profited,
On the strong buckler or the crested helm,
The knotty club; though fast, in blinding showers,
Those javelins sly, those heavy weapons fall
with stunning weight. Meantime, with wonted strength
The men of Gwyneth through their fenceless foes
Those lances thrust, whose terrors had so oft
Affrayed the Saxons, and whose home-driven points
So oft had pierced the Normen's knightly arms.
Little did then his pomp of plumes bestead
The Azteca, or glittering pride of gold,
Against the tempered sword; little his casque,
Gay with its feathery coronal, or drest
In graven terrors, when the Briton's hand
Drove in through helm and head the spiked mace;
Or swung its iron weights with shattering sway,
which, where they fell, destroyed. Beneath those arms
The men of Aztlan sunk; and whoso dropt
Dead or disabled, him his comrades bore
Away with instant caution, lest the sight
Of those whom they had slaughtered might inspire
The foe with hope and courage. Fast they fell,
And fast were resupplied, man after man
Succeeding to the death. Nor in the town
Did now the sight of their slain countrymen,
Momently carried in and piled in heaps,
Create one thought of fear. Hark! through the streets
Of Aztlan, how from house to house, and tower
To tower, reiterate, Paynalton's 4 name
Calls all her sons to battle ! at whose name
All must go forth, and follow to the field
The Leader of the Armies of the Gods,
Whom, in his unseen power, Mexitli now
Sends out to lead his people. They, in crowds,
Throng for their weapons to the House of Arms,”
Reneath their guardian Deity preserved,
Through years of peace; and there the Pabas stood
within the temple-court, and dealt around
The ablution of the Stone of Sacrifice,”
Bidding them, with the holy beverage,
Imbibe diviner valour, strength of arm
Not to be wearied, hope of victory,
And certain faith of endless joy in Heaven,
Their sure reward.—Oh! happy, cried the Priests,

Your brethren who have fallen already they
Have joined the company of blessed souls;
Already they, with song and harmony,
And in the dance of beauty, are gone forth,
To follow down his western path of light
Yon Sun, the Prince of Glory, from the world
Retiring, to the palace of his rest.
Oh, happy they, who for their country's cause,
And for their Gods, shall die the brave man's death!
Them will their country consecrate with praise!
Them will the Gods reward —They heard the Priests,
Intoxicate, and from the gate swarmed out,
Tumultuous to the fight of martyrdom.
But when Cadwallon every moment saw
The enemies increase, and with what rage
Of drunken valour to the fight they rushed,
He, against that impetuous attack,
As best he could, providing, formed the troops
Of Britain into one collected mass:
Three equal sides it offered to the foe,
Close and compact; no multitude could break
The condensed strength: its narrow point preston,
Entering the throng's resistance, like a wedge,
Still from behind impelled. So thought the Chief
Likeliest the gates of Aztlan might be gained,
And Hoel and the Prince preserved, if yet
They were among mankind. Nor could the force
Of hostile thousands break that strength condensed,
Against whose iron sides the stream of war
Rolled unavailing, as the ocean waves,
Which idly round some insulated rock
Foam furious, warning with their silvery smoke
The mariner far off. Nor could the point
Of that compacted body, though it bore
Right on the foe, and with united force
Pressed on to enter, through the multitude
Win now its difficult way; as where the sea
Pours through some strait its violent waters, swoln,
By inland fresh, vainly the oarmen there
With all their weight and strength essay to drive
Their galley through the pass, the stress and strain
Availing scarce to stem the impetuous stream.

And hark! above the deafening din of fight
Another shout, heard like the thunder-peal
Amid the war of winds! Lincoya comes,
Leadiut; the mountain-dwellers. From the shock
Aztlan recoiled. And now a second troop
Of Britons to the town advanced, for war
Impatient and revenge. Cadwallon these,
With tidings of their gallant Prince enthralled,
Had summoned from the ships. That dreadful tale
Roused them to fury. Not a man was left
To guard the fleet; for who could have endured
That idle duty? who could have endured
The long, inactive, miserable hours,
And hope and expectation and the rage
Of maddening anguish Ririd led them on;
In whom a brother's love had called not up
More spirit-stirring pain, than trembled now
In every British heart; so dear to all
Was Madoc. On they came; and Aztlan then
Had sled appalled; but in that dangerous hour
Her faith preserved her. From the gate her Priests
Rushed desperate out, and to the foremost rank
Forced their wild way, and fought with martyr wal.

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