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Of Heaven, again the ominous warner cried,
Woe! woe! the Cycle of the Years is full!
- Quepch every fire! Extinguish every light!
And every fire was quenched, and every light
Extinguished at the voice.
- Meantime the Priests
Began the rites. They gashed themselves, and plunged
Into the sacred pond of Ezapan,
Till the clear water, on whose bed of sand
The sunbeams sparkled late, opaque with blood,
On its black surface mirrored all things round.
The children of the temple, in long search
Had gathered, for the service of this day,
All venomous things that fly, or wind their path
With sinuous trail, or crawl on reptile feet.
These, in one cauldron, o'er the sacred fire
They scorch, till of the loathsome living tribcs,
Who, writhing in their burning agonies,
Fix on each other ill-directed wounds,
Ashes alone are left. In infants' blood
They mix the infernal unction, and the Priests
Anoint themselves there with.
Lo! from the South
The Orb of Glory his regardless way
Holds on. Again Patamba's streets receive
The ominous voice,—Woe! woe the Sun pursues
His journey to the limits of his course!
Let every man in darkness veil his wife,
Weil every maiden's face; let every child
Be hid in darkness, there to weep and pray,
That they may see again the birth of light!
They heard, and every husband veiled his wife
In darkness; every maiden's face was veiled:
The children were in darkness led to pray,
That they might see the birth of light once more.
Westward the Sun proceeds; the tall tree casts
A longer shade; the night-eyed insect tribes
Wake to their portion of the circling hours;
The water-fowl, retiring to the shore,
Sweep in long files the surface of the lake.
Then from Patamba to the sacred mount
The Priests go forth; but with no songs of joy,
Nor cheerful instruments they go, nor train
Of festive followers; silent and alone,
Leading one victim to his dreadful death,
They to the mountain-summit wend their way.
On the south shore, and level with the lake,
Patamba stood; westward were seen the walls
of Aztlan rising on a gentle slope;
Southward the plain extended far and wide;
To the east the mountain-boundary began,
And there the sacred mountain reared its head,
Above the neighbouring heights, its lofty peal
Was visible far off. In the vale below,
Along the level borders of the lake,
The assembled Aztecas, with wistful eye,
Gaze on the sacred summit, hoping there
Soon to behold the sire of sacrifice
Arise, sure omen of continued light.
The Pabas to the sacred peak begin
Their way, and as they go, with ancient songs
Hymn the departing Sun.
O. Light of Life,
Yet once again arise! yet once again
Commence thy course of glory! Time hath seen
Four generations of mankind destroyed,
When the four Suns expired; Oh, let not thou,
Human thyself of yore, the human race
Languish and die in darkness!
The fourth Sun
Had perished; for the mighty whirlwinds rose,
And swept it, with the dust of the shattered world,
Into the great abyss. The eternal Gods
Built a new World, and to a Hero race
Assigned it for their goodly dwelling-place;
And shedding on the bones of the destroyed
A quickening dew, from them, as from a seed,
Made a new race of humankind spring up,
The menials of the Heroes born of Heaven.
But in the firmament no orb of day
Performed its course; Nature was blind; the fount
Of light had ceased to flow; the eye of Heaven
Was quenched in darkness. In the sad obscure,
The earth-possessors to their parent Gods
Prayed for another Sun, their bidding heard,
And, in obedience, raised a flaming pile.
Hopeful they circled it, when from above
The voice of the Invisible proclaimed,
That he who bravely plunged amid the fire
Should live again in Ileaven, and there shine forth
The Sun of the young World. The Hero race
Grew pale, and from the fiery trial shrunk.
Thou, O Nahuaztin, thou, O mortal born,
Heardest thy heart was strong, the flames received
Their victim, and the humbled Heroes saw
The orient sky, with smiles of rosy joy,
Welcome the coming of the new-born God.
O, human once, now let not humankind
Languish, and die in darkness!
In the East
Then didst thou pause to see the Hero race
Perish. In vain, with impious arms, they strove
Against thy will; in vain against thine orb
They shot their shafts; the arrows of their pride
Fell on themselves; they perished, to thy praise.
So perish still thine impious enemies,
O Lord of Day! But to the race devout,
Who offer up their morning sacrifice,
Honouring thy godhead, and with morning hymns,
And with the joy of music and of dance,
Welcome thy glad uprise, to them, O Sun,
Still let the fountain-streams of splendour flow !
Still smile on them propitious, thou whose smile
Is light and life and joyance! Once again,
Parent of Being, Prince of Glory, rise!
Begin thy course of beauty once again!
Such was their ancient song, as up the height
Slowly they wound their way. The multitude
Beneath repeat the strain; with fearful eyes
They watch the spreading glories of the west;
And when at length the hastening orb hath sunk
Below the plain, such sinking at the heart
They feel, as he who hopeless of return
From his dear home departs. Still on the light,
The last green light that lingers in the west,
Their looks are fastened, till the clouds of night
Roll on, and close in darkness the whole heaven.
Then ceased their songs; then o'er the crowded vale
No voice of man is heard. Silent and still
They stood, all turned toward the east, in hope
There on the holy mountain to behold
The sacred fire, and know that once again
The Sun begins his stated round of years.
The Moon arose; she shone upon the lake, Which lay one smooth expanse of silver light; She shone upon the hills and rocks, and cast Upon their hollows and their hidden glens A blacker depth of shade. Who then looked round, Beholding all that mighty multitude, Felt yet severer awe; so solemnly still The thronging thousands stood. The breeze was heard That rustled in the reeds; the little wave, Which rippled to the shore and left no foam, Sent its low murmurs far. Meantime the Priests Have stretched their victim on the mountain-top; A miserable man: his breast is bare, Bare for the death that waits him; but no hand May there inflict the blow of mercy. Piled On his bare breast, the cedar boughs are laid; On his bare breast, dry sedge and odorous gums Laid ready to receive the sacred spark, And blaze, to herald the ascending Sun, Upon his living altar. Round the wretch The inhuman ministers of rites accurst Stand, and expect the signal when to strike, The seed of fire. Their Chief, Tezozomoc, Apart from all, upon the pinnacle Of that high mountain, eastward turns his eyes; For now the hour draws nigh, and speedily He looks to see the first faint dawn of day Break through the orient sky. Impatiently The multitude await the happy sign. Long hath the midnight past, and every hour, Yea every moment, to their torturing fears Seemed lengthened out, insufferably long. Silent they stood, and breathless in suspense. The breeze had fallen; no stirring breath of wind Rustled the reeds. Oppressive, motionless, It was a labour and a pain to breathe The close, hot, heavy air.—Hark! from the woods The howl of their wild tenants! and the birds,The day-birds, in blind darkness fluttering, Fearful to rest, uttering portentous cries! Anon, the sound of distant thunders came; They peal beneath their feet. Earth shakes and yawns,— And lo! upon the sacred mountain's top, The light—the mighty flame! A cataract Of fire bursts upward from the mountain-head, High, high, it shoots! the liquid fire boils out; It streams, it torrents down Tezozomoc Beholds the judgment: wretched,—wretched man! On the upmost pinnacle he stands, and sees The lava floods beneath him: and his hour Is come. The fiery shower, descending, heaps Red ashes round; they fall like drifted snows, And bury and consume the accursed Priest.
The Tempest is abroad. Fierce from the North The wind uptears the lake, whose lowest depths Rock, while convulsions shake the solid earth. Where is Patambal where the multitudes
The storm hath ceased; but still the lava-tides
Roll down the mountain-side in streams of fire;
Down to the lake they roll, and yet roll on,
All burning, through the waters. Heaven above
Glows round the burning mount, and fiery clouds
Scour through the black and starless firmament.
Far off, the Eagle, in her mountain-nest,
Lies watching in alarm, with steady eye,
The midnight radiance.
But the storm hath ceased;
The earth is still;-and lo! while yet the dawn
Is struggling through the eastern cloud, the barks
Of Madoc on the waters!
Who is he
On yonder crag, all dripping from the lake,
Who hath escaped its depths? He lies along,
Now near exhaust with self-preserving toil,
And still his eye dwells on the spreading waves,
Where late the multitudes of Aztlan stood,
Collected in their strength. It is the King
Of Aztlan, who, extended on the rock,
Looks vainly for his people. He beholds
The barks of Madoc plying to preserve
The strugglers!—but how few upon the crags
Which verge the northern shore, upon the heights
Eastward, how few have refuged . Then the King
Almost repented him of life preserved,
And wished the waves had whelmed him, or the sword
Fallen on him, ere this ill, this wretchedness,
This desolation. Spirit-troubled thus,
He called to mind how, from the first, his heart
Inclined to peace, and how reluctantly,
Obedient to the Pabas and their Gods,
Had he to this unhappy war been driven.
All now was ended: it remained to yield,
To obey the inevitable will of Heaven,
From Aztlan to depart. As thus he mused,
A bird, upon a bough which overhung
The rock, as though in echo to his thought,
Cried out, Depart! depart! for so the note,
Articulately in his native tongue,
Spake to the Azteca.7°. The King looked up.
The hour, the horrors round him, had impressed
Feelings and fears well fitted to receive
All superstition; and the voice which cried,
Depart! depart! seemed like the voice of fate.
He thought, perhaps Coanocotzin's soul,
Descending from his blissful halls in the hour
Of evil thus to comfort and advise,
Hovered above him.
Lo! toward the rock,
Oaring with feeble arms his difficult way,
A struggler hastens: he hath reached the rock,
Hath graspt it, but his strength, exhausted, fails
To lift him from the depth. The King descends
Timely in aid; he holds the feeble one
By his long locks, and on the safety-place
Lands him. He, panting, from his clotted hair
Shook the thick waters, from his forchead wiped
The binding drops; on his preserver's face
Then looked, and knew the King. Then Tlalala
Feil on his neck, and groaned. They laid them down
In silence, for their hearts were full of woe.
The sun came forth, and shone upon the rock;
They felt the kindly beams; their strengthened blood
Flowed with a freer action. They arose,
And looked around, if aught of hope might meet
Their prospect. On the lake the galleys plied
Their toil successfully, ever to the shore
Bearing their rescued charge: the eastern heights,
Rightward and leftward of the fiery mount,
Were thronged with fugitives, whose growing crowds
Speckled the ascent. Then Tlalala took hope,
And his young heart, reviving, re-assumed
Its wonted vigour. Let us to the heights,
He cried;—all is not lost! Yuhidthiton'
When they behold thy countenance, the sight
Will cheer them in their woe, and they will bless
The Gods of Aztlan.
To the heights they went
And when the remnant of the people saw
Yuhidthiton preserved, such comfort then
They felt, as utter wretchedness can feel,
That only gives grief utterance, only speaks
In groans and recollections of the past.
ble looked around; a multitude was there,
But where the strength of Aztlan where her hosts?
Her marshalled myriads where, whom yester Sun
Had seen in arms arrayed, in spirit high,
Mighty in youth and courage?—What were these,
This remnant of the people? Women most,
Who from Patamba when the shock began
Ran with their infants; widowed now, yet each
Among the few who from the lake escaped,
Wandering, with eager eyes and wretched hope.
The King belield and groaned; against a tree
He leant, and bowed his head, subdued of soul.
Meantime, amid the crowd, doth Tlalala
Seek for his wife and boy. In vain he seeks
Ilanquel there; in vain for her he asks:
A troubled look, a melancholy eye,
A silent motion of the hopeless head,
These answer him. But Tlalala represt
His anguish, and he called upon the King,
Yuhidthiton! thou seest thy people left;
Their fate must be determined; they are here
Houseless, and wanting food.
The King looked up, —
It is determined, Tlalala the Gods
Have crushed us. Who can stand against their wrath?
Have we not life and strength the Tiger cried.
Disperse these women to the towns which stand
Beyond the ruinous waters; against them
The White Men will not war. Ourselves are few,
Too few to root the invaders from our land,
Or meet them with the hope of equal fight:
Yet may we shelter in the woods, and share
The Lion's liberty; and man by man
Destroy them, till they shall not dare to walk
leyond their city walls, to sow their fields,
Or bring the harvest iu. We may steal forth
In the dark midnight, go and burn and kill,
Till all their dreams shall be of fire and death,
Their sleep be fear and misery.
Then the King
Stretched forth his hand, and pointed to the lake
Where Madoc's galleys still to those who clung
To the tree-tops for life, or faintly still
Were floating on the waters, gave their aid.—
O think not, Tlalala, that ever more
Will I against those noble enemies
Raise my right hand in war, lest righteous Heaven
Should blast the impious hand and thankless heart!
The Gods are leagued with them; the Elements
Banded against us! for our overthrow
Were yonder mountain-springs of fire ordained
For our destruction the earth-thunders loosed,
And the everlasting boundaries of the lake
Gave way, that these destroying floods might roll
Over the brave of Aztlan"—We must leave
The country which our fathers won in arms;
We must depart.
The word yet vibrated
Fresh on their hearing, when the Bird above,
Flapping his heavy wings, repeats the sound,
Depart! depart!—Ye hear! the King exclaimed;
It is an omen sent to me from Heaven;
I heard it late in solitude, the voice
Of fate.—It is Coanocotzin's soul,
Who counsels our departure.—And the Bird
Still flew around, and in his wheeling flight
Pronounced the articulate note. The people heard
In faith, and Tlalala made no reply;
But dark his brow, and gloomy was his frown.
Then spake the King, and called a messenger,
And bade him speed to Aztlan.—Seek the Lord
Of Ocean; tell him that Yuhidthiton
Yields to the will of Heaven, and leaves the land
His fathers won in war. Only one boon,
In memory of our former friendship, ask,
The Ashes of my Fathers, if indeed
The conqueror have not cast them to the winds!
The herald went his way, circuitous,
Along the mountains,—for the flooded vale
Barred the near passage: but before his feet
Could traverse half their track, the fugitives
Beheld canoes from Aztlan, to the foot
Of that protecting eminence, whereon
They had their stand, draw nigh. The doubtful sight
Disturbed them, lest perchance with hostile strength
They came upon their weakness. Wrongful fear—
For now Cadwallon, from his bark, unarmed,
Set foot ashore, and for Yuhidthiton
Enquired, if yet he lived. The King receives
Ilis former friend.—From Madoc come I here,
The Briton said : Raiment and food he sends,
And peace; so shall this visitation prove
A blessing, if it knit the bonds of peace,
And make us as one people.
Hearest thou him? Yuhidthiton exclaimed.
Do thou thy bidding, King! the Tiger cried:
My path is plain.—Thereat Yuhidthiton,
Answering, replied, Thus humbled as thou seest,
Beneath the visitation of the Gods,
We bow before their will! To them we yield;
To you, their favourites, we resign the land
Our fathers conquered. Never more may Fate,
In your days or your children's, to the end
Of time, aftlict it thus !
He said, and called
The Heralds of his pleasure.—Go ye forth
Throughout the land: North, south, and east, and west,
Proclaim the ruin. Say to all who bear
The name of Azteca, that Heaven hath crushed
Their country: Say, the voice of Heaven was heard,
Heard ye it not?—bidding us leave the land,
Who shakes us from her bosom. Ye will find
Women, old men, and babes; the many, weak
of body and of spirit ill prepared,
With painful toil, through long and dangerous ways
To seek another country. Say to them,
The White Men will not lift the arm of power
Against the feeble; here they may remain
In peace, and to the grave in peace go down.
But they who would not have their children lose The name their fathers bore, will join our march, Ere ye set forth, behold the destined way!
He bade a pile be raised upon the top
Of that high eminence, to all the winds
Exposed. They raised the pile, and left it free
To all the winds of Heaven; Yuhidthiton
Alone approached it, and applied the torch.
The day was calm, and o'er the flaming pile
The wavy smoke hung lingering, like a mist
That in the morning tracks the valley-stream.
Swell over swell it rose, erect above,
Ou all sides spreading like a stately palm,
So moveless were the winds. Upward it rolled,
Still upward, when a stream of upper air,
Crossed it, and bent its top, and drove it on,
Straight over Aztlan. An acclaiming shout
Welcomed the will of Heaven; for Io, the smoke
Fast travelling on, while not a breath of air
ls felt below. Ye see the appointed course!
Exclaimed the King. Proclaim it where ye go!
On the third morning we begin our march.
Soon o'er the lake a winged galley sped,
wafting the Ocean Prince. He bore, preserved,
When Aztlan's bloody temples were cast down,
The Ashes of the Dead. The King received
The relics, and his heart was full; his eye
Dwelt on his father's urn. At length he said,
One more request, O Madoc'—If the lake
Should ever to its ancient bounds return,
Shrined in the highest of Patamba's towers
Coanocotzin rests.-But wherefore this?
Thou wilt respect the ashes of the King.
Then said the Prince, Abide not here, O King,
Thus open to the changeful elements;
But till the day of your departure come,
Sojourn with me.—Madoc, that must not be!
Yuhidthiton replied. Shall I behold
A stranger dwelling in my father's house?
Shall I become a guest, where I was wont
To give the guest his welcome?—lle pursued,
After short pause of speech,-For our old men,
And helpless babes and women; for all those
whom wisely fear and feebleness deter
To tempt strange paths, through swamp and wilderness
And hostile tribes, for these Yuhidthiton
Asks thy protection. Under thy mild sway,
They will remember me without regret,
Yet not without affection.—They shall be
My people, Madoc answered.—And the rites
Of holiness transmitted from their sires,-
Pursued the King, will these be suffered them 1–
Blood must not flow, the Christian Prince replied;
No Priest must dwell among us; that hath been
The cause of all this misery l—Enough,
Yuhidthiton replied; I ask no more.
It is not for the conquered to impose
Their law upon the conqueror.
Then he turned,
And lifted up his voice, and called upon
The people:—All whom fear or feebleness
Withhold from following my adventurous path,
Prince Madoc will receive. No blood must flow,
No Paba dwell among them. Take upon ye,
Ye who are weak of body or of heart,
The straugers easy yoke; beneath their sway
Ye will remember me without regret.
Soon take your choice, and speedily depart,
Lest ye impede the adventurers.-As he spake
Tears flowed, and groans were heard. The line was
Which whoso would accept the Strangers' yoke
Should pass. A multitude o'erpast the line;
But all the youth of Aztlan crowded round
Yuhidihiton, their own beloved King.
So two days long, with unremitting toil,
The barks of Britain to the adventurers
Bore due supply; and to new habitants
The city of the Cymry spread her gates;
And in the vale around, and on the heights,
Their numerous tents were pitched. Meantime the tale
Of ruin went abroad, and how the Gods
Had driven her sons from Aztlan. To the King,
Companions of his venturous enterprise,
The bold repaired; the timid and the weak,
All whom, averse from perilous wanderings,
A gentler nature had disposed to peace,
Beneath the Strangers' easy rule remained.
Now the third morning came. At break of day
The mountain echoes to the busy sound
Of multitudes. Before the moving tribe
The Pabas bear, enclosed from public sight,
Mexitli; and the ashes of the Kings
Follow the Chair of God.74 Yuhidthiton
Then leads the marshalled ranks, and by his side,
Silent and thoughtfully, went Tlalala.
At the north gate of Aztlan, Malinal,
Borne in a litter, waited their approach;
And now alighting, as the train drew migh,
Propt by a friendly arm, with feeble step
Advanced to meet the King. Yuhidthiton,
With eye severe and darkening countenance,
Met his advance. I did not think, quoth he,
Thou wouldst have ventured this! and liefer far
Should I have borne away with me the thought
That Malinal had shunned his brother's sight,
Because their common blood yet raised in him
A sense of his own shame!—Comest thou to show
Those wounds, the marks of thine unnatural war
Against thy country? or to boast the meed
Of thy dishonour? that thou tarriest here,
Sharing the bounty of the Conqueror,
While, with the remnant of his countrymen,
Saving the Gods of Aztlan and the name,
Thy brother and thy King goes forth to seek
Calm and low the youth replied,
Ill dost thou judge of me, Yuhidthiton!
And foully, O my brother, wrong the heart
Thou better shouldst have known Howbeit, I come
Prepared for grief. These honourable wounds
Were gained when, singly, at Caermadoc, I
Opposed the ruffian Hoamen; and even now,
Thus feeble as thou seest me, come I thence,
For this farewell. Brother, Yuhidthiton,
By the true love which thou didst bear my youth,
Which ever, with a love as true, my heart
Hath answered,—by the memory of that hour
When at our mother's funeral pile we stood,
Go not away in wrath, but call to mind
What thou hast ever known me! Side by side
We fought against the Strangers, side by side
We fell; together in the counsel-hall
We counselled peace, together in the field
Of the assembly pledged the word of peace.
When plots of secret slaughter were devised,
I raised my voice alone, alone I kept
My plighted faith, alone I prophesied
The judgment of just Heaven; for this I bore
Reproach and shame and wrongful banishment,
In the action self-approved, and justified
By this unhappy issue!
As he spake,
Did natural feeling strive within the King,
And thoughts of other days, and brotherly love,
And inward consciousness that had he too
Stood forth, obedient to his better mind,
Nor weakly yielded to the wily priests,
Wilfully blind, perchance even now in peace
The kingdom of his fathers had preserved
Her name and empire.—Malinal, he cried
Thy brother's heart is sore; in better times
I may with kindlier thoughts remember thee,
And honour thy true virtue. Now fare well!
So saying, to his heart he held the youth,
Then turned away. But then cried Tlalala,
Farewell, Yuhidthiton! the Tiger cried;
For I too will not leave my native land,-
Thou who wert King of Aztlan! go thy way,
And be it prosperous. Through the gate thou secst
Yon tree that overhangs my father's house;
My father lies beneath it. Call to mind
Sometimes that tree; for at its foot in peace
Shall Tlalala be laid, who will not live
Survivor of his country.
Thus he cried,
And through the gate, regardless of the King,
Turned to his native door. Yuhidihiton
Followed, and Madoc; but in vain their words
Essayed to move the Tiger's steady heart;
When from the door a tottering boy came forth
And clung around his knees with joyful cries,
And called him father. At the joyful sound
Out ran llanquel; and the astonished man
Beheld his wife and boy, whom sure he deemed
Whelmed in the floods; but them the British barks,
Returning homeward from their merciful quest,
Found floating on the waters—For a while,
Abandoned by all desperate thoughts he stood:
Soon he collected, and to Madoc turned,
And said, O Prince, this woman and her boy
I leave to thee. As thou hast ever found
In me a fearless unrelenting foe,
Fighting with ceaseless zeal my country's cause,
Respect them —Nay, Ilanquel! hast thou yet
To learn with what unshakeable resolve
My soul maintains its purposes! I leave thee
To a brave foe's protection.—Lay me, Madoc,
Ilere, in my father's grave.
With that he took
His mantle off, and veiled Ilanquel's face;—
Woman, thou canst not look upon the Sun,
Who sets to rise no more!—That done, he placed
IIis javelin-hilt against the ground; the point
He fitted to his heart; and, holding firm
The shaft, fell forward, still with steady hand
Guiding the death-blow on.
So in the land
Madoc was left sole Lord; and far away
Yuhidthiton led forth the Aztecas,
To spread in other lands Mexitli's name,74
And rear a mightier empire, and set up
Again their foul idolatry; till Heaven,
Making blind Zeal and Bloody Avarice
Its ministers of vengeance, sent among them
The heroic Spaniard's unrelenting sword.
Note 1, page 197, col. 1.
Silent and thoughtful, and apart from all, Stood Madoc.
Long after these lines had been written, I was pleased at finding the same feeling expressed in a very singular specimen of metrical auto-biography:
A Nao, despregando as velas Ja se aproveita do vento; E de evidente alegria 0s Portuguezes ja cheios. Sobre o conves estam todos; Na terra se vam revendo Igrejas, Palacios, Quintas, De que tem combecimento, Daqui, dalli apontando Vam led amente codedo. Todos fallando demostram Seus jubilos manifestos; Mas o Vieira occupado Wai de hum notavel silencio. Seu excessivo alvorogo Tumultuante, que dentro No peito sente, Ihe causa The sobresal to os effeitos. Quanto mais elle chegando Wai no suspirado termo, Mais selhe augmenta o gostoso Susto no doce projecto. Vieira Lasitase.