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Silent and solitary is thy vale,
Caermadoc' and how melancholy now
That solitude and silence —broad noon-day,
And not a sound of human life is there !
The fisher's net, abandoned in his haste,
Sways idly in the waters; in the tree,
Which its last stroke had pierced, the hatchet hangs;
The birds, beside the mattock and the spade,
Hunt in the new-turned mould, and fearlessly
Fly through the cage-work of the imperfect wall;
Or through the vacant dwelling's open door,
Pass and repass secure.
In Madoc's house,

And on his bed of reeds, Goervyl lies,
Her face toward the ground. She neither weeps,
Nor sighs, nor groans; too strong her agony
For outward sign of anguish, and for prayer
Too hopeless was the ill; and though, at times,
The pious exclamation past her lips,
Thy will be done yet was that utterance
Rather the breathing of a broken heart,
Than of a soul resigned. Mervyn beside,
Ilangs over his dear mistress silently,
Having no hope or comfort to bestow,
Nor aught but sobs and unavailing tears.
The women of Caermadoc, like a flock
Collected in their panic, stand around
The house of their lost leader; and they too
Are mute in their despair. Llaian alone
ls absent; wildly hath she wandered forth
To seek her child, and such the general woe,
That none hath marked her absence. Yet have they,
Though unprotected thus, no selfish fear;
The sudden evil had destroyed all thought,
All sense of present danger to themselves,
All foresight.

Yet new terrors' Malinal,
Panting with speed, bursts in, and take sthe arms
Of Madoc down. Goervyl, at that sound,
Started in sudden hope; but when she saw
The Azteca, she uttered a faint scream
Of wrongful fear, remembering not the proofs
Of his tried truth, nor recognizing aught
In those known features, save their hostile hue.
But he, by worser fear abating soon
Her vain alarm, exclaimed, 1 saw a band
Of Hoamen coming up the straits, for ill
be sure, for Amalahta leads them on.

Buckle this harness on, that, being armed,
I may defend the entrance.
Scarce had she

Fastened the breast-plate with her trembling hands,
When, flying from the sight of men in arms,
The women crowded in. Hastily he seized
The shield and spear, and on the threshold took
His stand; but, wakened now to provident thought,
Goervyl, following, helmed him. There was now
No time to gird the bauldric on; she held
Her brother's sword, and bade him look to her
For prompt supply of weapons; in herself
Being resolved not idly to abide,
Nor unprepared of hand or heart to meet
The issue of the danger, nor to die
Reluctant now.

Rightly had they divined
The Hoaman's felon purpose. When he heard
The fate of Madoc, from his mother's eye
He masked his secret joy, and took his arms,
And to the rescue, with the foremost band,
Set forth. But soon, upon the way, he told
The associates of his crime, that now their hour
Of triumph was arrived; Caernadoc, left
Defenceless, would become, with all its wealth,
The spoiler's easy prey, rainent and arms .
And iron; skins of that sweet beverage,
Which to a sense of its own life could stir
The joyful blood; the women above all,
Whom to the forest they might bear away,
To be their slaves, if so their pleasure was;
Or, yielding them to Aztlan, for such prize
Receive a royal guerdon. Twelve there were,
Long leagued with him in guilt, who turned aside:
And they have reached Caermadoc now, and now
Rush onward, where they see the women fly;
When, on the threshold, clad in Cinnbric arms,
And with long lance protended, Malinal
Rebuffs them from the entrance. At that sight
Suddenly quailed, they stood, as midnight thieves
Who find the master waking; but ere long,
Gathering assured courage, as they saw
No other guard, pressed forward, and essayed
To turn his spear aside. Its steady point,
True to the impelling strength, held on, and thrust

The foremost through the breast, and breath and blood

Followed the re-drawn shaft. Nor seemed the strife
Unequal now, though, with their numbers, they
Beleaguered in half-ring the door, where he,
The sole defender, stood. From side to side,
So well and swiftly did he veer the lance,
That every enemy beheld its point
Aimed at himself direct. But chief on one
Had Malinal his deadly purpose fixed,
On Amalalita; by his death to quell
The present danger, and cut off the root
Of many an evil, certain else to spring
From that accursed stock. On him his eye
Turned with more eager wilfulness, and dwelt
With keener ken; and now, with sudden step
Bending his body on, at him he drives
The meditated blow : but that ill Prince,
As chiefly sought, so chiefly fearing, swerved
Timely aside; and ere the Azteca
Recovered from the frustrate aim, the spear
Was seized, and from his hold, by stress and weight

Of numbers wrenched. He, facing still the foe,
And holding at arm's length the targe, put back
His hand, and called Goervyl, and from her
Received the sword;—in time, for the enemy
Prest on so near, that having now no scope
To raise his arm, he drove the blade straight on.
It entered at the mouth of one who stood
With face aslant, and glanced along the teeth
Through to the ear, then, slivering downward, left,
The cheek-flap dangling. He, in that same point
Of time, as if a single impulse gave
Birth to the double action, dashed his shield
Against another's head, with so fierce swing
And sway of strength, that this third enemy
Fell at his feet. Astounded by such proof
Of prowess, and by unexpected loss
Dismayed, the foe gave back, beyond the reach
Of his strong arm; and there awhile they stood,
Beholding him at bay, and counselling
How best to work their vengeance upon him,
Their sole opponent. Soon did they behold
The vantage, overlooked by hasty hope,
How vulnerable he stood, his arms and thighs
Bare for their butt. At once they bent their bows;
At once ten arrows fled: seven, shot in vain,
Rung on his shield; but, with unhappier mark,
Two shafts hung quivering in his leg; a third
Below the shoulder pierced. Then Malinal
Groaned, not for anguish of his wounds, but grief
And agony of spirit; yet resolved
To his last gasp to guard that precious post,
Nor longer able to endure afoot,
He, falling on his knees, received unharmed
Upon the shield, now ample for defence,
Their second shower, and still defied the foe.
But they, now sure of conquest, hasten on
To thrust him down, and he too felt his strength
Ebbing away. Goervyl, in that hour
Of horror and despair, collected still,
Caught him, and by the shoulders drew him in ;
And, calling on her comrades, with their help
Shut to the door in time, and with their weight
Secured it, not their strength; for she alone,
Found worthy of her noble ancestry,

| In this emergence, felt her faculties

All present, and heroic strength of heart,
To cope with danger and contempt of death.
Shame on ye, British women I shame! exclaimed
The daughter of King Owen, as she saw
The trembling hands and bloodless countenance
Pale as sepulchral marble; silent some;
Others with womanish cries lamenting now
That ever, in unhappy hour, they left
Their native land;—a pardonable fear;
For hark, the war-hoop! sound, whereto the howl
Of tigers or hyenas, heard at night
By captive from barbarian foes escaped,
And wandering iu the pathless wilderness,
Were music. Shame on ye Goervyl cried;
Think what your fathers were, your husbands what,
And what your sons should be These savages
Seek not to wreak on ye immediate death;
So are ye safe, if safety such as this
Be worth a thought; and in the interval
We yet may gain, by keeping to the last
This entrance, easily to be maintained

By us, though women, against foes so few,
Who knows what succour chance, or timely thought
Of our own friends may send, or Providence,
Who slumbereth not?—While thus she spake, a hand
In at the window came, of one who sought
That way to win the entrance. She drew out
The arrow through the arm of Malinal,
With gentle care, -the readiest weapon that,"
And held it short above the bony barb,
And, adding deeds to words, with all her might
She stabbed it through the hand. The sudden Pain
Provoked a cry, and back the savage fell,
Loosening his hold, and maimed for farther war.
Nay! leave that entrance open! she exclaimed
To one who would have closed it, who comes next
Shall not go thence so cheaply!—for she now
Had taken up a spear to guard that way,
Easily guarded, even by female might.
O heart of proof! what now avails thy worth
And excellent courage? for the savage foe,
With mattock and with spade, for other use
Designed, hew now upon the door, and rend
The wattled sides; and they within shrink back,
For now it splinters through, and lo, the way
Is open to the spoiler!

Then once more,
Collecting his last strength, did Malinal
Rise on his knees, and over him the maid
Stands with the ready spear, she guarding him
Who guarded her so well. Roused to new force
By that exampled valour, and with will
To achieve one service yet before he died,—
If death indeed, as sure he thought, were nigh,"
Malinal gathered up his fainting powers;
And, reaching forward, with a blow that threw
His body on, upon the knee he smote
One Hoaman more, and brought him to the ground.
The foe fell over him; but he, prepared,
Threw him with sudden jerk aside, and rose
Upon one hand, and with the other plunged
Between his ribs the mortal blade. Meantime
Amalahta, rushing in blind eagerness
To seize Goervyl, set at nought the power
Of female hand, and, stooping as he came,
Beneath her spear-point, thought with lifted arm
To turn the thrust aside. But she drew back,
And lowered at once the spear, with aim so sure,
That on the front it met him, and ploughed up
The whole scalp-length. He, blinded by the blood,
Staggered aside, escaping by that chance
A second push, else mortal. And by this,
The women, learning courage from despair,
And by Goervyl's bold example fired,
Took heart, and rushing on with one accord,
Drove out the foe. Then took they hope; for then
They saw but seven remain in plight for war;
And, knowing their own number, in the pride
Of strength, caught up stones, staves, or axe, or spear,
To hostile use converting whatsoe'er
The hasty hand could seize. Such fierce attack
Confused the ruffian band; nor had they room
To aim the arrow, nor to speed the spear,
Each now beset by many. But their Prince,
Still mindful of his purport, called to them,-
Secure my passage while I bear away
The White King's Sister; having her, the law

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Of peace is in our power.—And on he went
Toward Goervil, and, with sudden turn,
While on another foe her eye was fixed,
Ran in upon her, and stoopt down, and claspt
The maid above the knees, and throwing her
Over his shoulder, to the valley straits
Set off:—ill seconded in ill attempt;
For now his comrades are too close beset
To aid their Chief, and Mervyn hath beheld
His Lady's peril. At the sight, inspired
With force, as if indeed that manly garb
Had clothed a manly heart, the Page ran on,
And with a bill-hook striking at his ham,
Cut the back sinews. Amalahta fell;
The Maid fell with him: and she first hath risen,
While, grovelling on the earth, he gnashed his teeth
For agony. Yet, even in those pangs,
Remembering still revenge, he turned and seized
Goervyl's skirt, and plucked her to the ground,
And rolled himself upon her, and essayed
To kneel upon her breast; but she clenched fast
His bloody locks, and drew him down aside,
Faint now with anguish, and with loss of blood;
And Mervyn, coming to her help again,
As once again he rose, around the neck
Seized him, with throttling grasp, and held him down—
Strange strife and horrible!—till Malinal
Crawled to the spot, and thrust into his groin
The mortal sword of Madoc ; he himself,
At the same moment, fainting, now no more
By his strong will upheld, the service done.
The few surviving traitors, at the sight
Of their fallen Prince and Leader, now, too late
Believed that some diviner power had given
These female arms strength for their overthrow,
Themselves proved weak before them, as, of late,
Their God, by Madoc crushed.

Away they fled
Toward the valley straits; but in the gorge
Erillyab met their flight; and then her heart,
Boding the evil, smote her, and she bade
Her people seize, and bring them on in bonds,
For judgment. She herself, with quickened pace,
Advanced, to know the worst; and o'er the dead
She cast a rapid glance, and knew her son.
She knew him by his garments, by the work
Of her own hands; for now his face, besmeared
And black with gore, and stiffened in its pangs,
Bore of the life no semblance—God is good!
She cried, and closed her eyelids, and her lips
Shook, and her countenance changed. But in her heart
She quelled the natural feeling–Bear away
These wretches —to her followers she exclaimed;
And root them from the earth. Then she approached
Goervy, who was pale and trembling now,
Exhausted with past effort; and she took
Gently the maiden's tremulous hand, and said,
God comfort thee, my Sister At that voice
Of consolation, from her dreamy state,
Goervyl to a sense of all her woe
Awoke, and burst into a gush of tears.
God comfort thee, my Sister! cried the Queen,
Even as He strengthens me. I would not raise
Deceitful hope, but in His Hand, even yet,
The issue hangs; and He is merciful.

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Madoc, meantime, in bonds and solitude,
Lay listening to the tumult. How his heart
Panted how, them, with fruitless strength, he strove
And struggled for enlargement, as the sound
Of battle from without the city came;
While all things near were still, nor foot of man
Nor voice, in that deserted part, were heard,
At length one light and solitary step
Approached the place; a woman crossed the door:
From Madoc's busy mind her image passed,
Quick as the form that caused it; but not so
Did the remembrance fly from Coatel,
That Madoc lay in bonds. That thought possessed
tler soul, and made her, as she garlanded
The fame of Coatlantona with slowers,
Tremble in strong emotion.
It was now

The hour of dusk; the Pabas all were gone,
Gone to the battle;—none could see her steps;
The gate was nigh. A momentary thought
Shot through her; she delayed not to reflect,
But hastened to the Prince, and took the knife
Of sacrifice, which by the altar hung,
And cut his bonds, and, with an eager eye,
Motioning haste and silence, to the gate
She led him. Fast along the forest way,
And fearfully, he followed to the chasm.
She beckoned, and descended, and drew out
From underneath her vest, a cage, or net
It rather might be called, so fine the twigs
Which knit it, where confined two fire-flies gave
Their lustre. 37 By that light did Madoc first
Behold the features of his lovely guide;
And through the entrance of the cavern gloom,
He followed in full trust.

Now have they reached
The abrupt descent; there Coatel held forth
Her living lamp, and turning, with a smile
Sweet as good Angels wear when they present
Their mortal charge before the throne of Heaven,
She showed where little Hoel slept below.
Poor child! he lay upon that very spot,
The last whereto his feet had followed her;
And, as he slept, his hand was on the bones
Of one, who years agone had perished there;
There, on the place where last his wretched eyes
Could catch the gleam of day. But when the voice,
The well-known voice of Madoc wakened him—
His Uncle's voice—he started, with a scream
Which echoed through the cavern's winding length,
And stretched his arms to reach him. Madoc hushed
The dangerous transport, raised him up the ascent,
And followed Coatel again, whose face,
Though tears of pleasure still were coursing down,
Betokened fear and haste. Adown the wood
They went; and, coasting now the lake, her eye

First what they sought beheld, a light canoe,
Moored to the bank. Then in her arms she took
The child, and kissed him with maternal love,
And placed him in the boat; but when the Prince,
With looks and gestures and imperfect words
Such as the look, the gesture, well explained,
Urged her to follow, doubtfully she stood:
A dread of danger, for the thing she had done,
Came on her, and Lincoya rose to mind.
Almost she had resolved; but then she thought
Of her dear father, whom that flight would leave
Alone in age; how he would weep for her,
As one among the dead, and to the grave
Go sorrowing; or, if ever it were known
What she had dared, that on his head the weight
Of punishment would fall. That dreadful fear
Resolved her, and she waved her head, and raised
Her hand, to bid the Prince depart in haste,
With looks whose painful seriousness forbade
All farther effort. Yet unwillingly,
And boding evil, Madoc from the shore
Pushed off his little boat. She on its way
Stood gazing for a moment, lost in thought,
Then struck into the woods.

Swift through the lake
Madoc's strong arm impelled the light canoe.
Fainter and fainter to his distant ear
The sound of battle came; and now the Moon
Arose in heaven, and poured o'er lake and land
A soft and mellowing ray. Along the shore
Llaian was wandering with distracted steps,
And groaning for her child. She saw the boat
Approach; and as on Madoc's naked limbs,
And on his countenance, the moonbeam fell,
And as she saw the boy in that dim light,
It seemed as though the Spirits of the dead
Were moving on the waters; and she stood
With open lips that breathed not, and fixed eyes,
Watching the unreal shapes: but when the boat
Drew nigh, and Madoc landed, and she saw
His step substantial, and the child came near,
Unable then to move, or speak, or breathe,
Down on the sand she sunk.

But who can tell,
Who comprehend, her agony of joy,
When, by the Prince's care restored to sense.
She recognized her child, she heard the name
Of mother from that voice, which, sure, she thought
Had poured upon some Priest's remorseless ear
Its last vain prayer for life! No tear relieved
The insupportable feeling that convulsed
Her swelling breast. She looked, and looked, and felt
The child, lest some delusion should have mocked
Her soul to madness; then the gushing joy
Burst forth, and with caresses and with tears
She mingled broken prayers of thanks to heaven.

And now the Prince, when joy had had its course,
Said to her, Knowest thou the mountain path?
For I would to the battle. But at that,
A sudden damp of dread came over her,
0 leave us not! she cried; lest haply ill
Should have befallen' for I remember now,
How in the woods I saw a savage band
Making toward Caermadoc, and I hid,
Lest they should stop my going. God forefend

The evil that I fear!—What! Madoc cried,
Were ye then left defenceless!—She replied,
All fled to arms: there was no time for thought,
Nor counsel, in that sudden ill; nor one
Of all thy people, who could, in that hour,
Have brooked home-duty, when thy life or death
Hung on the chance.

Now God be merciful!
Cried he;—for of Goervyl did he think,
And the cold sweat started at every pore—
Give me the boy!—he travels all too slow.
Then in his arms he took him, and sped on,
Suffering more painful terrors, than of late
His own near death provoked. They held their way
In silence up the heights; and, when at length
They reached the entrance of the vale, the Prince
Isade her remain, while he went on, to spy
The footsteps of the spoiler. Soon he saw
Men, in the moonlight, stretched upon the ground;
And quickening then his pace, in worse alarm,
Along the shade, with cautious step, he moved
Toward one, to seize his weapons; 't was a corpse;
Nor whether, at the sight, to hope or fear
Yet knew he. But anon, a steady light,
As of a taper, seen in his own home,
Comforted him; and, drawing mearer now,
IIe saw his sister on her knees, beside
The rushes, ministering to a wounded man.
Safe that the dear one lived, then back he sped
With joyful haste, and summoned Llaian on,
And in loud talk advanced. Erillyab first
Came forward at the sound; for she had faith
To trust the voice.—They live! they live! she cried;
God hath redeemed them!—Nor the maiden yet
Believed the actual joy: like one astound,
Or as if struggling with a dream, she stood,
Till he came close, and spread his arms, and called
Goervyl!—and she fell in his embrace.

But Madoc lingered not ; his eager soul
Was in the war; in haste he donned his arms;
And, as he felt his own good sword again,
Exulting played his heart.—Boy, he exclaimed
To Mervyn, arm thyself, and follow me!
For, in this conquest, we shall break the power
Of our blood-thirsty foe: and in thine age,
Wouldst thou not wish, when young men crowd around,
To hear thee chronicle their fathers deeds,
Wouldst thou not wish to add, And I, too, fought
In that day's conflict! -
Mervyn's cheek turned pale
A moment, then, with terror all suffused,
Grew fever-red. Nay, nay! Goervyl cried,
He is too young for battles.—But the Prince,
With erring judgment, in that fear-flushed cheek
Beheld the glow of enterprising hope,
And youthful courage. I was such a boy,
Sister! he cried, at Counsyllt; and that day,
In my first field, with stripling arm, smote down
Many a tall Saxon. Saidst thou not but now,
How bravely, in the fight of yesterday,

He fleshed his sword, and wouldstthou keep him here

And rob him of his glory? See his cheek!
How it hath crimsoned at the unworthy thought!
Arm 'arm' and to the battle!

How lier heart

Then panted! how, with late regret, and vain,
Senena wished Goervyl then had heard
The secret, trembling on her lips so oft,
So oft by shame withheld. She thought that now
She could have fallen upon her Lady's neck,
And told her all; but when she saw the Prince,
Imperious shame forbade her, and she felt
It were an easier thing to die than speak.
Availed not now regret or female fear!
She mailed her delicate limbs; beneath the plate
Compressed her bosom; on her golden locks
The helmet's overheavy load she placed;
Hung from her neck the shield; and, though the sword
Which swung beside her lightest she had chosen,
Though in her hand she held the slenderest spear,
Alike unwieldy, for the maiden's grasp,
The sword and ashen lance. But as she touched
The murderous point, an icy shudder ran
Through every fibre of her trembling frame;
And, overcome by womanly terror then,
The damsel to Goervyl turned, and let
Her breastplate fall, and on her bosom placed
The Lady's hand, and hid her face, and cried
Save me! The warrior, who beheld the act,
And heard not the low voice, with angry eye
Glowed on the seemly boy of feeble heart.

But, in Goervyl, joy had overpowered
The wonder; joy, to find the boy she loved
Was one, to whom her heart with closer love

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By lengthened toil; anger supplying still
Strength undiminished for the desperate strife.
And lo! where yonder, on the temple top,
Blazing aloft, the sacrificial fire
Scene more accurst and hideous than the war
Displays to all the vale; for whosoe'er
That night the Aztecas could bear away,
Hoaman or Briton, thither was he borne;
And, as they stretched him on the stone of blood,
Did the huge tambour of the God, with voice
Loud as the thunder-peal, and heard as far,
Proclaim the act of death, more visible
Than in broad day-light, by those midnight fires
Distinctlier seen. Sight, that with horror filled
The Cymry, and to mightier efforts roused.
Howbeit, this abliorred idolatry
Worked for their safety; the deluded foes,
Obstinate in their faith, forbearing still
The mortal stroke, that they might to the God
Present the living victim, and to him
Let the life flow.

And now the orient sky
Glowed with the ruddy morning, when the Prince
Came to the field. He lified up his voice,
And shouted Madoc' Madoc' They who heard
The cry, astonished, turned; and when they saw
The countenance his open helm disclosed,
They echoed, Madoc' Madoc' Through the host
Spread the miraculous joy, He lives! he lives!
He comes himself in arms!—Lincoya heard,
As he had raised his arm to strike a foe,
And stayed the stroke, and thrust him off, and cried,
Go, tell the tidings to thy countrymen,
Madoc is in the war! Tell them his God
Hath set the White King free? Astonishment
Seized on the Azteca ; on all who heard,
Amazement and dismay; and Madoc now
Stood in the foremost battle, and his sword,—
His own good sword, flashed, like the sudden death
Of lightning in their eyes.

The King of Aztlan

Heard and beheld, and in his noble heart
Heroic hope arose. Forward he moved,
And, in the shock of battle, front to front,
Encountered Madoc. A strong-statured man
Coanocotzin stood, one well who knew
The ways of war, and never yet in fight
Had found an equal foe. Adown his back
Hung the long robe of feathered royalty;
Gold fenced his arms and legs; upon his helm
A sculptured snake protends the arrowy tongue;
Around a coronet of plumes arose,
Brighter than beam the rainbow hues of light,
Or than the evening blories which the sun
Slants o'er the moving many-coloured sea,
Such their surpassing beauty; bells of gold
Embossed his glittering helmet, 9° and where'er
Their sound was heard, there lay the press of war,
And death was busiest there. Over the breast,
And o'er the golden breastplate of the King,
A feathery cuirass, beautiful to eye,
Light as the robe of peace, yet strong to save;
For the sharp faulchion's baffled edge would glide
From its smooth softness. On his arm he held
A buckler overlaid with beaten gold;
And so he stood, guarding his thighs and legs,

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