The Vision of Columbus. A Poem in Nine Books. By Joel Barlow, Esquire.
[from The vision of Columbus (1787)]
To His Most Christian Majesty, Louis the Sixteenth, King of France and Navarre. Sire,
In recounting the numerous blessings which have arisen to mankind from the discovery
of America, the mind dwells with particular pleasure and gratitude upon those Characters,
from whose hands these blessings have immediately flowed. That change in the political
face of Europe, that liberality of sentiment, that enlargement of commercial, military
and philosophical knowledge, which contrast the present with the fifteenth century, are
but so many consequences of this great event; an event which laid open all parts of the
earth to the range of the liberal mind. The illustrious line of your royal Ancestors have
been conspicuous in seizing those advantages and diffusing their happy effects. The
great Father of the House of Bourbon will be held in the highest veneration, till his
favourite political system shall be realized among the nations of Europe, and extended
to all mankind. But it was left to his more glorious Descendant, to accelerate the
progress of society, by disregarding the temporary interests and local policies of
other Monarchs, reaching the hand of beneficence to another hemisphere, and raising
an infant empire, in a few years, to a degree of importance, which several ages were
scarcely thought sufficient to produce.
This is the sublime of humanity, to feel for future ages and
distant nations; to act those things, as a Monarch, which another can only
contemplate as a Philosopher, or image in the flights of poetry. America
acknowledges her obligations to the Guardian of her rights; mankind, who survey
your conduct, and posterity, for whom you act, will see that the tribute of
gratitude is paid. If to patronize the Arts can add to the praise of these more
glorious actions, your Majesty’s fame in this respect will be ever sacred; as
there are none, who can feel the subject so strongly as those who are the
particular objects of your royal condescension. The following work, which may
be considered in part, as the offspring of those reflections which your
Majesty’s conduct has taught me to make, possesses one advantage scarcely to be
expected in a Poem written in a foreign language. Your Majesty’s permission,
that the unfortunate Columbus may once more enjoy the protection of a royal
benefactor, has added a new obligation to those I before felt–in common with
a grateful country. It is the policy of wise Princes to encourage the liberal
arts among their subjects; and, as the human race are the objects of your
extended administration, they may all in some measure claim the privilege of
subjects, in seeking your literary as well as political protection. 1.
With the deepest sense of your Majesty’s royal munificence to my
country, and gracious condescension to myself, I have the honour to be, 2.
Sire, Your Majesty’s Most humble and Most devoted Servant, Joel
Every circumstance relating to the discovery and settlement of
America, is an interesting object of enquiry. Yet it is presumed, from the
present state of literature in this country, that many persons, who might be
entertained with an American production of this kind, are but slightly
acquainted with the life and character of that great man, whose extraordinary
genius led him to the discovery of the continent, and whose singular sufferings
ought to excite the indignation of the world. 4.
The Spanish historians, who treat of the discovery and settlement
of South-America, are very little known in the United States; and Doctor
Robertson’s history of that country, which, as is usual in the works of that
judicious writer, contains all that is valuable on the subject, is not yet
reprinted in America, and therefore cannot be supposed to be in the hands of
American readers in general: and perhaps no other writer in the English
language has given a sufficient account of the life of Columbus to enable them
to understand many of the necessary allusions in the following Poem. 5.
Christopher Columbus was born in the republic of Genoa about the
year 1447; at a time when the navigation of Europe was scarcely extended beyond
the limits of the Mediterranean. The mariner’s compass had been invented and in
common use for more than a century; yet with the help of this sure guide,
prompted by the most ardent spirit of discovery, and encouraged by the
patronage of princes, the mariners of those days rarely ventured from the sight
of land. They acquired great applause by sailing along the coast of Africa and
discovering some of the neighbouring islands; and after pushing their
researches with the greatest industry and perseverance for more than half a
century, the Portuguese, who were the most fortunate and enterprising, extended
their discoveries southward no farther than the equator. 6.
The rich commodities of the East had for several ages been
brought into Europe by the way of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean; and it had
now become the object of the Portuguese to find a passage to India, by sailing
round the southern extremity of Africa and then taking an eastern course. This
great object engaged the general attention of mankind, and drew into the
Portuguese service adventurers from every maritime nation in Europe. Every year
added to their experience in navigation and seemed to promise a reward to their
industry. The prospect however of arriving at the Indies was extremely distant;
fifty years perseverance in the same track, had brought them only to the
equator, and it was probable that as many more would elapse before they could
accomplish their purpose. But Columbus, by an uncommon exertion of genius,
formed a design no less astonishing to the age in which he lived, than
beneficial to posterity. This design was to sail to India by taking a western
direction. By the accounts of travellers who had visited India, that country
seemed almost without limits on the east; and by attending to the spherical
figure of the earth, Columbus drew this conclusion, that the Atlantic ocean
must be bounded on the west either by India itself, or by some great continent
not far distant from it. 7.
This extraordinary man, who was now about twenty-seven years of
age, appears to have united in his character every trait, and to have possessed
every tallant, requisite to form and execute the greatest enterprizes. He was
early educated in all the useful sciences that were taught in that day. He had
made great proficiency in geography, astronomy and drawing, as they were
necessary to his favourite pursuit of navigation. He had now been a number of
years in the service of the Portuguese, and had acquired all the experience
that their voyages and discoveries could afford. His courage and perseverance
had been put to the severest test, and the exercise of every amiable and heroic
virtue rendered him universally known and respected. He had married a
Portuguese lady by whom he had two sons, Diego and Fardinand; the younger of
whom is the historian of his life. 8.
Such was the situation of Columbus, when he formed and thoroughly
digested a plan, which, in its operation and consequences, unfolded to the view
of mankind one half of the globe, diffused wealth and dignity over the other,
and extended commerce and civilization through the whole. To corroborate the
theory which he had formed of the existence of a western continent, his
descerning mind, which always knew the application of every circumstance that
fell in his way, had observed several facts which by others would have passed
unnoticed. In his voyages to the African islands he had found, floating ashore
after a long western storm, pieces of wood carved in a curious manner, canes of
a size unknown in that quarter of the world, and human bodies with very
singular features. Fully confirmed in the opinion that a considerable portion
of the earth was still undiscovered, his genius was too vigorous and
persevering to suffer an idea of this importance to rest merely in speculation,
as it had done in the minds of Plato and Seneca, who appear to have had
conjectures of a similar nature. He determined therefore to bring his favourite
theory to the test of actual experiment. But an object of that magnitude
required the patronage of a Prince; and a design so extraordinary met with all
the obstructions, delays and disappointments, which an age of superstition
could invent, and which personal jealousy and malice could magnify and
encourage. Happily for mankind, in this instance, a genius, capable of devising
the greatest undertakings, associated in itself a degree of patience and
enterprize, modesty and confidence, which rendered him superior, not only to
these misfortunes, but to all the future calamities of his life. Prompted by
the most ardent enthusiasm to be the discoverer of new continents, and fully
sensible of the advantages that would result to mankind from such discoveries,
he had the mortification to waste away eighteen years of his life, after his
system was well established in his own mind, before he could obtain the means
of executing his designs. The greatest part of this period was spent in
successive and fruitless solicitations, at Genoa, Portugal and Spain. As a duty
to his native country, he made his first proposal to the Senate of Genoa; where
it was soon rejected. Conscious of the truth of his theory, and of his own
abilities to execute his design, he retired without dejection from a body of
men who were incapable of forming any just ideas upon the subject; and applied
with fresh confidence to John the second, King of Portugal, who had
distinguished himself as the great patron of navigation, and in whose service
Columbus had acquired a reputation which entitled him and his project to
general confidence and approbation. But here he suffered an insult much greater
than a direct refusal. After referring the examination of his scheme to the
council who had the direction of naval affairs, and drawing from him his
general ideas of the length of the voyage and the course he meant to take, that
great monarch had the meanness to conspire with this council to rob Columbus of
the glory and advantage he expected to derive from his undertaking. While
Columbus was amused with this negotiation, in hopes of having his scheme
adopted and patronized, a vessel was secretly dispatched, by order of the king,
to make the intended discovery. Want of skill and perseverance in the pilot
rendered the plot unsuccessful; and Columbus, on discovering the treachery,
retired with an ingenuous indignation from a court capable of such duplicity.
Having now performed what was due to the country that gave him
birth and to the one that had adopted him as a subject, he was at liberty to
court the patronage of any prince who should have the wisdom and justice to
accept his proposals. He had communicated his ideas to his brother Bartholomew,
whom he sent to England to negotiate with Henry seventh; at the same time that
he went himself into Spain to apply in person to Fardinand and Isabella, who
governed the united kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. The circumstances of his
brother’s application in England, which appears to have been unsuccessful, is
not to my purpose to relate; and the limits prescribed to this introduction
will prevent the detail of all the particulars relating to his own negociation
in Spain. In this negociation Columbus spent eight years, in the various
agitations of suspence, expectation and disappointment; till, at length his
scheme was adopted by Isabella, who undertook, as Queen of Castile, to destroy
the expences of the expedition; and declared herself, ever after, the friend
and patron of the hero who projected it. 10.
Columbus, who, during all his ill success in the negotiation,
never abated any thing of the honours and emoluments which he expected to
acquire in the expedition, obtained from Fardinand and Isabella a full
stipulation of every article contained in his first proposals. He was
constituted high Admiral and Viceroy of all the Seas, Islands and Continents
which he should discover; with power to receive one tenth of the profits
arising from their productions and commerce. These offices and emoluments were
to be hereditary in his family. 11.
These articles being adjusted, the preparations for the voyage
were brought forward with rapidity; but they were by no means adequate to the
importance of the expedition. Three small vessels, scarcely sufficient in size
to be employed in the coasting business, were appointed to traverse the vast
Atlantic; and to encounter the storms and currents that might be expected in so
lengthy a voyage, through distant and unknown seas. These vessels, as might be
expected in the infancy of navigation, were ill constructed, in a poor
condition, and manned by seamen unaccustomed to distant voyages. But the
tedious length of time which Columbus had spent in solicitation and suspence,
and the prospect of being able soon, to obtain the object of his wishes,
induced him to overlook what he could not easily remedy, and led him to
disregard those circumstances which would have intimidated any other mind. He
accordingly equiped his small squadron with as much expedition as possible,
manned with ninety men and victualled for one year. With these, on the 3d of
August 1492, amidst a vast croud of anxious spectators, he set sail on an
enterprize, which, if we consider the ill condition of his ships, the
inexperience of his sailors, the length and uncertainty of his voyage, and the
consequences that flowed from it, was the most daring and important that ever
was undertaken. He touched at some of the Portuguese settlements in the Canary
Isles; where, although he had had but a few days run, he found his vessels
needed refitting. He soon made the necessary repairs, and took his departure
from the westermost Islands that had hitherto been discovered. Here he left the
former track of navigation and steered his course due west. 12.
Not many days after he had been at sea, he began to experience a
new scene of difficulty. The sailors now began to contemplate the dangers and
uncertain issue of a voyage, the nature and length of which was left entirely
open to conjecture. Besides the fickleness and timidity natural to men
unaccustomed to the discipline of a seafaring life, several circumstances
contributed to inspire an obstinate and mutinous disposition, which required
the most consummate art as well as fortitude in the admiral to controul. Having
been three weeks at sea, and experienced the uniform course of the trade winds,
which always blow in a western direction, they contended that, should they
continue the same course for a longer period, the same winds would never permit
them to return to Spain. The magnetic needle began to vary its direction. This
being the first time that phenomenon was ever discovered, it was viewed by the
sailors with astonishment, and considered as an indication that nature itself
had changed her course, and that Providence was determined to punish their
audacity, in venturing so far beyond the ordinary bounds of man. They declared
that the commands of their sovereign had been fully obeyed, in their proceeding
so many days in the same direction, and so far surpassing the attempts of all
former navigators, in quest of new discoveries. Every talent, requisite for
governing, soothing and tempering the passions of men, is conspicuous in the
conduct of Columbus on this occasion. The dignity and affability of his
manners, his surprising knowledge and experience in naval affairs, his
unwearied and minute attention to the duties of his command gave him a complete
ascendant over the minds of his men, and inspired that degree of confidence
which would have maintained his authority in almost any possible circumstances.
But here, from the nature of the undertaking, every man had leisure to feed his
imagination with all the gloominess and uncertainty of the prospect. They
found, every day, that the same steady gales carried them with great rapidity
from their native country, and indeed from all countries of which they had any
knowledge. Notwithstanding all the variety of management with which Columbus
addressed himself to their passions, sometimes by soothing them with the
prognostics of discovering land, sometimes by flattering their ambition and
feasting their avarice with the glory and wealth they would acquire from
discovering those rich countries beyond the Atlantic, and sometimes by
threatening them with the displeasure of their sovereign, should their timidity
and disobedience defeat so great an object, their uneasiness still increased.
From secret whisperings, it arose to open mutiny and dangerous conspiracy. At
length they determined to rid themselves of the remonstrances of Columbus, by
throwing him into the sea. The infection spread from ship to ship, and involved
Officers as well as common sailors. They finally lost all sense of
subordination, and addressed their commander in an insolent manner, demanding
to be conducted immediately back to Spain; or, they assured him, they would
seek their own safety by taking away his life. 13.
Columbus, whose sagacity and penetration had discovered every
symptom of the disorder, was prepared for this last stage of it, and was
sufficiently apprized of the danger that awaited him. He found it vain to
contend with passions he could no longer controul. He therefore proposed that
they should obey his orders for three days longer; and, should they not
discover land in that time, he would then direct his course for Spain. They
complied with his proposal; and, happily for mankind, in three days they
discovered Land. This was a small Island, to which Columbus gave the name of
San Salvador. Their first interview with the natives was a scene of amusement
and compassion on the one part, and of astonishment and adoration on the other.
The natives were entirely naked, simple and timorous, and they viewed the
Spaniards as a superior order of beings, descended from the Sun, which, in that
Island and in most parts of America, was worshiped as a Deity. By this it was
easy for Columbus to perceive the line of conduct proper to be observed toward
that simple and inoffensive people. Had his companions and successors, of the
Spanish nation possessed the wisdom and humanity of that great discoverer, the
benevolent mind would feel no sensations, of regret, in contemplating the
extensive advantages arising to mankind from the discovery of America. 14.
In this voyage, Columbus discovered the Islands of Cuba and
Hispaniola; on the latter of which, he erected a small fort, and having left a
garrison of thirty-eight men, under the command of an Officer by the name of
Arada, he set sail for Spain. Returning across the Atlantic, he was overtaken
by a violent storm, which lasted several days and increased to such a degree,
as baffled all his naval skill and threatened immediate destruction. In this
situation, when all were in a state of despair, and it was expected that every
sea would swallow up the crazy vessel, he manifested a serenity and presence of
mind, perhaps never equalled in cases of like extremity. He wrote a short
account of his voyage and of the discoveries he had made, wrapped it in an
oiled cloth, enclosed it in a cake of wax, put it into an empty cask and threw
it overboard; in hopes that some accident might preserve a deposit of so much
importance to the world. 15.
The storm however abated, and he at length arrived in Spain,
after having been driven by stress of weather into the Port of Lisbon, where he
had opportunity in an interview with the King of Portugal, to prove the truth
of his system by arguments more convincing than those he had before advanced,
in the character of an humble and unsuccessful suitor. He was received every
where in Spain with Royal honours, his family was ennobled, and his former
stipulation respecting his offices and emoluments was ratified in the most
solemn manner, by Fardinand and Isabella; while all Europe resounded his
praises and reciprocated their joy and congratulations on the discovery of a
new world. 16.
The immediate consequence of this was a second voyage; in which
Columbus took charge of a squadron of seventeen Ships of considerable burthen.
Volunteers of all ranks and conditions solicited to be employed in this
expedition. He carried over fifteen hundred persons, together with all the
necessaries for establishing a Colony and extending his discoveries. In this
voyage he explored most of the West-India Islands; but, on his arrival at
Hispaniola, he found the garrison he had left there had been totally destroyed
by the natives, and the fort demolished. He however proceeded in the planting
of his colony; and, by his prudent and humane conduct towards the natives, he
effectually established the Spanish authority in that Island. But while he was
thus laying the foundation of their future grandeur in South America, some
discontented persons, who had returned from the colony to Spain, together with
his former enemies in that Kingdom, conspired to accomplish his ruin. They
represented his conduct in such a light at court, as to create uneasiness and
distrust in the jealous mind of Fardinand, and made it necessary for Columbus
again to return to Spain, in order to counteract their machinations, and to
obtain such farther supplies as were necessary to his great political and
benevolent purposes. On his arriving at court, and stating with his usual
dignity and confidence the whole history of his transactions abroad, every
thing wore a favourable appearance. He was received with usual honours, and
again solicited to take charge of another squadron, to carry out farther
supplies, to pursue his discoveries, and in every respect to use his discretion
in extending the Spanish Empire in the new World. In this third voyage he
discovered the Continent of America at the mouth of the river Oronoque. He
rectified many disorders in his government of Hispaniola which had happened in
his absence; and every thing was going on in a prosperous train, when an event
was announced to him, which completed his own ruin, and gave a fatal turn to
the Spanish policy and conduct in America. This was the arrival of Francis de
Bovadilla, with a commission to supercede Columbus in his government; and with
power to arraign him as a criminal, and to judge of his former administration.
It seems that by this time the enemies of Columbus, despairing to
complete his overthrow by groundless insinuations of mal-conduct, had taken the
more effectual method of exciting the jealousy of their Sovereigns. From the
promising samples of Gold and other valuable commodities brought from America,
they took occasion to represent to the King and Queen, that the prodigious
wealth and extent of the countries he had discovered would soon throw such
power into the hands of the Viceroy, that he would trample on the Royal
Authority and bid defiance to the Spanish power. These arguments were well
calculated for the cold and suspicious temper of Fardinand, and they must have
had some effect upon the mind of Isabella. The consequence was the appointment
of Bavadilla, who had been the inveterate enemy of Columbus, to take the
government from his hands. This first tyrant of the Spanish nation in America
began his administration by ordering Columbus to be put in chains on board a
ship, and sending him prisoner to Spain. By relaxing all discipline he
introduced disorder and licenciousness throughout the colony. He subjected the
unhappy natives to a most miserable servitude, and apportioned them out in
large numbers among his adherents. Under this severe treatment perished in a
short time many thousands of those innocent people. 18.
Columbus was carried in his fetters to the Spanish court, where
the King and Queen either feigned or felt a sufficient regret at the conduct of
Bovadilla towards this illustrious prisoner. He was not only released from
confinement, but treated with all imaginable respect. But, although the king
endeavoured to expiate the offence by censuring and recalling Bovadilla, yet we
may judge of his sincerity from his appointing Nicholas de Ovando, another
bitter enemy of Columbus, to succeed in the government, and from his ever after
refusing to reinstate Columbus, or to fulfil any of the conditions on which the
discoveries were undertaken. After two years solicitation for this or some
other employment, he at length obtained a squadron of four small vessels to
attempt new discoveries. He now set out, with the ardour and enthusiasm of a
young adventurer, in quest of what was always his favourite object, a passage
into the South Sea, by which he might sail to India. He touched at Hispaniola,
where Ovando, the governor, refused him admittance on shore even to take
shelter during a hurricane, the prognostics of which his experience had taught
him to discern. By putting into a small creek, he rode out the storm, and then
bore away for the continent. Several months, in the most boisterous season of
the year, he spent in exploring the coast round the gulph of Mexico in hopes of
finding the intended navigation to India. At length he was shipwrecked, and
driven ashore on the Island of Jamaica. 19.
His cup of calamities seemed now completely full. He was cast
upon an island of savages, without provisions, without any vessel, and thirty
leagues from any Spanish settlement. But the greatest providential misfortunes
are capable of being imbittered by the insults of our fellow creatures. A few
of his hardy companions generously offered, in two Indian canoes, to attempt a
voyage to Hispaniola, in hopes of obtaining a vessel for the relief of the
unhappy crew. After suffering every extremity of danger and hardship, they
arrived at the Spanish colony in ten days. Ovando, through personal malice and
jealousy of Columbus, after having detained these messengers eight months,
dispatched a vessel to Jamaica, in order to spy out the condition of Columbus
and his crew; with positive instructions to the Captain not to afford them any
relief. This order was punctually executed. The Captain approached the shore,
delivered a letter of empty compliment from Ovando to the Admiral, received his
answer and returned. About four months afterwards a vessel came to their
relief; and Columbus, worn out with fatigues and broken with misfortunes,
returned for the last time to Spain. Here a new distress awaited him, which he
considered as one of the greatest he had suffered, in his whole life. This was
the death of Queen Isabella, his last and greatest friend. He did not suddenly
abandon himself to despair. He called upon the gratitude and justice of the
King; and, in terms of dignity, demanded the fulfilment of his former contract.
Notwithstanding his age and infirmities, he even solicited to be farther
employed in extending the career of discovery, without a prospect of any other
reward but the consciousness of doing good to mankind. But Fardinand, cold,
ungrateful and timid, dared not to comply with a single proposal of this kind,
lest he should encrease his own obligations to a man, whose services he thought
it dangerous to reward. He therefore delayed and avoided any decision on these
subjects, in hopes that the declining health of Columbus would soon rid the
court of the remonstrances of a man, whose extraordinary merit was, in their
opinion, a sufficient occasion of destroying him. In this they were not
disappointed. Columbus languished a short time, and gladly resigned a life,
which had been worn out in the most essential services perhaps that were ever
rendered, by any human character, to an ungrateful world. Sometime in this
gloomy interval, before his death, the Vision is supposed to have been
presented to him; in order to satisfy his benevolent mind, by unfolding to him
the importance of his discoveries, in their extensive influence upon the
interest and happiness of mankind, in the progress of society. The Author has
indulged a small anachronism in the opening of the Poem, for the sake of
grouping the misfortunes of the hero; as the time of his actual imprisonment
was previous to his last voyage and to the death of Isabella. 20.
The Author, at first, formed an idea of attempting a regular Epic
Poem, on the discovery of America. But on examining the nature of that event,
he found that the most brilliant subjects incident to such a plan would arise
from the consequences of the discovery, and must be represented in vision.
Indeed to have made it a patriotic Poem, by extending the subject to the
settlement and revolutions of North America and their probable effect upon the
future progress of society at large, would have protracted the vision to such a
degree as to render it disproportionate to the rest of the work. To avoid an
absurdity of this kind, which he supposed the critics would not pardon, he
rejected the idea of a regular Epic form, and has confined his plan to the
train of events which might be represented to the hero in vision. This form he
considers as the best that the nature of the subject would admit; and the
regularity of the parts will appear by observing, that there is a single
poetical design constantly kept in view, which is to gratify and sooth the
desponding mind of the hero: It being the greatest possible reward of his
services, and the only one that his situation would permit him to enjoy, to
convince him that his labours had not been bestowed in vain, and that he was
the author of such extensive happiness to the human race. 21.
Condition and soliloquy of Columbus. Appearance and speech of the
Angel. They ascend the Mount of Vision. Continent of America draws into view,
and is described by the mountains, rivers, lakes, soil, temperature and some of
the natural productions.22.
Long had the Sage, the first who dared to brave
The unknown dangers of the western wave,
Who taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day,
With cares o’erwhelm’d, in life’s distressing gloom, 5.
Wish’d from a thankless world a peaceful tomb;
While kings and nations, envious of his name,
Enjoy’d his toils and triumph’d o’er his fame,
And gave the chief, from promised empire hurl’d,
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world. 10.
Now night and silence held their lonely reign,
The half-orb’d moon declining to the main;
Descending clouds, o’er varying ether driven,
Obscured the stars and shut the eye from heaven;
Cold mists through opening grates the cell invade, 15.
And deathlike terrors haunt the midnight shade;
When from a visionary, short repose,
That raised new cares and temper’d keener woes,
Columbus woke, and to the walls address’d
The deep-felt sorrows of his manly breast. 20.
Here lies the purchase, here the wretched spoil,
Of painful years and persevering toil:
For these dread walks, this hideous haunt of pain,
I traced new regions o’er the pathless main,
Dared all the dangers of the dreary wave, 25.
Hung o’er its clefts and topp’d the surging grave,
Saw billowy seas, in swelling mountains roll,
And bursting thunders rock the reddening pole,
Death rear his front in every dreadful form,
Gape from beneath and blacken in the storm; 30.
Till, tost far onward to the skirts of day,
Where milder suns dispens’d a smiling ray,
Through brighter skies my happier sails descry’d
The golden banks that bound the western tide,
And gave the admiring world that bounteous shore 35.
Their wealth to nations and to kings their power.
Oh land of transport! dear, delusive coast,
To these fond, aged eyes forever lost!
No more thy gladdening vales I travel o’er,
For me thy mountains rear the head no more,
For me thy rocks no sparkling gems unfold, 41.
Or streams luxuriant wear their paths in gold;
From realms of promised peace forever borne,
I hail dread anguish, and in secret mourn.
But dangers past, fair climes explored in vain,
And foes triumphant shew but half my pain.
Dissembling friends, each earlier joy who gave,
And fired my youth the storms of fate to brave,
Swarm’d in the sunshine of my happier days, 49.
Pursued the fortune and partook the praise,
Bore in my doubtful cause a twofold part,
The garb of friendship and the viper’s heart,
Pass my loath’d cell with smiles of sour disdain,
Insult my woes and triumph in my pain. 54.
One gentle guardian Heaven indulgent gave,
And now that guardian slumbers in the grave.
Hear from above, thou dear departed shade,
As once my joys, my present sorrows aid,
Burst my full heart, afford that last relief, 59.
Breathe back my sighs and reinspire my grief;
Still in my sight thy royal form appears,
Reproves my silence and demands my tears.
On that blest hour my soul delights to dwell,
When thy protection bade the canvass swell, 64.
When kings and courtiers found their factions vain,
Blind Superstition shrunk beneath her chain,
The sun’s glad beam led on the circling way,
And isles rose beauteous in the western day.
But o’er those silvery shores, that fair domain, 69.
What crouds of tyrants fix their horrid reign!
Again fair Freedom seeks her kindred skies,
Truth leaves the world, and Isabella dies.
Oh, lend thy friendly shroud to veil my sight,
That these pain’d eyes may dread no more the light,
These welcome shades conclude my instant doom,
And this drear mansion moulder to a tomb.
Thus mourn’d the hapless chief; a thundering sound
Roll’d round the shuddering walls and shook the ground;
O’er all the dome, where solemn arches bend,
The roofs unfold and streams of light descend;
The growing splendor fill’d the astonish’d room, 81.
And gales etherial breathed a glad perfume;
Mild in the midst a radiant seraph shone,
Robed in the vestments of the rising sun;
Tall rose his stature, youth’s primeval grace
Moved o’er his limbs and wanton’d in his face, 86.
His closing wings, in golden plumage drest,
With gentle sweep came folding o’er his breast,
His locks in rolling ringlets glittering hung,
And sounds melodious moved his heavenly tongue.
Rise, trembling Chief, to scenes of rapture, rise,
This voice awaits thee from the approving skies;
Thy just complaints, in heavenly audience known
Call mild compassion from the indulgent throne;
Let grief no more awake the piteous strain, 95.
Nor think thy piety or toils are vain.
Tho’ faithless men thy injured worth despise,
Depress all virtue and insult the skies,
Yet look thro’ nature, Heaven’s own conduct trace,
What power divine sustains the unthankful race! 100.
From that great Source, that life-inspiring Soul,
Suns drew their light and systems learn’d to roll,
Time walk’d the silent round, and life began,
And God’s fair image stamp’d the mind of man.
Down the long vale, where rolling years descend, 105.
To thy own days, behold his care extend;
From one eternal Spring, what love proceeds!
Smiles in the seraph, in the Saviour bleeds,
Shines through all worlds, that fill the bounds of space,
And lives and brightens in thy favour’d race. 110.
Yet no return the almighty Power can know,
From earth to heaven no just reward can flow,
Men spread their wants, the all-bounteous hand supplies,
And gives the joys that mortals dare despise.
In these dark vales where blinded faction sways, 115.
Wealth pride and conquest claim the palm of praise,
Aw’d into slaves, while groping millions groan,
And blood-stain’d steps lead upwards to a throne.
Far other wreaths thy virtuous temples claim,
Far nobler honours build thy sacred name,
Thine be the joys the immortal mind that grace
Pleas’d with the toils, that bless thy kindred race,
Now raise thy ravish’d soul to scenes more bright, 123.
The glorious fruits ascending on thy sight;
For, wing’d with speed, from brighter worlds I came,
To sooth thy grief and show thy distant fame.
As that great Seer, whose animating rod
Taught Israel’s sons the wonder-working God,
Who led, thro’ dreary wastes, the murmuring band
To the fair confines of the promised land,
Oppress’d with years, from Pisgah’s beauteous height, 131.
O’er boundless regions cast the raptured sight;
The joys of unborn nations warm’d his breast,
Repaid his toils and sooth’d his soul to rest;
Thus, o’er thy subject wave, shalt thou behold
Far happier realms their future charms unfold, 136.
In nobler pomp another Pisgah rise,
Beneath whose foot thine own Canaumlan lies;
There, rapt in vision, hail the distant clime,
And taste the blessings of remotest time.
The Seraph spoke; and now before them lay 141.
(The doors unbarr’d) a steep ascending way,
That, through disparting shades, arose on high,
Reach’d o’er the hills and lengthen’d up the sky,
Oped a fair summit, graced with rising flowers,
Sweet odours breathing through celestial bowers, 146.
O’er proud Hispanian spires, it looks sublime,
Subjects the Alps and levels all the clime.
Led by the Power, the hero gain’d the height,
A touch from heaven sublimed his mortal sight,
And, calm beneath them, flow’d the western main, 151.
Far stretch’d, immense, a sky-encircled plain;
No sail, no isle, no cloud invests the bound,
Nor billowy surge disturbs the unvaried round;
Till, deep in distant heavens, the sun’s dim ray
Topp’d unknown cliffs and call’d them up to day; 156.
Slow glimmering into sight wide regions drew,
And rose and brighten’d on the expanding view;
Fair sweep the waves, the lessening ocean smiles,
And breathes the fragrance of a thousand isles;
Near and more near the long-drawn coasts arise, 161.
Bays stretch their arms and mountains lift the skies,
The lakes, unfolding, point the streams their way,
The plains the hills their lengthening skirts display,
The vales draw forth, high walk the approaching groves,
And all the majesty of nature moves. 166.
O’er the wild climes his eyes delighted rove,
Where lands extend and glittering waters move;
He saw through central realms, the winding shore
Spread the deep gulph, his sail had traced before,
The rocky isthmus meet the raging tide, 171.
Join distant lands and neighbouring seas divide,
On either side the shores unbounded bend,
Push wide their waves and to the poles ascend;
While two fair continents united rise,
Broad as the main and lengthen’d with the skies. 176.
Such views around them spread, when thus the Guide,
Here bounteous earth displays her noblest pride,
Ages unborn shall bless the happy day,
When thy bold streamers steer’d the trackless way,
O’er these delightful realms thy sons shall tread. 181.
And following millions trace the path you led.
Behold yon isles, where first the flag, unfurl’d,
Waved peaceful triumph o’er the newfound world,
Where, aw’d to silence, savage bands gave place,
And hail’d with joy the sun-descended race. 186.
See there the banks that purest waters lave,
Swift Oronoque rolls back the ocean’s wave,
The well known current cleaves the lofty coast,
Where Paria’s walks thy former footsteps boast.
These scanty shores no more thy joys shall bound, 191.
See nobler prospects lead their swelling round,
Nature’s sublimest scenes before thee roll,
And years and empires open on thy soul.
High to yon seats exalt thy roving view,
Where Quito’s lofty plains o’erlook Peru, 196.
On whose broad base, like clouds together driven,
A world exalted props the skirts of heaven.
From south to north what long, blue fronts arise!
Ridge over ridge, and lost in ambient skies!
Approaching near, they heave expanding bounds, 201.
The yielding concave bends sublimer rounds,
Earth’s loftiest towers there lift the daring height,
And all the Andes fill the bounded sight.
Round the low base what sloping breaches bend!
Hills form on hills and trees o’er trees extend, 206.
Ascending, whitening, how the craggs are lost!
O’erwhelm’d with summits of eternal frost;
Broad fields of ice give back the morning ray,
Like walls of suns or heaven’s perennial day.
There folding storms on eastern pinions ride, 211.
Veil the black heavens and wrap the mountain’s side,
The thunders rake the craggs, the rains descend,
And the long lightnings o’er the vallies bend,
While blasts unburden’d sweep the cliffs of snow,
The whirlwinds wheel above, the floods convolve below. 216.
There molten rocks, explosive rend their tomb,
And dread volcanoes ope the nations’ doom,
Wild o’er the regions pour the floods of fire,
The shores heave backward and the seas retire.
There slumbering vengeance waits the Almighty call, 221.
Long ages hence to shake some guilty wall;
Thy pride, O Lima, swells the sulph’rous wave,
And fanes and priests and idols croud thy grave.
But cease, my son, these dread events to trace,
Nor learn the woes that wait thy kindred race. 226.
Beyond those glimmering hills, in lands unknown,
O’er the wide gulph, beyond the flaming zone,
Thro’ milder climes, see gentler mountains rise,
Where yon dim regions bound the northern skies.
Back from the shore ascending champaigns run, 231.
And lift their heights to hail the eastern sun,
Through all the midland realm, to yon blue pole,
The green hills lengthen and the rivers roll.
So spoke the blest Immortal; when, more near,
The northern climes in various pomp appear; 236.
Lands yet unknown, and streams without a name
Rise into vision and demand their fame.
As when some saint, in heaven’s sublime abode,
Extends his views o’er all the works of God;
While earth’s fair circuit in his presence rolls, 241.
Here glows the centre and there point the poles;
O’er land and sea his eyes sublimely rove,
And joys of mortals kindle heaven with love;
With equal glance the great Observer’s sight
Ranged the low vale or climb’d the cloudly height, 246.
As, led by heaven’s own light, his raptured mind,
Explored the realms that here await mankind.
Now the still morn had tinged the mountain’s brow
And rising radiance warm’d the plains below;
Stretch’d o’er Virginian hills, in long array, 251.
The beauteous Alleganies met the day.
From sultry Mobile’s rich Floridian shore,
To where Ontario bids hoarse Laurence roar,
O’er the clear mountain-tops and winding streams,
Rose a pure azure, streak’d with orient beams; 256.
Fair spread the scene, the hero gazed sublime,
And thus in prospect hail’d the happy clime.
Blest shores of fame, conceal’d in earlier days
To lure my steps to trace the untempted seas!
And blest the race my guardian Saint shall lead, 261.
Where these tall forests wave the beckoning head.
Thro’ each wide ridge what various treasures shine!
Sleep there ye diamonds, and ye ores refine.
Exalt your heads ye oaks, ye pines ascend.
Till future navies bid your branches bend, 266.
Then spread the canvass o’er the subject sea,
Explore new worlds and teach the old your sway.
He said, and northward cast his wondering eyes,
Where other cliffs, in other climes, arise,
Where bleak Acadia spreads the dangerous coast, 271.
And isles and shoals their latent horrors boast,
High in the distant heaven, the hoary height
Heaves the glad sailor an eternal light.
Nor could those hills, unnoticed, raise their head,
That look sublime o’er Hudson’s winding bed; 276.
Tho’ no bold fiction rear them to the skies,
And neighbouring summits far superior rise,
Yet the blue Kaatskill, where the storms divide,
Would lift the heavens from Atlas’ labouring pride.
Awhile the ridgy heights his notice claim, 281.
And hills unnumber’d rose without a name,
Which placed, in pomp, on any eastern shore,
Taurus would shrink, the Alps be sung no more;
For here great nature, more exalted show’d
The last ascending footsteps of her God. 286.
He saw those mountains ope their watery store,
Floods leave their caves and seek the distant shore,
Down the long hills and through the subject plain,
Roll the delightful currents to the main;
Whose numerous channels cleave the lengthening strand, 291.
And heave their banks where future towns must stand;
He stretch’d his eager glance from pole to pole.
Traced all their sources and explored the whole.
First, from the dreadful Andes’ opening side,
He saw Maranon lead his sovereign tide. 296.
A thousand hills for him dissolve their snow,
A thousand streams obedient bend below,
From distant lands their devious courses wind,
Sweep beds of ore and leave their gold behind,
In headlong cataracts indignant heave, 301.
Rush to his opening banks and swell the sweeping wave.
Ucayla, chief of all his mighty sons,
From Cusco’s bounds a lengthening circuit runs;
Yutay moves gently in a shorter course,
And rapid Yatva pours a gathering force; 306.
Far in a wild, by nameless tributes fed,
The silent Chavar wears a lonely bed;
Aloft, where northern Quito sits on high,
The roaring Napo quits his misty sky,
Down the long steeps, in whitening torrents driven, 311.
Like Nile descending from his fabled heaven.
While other waves and lakes unknown to fame,
Discharge their urns and fill the swelling stream,
That, far, from clime to clime, majestic goes,
Enlarging widening deepening as it flows; 316.
Approaching ocean hears the distant roar,
Moves up the bed, nor finds the expected shore;
His freshening waves, with high and hoary tide,
Whelm back the flood, and isles and champaigns hide,
Till mingling waters lead the downward sweep, 321.
And waves and trees and banks roll whirling to the deep.
Now, where the sun in milder glory beams,
Brazilia’s hills pour down their spreading streams,
The smiling lakes their opening sides display,
And winding vales prolong the devious way; 326.
He saw Xaraya’s diamond banks unfold,
And Paraguay’s deep channel paved with gold,
Saw proud Potosi lift his glittering head,
Whence the clear Plata wears his tinctur’d bed;
Rich with the spoils of many a distant mine, 331.
In one broad silver sea their floods combine;
Wide o’er the realms its annual bounties spread,
By nameless streams from various mountains fed;
The thirsty regions wait its glad return,
And drink their future harvests from its urn. 336.
Round the cold climes, beneath the southern sky,
Thy path, Magellan, caught the hero’s eye;
The long cleft ridges oped the widening way
Fair gleaming westward to the Placid Sea.
Soon as the distant wave was seen to roll, 341.
His ancient wishes fill’d his rising soul,
Warm from his heaving heart an anxious sigh
Breathed o’er his lips; he turn’d his moisten’d eye,
And thus besought the Angel. Speak, my guide,
Where leads the pass? and whence yon purple tide? 347.
Deep in the blue horizon, widely spread,
What liquid realms in blending ether fade!
How the dim waters skirt the bounds of day!
No lands behind them rise, no streamers in them play.
In those low skies extends the boundless main, 352.
I sought so long, and sought, alas, in vain.
Restore, celestial Power, my youthful morn,
Call back my years and bid my fame return;
Grant me to trace, beyond that pathless sea,
Some happier shore from lust of empire free; 357.
In that far world to fix a peaceful bower,
From envy safe, and curst Ovando’s power.
Since joys of mortals claim thy guardian care,
Oh bless the nations and regard my prayer:
There rest forever kingdoms unexplored, 362.
A God creating, and no God adored.
Earth’s happiest realms shall endless darkness hide?
And seas forever roll their useless tide?
Grant, heavenly guide, the welcome task to dare,
One venturous bark, and be my life thy care. 367.
The hero spoke; the Seraph mild replies,
While warm compassion soften’d in his eyes;
Though still to virtuous deeds thy mind aspires,
And heavenly visions kindle new desires;
Yet hear with reverence what attends thy state, 372.
Nor pass the confines of eternal fate.
Led by this sacred light thy soul shall see,
That half mankind shall owe their bliss to thee,
And joyous empires claim their future birth,
In these fair bounds of sea-encircled earth; 377.
While unborn times, by thine example prest,
Shall call forth heroes to explore the rest.
Beyond those seas, the well-known climes arise,
Where morning splendors gild the eastern skies.
The circling course to India’s happy shores, 382.
Round Afric’s coast, bold Gama now explores;
Another pass these opening straits provide,
Nor long shall rest the daring search untry’d;
This watery glade shall open soon to fame,
Here a lost hero fix his lasting name, 387.
From that new main in furious waves be tost,
And fall neglected on the barbarous coast.
But see the chief from Albion’s strand arise,
Speed in his pinions, fame before his eyes;
Hither, O Drake, display the hastening sails, 392.
Widen ye passes, and awake ye gales,
Move thou before him, heaven-revolving sun,
Wind his long course, and teach him where to run,
Earth’s distant shores in circling bands unite,
Lands, learn your fame, and oceans, roll in light, 397.
Round all the beauteous globe his flag be hurl’d,
A new Columbus to the astonish’d world.
He spoke; and silent tow’rd the northern sky,
Wide o’er the realms the hero cast his eye;
Saw the long floods pour forth their watery stores, 402.
And wind their currents to the opening shores;
While midland seas and lonely lakes display
Their glittering glories to the beams of day.
Thy capes, Virginia, towering from the tide,
Raised up their arms and branch’d their borders wide; 407.
Whose broad embrace in circling extent lay,
Round the calm bosom of thy beauteous bay.
Where commerce since has wing’d her channel’d flight
Each spreading stream lay brightening to the light;
York led his wave, imbank’d in mazy pride, 412.
And nobler James fell winding by his side;
Back tow’rd the distant hills, through many a vale,
Wild Rappahanock seem’d to lure the sail,
While, far o’er all, in sea-like azure spread,
The great Potowmac swept his lordly bed. 417.
When thus he saw the mingling waters play,
And seas, in lost disorder, idly stray,
Where frowning forests stretch the dusky wing,
And deadly damps forbid the flowers to spring,
No seasons clothe the field with beauteous grain, 422.
No buoyant ship attempt the useless main,
With fond impatience, Heavenly Seer, he cry’d,
When shall my children cross the lonely tide?
Here, here, my sons, the hand of culture bring,
Here teach the lawns to smile, the groves to sing; 427.
Ye sacred floods, no longer vainly glide,
Ye harvests, load them, and ye forests, ride,
Bear the deep burden from the joyous swain,
And tell the world where peace and plenty reign.
Now round the coast, where other floods invite, 432.
He fondly turn’d; they fill’d his eager sight:
Here Del’ware’s waves the yielding shores invade,
And here bold Hudson oped a glassy glade;
Thy parent stream, fair Hartford, met his eye,
Far lessening upward to the northern sky; 437.
No watery gleams thro’ happier valleys shine,
Nor drinks the sea a lovlier wave than thine.
Bright Charles and Mystick laved their bloomy isles,
And gay Piscatuway caught his passing smiles;
Swift Kenebeck, descending from on high, 442.
Swept the tall hills and lengthen’d down the sky;
When hoarse resounding through the gaping shore,
He heard cold Laurence’ dreadful surges roar.
Tho’ softening May had waked the vernal blade,
And happier climes her fragrant garb display’d, 447.
Yet howling winter, in this bleak domain,
Shook the wide waste and held his gloomy reign;
Still groans the flood, in frozen fetters bound,
And isles of ice his threatening front surround,
Clothed in white majesty, the foaming main 452.
Leads up the tide and tempts the wintery chain,
Billows on billows lift the maddening brine,
And seas and clouds in battling conflict join,
The dash’d wave struggling heaves in swelling sweep,
Wide crash the portals of the frozen deep, 457.
Till forced alost, high-bounding in the air,
Moves the blear ice and sheds a hideous glare,
The torn foundations on the surface ride,
And wrecks of winter load the downward tide.
When now the stream had oped its northern course, 462.
He traced the current to its milder source;
There, far retired, the Angellic Power displays
Earth’s sweetest charms, her own imbosom’d seas.
Ontario’s banks, fair opening on the north,
With sweep majestic, pour’d his Laurence forth; 467.
Above, bold Erie’s wave sublimely stood,
Look’d o’er the cliff and heaved the headlong flood,
Far circling in the north, great Huron spread,
And Michigan o’erwhelm’d a western bed;
While, stretch’d in circling majesty away, 472.
The deep Superior closed the setting day.
Here all the midland seas their waves unite,
And gleam in grandeur to the hero’s sight;
Wide opening round them lands delightful spread,
Deep groves innumerous cast a solemn shade; 477.
Slow moved the settling mist in lurid streams,
And dusky radiance brown’d the glimmering beams;
O’er all the great Discoverer wondering stood,
And thus address’d the messenger of good.
What lonely walks, what wonderous wilds are these? 482.
What branching vales run smiling to their seas?
The peaceful seats, reserved by Heaven to grace,
The virtuous toils of some illustrious race.
But why these regions form’d so fair in vain?
And why so distant rolls the unconscious main? 487.
These desert fountains must forever rest,
Of man unseen, by native beasts possest;
For, see, no ship can point the streamer here,
No opening pass, no spreading ocean near;
Eternal winter clothes the shelvy shores, 492.
Where yon far northern son of ocean roars;
Or should some bark the daring entrance brave,
And climes by culture warm his lessening wave,
Yon frightful cataract exalts the brow,
And frowns defiance to the world below. 498.
To whom the Seraph. Here extended lies
The happiest realm that feels the fostering skies;
Led by this arm thy sons shall hither come,
And streams obedient yield the heroes room;
Nor think no pass can find the distant main, 503.
Or heaven’s last polish touch’d these climes in vain.
Behold, from yon fair lake, the current led,
And silent waves adorn its infant head;
Far south thro’ happy regions see it wind,
By gathering floods and nobler fountains join’d, 508.
Yon opening gulph receive the beauteous wave,
And thy known isles its freshening current lave;
There lies the path some future ship shall trace,
And waft to these wide vales thy kindred race.
The hero saw the blooming isles ascend 513.
And round the gulph the circling shore extend,
He saw fair Missisippi wind his way,
Through all the western boundless tracts of day;
Where Alleganies stretch the morning shade,
From lone Oswago to the gulphy glade, 518.
Where absent suns their midnight circles ride,
Pours the long current of his rushing tide.
Unnumber’d branches from the channel stray,
Akansa here, and there Missouri lay,
Rouge roll’d his wave along the western wild, 523.
And broad Ohio’s northern beauties smiled.
Retiring far round Hudson’s frozen bay,
Where lessening circles shrink beyond the day,
The shivering shrubs scarce brave the dismal clime,
Snows ever-rising with the years of time; 528.
The beasts all whitening roam the lifeless plain,
And caves unfrequent scoop the couch for man.
Where Spring’s coy steps, in cold Canadia, stray,
And joyless seasons hold unequal sway,
He saw the pine its daring mantle rear, 533.
Break the rude blast and mock the inclement year,
Secure the limits of the angry skies,
And bid all southern vegetation rise.
Wild o’er the vast, impenetrable round,
The untrod bowers of shadowy nature frown’d; 538.
The neighbouring cedar waved its honours wide,
The fir’s tall boughs, the oak’s resistless pride,
The branching beach, the aspin’s trembling shade,
Veil’d the dim heavens and brown’d the dusky glade.
Here in huge crouds those sturdy sons of earth, 543.
In frosty regions, claim a nobler birth;
Where heavy trunks the sheltering dome requires,
And copious fuel feeds the wintery fires.
While warmer suns, that southern climes emblaze,
A cool deep umbrage o’er the woodland raise; 548.
Floridia’s blooming shores around him spread,
And Georgian hills erect their shady head;
Beneath tall trees, in livelier verdure gay,
Long level walks a humble garb display;
The infant corn, unconscious of its worth, 553.
Points the green spire and bends the foliage forth;
Sweeten’d on flowery banks, the passing air
Breathes all the untasted fragrance of the year;
Unbidden harvests o’er the regions rise,
And blooming life repays the genial skies. 558.
Where circling shores around the gulph extend,
The bounteous groves with richer burdens bend;
Spontaneous fruits the uplifted palms unfold,
The beauteous orange waves a load of gold,
The untaught vine, the wildly-wanton cane 563.
Bloom on the waste, and clothe the enarbour’d plain,
The rich pimento scents the neighbouring skies,
And woolly clusters o’er the cotton rise.
Here, in one view, the same glad branches bring
The fruits of autumn and the flowers of spring; 568.
No wintery blasts the unchanging year deform,
Nor beasts unshelter’d fear the pinching storm;
But vernal breezes o’er the blossoms rove,
And breathe the ripen’d juices thro’ the grove.
Beneath the crystal wave’s inconstant light, 573.
Pearls undistinguish’d sparkle on the sight;
From opening earth, in living lustre, shine
The various treasures of the blazing mine;
Hills, cleft before him, all their stores unfold,
The quick mercurius and the burning gold; 578.
Gems of unnumber’d hues, in bright array,
Illume the changing rocks and shed the beams of day.
When now the Chief had travel’d with his eye,
O’er each fair clime that meets the incumbent sky;
The stream, the mountain, forest, vale and plain, 583.
And isle and coast, and wide untravers’d main;
He cast, o’er all, the immeasurable glance,
And all past views in one broad vision dance.
Skirting the western heavens and each far pole,
With blending skies Pacific oceans roll, 588.
Atlantic surges lead their swelling round,
And distant straits the polar confines bound.
The western coasts their long, high summits heave,
And look majestic o’er the subject wave;
While, on the lowly east, the winding strand 593.
Draws from the silent sea and gently steals to land.
Natives of America appear in vision. Their manners and characters.
Columbus enquires the cause of the dissimilarity of nations. The Angel
replies–That the human body is composed of a due proportion of the elements
suited to the place of its first creation–that these elements, differently
proportioned, produce all the changes of health, sickness, growth and decay;
and will likewise produce any other changes which occasion the diversity of
men–that these elemental proportions are varied, not more by climate, than
temperature, and many other local accidents–that the mind is likewise in a
state of change, and will take its physical character from the body and from
external objects: examples. Enquiry and answer concerning the first peopling of
America. View of Mexico. Its destruction by Cortez. View of Cusco and Quito,
cities of Peru. Tradition of Capac and Oella, founders of the Peruvian empire.
Columbus enquires their real history. The Angel gives an account of their
origin, and relates the stratagems they used in establishing that empire. 23.
High o’er the changing scene, as thus he gazed,
The indulgent Power his arm sublimely raised;
When round the realms superior lustre flew,
And call’d new wonders to the hero’s view.
He saw, at once, as far as eye could rove, 5.
Like scattering herds, the swarthy people move,
In tribes innumerable; all the waste,
Beneath their steps, a varying shadow cast.
As airy shapes, beneath the moon’s pale eye,
When broken clouds sail o’er the curtain’d sky, 10.
Spread thro’ the grove and flit along the glade,
And cast their grisly phantoms thro’ the shade;
So move the hordes, in thickers half conceal’d,
Or vagrant stalking o’er the open field.
Here ever-restless tribes, despising home, 15.
O’er shadowy streams and trackless deserts roam;
While others there, thro’ downs and hamlets stray,
And rising domes a happier state display.
The painted chiefs, in death’s grim terrors drest,
Rise fierce to war, and beat the savage breast; 20.
Dark round their steps collecting warriors pour,
And dire revenge begins the hideous roar;
While to the realms around the signal flies,
And tribes on tribes, in dread disorder, rise,
Track the mute foe and scour the distant wood, 25.
Wide as a storm, and dreadful as a flood;
Now deep in groves the silent ambush lay,
Or wing the flight or sweep the prize away,
Unconscious babes and reverend sires devour,
Drink the warm blood and paint their cheeks with gore. 30.
While all their mazy movements fill the view.
Where’er they turn his eager eyes pursue;
He saw the same dire visage thro’ the whole,
And mark’d the same fierce savageness of soul:
In doubt he stood, with anxious thoughts oppress’d, 35.
And thus his wavering mind the Power address’d.
Say, from what source, O Voice of wisdom, sprung
The countless tribes of this amazing throng?
Where human frames and brutal souls combine,
No force can tame them and no arts refine. 40.
Can these be fashion’d on the social plan?
Or boast a lineage with the race of man?
In yon fair isle, when first my wandering view
Ranged the glad coast and met the savage crew;
A timorous herd, like harmless roes, they ran, 45.
Hail’d us as Gods from whom their race began,
Supply’d our various wants, relieved our toil,
And oped the unbounded treasures of their isle.
But when, their fears allay’d, in us they trace
The well-known image of a mortal race; 50.
When Spanish blood their wondering eyes beheld,
Returning rage their changing bosoms swell’d;
Their jaws the crimson dainty long’d to taste,
And spread, with foreign flesh, the rich repast.
My homeward sail, far distant on the main, 55.
Incautious left a small unguarded train,
When, in their horrid power, bereft of aid,
That train with thee, O lost Arada, bled.
No faith no treaty calms their maddening flame,
Rage all their joy, and slaughter all their aim; 60.
How the dread savage bands with fury burn’d,
When o’er the wave our growing host return’d!
Now, mild with joy, a friendly smile they show’d,
And now their dark-red visage frown’d in blood;
Till, call’d afar, from all the circling shore, 65.
Swift thro’ the groves the yelling squadrons pour,
The wide wings stretching sweep the unbounded plain,
That groans beneath the innumerable train.
Our scanty files, ascending o’er the strand,
Tread the bold champaign and the fight demand; 70.
With steeds and hounds the dreadful onset moves,
And thundering batteries rend the distant groves;
Swift fly the scattering foes, like shades of night,
When orient splendors urge their rapid flight.
Our proffer’d friendship bade the discord cease, 75.
Spared the grim host and gave the terms of peace.
The arts of civil life we strove to lend,
Their lands to culture and their joys extend,
Sublime their views, fair virtue’s charms display,
And point their passage to eternal day. 80.
Still proud to rove, our offers they disdain,
Insult our friendship and our rites prophane.
In that blest island, still the myriads rest,
Bask in the sunshine, wander with the beast,
Feed on the foe, or from the victor fly, 85.
Rise into life, exhaust their rage, and die.
Tell then, my Seer, from what dire sons of earth
The brutal people drew their ancient birth?
Whether in realms, the western heavens that close,
A tribe distinct from other nations rose, 90.
Born to subjection; when, in happier time,
A nobler race should hail their fruitful clime.
Or, if a common source all nations claim,
Their lineage, form, and reasoning powers the same,
What sovereign cause, in secret wisdom laid, 95.
This wonderous change in God’s own work has made?
Why various powers of soul and tints of face
In different climes diversify the race?
To whom the Guide; Unnumber’d causes lie
In earth and sea and round the varying sky, 100.
That fire the soul, or damp the genial flame,
And work their wonders on the human frame.
See beauty, form and colour change with place–
Here charms of health the blooming visage grace;
There pale diseases float in every wind, 105.
Deform the figure, and degrade the mind.
From earth’s own elements, thy race at first
Rose into life, the children of the dust;
These kindred elements, by various use,
Nourish the growth and every change produce; 110.
Pervade the pores, awake the infant bloom,
Lead life along, and ope the certain tomb;
In each ascending stage the man sustain,
His breath, his food, his physic and his bane.
In due proportions, where these virtues lie, 115.
A perfect form their equal aids supply;
And, while unchanged the efficient causes reign,
Age following age the unvaried race maintain.
But where crude elements distemper’d rise,
And cast their sickening vapours round the skies, 120.
Unlike that harmony of human frame,
Where God’s first works and nature’s were the same,
The unconscious tribes, attempering to the clime,
Still vary downward with the years of time;
Till fix’d, at last, their characters abide, 125.
And local likeness feeds their local pride.
The soul too varying with the changing clime,
Feeble or fierce, or groveling or sublime,
Forms with the body to a kindred plan,
And lives the same, a nation or a man. 130.
Yet think not clime alone, or height of poles,
On every shore, the springs of life controuls;
A different cast the glowing zone demands,
In Paria’s blooms, from Tombut’s burning sands.
Internal causes, thro’ the earth and skies, 135.
Blow in the breeze or on the mountain rise,
Thro’ air and ocean, with their changes run,
Breathe from the ground or circle with the fun.
Where these long shores their boundless regions spread
See the same form all different tribes pervade; 140.
Thro’ all, alike, the fertile forests bloom,
And all, uncultured, shed a solemn gloom;
Thro’ all great nature’s boldest features rise,
Sink into vales and tower amid the skies;
Streams, darkly-winding, stretch a broader sway, 145.
The groves and mountains bolder walks display:
A dread sublimity informs the whole,
And wakes a dread sublimity of soul.
Yet time and art shall other changes find,
And open still and vary still the mind; 150.
The countless swarms that tread these dank abodes,
Who glean spontaneous fruits and range the woods,
Fix’d here for ages, in their swarthy face,
Display the wild complexion of the place.
Yet when their tribes to happy nations rise, 155.
And earth by culture warms the genial skies,
A fairer tint and more majestic grace
Shall flush their features and exalt the race;
While milder arts, with social joys refined,
Inspire new beauties in the growing mind. 160.
Thy followers too, fair Europe’s noblest pride,
When future gales shall wing them o’er the tide,
A ruddier hue and deeper shade shall gain,
And stalk, in statelier figures, o’er the plain.
While nature’s grandeur lifts the eye abroad 166.
O’er these dread footsteps of the forming God;
Wing’d on a wider glance the venturous soul
Bids greater powers and bolder thoughts unroll;
The sage, the chief, the patriot, unconfined,
Shield the weak world and counsel for mankind. 171.
But think not thou, in all the race of man,
That different pairs, in different climes, began;
Or tribes distinct, by signal marks confest,
Were born to serve or subjugate the rest.
The hero heard; But say, celestial Guide, 176.
Who led the wanderers o’er the billowy tide?
Could these dark bands, unskill’d the paths to gain,
To build the bark, or cross the extended main,
Descry the coast, or tread the blest abode,
Unled, unguided by the hand of God? 181.
When first thy roving race, the Power reply’d,
Learn’d by the stars the devious sail to guide,
From stormy Hellespont explored the way,
And sought the bound’ries of the midland sea;
Ere great Alcides form’d the impious plan, 186.
To bound the sail and fix the range of man,
Driven from those rocky straits, a hapless train
Roll’d on the waves that sweep the western main,
While eastern storms the billowing skies o’ershade,
Nor sun nor stars afford their wonted aid. 191.
For many a darksome day, o’erwhelm’d and tost,
Their sails, their oars in swallowing surges lost;
At length, the clouds withdrawn, they sad descry
Their course directing from their native sky;
No hope remains; while, o’er the flaming zone, 196.
The winds still bear them with the circling sun;
Till the wild walks of this delightful coast
Receive to lonely seats the suffering host.
The fruitful plains invite their steps to roam,
Renounce their sorrows and forget their home; 201.
Revolving years their ceaseless wanderings led,
And from their sons descending nations spread.
These round the south and middle regions stray,
Where cultured fields their growing arts display;
While northern tribes a later source demand, 206.
And snow their wanderers from the Asian strand.
Far tow’rd the distant pole thy view extend;
See isles and shores and seas Pacific blend;
And that blue coast, where Amur’s currents glide,
From thy own world a narrow frith divide; 211.
There Tartar hosts for countless years, have sail’d,
And changing tribes the alternate regions hail’d.
He look’d: the opening shores beneath him spread,
And moving nations on the margin tread.
As, when autumnal storms awake their force, 216.
The storks foreboding tempt their southern course;
From all the fields collecting throngs arise,
Mount on the wing and croud along the skies;
Thus, to his eye, from far Siberia’s shore,
O’er isles and seas, the gathering people pour; 221.
From those cold regions hail a happier strand,
Leap from the wave and tread the welcome land;
The growing tribes extend their southern sway,
And widely wander to a milder day.
But why; the chief return’d, if ages past 226.
Have led these vagrants o’er the wilder’d waste–
If human souls, for social compact given,
Inform their nature with the stamp of heaven,
Why the dread glooms forever must they rove?
And no mild joys their temper’d passions move? 231.
Ages remote and dark thou bring’st to light,
When the first leaders dared the western flight;
On other shores, in every eastern clime,
Since that unletter’d, distant tract of time,
What arts have shone! what empires found their place, 236.
What golden sceptres sway’d the human race!
What guilt and grandeur from their seats been hurl’d,
And dire divulsions shook the changing world.
Ere Rome’s bold eagle clave the affrighted air,
Ere Sparta form’d her death-like sons of war, 241.
Ere proud Chaldea saw her greatness rise,
Or Memphian columns heaved against the skies;
These tribes have stray’d beneath the fruitful zone,
Their souls unpolish’d and their name unknown.
The Voice of heaven reply’d; A scanty band, 246.
In that far age, approach’d the untrodden land.
Prolific wilds, with game and fruitage crown’d,
Supply’d their wishes from the uncultured ground.
By nature form’d to rove, the restless mind,
Of freedom fond, will ramble unconfined, 251.
Till all the realm is fill’d, and rival right
Restrains their steps, and bids their force unite;
When common safety builds a common cause,
Conforms their interests and inspires their laws;
By mutual checks their different manners blend, 256.
Their fields bloom joyous and their walls ascend.
Here, to their growing hosts, no bounds arose,
They claim’d no safeguard, as they fear’d no foes;
Round all the land their scattering sons must stray,
Ere arts could rise, or power extend the sway. 261.
And what a world their mazy wanderings led!
What streams and wilds in boundless order spread!
See the shores lengthen, see the waters roll,
To each far main and each extended pole!
Yet circling years the destined course have run, 266.
The realms are peopled and their arts begun.
Behold, where that mid region strikes the eyes,
A few fair cities glitter to the skies;
There move, in eastern pomp, the scenes of state,
And temples heave, magnificently great. 271.
The hero look’d; when from the varying height,
Three growing splendors, rising on the sight,
Flamed like a constellation: high in view,
Ascending near, their opening glories drew;
In equal pomp, beneath their roofs of gold, 276.
Three spiry towns, in blazing pride, unfold.
So, led by visions of the guiding God,
The sacred Seer, in Patmos’ waste who trod,
Saw the dim vault of heaven its folds unbend,
And gates and spires and streets and domes descend; 281.
With golden skies, and suns and rainbows crown’d,
The new-form’d city lights the world around.
Fair on the north, bright Mexico, arose,
A mimic morn her sparkling towers disclose,
An ample range the opening streets display, 286.
Give back the sun and shed internal day;
The circling wall with sky-built turrets frown’d,
And look’d defiance to the realms around;
A glimmering lake, without the walls, retires,
Inverts the trembling towers and seems a grove of spires. 291.
Bright, o’er the midst, on columns lifted high,
A rising structure claims a loftier sky;
O’er the tall gates sublimer arches bend,
Courts larger lengthen, bolder walks ascend,
Starr’d with superior gems, the porches shine, 296.
And speak the royal residence within.
There, robed in state, high on a golden throne,
Mid suppliant kings, dread Montezuma shone:
Mild in his eye a temper’d grandeur sate,
Great seem’d his soul, with conscious power elate; 301.
In aspect open, haughty and sincere,
Untamed by crosses and unknown to fear,
Of fraud incautious, credulous and vain,
Enclosed with favourites and of friends unseen.
Round the rich throne, with various lustre bright, 306.
Gems undistinguish’d, cast a changing light;
Sapphires and emeralds deck the splendent scene,
Sky-tinctures mingling with the vernal green;
The ruby’s blush, the amber’s flames unfold,
And diamonds brighten from the burning gold; 311.
Through all the dome the living blazes blend,
And cast their rainbows where the arches bend.
Wide round the walls, with mimic action gay,
In order ranged, historic figures stray,
And show, in Memphian style, with rival grace, 316.
Their boasted chiefs and all their regal race.
Thro’ the full gates, and round each ample street,
Unnumber’d throngs, in various concourse, meet,
Ply different toils, new walls and structures rear,
Or till the fields, or train the ranks of war. 321.
Thro’ spreading realms the skirts of empire bend,
New temples rise and other plains extend;
Thrice ten fair provinces, in culture gay,
Bless the same monarch and enlarge his sway.
A smile benignant kindling in his eyes, 326.
Oh happy clime! the exulting hero cries;
Far in the midland, safe from foreign foes,
Thy joys shall ripen as thy grandeur grows,
To future years thy rising fame extend,
And sires of nations from thy sons descend. 331.
May no gold-thirsty race thy temples tread,
Nor stain thy streams nor heap thy plains with dead;
No Bovadilla sieze the tempting spoil,
Ovando dark, or sacrilegious Boyle,
In mimic priesthood grave, or robed in state, 336.
O’erwhelm thy glories in oblivious fate.
Vain are thy fondest hopes, the Power reply’d,
These rich abodes from ravening hosts to hide;
Teach harden’d guilt and cruelty to spare
The guardless prize, and check the waste of war. 341.
Think not the vulture, o’er the field of slain,
Where base and brave promiscuous strow the plain,
Where the young hero, in the pride of charms,
Pours deeper crimson o’er his spotless arms,
Will pass the tempting prey, and glut his rage 346.
On harder flesh, and carnage black with age;
O’er all alike he darts his eager eye,
Whets the dire beak and hovers down the sky,
From countless corses picks the dainty food,
And screams and fattens in the purest blood. 351.
So the dire hosts, that trace thy daring way,
By gold allured to sail the unfathom’d sea,
Power all their aim and avarice all their joy,
Seize brightest realms and happiest tribes destroy.
Thine the dread task, O Cortez, here to show 356.
What unknown crimes can heighten human woe,
On these fair fields the blood of realms to pour,
Tread sceptres down and print thy steps in gore,
With gold and carnage swell thy sateless mind,
And live and die the blackest of mankind. 361.
Now see, from yon fair isle, his murdering band
Stream o’er the wave and mount the sated strand;
On the wild shore behold his fortress rise,
The fleet in flames ascends the darken’d skies.
The march begins; the nations, from afar, 366.
Quake in his sight, and wage the fruitless war;
O’er the rich provinces he bends his way,
Kings in his chain, and kingdoms for his prey;
While, robed in peace, great Montezuma stands,
And crowns and treasures sparkle in his hands, 371.
Proffers the empire, yields the sceptred sway,
Bids vassal’d millions tremble and obey;
And plies the victor, with incessant prayer,
Thro’ ravaged realms the harmless race to spare.
But prayers and tears and sceptres plead in vain, 376.
Nor threats can move him, nor a world restrain;
While blest religion’s prostituted name,
And monkish fury guides the sacred flame:
O’er fanes and altars, fires unhallow’d bend,
Climb o’er the walls and up the towers ascend, 381.
Pour, round the lowering skies, the smoky flood,
And whelm the fields, and quench their rage in blood.
The hero heard; and, with a heaving sigh,
Dropp’d the full tear that started in his eye,
Oh hapless day! his trembling voice reply’d, 386.
That saw my wandering streamer mount the tide!
Oh! had the lamp of heaven, to that bold fail,
Ne’er mark’d the passage nor awaked the gale,
Taught eastern worlds these beauteous climes to find,
Nor led those tygers forth to curse mankind. 391.
Then had the tribes, beneath these bounteous skies,
Seen their walls widen and their spires arise;
Down the long tracts of time their glory shone,
Broad as the day and lasting as the sun:
The growing realms, beneath thy shield that rest, 396.
O hapless monarch, still thy power had blest,
Enjoy’d the pleasures that surround thy throne,
Survey’d thy virtues and sublimed their own.
Forgive me, prince; this impious arm hath led
The unseen storm that blackens o’er thy head; 401.
Taught the dark sons of slaughter where to roam,
To seize thy crown and seal thy nation’s doom.
Arm, sleeping empire, meet the daring band,
Drive back the terrors, save the sinking land–
Yet vain the strife! behold the sweeping flood! 406.
Forgive me nature, and forgive me God.
Thus, from his heart, while speaking sorrows roll,
The Power, reproving, sooth’d his tender soul.
Father of this new world, thy tears give o’er,
Let virtue grieve and Heaven be blamed no more. 411.
Enough for man, with persevering mind,
To act his part and strive to bless his kind;
Enough for thee, o’er thy dark age to rise,
With genius warm’d, and favour’d of the skies.
For this my guardian care thy youth inspired, 416.
To virtue raised thee, and with glory fired,
Bade in thy plan each distant world unite,
And wing’d thy streamer for the adventurous flight.
Nor think no blessings shall thy toils attend,
Or these fell tyrants can defeat their end. 421.
Such impious deeds, in Heaven’s all-ruling plan,
Lead in disguise the noblest bliss of man.
Long have thy race, to narrow shores confined,
Trod the same round that cramp’d the roving mind;
Now, borne on bolder wings, with happier flight, 426.
The world’s broad bounds unfolding to the sight,
The mind shall soar; the nations catch the flame,
Enlarge their counsels and extend their fame;
While mutualities the social joys enhance,
And the last stage of civil rule advance. 431.
Tho’ impious ruffians spread their crimes abroad,
And o’er these empires pour the purple flood;
Tis thus religious rage, its own dire bane,
Shall fall at last, with all its millions slain,
And buried gold, drawn bounteous from the mine, 436.
Give wings to commerce and the world refine.
Now to yon southern walls extend thy view,
And mark the rival seats of rich Peru.
There Quito’s airy plains, exalted high,
With loftier temples rise along the sky; 441.
And elder Cusco’s richer roofs unfold,
Flame on the day and shed their suns of gold.
Another range, in these delightful climes,
Spreads a broad theatre for unborn crimes.
Another Cortez shall the treasures view, 446.
The rage rekindle and the guilt renew;
His treason, fraud, and every dire decree,
O curst Pizarro, shall revive in thee.
There reigns a prince, whose hand the sceptre claims,
Thro’ a long lineage of imperial names; 451.
Where the brave roll of following Incas trace
The distant father of their realm and race,
Immortal Capac. He in youthful pride,
With fair Oella, his illustrious bride,
In virtuous guile, proclaim’d their birth begun, 456.
From the pure splendors of their God, the sun;
With power and dignity a throne to found,
Fix the mild sway and spread their arts around;
Crush the dire Gods that human victims claim,
And point all worship to a nobler name; 461.
With cheerful rites, the due devotions pay
To the bright beam, that gives the changing day.
On this fair plan, the children of the skies
Bade, in the wild, a growing empire rise;
Beneath their hand, and sacred to their fame, 466.
Rose yon fair walls, that meet the solar flame.
Succeeding sovereigns spread their bounds afar,
By arts of peace and temper’d force of war;
Till these surrounding realms the sceptre own,
And grateful millions hail the genial sun. 471.
Behold, in yon fair lake, a beauteous isle,
Where fruits and flowers, in rich profusion smile;
High in the midst a sacred temple rise,
Seat of the sun, and pillar of the skies.
The roofs of burnish’d gold, the blazing spires 476.
Light the glad heavens and lose their upward fires;
Fix’d in the flaming front, with living ray,
A diamond circlet gives the rival day;
In whose bright face forever looks abroad
The radiant image of the beaming God. 481.
Round the wide courts, and in the solemn dome,
A white-robed train of holy virgins bloom;
Their pious hands the sacred rites require,
To grace the offerings, and preserve the fire.
On this blest isle, with flowery garlands crown’d, 486.
That ancient pair, in charms of youth, were found,
Whose union’d souls the mighty plan design’d,
To bless the nations and reform mankind.
The hero heard, and thus the Power besought;
What arts unknown the wonderous blessings wrought? 492.
What human skill, in that benighted age,
In savage souls could quell the barbarous rage?
With leagues of peace combine the wide domain?
And teach the virtues in their laws to reign?
Long is their story, said the Power divine, 497.
The labours great and glorious the design;
And tho’ to earthly minds, their actions rest,
By years obscured, in flowery fiction drest,
Yet my glad voice shall wake their honour’d name,
And give their virtues to immortal fame. 502.
Led by his father’s wars, in early prime,
Young Capac wander’d from a northern clime;
Along these shores, with livelier verdure gay,
Thro’ fertile vales, the adventurous armies stray.
He saw the tribes unnumber’d range the plain, 507.
And rival chiefs, by rage and slaughter, reign;
He saw the sires their dreadful Gods adore,
Their altars staining with their children’s gore;
Yet mark’d their reverence for the Sun, whose beam
Proclaims his bounties and his power supreme; 512.
Who sails in happier skies, diffusing good,
Demands no victim and receives no blood.
In peace returning with his conquering sire,
Fair glory’s charms his youthful soul inspire;
With virtue warm’d, he fix’d the generous plan, 517.
To build his greatness on the bliss of man.
By nature formed to daring deeds of fame,
Tall, bold and beauteous rose his stately frame;
Strong moved his limbs, a mild majestic grace
Beam’d from his eyes and open’d in his face; 522.
O’er the dark world his mind superior shone,
And, soaring, seem’d the semblance of the sun.
Now fame’s prophetic visions lift his eyes,
And future empires from his labours rise;
Yet softer fires his daring views controul, 527.
Sway the warm wish and fill the changing soul.
Shall the bright genius, kindled from above,
Bend to the milder, gentler voice of love;
That bounds his glories, and forbids to part
From that calm bower, that held his glowing heart? 532.
Or shall the toils, imperial heroes claim,
Fire his bold bosom with a patriot flame?
Bid sceptres wait him on the distant shore?
And blest Oella meet his eyes no more?
Retiring pensive, near the wonted shade, 537.
His unseen steps approach the beauteous maid.
Her raven-locks roll on her heaving breast,
And wave luxuriant round her slender waist,
Gay wreaths of flowers her lovely brows adorn,
And her white raiment mocks the pride of morn. 542.
Her busy hand sustains a bending bough,
Where woolly clusters spread their robes of snow,
From opening pods, unbinds the fleecy store,
And culls her labours for the evening bower.
Her sprightly soul, by deep invention led, 547.
Had found the skill to turn the twisting thread,
To spread the woof, the shuttle to command,
Till various garments graced her forming hand.
Here, while her thoughts with her own Capac rove,
O’er former scenes of innocence and love, 552.
Through many a field his fancied dangers share,
And wait him glorious from the distant war;
Blest with the ardent wish, her glowing mind
A snowy vesture for the prince design’d;
She seeks the purest wool, to web the fleece, 557.
The sacred emblem of returning peace.
Sudden his near approach her breast alarms;
He flew enraptured to her yielding arms,
And lost, dissolving in a softer name,
The distant empire and the fire of fame. 562.
At length, retiring o’er the homeward field,
Their mutual minds to happy converse yield,
O’er various scenes of blissful life they ran,
When thus the warrior to the fair began.
Joy of my life, thou know’st my roving mind, 567.
With these grim tribes, in dark abodes, confined,
With grief hath mark’d what vengeful passions sway
The bickering bands, and sweep the race away.
Where late my distant steps the war pursued,
The fertile plains grew boundless as I view’d; 572.
Increasing nations trod the waving wild,
And joyous nature more delightful smiled.
No changing seasons there the flowers deform,
No dread volcano, and no mountain storm;
Rains ne’er invade, nor livid lightnings play, 577.
Nor clouds obscure the radiant Power of day.
But, while the God, in ceaseless glory bright,
Rolls o’er the day and fires his stars by night,
Unbounded fulness flows beneath his reign,
Seas yield their treasures, fruits adorn the plain; 582.
Warm’d by his beam, their mountains pour the flood,
And the cool breezes wake beneath the God.
My anxious thoughts indulge the great design,
To form those nations to a sway divine;
Destroy the rights of every dreadful Power, 587.
Whose crimson altars glow with human gore;
To laws and mildness teach the realms to yield,
And nobler fruits to grace the cultured field.
But great, my charmer, is the task of fame,
The countless tribes to temper and to tame. 592.
Full many a spacious wild my soul must see,
Spread dreary bounds between my joys and me;
And yon bright Godhead circle many a year;
Each lonely evening number’d with a tear.
Long robes of white my shoulders must embrace,597.
To speak my lineage of etherial race;
That wondering tribes may tremble, and obey
The radiant offspring of the Power of day.
And when thro’ cultured fields their bowers encrease,
And streams and plains survey the works of peace, 603.
When these glad hands the rod of nations claim,
And happy millions bless thy Capac’s name,
Then shall he feign a journey to the Sun,
To bring the partner of the peaceful throne;
So shall descending kings the line sustain, 608.
And unborn ages bloom beneath their reign.
Will then my fair, in that delightful hour,
Forsake these wilds and hail a happier bower?
And now consenting, with approving smiles,
Bid the young warrior tempt the daring toils? 613.
And, sweetly patient, wait the flight of days,
That crown our labours with immortal praise?
Silent the fair one heard; her moistening eye
Spoke the full soul, nor could her voice reply;
Till softer accents sooth’d her listening ear, 618.
Composed her tumult and allay’d her fear.
Think not, enchanting maid, my steps would part,
While silent sorrows heave that tender heart:
More dear to me are blest Oella’s joys,
Than all the lands that bound the bending skies; 623.
Nor thou, bright Sun, should’st bribe my soul to rest,
And leave one struggle in her lovely breast.
Yet think in those vast climes, my gentle fair,
What hapless millions claim our guardian care;
How age to age leads on the dreadful gloom, 628.
And rage and slaughter croud the untimely tomb;
No social joys their wayward passions prove,
Nor peace nor pleasure treads the savage grove;
Mid thousand heroes and a thousand fair,
No fond Oella meets her Capac there. 633.
Yet, taught by thee each nobler joy to prize,
With softer charms the virgin race shall rise,
Awake new virtues, every grace improve,
And form their minds for happiness and love.
Behold, where future years, in pomp, descend, 638.
How worlds and ages on thy voice depend!
And, like the Sun, whose all-delighting ray
O’er those mild borders sheds serenest day,
Diffuse thy bounties, give my steps to rove,
A few short months the noble task to prove, 643.
And, swift return’d from glorious toils, declare
What realms submissive wait our fostering care.
And will my prince, my Capac, borne away,
Thro’ those dark wilds, in quest of empire, stray?
Where tygers fierce command the howling wood, 648.
And men like tygers thirst for human blood.
Think’st thou no dangerous deed the course attends?
Alone, unaided by thy sire and friends?
Even chains and death may meet my rover there,
Nor his last groan could reach Oella’s ear. 653.
But chains, nor death, nor groans shall Capac prove,
Unknown to her, while she has power to rove.
Close by thy side where’er thy wanderings stray,
My equal steps shall measure all the way;
With borrow’d soul each dire event I’ll dare, 658.
Thy toils to lessen and thy dangers share.
Command, blest chief, since virtue bids thee go
To rule the realms and banish human woe,
Command these hands two snowy robes to weave,
The Sun to mimic and the tribes deceive; 663.
Then let us range, and spread the peaceful sway,
The radiant children of the Power of day.
The lovely counsel pleased. The smiling chief
Approved her courage and dispel’d her grief;
Then to the distant bower in haste they move, 668.
Begin their labours and prepare to rove.
Soon grow the robes beneath her forming care,
And the fond parents wed the noble pair;
But, whelm’d in grief, beheld, the approaching dawn,
Their joys all vanish’d, and their children gone. 673.
Nine changing days, thro’ southern wilds, they stray’d,
Now wrapp’d in glooms, now gleaming thro’ the glade,
Till the tenth morning, with an orient smile,
Beheld them blooming in the happy isle.
The toil begins; to every neighbouring band, 678.
They speak the message and their faith demand;
With various art superior powers display,
To prove their lineage and confirm their sway.
The astonish’d tribes behold with glad surprize,
The Gods descended from the favouring skies; 683.
Adore their persons, robed in shining white,
Receive their laws and leave each horrid rite;
Build with assisting toil, the golden throne,
And hail and bless the sceptre of the Sun.
A DISSERTATION On the GENIUS AND INSTITUTIONS OF MANCO CAPAC.
ALTHOUGH the original inhabitants of America in general deserve to be classed among the most unimproved savages that have ever been discovered; yet the Mexican and Peruvian governments exhibit remarkable instances of order and regularity. In the difference of national character between these two empires, we may discern the influence of political systems on the human mind; and infer the importance of the task which a legislator undertakes, in attempting to reduce a barbarous people under the controul of government and laws. The Mexican constitution was formed to render its subjects brave and powerful; but, while it succeeded in this object, it tended to remove them farther from the real blessings of society, than they were, while in the rudest state of nature. The history of the world affords no instance of men whose manners were equally ferocious, and whose superstition was more bloody and unrelenting. On the contrary, the establishments of Manco Capac carry the marks of a most benevolent and pacific system; they tended to humanize the world and render his people happy; while his ideas of the Deity were so perfect, as to bear a comparison with the enlightened doctrines of Socrates or Plato.
THE most distinguished characters in history, who have been considered as legislators among barbarous nations, are Moses, Lycurgus, Solon, Numa, Mahomet and Peter of Russia.3 Of these, only the two former and the two latter appear really to deserve that character. Solon and Numa possessed not the means nor the opportunity of shewing their talents in the business of original legislation. Athens and Rome were considerably advanced in civilization, before these characters arose. The most they could do was to correct and amend constitutions already formed. Solon, in particular, may be considered as a wife politician; but by no means as the founder of a nation. The Athenians were too far advanced in society to admit any radical alteration in their form of government; if indeed any form can be said to exist, where every thing is left to the controul of a capricious multitude. The institutions of Numa were more effective and durable; his religious ceremonies were, for many ages, the most powerful check upon the licentious and turbulent Romans. By inculcating a remarkable reverence for the Gods, and making it necessary to consult the Auspices, when any thing important was to be transacted, he rendered the popular superstition subservient to the views of policy, and gave the senate a steady check upon the extravagance of the plebeans. But the constitutions of Rome and Athens, however the subject of so much injudicious applause, were never fixed upon any permanent principles; though the wisdom of some of their rulers, and the spirit of liberty that inspired the people, justly demand our admiration..
EACH of the other legislators above mentioned deserves a particular consideration; as acting in stations somewhat similar to that of the Peruvian lawgiver. Three objects are to be attended to, by the legislator of a barbarous people. First, that his system be such as is capable of reducing the greatest number of men under one jurisdiction. Secondly, that it apply to such principles in human nature for its support, as are universal and permanent; in order to ensure the duration of the government. Thirdly, that it admit of improvements correspondent to any advancement in knowledge or variation of circumstances, that may happen to its subjects; without endangering the principle of government, by such innovations. So far therefore as the systems of those legislators agree with these fundamental principles, they are worthy of respect; and so far as they deviate, they maybe considered as defective and imperfect.
TO begin with Moses and Lycurgus; it is necessary in the first place to observe, that, in order to judge of the merit of any institutions, we must take into view the peculiar character of the people for whom they were framed. For want of this attention, many of the laws of Moses have been ridiculed by ignorant sceptics, and many establishments of Lycurgus censured by as ignorant politicians. The Jews, who were led by Moses out of Egypt, were not only uncivilized, but, having just risen to independence from a state of servitude, they united the manners of servants and savages; and their national character is a composition of servility and contumacy, ignorance, superstition, filthiness and cruelty. Of their cruelty as a people we need no other proof than the account of their avengers of blood, and the readiness with which the whole congregation turned executioners and stoned to death the devoted offenders. The Leprosy, a disease now wholly unknown, was undoubtedly produced by their total want of cleanliness, continued for successive generations. In this view the frequent ablutions, the peculiar modes of trial, and many other institutions may be wholly vindicated from ridicule, and proved to be nor only wise, but even necessary regulations.2.
THE Spartan lawgiver has been equally censured for the toleration of theft and adultery. Among that race of Barbarians, these crimes were too general to admit of total prevention or universal punishment. By vesting all property in the community, instead of encouraging theft, he removed the possibility of the crime; and, in a nation where licentiousness was generally indulged, it was a great step towards introducing a purity of manners, to punish adultery in all cases, wherein the crime was not committed by the free consent of all parties injured or interested..
THOSE constitutions of government are best calculated for immediate energy and duration, which are interwoven with some religious system. The legislator, who appears in the character of an inspired person, renders his political institutions sacred, and interests the conscience as well as the judgement in their support. The Jewish lawgiver had this advantage over the Spartan. He appeared not in the character of a mere earthly governor, but as an interpreter of the divine will. By injoining a religious observance of certain rites, he formed his people to habitual obedience; by directing their cruelty against the breakers of the laws, he at least mitigated the rancour of private hatred; by forbidding usury, and directing that real property should return to the original families in the year of Jubilee, he prevented too great an inequality of property; and by selecting a particular tribe, to be the guardians and interpreters of religion, he prevented its mysteries from being the subject of profane and vulgar investigation. To secure the permanency of his institutions, he prohibited any intercourse with foreigners, by severe restrictions; and formed his people to habits and a character disagreeable to other nations; by which means any foreign intercourse was prevented, from the mutual hatred of both parties.
TO these institutions the laws of Lycurgus bear a most striking resemblance. The features of his constitution were severe and forbidding; it was however calculated to inspire the most enthusiastic love of liberty and martial honour. In no country was the patriotic passion more energetic than in Sparta; no laws ever excluded the idea of separate property in an equal degree, or inspired a more thorough contempt for the manners of other nations. The utter prohibition of money, commerce and almost every thing desirable to effeminate nations, entirely excluded foreigners from Sparta; and, while it inspired the people with contempt for others, it rendered them agreeable to each other. By these means, Lycurgus rendered the nation powerful and warlike; and to insure the duration of his government he endeavoured to interest the consciences of his people, by the aid of oracles and the oath he is said to have exacted from them, to obey his laws till his return; when he went into a voluntary and perpetual exile.
FROM this view of the Jewish and Spartan institutions, applied to the principles above stated, they appear, in the two first articles, considerably imperfect, and in the last, totally defective. Neither of them was calculated to bring any considerable territory or number of men under one jurisdiction; from this circumstance alone, they could not be rendered permanent, as they must be constantly exposed to their more powerful neighbours. But the third object of legislation, that of providing for the future progress of society, which, as it regards the happiness of mankind, is the most important of the three, was in both instances entirely neglected. These systems appear to have been formed with an express design to prevent all future improvement in knowledge, or enlargement of the human mind; and to fix those nations forever in a state of ignorance, superstition and barbarism. To vindicate the Spartan from an imputation of weakness or inattention in this particular, it may be urged that he was surrounded by nations more powerful than his own; it was therefore impossible for him to commence an establishment upon any other plan. And Moses must be vindicated upon this idea, that the divine moral law, which was designed, at a future period, to regulate and harmonize the whole human race, must be preserved in that nation, which was to give birth to the Saviour of mankind. If we allow him to have had a prophetic knowledge of these events, his institutions may be pronounced unexceptionable in every part.
THE institutions of Mahomet, are next to be considered. The first object of legislation appears to have been better understood by the Arabian Prophet, than by either of the preceding sages; his jurisdiction was capable of being enlarged to any extent of territory, and governing any number of nations, that might be subjugated by his powerful and enthusiastic armies; and to obtain this object his system of religion was admirably calculated. Like Moses, he convinced his people that he acted as the vicegerent of Heaven; but with this capital advantage, adapting his religion to the natural feelings and propensities of mankind, he multiplied his followers, by the allurements of pleasure and the promise of a sensual paradise. These circumstances were likewise sure to render his constitution permanent. His religious system was so easy to be understood, so splendid and so inviting, there could be no danger that the people would lose sight of its principles, and no necessity of future prophets, to explain the doctrines, or reform the nation. To these advantages if we add the exact and rigid military discipline, the splendor and sacredness of the monarch, and that total ignorance of the people, which such a system will produce and perpetuate, the establishment must be evidently well calculated for extent and duration. But the last and most important end of government, that of mental improvement and social happiness, was deplorably lost in the institution. And there was probably more learning and real genius in Arabia, in the days of this extraordinary character, than can now be found in all the Turkish dominions.
ON the contrary, the enterprising genius of the Russian monarch appears to have been wholly bent on the arts of civilization, and the improvement of society among his subjects. Happy in a legal title to a throne which already commanded a prodigious extent of country, he found that the first object of government was already secured; and by applying himself with great sagacity and perseverance, to the third object, he was sure that the second would be a necessary and invariable consequence. He effected his purposes, important as they were, merely by the introduction of the arts, and the encouragement of politer manners. The greatness of his genius appears not so much in his institutions, which he copied from other nations, as in the extraordinary measures he followed to introduce them, the judgement he showed in selecting and adapting them tothe genius of his subjects, and his surprising assiduity and success, by which he raised a savage people to a dignified rank among European nations. All his plans were formed to encourage the future progress of society; and their duration was ensured by their obvious value and importance. His successors have followed his political measures, with great attention to the same objects; and the present reigning empress has rendered herself not unworthy of so high and honourable a descent.
TO the genius and operation of the several forms of government above mentioned, we will compare that of the Peruvian Lawgiver. It is probable that the savages of Peru, before the time of Capac, among other objects of adoration, paid homage to the Sun. By availing himself of this popular sentiment, he appeared, like Moses and Mahomet, in the character of a divine legislator, endowed with supernatural powers. After impressing these ideas strongly on the minds of the people, drawing together a number of the tribes and rendering them subservient to his benevolent purposes, he applied himself to forming the outlines of a plan of policy, capable of sounding and regulating an extensive empire; wisely calculated for perpetual duration; and expressly designed to improve the knowledge, peace and happiness of a considerable portion of mankind. In the apportionment of the lands, and the assignment of real property, he invented a mode somewhat resembling the Feudal System of Europe: yet this system was wisely checked in its operation, by a law similar to that of Moses, which regulated landed possessions in the year of Jubilee. He divided the lands into three parts; the first was consecrated to the uses of religion, the second set apart for the Inca and his family, to enable him to defray the expences of government and to appear in the style of a monarch, the third, and much the largest portion, was allotted to the people; and this allotment was repeated every year, and varied according to the number and exigencies of each family.
AS the Incan family appeared in the character of Divinities, it was necessary that a subordination of ranks should be established; in order to render the distinction between the monarch and his people more perceptible. With this view he created a band of Nobles, who were distinguished by personal and hereditary honours. These were united to the monarch by the strongest ties of interest; in peace they acted as Judges, and superintended the police of the empire, in war they commanded in the armies. The next order of men were the respectable peasantry of the country, who composed the principal strength of the nation. Below these was a class of men, who were the servants of the public; who cultivated the public lands. They possessed no property, and their only security depended on their regular industry and peaceable demeanour. Above all these orders, were the Inca and his family. He was possessed of absolute and uncontroulable power; his mandates were regarded as the word of Heaven, and the double guilt of impiety and rebellion attended on disobedience. To impress the utmost veneration for the Incan family, it was a fundamental principle, that the royal blood should never be contaminated by any foreign alliance. The mysteries of religion were preserved sacred by the high priest of the royal family, under the controul of the king; and celebrated with rites, capaple of making the deepest impression on the multitude. The annual distribution of the lands, while it provided for the varying circumstances of each family, strengthened the bands of society, by preventing the different orders from interfering with each other; the peasants could not vie with their superiors, and the Nobles could not be subjected by misfortune to a subordinate station. A constant habit of industry was inculcated upon all ranks by the surprizing force of example and emulation. The cultivation of the soil, which in most other countries is considered as one of the lowest employments, was here regarded as a divine art. Having had no idea of it before, and being taught it by the children of their God, the people viewed it as a sacred privilege, and considered it as an honour, to imitate and assist the Sun in opening the bosom of the earth and producing vegetation. That the government might be able to exercise the endearing acts of benevolence, the produce of the public lands was reserved in magazines, to supply the wants of the unfortunate, as a deposit for the people in times of general scarcity, and as are source in case of an invasion.
THESE are the outlines of a government, the most simple and energetic conceivable, and capable of reducing the greatest number of men under one jurisdiction; at the same time, accommodating its principle of action to every state of society, and every stage of improvement, by a singular and happy application to the passions of the human mind, it encouraged the advancement of knowledge, without being endangered by success. That such a government has a fair chance for perpetual duration is evident from this consideration, that a band of Nobles are ever the firm supporters of regal authority; unless the monarch is so limited in his power, that the Nobles despise his influence. This could not be the case in Peru; the Nobles were justly proud of their elevated station, though they could have no ambition to controul the Inca. They were sensible that their interest was connected with that of the monarch; and, supposing the influence of religion to be out of the question, they would not attempt to destroy an institution on which their happiness depended. A check equally effective was, by the constitution of human nature, imposed on the Inca. Elevated above the competition and rivalship which corrode and torment the bosoms of the great, he could have no ambition to gratify and no motive to induce him to an improper exercise of arbitrary power.
IN the traits of character which distinguish this institution, we may discern all the great strokes of each of the legislators above mentioned. The pretensions of Capac to divine authority were as artfully contrived and as effectual in their consequences, as those of Mahomet; his exploding the worship of evil beings and objects of terror, forbidding human sacrifices, inculcating more rational ideas of the Deity, and accommodating the rites of worship to a God of justice and benevolence, produced a greater change in the national character of his people, than any of the laws of Moses: Like Peter, he provided for the future improvement of society; while his actions were never measured upon the small and contracted scale, which limited the genius of Lycurgus.
THUS far we find the political system of Capac at least equal to those of the most celebrated ancient or modern lawgivers. But in one particular his character is placed beyond all comparison; I mean for his religious institutions, and the just ideas he had formed, by the unenlightened efforts of human wisdom, of the nature and attributes of the Deity.
AND here I shall premise, that idolatrous nations have never been guilty of those glaring absurdities with which they are usually charged by the christian world. The Persian or Peruvian, when he directed his adoration to the Sun, considered it as the place of residence for the unknown Deity, whom he worshipped, and who communicated from thence the blessings of light, warmth and vegetation; the Greek, who bowed at the statue of Jupiter, supposed it animated with the presence of his God; the Egyptian Apis, Isis and Orus, the calf, the leek and the onion, though the theme of universal ridicule to other nations, were, in their first consecration, like the Jewish Cherubim, symbolical representations of the nature and attributes of their Deities. No man ever erected a stock or a stone for a real object of worship; but all ignorant nations have paid their adoration before the symbol of the Deity, in some shape or other, and directed their homage to the place of his supposed residence. Even among enlightened nations, we find many traces of the same ideas; the Papist bows to the Picture and the Crucifix; and the Methodist rolls up his eyes in prayer to the Sky. Perhaps unassisted wisdom can rise no higher: and the reason why idol worship was forbidden in the divine law, was not because of the erroneous ideas of the original institutors, but because the views of the vulgar, in process of time, are apt to stop short at the intermediate object, and to lose sight of the original invisible Essence. But the great crime of idolatrous nations consisted in their ascribing to the Deity the passions and attributes of the Devil, and in the horrid and murtherous rites of their worship. Mankind are more inclined to consider the Deity as a God of vengeance than a God of mercy. Even among christians most persons ascribe afflictions to the hand of Heaven and prosperity to their own merit and prudence. This principle operates in its full effect among savages. They usually form no idea of a general superintending Providence; they consider not the Deity as the author of their beings, the Creator of the world and the dispenser of the happiness they enjoy; they discern him not in the usual course of nature, in the sunshine and in the shower, the productions of the earth and the blessing of society; they find a Deity only in the storm, the earthquake and the whirlwind; or ascribe to him the evils of pestilence and famine; they consider him as interposing in wrath to change the course of nature, and exercising the attributes of rage and revenge. They adore him with rites suited to these attributes, with horror, with penance and with sacrifice; they imagine him pleased with the severity of their mortifications, with the oblations of blood and the cries of human victims; and hope to compound for greater judgements, by voluntary sufferings and horrid sacrifices, suited to the relish of his taste.
PERHAPS no single criterion can be given, which will determine more accurately the state of society in any age or nation, than their general ideas concerning the nature and attributes of the Deity. In the most enlightened periods of antiquity, only a very few of their wisest Philosophers, a Socrates, a Tully, or a Confucius, ever formed a just idea on the subject, or described the Deity as a God of purity, justice and benevolence. Can anything then be more astonishing than to view a savage native of the southern wilds of America, rising in an age, void of every trace of learning or refinement, and acquiring by the mere efforts of reason, a sublime and rational idea of the Parent of the universe!
HE taught the nation to consider him as the God of order and regularity; ascribing to his influence the rotation of the seasons, the productions of the earth and the blessings of health; especially attributing to his inspiration the wisdom of their laws and that happy constitution, which was the delight and veneration of the people.14.
THESE humane ideas of religion had a sensible operation upon the manners of the nation. They never began an offensive war with their savage neighbours; and, whenever their country was invaded, they made war, not to extirpate, but to civilize. The conquered tribes and those taken captive were adopted into the nation; and, by blending with the conquerors, forgot their former rage and ferocity..
A system so just and benevolent, as might be expected, was attended with success. In about three hundred years, the dominions of the Incas had extended fifteen hundred miles in length, and had introduced peace and prosperity through the whole region. The arts of society had been carried to a considerable degree of improvement, and the authority of the Incan race universally acknowledged; when an event happened, that disturbed the tranquility of the empire. Huana Capac, the twelfth monarch, had reduced the powerful kingdom of Quito, and annexed it to his empire. To conciliate the affections of his new subjects, he married a daughter of the ancient king of Quito. Thus, by violating a fundamental law of the Incas, he left at his death a disputed succession to the throne. Atabalipa, the son of Huana by the heiress of Quito, being in possession of the principal force of the Peruvian armies, which was left at that place on the death of his father, gave battle to his brother Huascar, who was the elder son of Huana by a lawful wife, and legal heir to the crown. After a long and destructive civil war, the former was victorious; and thus was that flourishing and happy kingdom left a prey to civil dissentions, and to the few soldiers of Pizarro, who happened at that juncture to make a discent upon their coast. Thus he effected an easy conquest and an utter destruction of that unfortunate people. It is however extremely obvious, that this deplorable event is not to be charged on Capac, as the consequence of any defect in his institution. It is impossible that any original legislator should effectually guard against the folly of a futute sovereign. Capac had not only removed every temptation that could induce a wise prince to wish for a change in the constitution, but had connected the ruin of his authority with the change; for he, who disregards any part of institutions deemed sacred, teaches his people to consider the whole as an imposture. Had he made a law ordaining that the Peruvians should be absolved from their allegiance to a prince, who should violate the laws; it would evidently have implied possible error and imperfection in those persons whom the people were ordered to regard as Divinities: the reverence due to characters who made such high pretensions, would have been weakened; and, instead of rendering the constitution perfect, such a law would have been its greatest defect. Besides, it is probable the rupture might have been healed, and the succession settled, with as little difficulty as frequently happens with partial revolutions in other kingdoms; had not the descent of the Spaniards prevented. And this event to a man in that age and country, was totally beyond the possibility of human foresight. But viewing the concurrence of these fatal accidents, which reduced this flourishing empire to a level with many other ruined and departed kingdoms, it only proves that no human system has the privilege to be perfect.
ON the whole, it is evident, that the system of Capac is the most surprizing exertion of human genius to be found in the history of mankind. When we consider him as an individual emerging from the midst of a barbarous people, having seen no possible example of the operation of laws in any country, originating a plan of religion and policy never equalled by the sages of antiquity, civilizing an extensive empire, and rendering religion and government subservient to the general happiness of mankind, there is no danger that we grow too warm in his praise, or pronounce too high an eulogium on his character. Had such a genius appeared in Greece or Rome, he had been the subject of universal admiration; had he arisen in the favourite land of Turkey, his praises had filled a thousand pages in the diffusive writings of Voltaire.15.
The actions of Capac. A general invasion threatened by the
mountain savages. Rocha, the Inca’s Son, sent to offer terms of peace. His
embassy. His adventure with the worshippers of the Volcano. With those of the
storm on the Andes. Falls in with the savage armies. Character and speech of
Zamor, their chief. Sacrifice of Rocha’s companions. Death-song of Azonto. War
dance. March of the savage armies down the mountains to Peru. Incan army meets
them. Battle joins. Peruvians routed by an eclipse of the sun. They fly to
Cusco. Grief of Oella, supposing the darkness to be occasioned by the death of
her son Rocha. Sun appears. Peruvian army assembles, and they discover Rocha on
an altar in the savage camp. They march in haste out of the city and engage the
savages. Exploits of Capac. Death of Zamor. Recovery of Rocha, and submission
of the enemy.24.
Now, twice twelve years, the children of the skies
Beheld in peace their growing empire rise;
O’er happy realms, display’d their generous care,
Diffused their arts and soothd the rage of war;
Bade yon tall temple grace the favourite isle. 5.
The gardens bloom, the cultured valleys smile,
The aspiring hills their spacious mines unfold.
Fair structures blaze, and altars burn, in gold,
Those broad foundations bend their arches high,
And heave imperial Cusco to the sky; 10.
From that fair stream that mark’d their northern sway,
Where Apurimac leads his lucid way,
To yon far glimmering lake, the southern bound,
The growing tribes their peaceful dwellings found;
While wealth and grandeur bless’d the extended reign, 15.
From the bold Andes to the western main.
When, fierce from eastern wilds, the savage bands
Lead war and slaughter o’er the happy lands;
Thro’ fertile fields the paths of culture trace,
And vow destruction to the Incan race. 20.
While various fortune strow’d the embattled plain,
And baffled thousands still the strife maintain,
The unconquer’d Inca wakes the lingering war,
Drives back their host and speeds their flight afar;
Till, fired with rage, they range the wonted wood, 25.
And feast their souls on future scenes of blood.
Where yon blue summits hang their cliffs on high;
Frown o’er the plains and lengthen round the sky;
Where vales exalted thro’ the breaches run;
And drink the nearer splendors of the sun, 30.
From south to north, the tribes innumerous wind,
By hills of ice and mountain streams confined;
Rouse neighbouring hosts, and meditate the blow,
To blend their force and whelm the world below.
Capac, with caution, views the dark design, 35.
From countless wilds what hostile myriads join;
And greatly strives to bid the discord cease,
By profferd compacts of perpetual peace.
His eldest hope, young Rocha, at his call,
Leaves the deep confines of the temple wall; 40.
In whose fair form, in lucid garments drest,
Began the sacred function of the priest.
In early youth, ere yet the genial sun
Had twice six changes o’er his childhood run,
The blooming prince, beneath his parents’ hand, 45.
Learn’d all the laws that sway’d the sacred land;
With rites mysterious served the Power divine,
Prepared the altar and adorn’d the shrine,
Responsive hail’d, with still returning praise,
Each circling season that the God displays, 51.
Sooth’d with funereal hymns the parting dead,
At nuptial feasts the joyful chorus led;
While evening incense and the morning song
Rose from his hand or trembled on his tongue.
Thus, form’d for empire, ere he gain’d the sway; 56.
To rule with reverence and with power obey,
Reflect the glories of the parent Sun,
And shine the Capac of his future throne,
Employ’d his ripening years; till now, from far,
The distant fields proclaim approaching war; 61.
Inspired for active scenes he quits the shrine,
To aid the council or in arms to shine.
Where the mild monarch courtly throngs enclose,
Sublime in modest majesty he rose,
With reverence bow’d, conspicuous o’er the rest, 66.
Approach’d the throne and thus the sire address’d:
Great king of nations, heaven-descended sage,
Guard of my youth and glory of my age,
These pontiff robes, to my blest brother’s hand
Glad I resign, and wait thy kind command. 71.
Should war invade, permit thy son to wield
The shaft of vengeance through the untempted field:
Led by thy powerful arm, my soul shall brave
The haughtiest foe, or find a glorious grave;
While our bold ranks a nobler toil demand, 76.
In one dread field o’erwhelm the brutal band,
Pour to the mountain gods their wonted food,
And shield thy realms from future scenes of blood.
Yet oh, may sovereign mercy first ordain
Propounded compact to the savage train. 81.
Fearless of foes, their own dark wilds I’ll trace,
To quell the rage and give the terms of peace,
Teach the grim race to bow beneath thy sway,
And taste the blessings of the Power of day.
The sire return’d; My earliest wish you know, 86.
To shield from slaughter and preserve the foe,
In bands of mutual peace all tribes to bind,
And live the friend and guardian of mankind.
Should strife begin, thy youthful arm shall share,
The toils of glory through the walks of war; 91.
But o’er those hideous hills, thro’ climes of snow,
With reason’s voice to lure the savage foe,
To ‘scape their snares, their jarring souls combine,
Claims hardier limbs and riper years than thine.
Yet one of heavenly race the task requires, 96.
Whose mystic rites controul the etherial fires;
So the sooth’d Godhead proves to faithless eyes,
His sway on earth and empire of the skies.
Some veteran chief, in those rough labours try’d,
Shall aid the toil, and go thy faithful guide; 101.
O’er dreary heights thy sinking limbs sustain,
Teach the dark wiles of each insidious train,
Through all extremes of life thy voice attend,
In counsel lead thee or in arms defend.
While three firm youths, thy chosen friends, shall go 106.
To learn the climes and meditate the foe;
That wars of future years their aid may find,
To serve the realm and save the savage kind.
Rise then, my son, bright partner of my fame,
With early toils to build thy sacred name; 111.
In high behest, these heavenly tidings bear,
To bless mankind and ward the waste of war.
To those dark hosts, where shivering mountains run,
Proclaim the bounties of our sire the Sun.
On these fair plains, beneath his happier skies, 116.
Tell how his fruits in boundless plenty rise;
How the bright Power, whose all delighting soul
Taught round the courts of heaven his stars to roll,
To all his earth-born sons hath kindly given
His noblest laws the favourite grace of heaven; 121.
Bids every tribe the same glad laws attend,
His realms to widen and his fanes defend,
Confess and emulate his bounteous sway,
And give his blessings where he gives the day.
Yet, should the gathering legions still prepare 126.
The shaft of slaughter for the barbarous war,
Tell them we know to tread the crimson plain,
And heaven’s bright children never yield to man.
But oh, my child, with steps of caution go,
The ways are hideous and enraged the foe; 131.
Blood stains their altars, all their feasts are blood,
Death their delight and Darkness reigns their God;
Tygers and vultures, storms and earthquakes share
Their rites of worship and their spoils of war.
Should’st thou, my Rocha, tempt their vengeful ire, 136.
Should those dear relics feed a savage fire,
Deep sighs would heave thy wretched mother’s breast,
The pale sun sink in clouds of darkness drest,
Thy sire and hapless nations rue the day,
That drew thy steps from these sad walls away. 141.
Yet go; ’tis virtue calls; and realms unknown,
By these long toils, may bless thy future throne;
Millions of unborn souls in time may see
Their doom reversed, and owe their joys to thee;
While savage sires, with murdering hands, no more 146.
Dread the grim Gods that claim their children’s gore,
But, sway’d by happier sceptres, here behold
The rites of freedom and the shrines of gold.
Be wise, be mindful of thy realm and throne;
Heaven speed the labours, and preserve my son. 151.
Soon the glad prince, in robes of white array’d,
Call’d his attendants, and the sire obey’d.
A diamond broad, in burning gold imprest,
Fix’d the Sun’s image on his royal breast;
Fair in his hand appear’d the olive bough, 156.
And the white lautu graced his beauteous brow.
Swift o’er the hills that lift the walks of day,
Thro’ parting clouds he took his eastern way;
Height over height he gain’d, beyond the bound,
Where the wide empire claims its utmost round; 162.
To numerous tribes proclaim’d the solar sway,
And held, through various toils, his wilder’d way.
At length, far distant, thro’ the darkening skies,
Where hills o’er hills in rude disorder rise,
A dreadful groan, beneath the shuddering ground, 167.
Rolls down the steeps and shakes the world around.
Columns of reddening smoke, above the height,
O’ercast the heavens and cloud their wonted light;
From tottering tops descend the cliffs of snow,
The mountains reel, the valleys rend below, 172.
The headlong streams forget their usual round,
And shrink and vanish in the gaping ground;
The sun descends–Wide flames with livid glare
Break the red cloud and purple all the air;
Above the gaping top, wild cinders, driven, 177.
Stream high and brighten to the midst of heaven;
Deep from beneath, full floods of boiling ore
Burst the dread mount, and thro’ the opening roar;
Torrents of molten rocks, on every side,
Lead o’er the shelves of ice the fiery tide; 182.
Hills slide before them, skies around them burn,
Towns sink beneath, and heaving plains o’erturn;
O’er distant realms, the flaming deluge, hurl’d,
Sweeps trembling nations from the astonish’d world.
Meanwhile, at distance, through the livid light, 187.
A busy concourse met his wondering sight;
The prince drew near; an altar raised he view’d,
In form a furnace, fill’d with burning wood;
There a fair youth in pangs expiring lay,
And the fond father thus was heard to pray. 192.
Receive, O dreadful Power, from feeble age,
This last pure offering to thy sateless rage,
Thrice has thy vengeance, on this hated land,
Claim’d a dear infant from my yielding hand;
Thrice have those lovely lips the victim press’d, 198.
And all the mother torn that tender breast;
When the dread duty stifled every sigh,
And not a tear escaped her beauteous eye.
The fourth, and last now meets the fatal doom,
(Groan not, my child, thy God commands thee home) 203.
Attend, once more, thou dark, infernal Name,
From yon far-streaming pyramid of flame;
Snatch, from the heaving flesh, the expiring breath,
Sacred to thee and all the Powers of death;
Then, in thy hall, with spoils of nations crown’d, 208.
Confine thy walks beneath the rending ground;
No more on earth the imbowel’d flames to pour,
And scourge my people and my race no more.
Thus Rocha heard; and, tow’rd th’trembling croud,
Turn’d the bright ensign of his beaming God. 213.
The afflicted chief, with fear and grief opprest,
Beheld the sign and thus the prince address’d.
From what far land, O royal stranger, say,
Ascend thy wandering steps this nightly way?
Com’st thou from plains like ours, with cinders fired? 218.
And have thy people in the flames expired?
Or hast thou now, to stay the whelming flood,
No son to offer to the furious God?
From happier lands I came, the prince return’d,
Where no red vengeance e’er the concave burn’d; 223.
No furious God disturbs the peaceful skies,
Nor yield our hands the bloody sacrifice.
But life and joy the Power delights to give,
And bids his children but rejoice and live.
Thou seest o’er heaven the all-delighting Sun. 228.
In living radiance, rear his golden throne;
O’er plains and valleys shed his genial beams,
Call from yon cliffs of ice the winding streams;
While fruits and flowers adorn the indulgent field,
And seas and lakes their copious treasures yield; 233.
He reigns our only God; in him we trace
The friend, the father of our happy race.
Late the lone tribes, on those delightful shores,
With gloomy reverence served imagin’d Powers;
Till he, in pity to the roving race, 238.
Dispensed their laws, and form’d their minds for peace.
My heaven-born parents first the reign began,
Sent from his courts to rule the race of man,
Unfold his arts, extend his bounteous sway,
And give his blessings where he gives the day. 243.
The wondering chief reply’d; thy form and dress
Proclaim thy lineage of superior race;
And our far-distant sires, no less than thine,
Sprang from a God, and own a birth divine.
From that etherial mount, the source of flame, 248.
In elder times, the great avengers came;
Where the dread Power conceals his dark abode,
And claims, as now, the tribute of a God.
This victim due when willing mortals pay,
His terrors lessen and his fires decay; 253.
While purer sleet regales the untainted air,
And our glad hosts are fired for fiercer war.
Yet know, dread chief, the pious youth rejoin’d,
One sovereign Power produced all human kind;
Some Sire supreme, whose ever-ruling soul 258.
Creates, preserves, and regulates the whole.
That Sire supreme must lift his radiant eye
Round the wide concave of the boundless sky;
That heaven’s high courts, and all the walks of men
May rise unveil’d beneath his careful ken. 263.
Could thy dark Power, that holds his drear abode
Deep in the bosom of that fiery flood,
Yield the glad fruits that distant nations find?
Or praise, or punish, or behold mankind?
When the blest God, from glooms of changing night 268.
Shall gild his chambers with the morning light,
By mystic rites he’ll vindicate his throne,
And own thy servant for his duteous son.
Meantime, the chief reply’d, thy cares released,
Share the poor relics of our scanty feast; 273.
Which, driven in hasty rout our train supply’d,
When trembling earth proclaim’d the boiling tide.
They fared, they rested; till approaching morn
Beheld the day-star o’er the mountain burn;
The rising prince an altar rear’d on high. 278.
And watch’d the splendors of the orient sky.
When o’er the mountain flamed the sun’s broad ray,
He call’d the host his sacred rites t’essay;
Then took the loaves of maize, the bounties brake,
Gave to the chief and bade them all partake; 283.
The hallowed relics on the pile he placed,
With tufts of flowers the simple offering graced,
Held to the sun the image from his breast,
Whose glowing concave all the God exprest;
O’er the dry’d leaves, the trembling lustre flies, 288.
And thus his voice ascends the listening skies.
O thou, whose splendors kindle heaven with fire,
Great soul of nature, and the world’s dread sire,
If e’er my father found thy sovereign grace,
Or thy blest will ordain’d the Incan race, 293.
Give these lone tribes to learn thine awful name,
Receive this offering and the pile inflame:
So shall thy laws o’er these wide bounds be known,
And earth’s unnumber’d sons be happy as thine own.
Thus pray’d the prince, the kindling flames aspire, 298.
The tribes surrounding tremble and retire,
Gaze on the wonder, full conviction own,
And vow obedience to the genial Sun.
The Inca now his farther course descry’d,
A young cazique attending as a guide, 303.
O’er eastern cliffs pursued the wilder’d way,
Where loftier champaigns meet the shivering day;
Saw timorous tribes in these sublime abodes,
Adore the blasts and turn the storms to Gods.
Each blackening cloud, that thunders thro’ the skies, 308.
Claims from their hands a human sacrifice.
A while the youth, their better faith to gain,
Strives, with his usual art, but strives in vain;
In vain he pleads the mildness of the sun,
In those cold bounds where chilling whirlwinds run; 313.
Where the dark tempests sweep the world below,
And load the mountains with eternal snow.
The sun’s bright beam, the fearful tribes declare,
Drives all their evils on the tortured air;
He draws the vapors up the eastern sky, 318.
That sail and centre tow’rd his dazzling eye;
Leads the loud storms along his midday course,
And bids the Andes meet their sweeping force;
Builds their bleak summits, with an icy throne,
To shine through heaven a semblance of his own; 323.
Hence the dire chills, the lifted lawns that wait,
And all the scourges that attend their state,
Seven toilsome days, the virtuous legate strove,
To social joys their savage minds to move;
Then, while the morning glow’d serenely bright, 328.
He led their footsteps to an eastern height;
The world unbounded, stretch’d beneath them, lay,
And not a cloud obscured the rising day.
Broad Amazonia, with her star-like streams,
In azure drest, a heaven inverted seems: 333.
Dim Paraguay extends the aching sight;
Xaraya glimmers, like the moon of night:
The earth and skies, in blending borders, stray,
And smile and brighten to the lamp of day.
When thus the prince; What majesty divine! 339.
What robes of gold! what flames around him shine!
There walks the God! his starry sons on high
Draw their dim veil, and shrink behind the sky;
Earth with surrounding nature’s born anew,
And tribes and empires greet the gladdening view 344.
Who can behold his all-delighting soul
Give life and joy; and heaven and earth controul?
Bid death and darkness from his presence move–
Who can behold, and not adore and love?
Those plains, immensely circling feel his beams, 349.
He greens the groves, he silvers o’er the streams,
Swells the wild fruitage, gives the beast his food,
And mute creation hails the genial God.
But nobler joys his righteous laws impart,
To aid the life and mould the social heart, 354.
His peaceful arts o’er happy realms to spread,
And altars grace with pure celestial bread;
Such our distinguish’d lot, who own his sway,
Mild as his morning stars, and liberal as the day.
His unknown laws, the mountain chief reply’d, 359.
In your far world, your boasted race may guide;
And yon low plains, that drink his genial ray,
At his glad shrine their just devotions pay,
But we, nor fear his frown, nor trust his smile;
He blasts our forests and o’erturns our toil; 364.
Our bowers are bury’d in his whirls of snow,
Or swept and driven to shade his tribes below.
Even now his mounting steps thy hopes beguile;
He lures thy raptures with a morning smile
But soon (for so those saffron robes proclaim) 369.
Black storms shall sail beneath his leading flame,
Thunders and blasts, against the mountain driven,
Shall shake the tottering tops and rend the vault of heaven.
He spoke; they waited, till the ascending ray,
High from the noon-tide, shot the faithless day; 374.
When, lo! far-gathering, round the eastern skies
Solemn, and low, the dark-red vapors rise;
Full clouds convolving on the turbid air,
Move, like an ocean to the watery war.
The host, securely raised, no dangers harm, 379.
They sit unclouded, and over-look the storm;
While, far beneath, the sky-borne waters ride,
O’er the dark deep and up the mountain’s side;
The lightning’s glancing wings, in fury curl’d,
Bend their long forky terrors o’er the world; 384.
Torrents and broken craggs, and floods of rain,
From steep to steep, roll down their force amain,
In dreadful cataracts: the crashing sound
Fills the wide heavens and rocks the smouldering ground.
The blasts, unburden’d, take their upward course. 389.
And, o’er the mountain-top, resume their force:
Swift, thro’ the long, white ridges, from the north.
The rapid whirlwinds lead their terrors forth;
High rolls the storm, the circling surges rise,
And wild gyrations wheel the hovering skies; 394.
Vast hills of snow, in sweeping columns driven,
Deluge the air and cloud the face of heaven;
Floods burst their chains, the rocks forget their place,
And the firm mountain trembles to its base.
Long gazed the host; when thus the stubborn chief, 399.
With eyes on fire, and fill’d with sullen grief,
Behold thy careless God, securely high,
Laughs at our woes, and sails the heavens in joy;
Drives all his evils on these seats sublime,
And wafts his favours to a happier clime: 404.
Sire of that peaceful race, thy words disclose,
There glads his children, here afflicts his foes.
Hence! speed thy course! pursue him where he leads;
Lest vengeance seize thee for thy father’s deeds,
Thy immolated limbs asswage the fire 409.
Of those curst Powers, which now a gift require.
The youth, in haste, collects his scanty train,
And, with the sun, flies o’er the western plain,
The fading orb with plaintive voice he plies,
To guide his steps and light him down the skies. 414.
So, when the moon and all the host of even,
Hang, pale and trembling, on the verge of heaven,
While storms, ascending, threat their nightly reign,
They seek their absent sire, and settle down the main.
Now, to the south, he turns his tedious way, 419.
Where tribes unnumber’d on the mountains stray;
And finds, collecting, in a central plain,
From all the hills, a wide-extended train.
Of various dress and various form they show’d;
Each wore the ensign of his local God. 424.
From eastern steeps, a grisly host descends,
O’er whose grim chief a tyger’s hide depends:
The tusky jaws grin o’er his shaggy brow,
The eye-balls glare, the paws depend below;
From his bored ears contorted serpents hung, 429.
And drops of gore seem’d rolling on his tongue.
From northern wilds, dark move the vulture-race;
Black tufts of quills their shaded foreheads grace;
The claws extend, the beak is oped for blood,
And all the armour imitates the God. 434.
The condor, frowning, from a southern plain,
Borne on a standard, leads a numerous train:
Clench’d in his talons, hangs a warrior dead,
His long beak pointing where the squadrons tread;
His wings, far-stretching, cleave the whistling wind. 440.
And his broad tail o’ershades the host behind.
From other plains, and other hills, afar,
The assembling tribes throng dreadful to the war;
Some wear the crested furies of the snake,
Some show the emblems of a stream or lake; 445.
All, from the Power they serve, assume their mode,
And foam and yell to taste the Incan blood.
The prince, incautious, with his train drew near,
Known for an Inca by his dress and air.
Sudden the savage bands to vengeance move, 450.
Demand their arms and chace them round the grove;
His scattering host in vain the combat tries,
While circling thousands from their ambush rise;
Nor power to strive, nor hope of flight remains,
They bow in silence to the victor’s chains. 455.
When, now the gathering squadrons throng the plain,
And echoing skies the rending shouts retain;
Zamor, the leader of the tyger-band,
By choice appointed to the first command,
Shrugg’d up his spotted spoils above the rest, 460.
And, grimly frowning, thus the croud address’d:
Warriors, attend; tomorrow leads abroad
Our sacred vengeance for our brothers’ blood.
On those scorch’d plains forever must they lie,
Their bones still naked to the burning sky? 465.
Left in the field for foreign hawks to tear,
Nor our own vultures can the banquet share.
But soon, ye mountain Gods, yon dreary west
Shall sate your vengeance with a nobler feast;
When the proud Sun, that terror of the plain, 470.
Shall grieve in heaven for all his children slain;
O’er boundless fields our slaughtering myriads roam,
And your dark Powers command a happier home.
Mean while, ye tribes, these men of solar race,
Food for the flames, your bloody rites shall grace: 475.
Each to a different God, his panting breath
Resigns in fire; this night demands their death:
All but the Inca; him, reserved in state,
These conquering hands ere long shall immolate,
To that dread Power that thunders in the skies, 480.
A grateful gift, before his mother’s eyes,
The savage ceased; the chiefs of every race
Lead the bold captives to their destined place;
The sun descends, the parting day expires,
And earth and heaven display their sparkling fires. 485.
Soon the raised altars kindle round the gloom,
And call the victims to the vengeful doom;
Led to the scene, in sovereign pomp they tread,
And sing, by turns, the triumphs of the dead.
Amid the croud, beside his altar, stood 490.
The youth devoted to the tyger-God.
A beauteous form he rose, of princely grace,
The only hope of his illustrious race;
His aged sire, through numerous years, had shone,
The first supporter of the Incan throne; 495.
Wise Capac loved the youth, and graced his hand
With a fair virgin, from a neighbouring band;
And him the joyous prince, in equal prime;
Had chose t’attend him round the savage clime.
He mounts the pyre; the flames approach his breath, 500.
And thus he wakes the canticle of death.
O thou dark vault of heaven! his daily throne.
Where flee the absent glories of the Sun?
Ye starry hosts, that kindle from his eye,
Can you behold him in the western sky? 505.
Or if, unseen, he rests his radiant head,
Beneath the confines of his watery bed;
When next his morning steps your courts inflame,
And seek on earth for young Azonto’s name,
Then point these ashes, mark the smoky pile, 510.
And say the hero suffer’d with a smile.
So shall the avenging Power, in fury drest,
Bind the red circler o’er his changing vest,
Bid dire destruction, on these dark abodes,
Whelm the grim tribes and all their savage Gods. 515.
But oh! forbear to tell my stooping sire,
His darling hopes have fed a coward fire;
Why should he know the tortures of the brave?
Or fruitless sorrows bend him to the grave?
And may’st thou ne’er be told, my anxious fair, 520.
What rending pangs these panting vitals tear;
But, blooming still, the impatient wish employ
On the blind hope of future scenes of joy.
Now haste, ye strides of death, the Power of day,
In absent slumbers, gives your vengeance way; 525.
While fainter light these livid flames supply,
And short-lived thousands learn of me to die.
He ceased not speaking; when the yell of was
Drowns all their death-songs in a hideous jar;
Round the far echoing hills the yellings pour, 530.
And wolves and tygers catch the distant roar.
Now more concordant all their voices join,
And round the plain they form the lengthening line;
When, to the music of the dismal din,
Indignant Zamor bids the dance begin. 535.
Dim, thro’ the shadowy fires, each changing form
Moves like a cloud before an evening storm;
When, o’er the moon’s pale face and starry plain,
The shades of heaven lead on their broken train;
The mingling tribes their mazy circles tread, 540.
Till the last groan proclaims the victims dead;
Then part the smoky flesh, enjoy the seast,
And lose their labours in oblivious rest.
Now, when the western hills proclaim’d the morn,
And falling fires were scarcely seen to burn, 545.
Grimm’d by the horrors of the dreadful night,
The hosts woke fiercer for the distant fight;
And, dark and silent, like a shadowy grove,
The different tribes beneath their standards move.
But round the blissful city of the sun, 550.
Since the young prince his foreign toils begun,
The prudent king collected, from afar,
His numerous hosts to meet the expected war.
The various tribes, in one extended train,
Move to the confines of an eastern plain; 555.
Where, from the exalted kingdom’s utmost end,
Sublimer hills and savage walks ascend.
High in the front, imperial Capac strode,
In fair effulgence like the beaming God;
A golden girdle bound his snowy vest, 560.
A mimic Sun hung trembling on his breast,
The lautu’s circling band his temples twined,
The bow, the quiver shade his waist behind;
Raised high in air, his golden sceptre burn’d,
And hosts surrounding trembled as he turn’d. 565.
O’er eastern hills he cast his kindling eye,
Where opening breaches lengthen down the sky;
In whose blue clefts, wide, sloping alleys bend,
Where annual floods from melting snows descend;
Now, dry and deep, far up the dreary height, 570.
Show the dark squadrons moving into sight;
They throng and thicken on the smoky air,
And every breach pours down the dusky war.
So when an hundred streams explore their way,
Down the same slopes, convolving to the sea; 575.
They boil, they bend, they urge their force amain,
Swell o’er th’obstructing craggs and sweep the distant plain.
Capac beholds, and waits the coming shock,
Unmoved, and gleaming like an icy rock;
And while for fight the arming hosts prepare, 580.
Thus thro’ the files he breathes the soul of war.
Ye hosts, of every tribe and every plain,
That live and flourish in my father’s reign,
Long have your flocks and ripening harvests shown
The genial smiles of his indulgent throne; 585.
As o’er surrounding realms his blessings flow’d,
And conquer’d all without the stain of blood.
But now, behold yon wide-collecting band,
With threatening war, demands the happy land:
Beneath the dark, immeasurable host, 590.
Descending, swarming, how the craggs are lost!
Already now, their ravening eyes behold
Your star-bright temples and your gates of gold;
And to their Gods in fancied goblets pour,
The warm libation of your children’s gore. 595.
Move then to vengeance, meet the whelming flood,
Led by this arm and lighted by that God;
The strife is fierce, your fanes and fields the prize,
The warrior conquers or the infant dies.
Fill’d with his fire, the hosts, in squared array, 600.
Eye the dark legions and demand the affray;
Their pointed arrows, rising on the bow,
Look up the sky and chide the lagging foe.
Fierce Zamor, frowning, leads the grisly train,
Moves from the clefts, and stretches o’er the plain; 605.
He gives the shriek; the deep convulsing sound
The hosts re-echo; and the hills around
Retain the rending tumult; all the air
Clangs in the conflict of the clashing war.
But firm, undaunted, as a shelvy strand, 610.
That meets the billowy surge, the squadrons stand;
Bend the broad bow, in lengthier circuit spread,
And showers of arrows thicken heaven with shade.
When each grim host, in closer conflict join’d,
Clench the dire ax, and cast the bow behind; 615.
Thro’ broken ranks sweep wide the rapid course,
Now struggle back, now sidelong sway the force;
Here, from grim chiefs is lopp’d the grisly head;
All gride the dying, all deface the dead;
There, scattering o’er the field, in thin array, 620.
Man strives with man, and stones with axes play;
With broken shafts they follow and they fly,
And yells and groans and shouts invade the sky;
Round all the plains and groves, the ground is strow’d
With sever’d limbs and corses bathed in blood. 625.
Long raged the strife; and where, on either side,
A friend, a father or a brother died,
No trace remain’d of what he show’d before.
Mangled with horrid wounds and smear’d with gore.
Now the Peruvians, in collected might, 630.
With one wide sweep had wing’d the savage flight;
But heaven’s bright Splendor in his midday race,
With glooms unusual, veil’d his radiant face.
By slow degrees a solemn twilight moves,
Browns the dim heavens and shades the conscious groves. 635.
The observing Inca views, with wild surprise,
Deep glooms on earth, no cloud around the skies;
His host o’ershaded in the field of blood,
Gored by his foes, deserted by his God.
All mute with wonder, cease the strife to wage, 640.
Gaze at each-other, and forget their rage;
When pious Capac, to the listening croud,
Raised high his wand and pour’d his voice aloud:
Ye chiefs and warriors of Peruvian race,
Some dire offence obscures my father’s face; 645.
What moves the Godhead to desert the plain,
Nor save his children, nor behold them slain?
Fly! speed your course, and seek the distant town,
Ere darkness shroud you in a deeper frown;
The lengthening walls your squadrons shall defend, 650.
While my sad steps the sacred dome ascend;
There learn the cause, and ward the woes we fear–
Haste, haste, my sons, I guard the flying rear.
The hero spoke; the trembling tribes obey,
While deeper glooms obscure the source of day. 655.
Sudden, the savage bands collect amain,
Hang on the rear and sweep them o’er the plain;
Their shouts, redoubling o’er the flying war,
Drown the loud groans and torture all the air;
The hawks of heaven, that o’er the field had stood 660.
Scared by the tumult from the scent of blood,
Cleave the far gloom; the beasts forget their prey,
And scour the waste, and give the war its way.
Zamor, elate with horrid joy, beheld
The Sun depart, his children fly the field, 665.
And raised his rending voice; Thou darkening sky,
Deepen thy glooms, the Power of death is nigh;
Behold him rising from his nightly throne,
To veil the heavens and drive the conquer’d Sun!
The glaring Godhead yields to sacred Night; 670.
And all his armies imitate his flight.
O dark, infernal Power, confirm thy reign;
Give deadlier shades and heap the piles of slain:
Soon, the young captive prince shall roll in fire,
And all his race accumulate the pyre. 675.
Ye mountain vultures, here your vengeance pour,
Tygers and condors, all ye Gods of gore,
In these dread fields, beneath your frowning sky,
A plenteous feast shall every God supply.
Rush forward, warriors, hide the plains with dead; 680.
‘Twas here our friends, in former combat, bled;
Strow’d thro’ the waste, their bloody bones demand
This sweeping vengeance from our conquering hand.
He said; and, high before the tyger-train,
With longer strides, hangs forward o’er the slain, 685.
Bends, like a falling tree, to reach the foe,
And o’er tall Capac aims a deadly blow.
The king beheld the ax, and with his wand,
Struck the raised weapon from his grasping hand
Then clench’d the falling helve, and whirling round, 690.
Fell’d furious hosts of heroes to the ground:
Nor stay’d, but follow’d, where the squadrons run,
Fearing to fight, forsaken by the Sun:
Till Cusco’s walls salute their longing sight,
And the wide gates receive their rapid flight. 695.
The folds are barr’d, the foes, in shade conceal’d,
Like howling wolves, rave round the affrighted field.
The monarch now ascends the sacred dome,
Where the Sun’s image wore a faded gloom.
Thro’ all the courts a solemn shade prevail’d, 700.
And dismal groans his listening ear assail’d;
Deep from an inner shrine, the stifled sighs
Breathe forth awhile, and these sad accents rise.
Was it for this, my son to distant lands
Must trace the wilds, amid those savage bands? 705.
And does the God obscure his golden throne,
In mournful silence for my slaughter’d son?
Oh, had his beam, ere that disastrous day,
That snatch’d the youth from these fond arms away,
Received my mounting spirit to the sky, 710.
That sad Oella might have seen him die.
Where slept thy shaft of vengeance, O my God,
When those fell tygers drank his sacred blood?
Did not the pious prince, with rites divine;
Feed the pure flame, within thy hallow’d shrine? 715.
And early learn, beneath his father’s hand,
To shed thy blessings round the favour’d land?
Form’d by thy laws the royal seat to grace,
Son of thy son, and glory of his race.
Where, dearest Rocha, rests thy beauteous head? 720.
Where the rent robes thy hapless mother made?
I see thee, mid those hideous hills of snow,
Pursued and slaughter’d by the savage foe;
Or, doom’d a feast for some infernal God,
Whose horrid shrine demands thy harmless blood. 725.
Snatch me, O Sun, to happier worlds of light–
No shroud me, shroud me, with thyself in night–
Thou hear’st me not; thou dread, departed Power,
Thy face is dark, and Rocha is no more.
Thus heard the silent king; his heaving heart 730.
Caught all her grief, and bore a father’s part.
The cause, suggested by her tender moan,
That veil’d the midday splendors of the sun,
And shouts insulting of the raging foe,
Fix’d him suspense, in all the strength of woe 735.
A doubtful moment held his changing choice;
Now would he sooth her; half assumes his voice;
But greater cares the rising wish controul,
And call forth all his dignity of soul.
Why should he cease to ward the coming fate? 740.
Or she be told the foes besiege the gate?
He turn’d in haste; and now the image-God,
High in the front, with kindling lustre glow’d:
Swift thro’ the portal, flew the hero’s eye,
And hail’d the growing Splendor in the sky. 745.
The thronging host, now brightening at the sight,
Pour round the dome, impatient for the fight;
The chief, descending, in the portal stood,
And thus address’d the all-delighting God.
O sovereign Soul of heaven; thy changing face 750.
Makes or destroys the glory of thy race.
If, from the bounds of earth, my son be fled,
First of thy line that ever graced the dead;
If thy bright Godhead ceased in heaven to burn,
For that loved youth, who never must return; 755.
Forgive thine armies; when, in fields of blood,
They lose their strength, and fear the frowning God,
As now thy glory, with superior day,
Glows thro’ the field and leads the warrior’s way,
May our delighted souls, to vengeance driven, 760.
Burn with new brightness in the cause of heaven;
For thy slain son see larger squadrons bleed,
We mourn the hero, but avenge the deed.
He said; and, from the battlements on high,
A watchful warrior raised an eager cry; 765.
An Inca white on yonder altar tied–
Tis Rocha’s self–the flame ascends his side.
In sweeping haste the bursting gates unbar,
And flood the champaign with a tide of war;
A cloud of arrows leads the rapid train, 770.
They shout, they swarm, they hide the moving plain;
The bows and quivers strow the field behind,
And the raised axes cleave the parting wind;
The prince, confest to every warrior’s sight,
Inspires each soul and centres all the fight; 775.
Each hopes to snatch him from the kindling pyre,
Each fears his breath already flits in fire:
While Zamor spread his thronging squadrons wide,
Wedged like a wall–and thus the king defied:
Haste! son of Light, pour fast the winged war, 780.
The prince, the dying prince demands your care:
Hear how his death-song chides your dull delay,
Lift larger strides, bend forward to the affray;
Ere folding flames prevent his stifled groan,
Child of your beaming God, a victim to our own. 785.
He said; and raised his shaggy form on high,
And bade the shafts glide thicker thro’ the sky.
Like the black billows of the lifted main,
Rolls into sight the long Peruvian train;
A white sail, bounding, on the billows tost, 790.
Is Capac, striding o’er the furious host.
Now meet the dreadful chiefs, with eyes on fire;
Beneath their blows the parting ranks retire:
In whirlwind-sweep, their meeting axes bound,
Wheel, crash in air, and plough the trembling ground; 795.
Their sinewy limbs, in fierce contortions, bend,
And mutual strokes, with equal force, descend;
The king sways backward from the struggling foe,
Collects new strength, and with a circling blow
Rush’d furious on; his flinty edge, on high, 800.
Met Zamor’s helve, and glancing, cleft his thigh,
The savage fell; when, thro’ the tyger-train,
The driving Inca swept a widening lane;
Whole ranks fall staggering, where he lifts his arm,
Or roll before him, like a billowy storm; 805.
Behind his steps collecting legions close,
While, centred in a circling ridge of foes,
He drives his furious way; the prince unties,
And thus his voice–Dread Sovereign of the skies,
Accept my living son, again bestow’d, 810.
To grace with rites the temple of his God.
Move, warriors, move, complete the work begun,
Crush the grim race, avenge the injured Sun.
The savage host, that view’d the daring deed,
And saw deep squadrons with their leader bleed, 815.
Raised high the shriek of horror; all the plain
Is trod with flight and cover’d with the slain.
The bold Peruvians circle round the field,
Confine their flight and bid the relics yield:
While Capac raised his placid voice again– 820.
Ye conquering hosts, collect the scatter’d train;
The Sun commands to stay the rage of war,
He knows to conquer, but he loves to spare.
He ceased; and, where the savage leader lay
Weltering in gore, directs his eager way; 825.
Unwraps the tyger’s hide, and strives in vain
To close the wound, and mitigate the pain;
And, while soft pity moved his manly breast,
Raised the huge head and thus the chief addrest.
Too long, dread prince, thy raging arms withstood 830.
The hosts of heaven, and braved the avenging God;
His sovereign will commands all strife to cease,
His realm is concord, and his pleasure, peace;
This copious carnage, spreading all the plain,
Insults his bounties, but confirms his reign. 835.
Enough, ’tis past–thy parting breath demands
The last, sad office from my yielding hands.
To share thy pains, and feel thy hopeless woe,
Are rites ungrateful to a falling foe;
Yet rest in peace; and know, a chief so brave, 840.
When life departs, shall find an honour’d grave;
These hands, in mournful pomp, thy tomb shall rear,
And tribes unborn thy hapless fate declare.
Insult me not with tombs, the savage cried,
Let closing clods thy coward carcase hide; 845.
But these brave bones, unbury’d on the plain,
Touch not with dust, nor dare with rites profane;
Let no curst earth conceal this gorey head,
Nor songs proclaim the dreadful Zamor dead.
Me, whom the hungry Gods, from plain to plain, 850.
Have follow’d, feasting on thy slaughter’d train,
Me wouldst thou cover? no! from yonder sky,
The wide-beak’d hawk, that now beholds me die,
Soon, with his cowering train, my flesh shall tear,
And wolves and tygers vindicate their share. 855.
Receive, dread Powers, (since I can slay no more)
My last glad victim, this devoted gore.
Thus pour’d the vengeful chief his fainting breath,
And lost his utterance in the gasp of death.
The sad remaining tribes confess the Power, 860.
That sheds his bounties round the favourite shore;
All bow obedient to the Incan throne,
And blest Oella hails her living son.
Destruction of Peru foretold. Grief of Columbus. He is comforted
by a promise of a vision of future ages. All Europe appears in vision. Effect
of the discovery upon the affairs of Europe. Improvement in commerce
–government. Revival of learning. Reformation in religion. Order of the
Jesuits. Religious persecution. Character of Raleigh; who plans the settlement
of North-America. Formation of the coast by the gulph-stream. Nature of the
colonial establishments. Fleets of settlers steering for America.25.
In one dark age, beneath a single hand,
Thus rose an empire in the savage land.
Her golden seats, with following years, increase,
Her growing nations spread the walks of peace,
Her sacred rites display the purest plan, 5.
That e’er adorn’d the unguided mind of man.
Yet all the pomp, the extended climes unfold,
The fields of verdure and the towers of gold,
Those works of peace, and sovereign scenes of state,
In short-lived glory, hasten to their fate. 10.
Thy followers, rushing like an angry flood,
Shall whelm the fields and stain the shrines in blood;
Nor thou, Las Casas, best of men, shalt stay
The ravening legions from their guardless prey.
Oh! hapless prelate, hero, saint and sage, 15.
Doom’d with hard guilt a fruitless war to wage,
To see, with grief (thy life of virtues run)
A realm unpeopled and a world undone.
While impious Valverde, mock of priesthood, stands,
Guilt in his heart, the gospel in his hands, 20.
Bids, in one field, unnumber’d squadrons bleed,
Smiles o’er the scene and sanctifies the deed.
And thou, brave Gasca, with thy virtuous train,
Shalt lift the sword and urge thy power in vain;
Vain, the late task, the sinking land to save, 25.
Or call her slaughter’d millions from the grave.
The Seraph spoke. Columbus, with a sigh,
Cast o’er the hapless climes his moisten’d eye,
And thus return’d: Oh, hide me in the tomb;
Why should I live to view the impending doom? 30.
If such dread scenes the scheme of heaven compose,
And virtuous toils induce redoubled woes,
Unfold no more; but grant a kind release,
Give me, ’tis all I ask, to rest in peace.
Thy soul shall rest in peace, the Power rejoin’d, 35.
Ere these conflicting shades involve mankind:
But nobler views shall first thy mind engage,
Beyond the bounds of this destructive age;
Where happier fruits of thy unwearied toil,
Thro’ future years, and other empires, smile. 40.
Europe’s contending realms shall soon behold
These fruitful plains and hills of opening gold,
Fair in the path of thy adventurous fail,
Their countless navies float in every gale,
For wealth and commerce, sweep the extended shore, 45.
And load the ocean with the shining ore.
As, up the orient heaven, the dawning ray
Smiles o’er the world and gives the promised day;
Drives fraud and rapine from their nightly spoil,
And social nature wakes to peaceful toil; 50.
So, from the blazing mine, the golden store,
Mid warring nations, spreads from shore to shore,
With new ambition fires their ravish’d eyes,
O’er factious nobles bids the monarch rise;
Unites the force of realms, the wealth to share, 55.
Leads larger hosts to milder walks of war;
The golden scale, while rival states suspend,
And princely powers their mutual aid extend;
Wide o’er the world, while genius unconfined
Tempts happier flights and opens all the mind; 60.
Unbinds the slavish bands of monkish lore,
Awakes the arts and bids the Muses soar.
Then shall thy northern climes their charms display;
United nations there extend their sway;
O’er the new world exalt their peerless throne, 65.
And twine thy wreaths immortal on their crown.
Now lift thine eye. O’er Europe’s circling rounds,
Where kings contending claim their bordering bounds,
Behold in light, the nations slowly rise,
Like trembling vapours in the morning skies. 70.
Where those long shores their different courses run,
Round the dim north, and tow’rd the eastern sun;
The naked harbours, looking to the main,
Unfold their bounds and break the winds in vain;
The labouring ride no foreign treasure brings, 75.
No floating forest waves its canvass wings,
No busy throngs the lonely margin tread,
Nor sails nor cities cast a watery shade:
Save, where, yon opening gulph the strand divides,
Proud Venice bathes her in the broken tides, 80.
Beholds her scattering barks around her strown,
And, sovereign, deems the watery world her own.
The nations fierce, that local faiths enrage,
In causeless strife perpetual combat wage.
No martial system claims the monarch’s care, 85.
Nor standing legions guard the realm from war;
Give general laws to nations, and restrain
The untemper’d rage of passion’s lawless reign.
But the firm bondage of the slavish mind,
Spreads deeper glooms and subjugates mankind. 90.
As the dark northern tribes, in elder times,
Drove every art from Europe’s cultured climes,
O’er ruin’d Latium fix’d their savage reign,
Mid towers o’erturn’d and learned millions slain;
Thus, o’er the same fair seats, with deadlier shade, 95.
Folly and zeal their sable ensigns spread,
Send their cowl’d teachers every sect to blind,
Stretch the deep mantle and secure the mind,
Warn from the world, by Gallileo’s fate,
Each daring truth that boasts a modern date, 100.
Support all crimes, by full indulgence given,
Usurp the power and wield the sword of Heaven.
But see, where future years their scenes unroll,
And rising arts inspire the venturous soul.
Behold, from all the extended coasts of Spain, 105.
Unnumber’d navies croud the whitening main;
High o’er the western wave, in cloudly flight,
They stream and lessen on the varying sight,
Dim thro’ the isles and middle regions pour,
Furl the low sails, and skirt the masted shore. 110.
From the long strand the moving loads behold,
The sparkling gems, and heaps of burning gold.
The sails ascend; and, tow’rd their native day,
With heavier burdens win their arduous way.
Now, from all coasts, that Europe’s realms surround, 115.
See the long squadrons o’er the billows bound;
Thro’ Afric’s isles, observe the sweeping sails,
Full pinions tossing in Arabian gales;
Indus and Ganges, deep in canvass, lost,
And navies crouding round each orient coast; 120.
New nations rise to light, extend the toil,
Unfold their treasures, share the foreign spoil,
Join distant worlds, all climes and oceans brave,
And shade with sheets the immeasurable wave.
While rival realms in greater works engage, 125.
And wake the genius of a happier age;
Their bounds enlarge, and mutual safety share,
By leagues of peace and standing strength of war.
See lofty Ximines, with solemn gait,
Move from the cloister to the walks of state, 130.
Thro’ all the extended baronies of Spain,
Curb the fierce lords, and fix the royal reign.
Behold, dread Charles the sovereign seat ascends,
O’er kings and climes his eager view extends;
Europe’s surrounding states, before his eyes, 135.
Lure the wide wish and bid his claims arise;
While wealthier shores, beneath the western day,
Unfold their treasures and enlarge his sway.
See the brave Francis lift his banners round,
To guard the realms and give his rival bound; 140.
With equal pomp, the imperial sceptre claim,
And fire the nations with an equal name,
Unite his kingdom and his power extend,
Of arms the patron, and of arts the friend.
And see proud Wolsey rise, securely great, 145.
Kings in his train, and sceptres at his feet,
From monkish walls, the hoards of wealth he draws,
To aid the tyrant and restrain the laws,
Wakes Albion’s genius, abler monarchs braves,
And shares with them the empire of the waves. 150.
Behold dark Solyman, from eastern skies,
With his grim host, magnificently rise:
Extend his limits o’er the midland sea,
And tow’rd Germania drive his conquering way,
Frown o’er the Christian Powers, with haughty air, 155.
And teach the nations how to lead the war.
There powerful Leo rises into sight,
And, generous, calls the finer arts to light;
New walls and structures throng the Latian shore
The Pencil triumphs and the Muses soar. 160.
Snatch’d from the ground, where Gothic rage had trod,
And monks and prelates held their drear abode,
The Roman statues rise; and wake to view
The same bold taste their ancient glory knew.
O’er the dark world Erasmus casts his eye; 165.
In schoolmen’s lore sees kings and nations lie;
With strength of judgement and with fancy warm,
Derides their follies, and dissolves the charm,
Draws the deep veil, that bigot zeal has thrown
O’er pagan Books, and science long unknown, 170.
From faith of pageant rites relieves mankind,
And seats bold virtue in the conscious mind.
But still the daring task, to brave alone
The rising vengeance of the Papal throne,
Restrains his toil: he gives the contest o’er, 175.
And leaves his hardier sons to dare the threatening Power.
Thus taught the Seer; Columbus turn’d his view,
Where round the regions other wonders drew;
Saw in the north a daring sage ascend,
And o’er his form a sable robe depend; 180.
The Cowl conceal’d his eye; his fearless head,
Like morning mist, a hovering cloud o’erspread;
Above the gloom, descending lustre beams,
And streaks the concave with cerulean streams.
Sudden the bursting cloud expands in light, 185.
And heaven unfolding fills his raptured sight.
His changing robes in golden Splendor blaze,
Around his head a starry rainbow plays;
High in his hand a beam of glory burns,
And realms surrounding brighten as it turns. 190.
When thus the Power; These happier visions trace
The destined joys that wait the rising race.
Great Luther moves in that majestic frame,
Fair light of heaven, and child of deathless fame;
Born, like thyself, thro’ toils and griefs to wind, 195.
From sloth and slavery free the captive mind,
Brave adverse Powers, controul the Papal sway,
And bring benighted nations into day.
The beam of glory, lifted in his hand,
Is Heaven’s own word that shines on every land; 200.
By his bold pen, in modern style display’d,
From the glad world, it drives the mystic shade.
See the long crouds, his fame around him brings,
Schools, synods, prelates, potentates and kings;
All gaining knowledge from his boundless store, 205.
And join’d to shield him from the rage of power.
First of the train, see Frederic’s princely form
Ward from the sage divine the gathering storm;
In learned Wittemburgh secure his seat,
Where arts and virtues find a blest retreat. 210.
Raised by his voice, glad pupils round him stand,
Assist his toils and spread to every land.
There moves Melanchton, mild as morning light,
And rage and strife are soften’d in his sight;
In terms so gentle flows his tuneful tongue, 215.
Ev’n cloister’d bigots join the listening throng;
By foes and infidels he lives approved,
By monarchs courted and by heaven beloved.
With stern deport, o’er all the circling band,
See Osiander lift his waving hand; 220.
On others’ faults he casts a haughty frown,
Nor their’s will pardon nor perceive his own;
A heart sincere his open looks unfold,
In virtue faithful, and in action bold.
And lo, where Europe’s utmost limits bend, 225.
From this mild source what various joys descend!
A larger policy pervades the whole,
And civil rights inspire the free-born soul.
See haughty Henry, from the Papal tie,
His realms dismember, and the Power defy; 230.
While Albion’s sons disdain a foreign throne,
And bravely bound the oppression of his own.
Another scene still marks the important age,
And hardier toils adventurous throngs engage.
There starts fierce Loyola, an unknown name, 235.
By paths unseen to reach the goal of fame;
Thro’ courts and camps, by secret skill, to wind;
To mine whole states and over-reach mankind.
The task begins; behold an artful race,
Range thro’ the world, and every sect embrace, 240.
Their creeds, their powers, their policies explore,
And lead an intercourse from shore to shore.
See the full throngs, in every distant land,
Embrace the cause and swell the wide command:
In towering pride, ascending to the skies, 245.
Their growing fanes and seats of science rise;
A new-form’d empire gains a sudden birth,
Built in all empires o’er the peopled earth.
Led, by thy followers, to the western day,
In happier climes, behold their sovereign sway, 250.
Where Paraguay’s mild nations smile in peace,
And generous arts and social joys increase.
Thus all the tribes of men, beneath thy view,
Enlarge their walks and nobler toils pursue,
Unwonted deeds, in rival greatness, shine, 255.
Call’d into life and first inspired by thine.
So, while imperial Homer tunes the lyre,
The living lays unnumber’d bards inspire,
From realm to realm, the kindling spirit flies,
Sounds thro’ the earth and echoes to the skies. 260.
Now move, in rapid haste, the years of time,
When, borne afar from this enlighten’d clime,
Thy brighter sons shall croud the western main,
And northern empires bloom beneath their reign.
To speed their course, the leaders of the age, 265.
By error darkened and religious rage,
Bid Persecution whelm in kindred blood,
The walls of peace, and temples of their God:
Millions of martyr’d heroes mount the pyre,
And blind devotion lights the sacred fire. 270.
Led by the dark inquisitors of Spain,
See Desolation mark her dreary reign;
See Jews and Moors, that croud the fatal strand,
Roll in the flames, or flee the hated land.
See, arm’d with power, the same tribunal rise, 275.
Where hapless Belgia’s fruitful circuit lies;
What wreaths of smoke roll heavy round the shore!
What shrines and altars flow with christian gore!
What dismal shrieks! what agonizing cries!
What prayers are wafted to the listening skies! 280.
Where the flames open, lo! their arms, in vain,
Reach out for help, distorted with the pain!
Till, folded in the sires, they disappear,
And not a sound invades the startled ear.
See Philip, throned in insolence and pride, 285.
Enjoy their wailings and their pangs deride;
While, scattering death round Albion’s crimson isles,
O’er the same scenes, his cruel consort smiles.
Amid the strife, a like destruction reigns,
With wider sweep, o’er Gallia’s fatal plains; 290.
See factious nobles pour the slaughtering tide,
Grim death unites whom sacred creeds divide;
Each dreadful victor bids the flames arise,
And waft a thousand murders to the skies.
Now cease the factions, with the Valoise line, 295.
And the great Bourbon’s liberal virtues shine;
Quell’d by his voice, the furious sects accord,
And distant empires tremble at his sword.
See, smiling Albion views, with glad surprise.
A rival reign, in blest Eliza, rise; 300.
O’er Belgia’s plains while daring leaders soar,
And brave the vengeance of the Iberian power.
Now from all coasts, where shaded plains extend,
See the bent forests to the main descend.
From Albion’s strand, behold the navies heave, 305.
Stretch in a line and thunder o’er the wave;
There toils brave Russel, master of the main,
And moves in triumph o’er the pride of Spain.
The Seraph spoke; when fair beneath their eye,
A new-form’d squadron rose along the sky; 310.
High on the tallest deck, majestic shone
Great Raleigh, pointing tow’rd the western sun;
His eye, bent forward, ardent and sublime,
Seem’d piercing nature and evolving time;
Beside him stood a globe, whose figures traced 315.
A future empire in each wilder’d waste;
All former works of men behind him shone,
Graved by his hand in ever-during stone;
On his mild brow, a various crown displays
The hero’s laurel and the scholar’s bays; 320.
His graceful limbs in steely mail were drest,
The bright star burning on his manly breast;
His sword high-beaming, like a waving spire,
Illumed the shrouds and flash’d the solar fire;
The smiling crew rose resolute and brave, 325.
And the glad sails hung bounding o’er the wave.
Far on the main, they held their rapid flight,
And western coasts salute their longing sight:
Glad Chesapeake unfolds a passage wide,
And leads their streamers up the freshening tide; 330.
Where a mild region and delightful soil
And groves and streams allure the steps of toil.
Here, lodged in peace, they tread the welcome land,
An instant harvest waves beneath their hand,
Spontaneous fruits their easy cares beguile, 335.
And opening fields in living culture smile.
With joy Columbus view’d; when thus his voice,
Ye beauteous shores, and generous hosts, rejoice.
Here stretch the water’d plains and midland tide,
And nature blooms in all her virgin pride; 340.
The years advance, by Heaven’s blest arm unroll’d,
When the deep wilds their promised change behold.
Be thou, my Seer, the people’s guardian friend,
Protect their virtues and their lives defend;
May wealth and grandeur, with their arts, unfold, 345.
Yet save, oh, save them from the thirst of gold.
May the poor natives, round the guardless climes,
Ne’er feel their rage nor groan beneath their crimes;
But learn the various blessings, that extend,
Where civil rights and social virtues blend; 350.
In these brave leaders find a welcome guide,
And rear their fanes and empires by their side.
Smile, happy region, smile; the star of morn
Illumes thy heavens, and bids thy day be born;
Thy opening forests show the work begun, 355.
Thy plains, unshaded, drink a purer-sun;
Unwonted navies on thy currents glide,
And happier treasures waft on every tide;
Yield now thy bounties, load the distant main;
Give birth to nations and begin thy reign. 360.
The hero spoke; when thus the Power rejoin’d,
Approved his joy, and still enlarged his mind:
To thy warm wish, beneath these opening skies,
The pride of earth-born empires soon shall rise.
My powerful arm, to which the task was given, 365.
On this fair globe to work the will of Heaven;
To rear the mountain, spread the subject plain,
Lead the long stream and roll the billowy main,
In every clime prepared the seats of state,
Design’d their limits and prescribed their date. 370.
To meet these tides, I stretch’d the level strand,
Heaved the green banks and taught the groves to stand,
Strow’d the wild fruitage, gave the beasts their place,
And form’d the region for thy kindred race.
In elder years, when first the watery round, 375.
And meeting lands their blending borders found;
Back to those distant hills, that range sublime,
From yon deep gulph, thro’ all the northern clime,
The Atlantic wave it’s coral kingdoms spread,
And scaly nations here their gambols led. 380.
By slow degrees, thro’ following years of time,
I bared these realms and raised the extended clime;
As, from retiring seas, the rising sand
Stole into light and gently drew to land.
Moved by the winds, that sweep the flaming zone, 386.
The waves roll westward with the constant sun,
Meet the firm Isthmus, scoop that gulphy bed,
Wheel tow’rd the north, and here their currents spread:
Those ravaged banks, that move beneath their force,
Borne on the tide and lost along the course, 391.
Have form’d this beauteous shore by Heaven design’d,
The happiest empire that awaits mankind.
Think not the lust of gold shall here annoy,
Enslave the nations and the race destroy.
No flaming mine these lengthening hills enclose, 396.
No ruby ripens and no diamond glows;
But richer stores and rocks of useful mould,
Repay, in wealth, the penury of gold.
Freedom’s unconquer’d sons, with healthy toil,
Shall lop the grove and warm the furrow’d soil, 401.
From iron ridges break the rugged ore,
Smooth the pale marble, spire the bending shore;
While sails and towers and temples round them heave,
Shine o’er the realms and shade the distant wave.
Nor think the native tribes, these wilds that trace, 406.
A foe shall find in this exalted race;
In souls like theirs, no mean, ungenerous aim
Can shade their glories with the deeds of shame;
Nor low deceit, weak mortals to ensnare,
Nor bigot zeal to urge the barbarous war; 411.
Nor haughty pomp of power, nor Spanish pride,
To ravage realms and nature’s laws deride.
From eastern tyrants driven, and nobly brave,
To build new states, or seek a distant grave,
Thy generous sons, with proffer’d leagues of peace, 416.
Approach these climes, and hail the savage race;
Pay the just purchase for the uncultured shore,
Diffuse their arts and share the friendly power;
While the dark tribes in social aid combine,
Exchange their treasures and their joys refine. 421.
O’er Europe’s wilds, when first the nations spread,
The pride of conquest every legion led.
Each powerful chief, by servile crouds adored,
O’er conquer’d realms assumed the name of lord,
Built the proud castle, ranged the savage wood, 426.
Fired his grim host to frequent fields of blood,
With new-made honours lured his subject bands,
Price of their lives, and purchase of their lands;
For names and titles, bade the world resign
Their faith, their freedom and their rights divine. 431.
Thus haughty baronies their terrors spread,
And slavery follow’d where the standard led;
Till, little tyrants by the great o’erthrown,
Contending nobles give the regal crown;
Wealth, wisdom, virtue, every claim of man 436.
Unguarded fall to form the finish’d plan:
Ambitious cares, that nature never gave,
Warm the starved peasant, fire the sceptred slave;
Thro’ all degrees, in gradual pomp, ascend,
Honour, the name, and tyranny, the end. 441.
But nobler honours here the breast inflame;
Sublimer views and deeds of happier fame;
A new creation waits the western shore,
And reason triumphs o’er the pride of power.
As the glad coast, by Heaven’s supreme command, 446.
Won from the wave, presents a new-form’d land;
Yields richer fruits and spreads a kinder soil,
And pays with greater stores the hand of toil;
So, call’d from slavish climes, a bolder race,
With statelier step, these fair abodes shall trace; 451.
Their freeborn souls, with genius unconfined,
Nor sloth can poison, nor a tyrant bind;
With self-wrought fame and worth internal blest,
No venal star shall brighten on the breast;
No king-created name or courtly art 456.
Damp the bold thought, or sway the changing heart.
Above all fraud, beyond all titles great,
Heaven in their soul and sceptres at their feet,
The sires of unborn nations move sublime,
Look empires thro’ and pierce the veil of time, 461.
The fair foundations form, and lead afar
The palm of peace or scourge of barbarous war.
Their following sons the godlike toil behold,
In freedom’s cause, unconquerably bold,
Complete the toils, display their glories round, 466.
Domestic states and distant empires bound,
Brave the dread powers, that eastern monarchs boast,
Explore all climes, enlighten every coast;
Till arts and laws, in one great system bind,
By leagues of peace, the labours of mankind. 471.
But slow proceeds the plan. Long toils remain,
Ere thy blest children can begin their reign.
That daring leader, whose exalted soul
Pervades all scenes that unborn realms unroll,
Must yield the palm; and, at a courtier’s shrine, 476.
His fame, his freedom and his life resign.
That feeble train, the lonely wilds who tread,
Their sire, their genius in their Raleigh dead,
Shall pine and perish in the frowning gloom,
Or mount the wave and seek their ancient home. 481.
Succeeding hosts the daring task pursue,
The dangers brave and all the strife renew;
But vain the toil; while void of wealth and power,
Their fleets to furnish and their claims secure;
While kings and courtiers still neglect the plan, 486.
The slaves of ease and enemies of man.
Till noble Del’ware, with his venturous train,
In strength and fortune, hails the fair domain,
Divides his bounties, aids the patriot cause,
Begins the culture and designs their laws. 491.
Fired with the great success the aspiring age
Sees greater throngs the glorious toil engage.
Where the long strand unnumber’d streams divide,
Their rival heroes lead their naval pride,
Back from the ports extend a peaceful sway, 496.
And spread their hamlets tow’rd the setting day.
From yon low shore, where Texel meets the main.
See the tost navies bear a venturous train;
See, scourged by bigot rage from Albion’s coast,
The noble Baltimore collect his host, 501.
In quest of freedom seek a happier land,
And shield and cherish his illustrious band;
While heaven-taught Penn sublimely towers along,
And ardent crouds beneath his standard throng;
See, by his side, a future city plann’d, 506.
A code of statutes folded in his hand;
Progressive years and ages, as they rise,
Unroll their scenes and open to his eyes.
See, from grim Laud, a persecuted band
Mount the bold bark and flee the fatal strand; 511.
Virtue’s unconquer’d, venerable train,
Whom tyrants press and waves oppose in vain;
While faith and freedom spread a nobler charm,
And toils and dangers every bosom warm.
See other hosts and chiefs, in bright array, 516.
Full pinions crouding on the watery way;
All from their different shores, their sails unfurl’d,
Point their glad streamers to the western world.
Vision confined to North America. Progress of the settlements.
General invasion of the natives. Their defeat. Settlement of Canada. Invasion
of the French. Braddock’s defeat. Washington saves the English army. Actions of
Abercrombie, Amherst and Wolfe. Peace. Darkness overshades the continent.
Apprehensions of Columbus from that appearance. Cause explained. Cloud bursts
away in the centre. View of Congress. Invasion of the English. Conflagration of
towns, from Falmouth to Norfolk. Battle of Bunker-hill, viewed through the
smoke. American army assembles. Speech of Washington. Actions and death of
Montgomery. Actions of Washington. Approach and capture of Burgoyne. 26.
Columbus hail’d them with a father’s smile,
Fruits of his cares and children of his toil;
With tears of joy, while still his eyes descried
Their course adventurous o’er the distant tide.
Thus, when o’er deluged earth her Seraph stood, 5.
The tost ark bounding on the shoreless flood,
The sacred treasure claim’d his guardian view,
While climes unnoticed in the wave withdrew.
He saw the squadrons reach the rising strand,
Leap from the wave and share the joyous land; 10.
Receding forests yield the heroes room,
And opening wilds with fields and gardens bloom.
Fill’d with the glance extatic, all his soul
Now seems unbounded with the scene to roll,
And now, impatient, with retorted eye, 15.
Perceives his station in another sky.
Waft me, O winged Angel, waft me o’er,
With those blest heroes, to the happy shore;
There let me live and die–but all appears
A fleeting vision; these are future years. 20.
Yet grant in nearer view the climes may spread,
And my glad steps may seem their walks to tread;
While eastern coasts and kingdoms, wrapp’d in night,
Arise no more to intercept the sight.
The hero spoke; the Angel’s powerful hand 25.
Moves brightening o’er the visionary land;
The height, that bore them, still sublimer grew,
And earth’s whole circuit settled from their view:
A dusky Deep, serene as breathless even,
Seem’d vaulting downward, like another heaven; 30.
The sun, rejoicing on his western way,
Stamp’d his fair image in the inverted day:
Sudden, the northern shores again drew nigh,
And life and action fill’d the hero’s eye.
Where the dread Laurence breaks his passage wide, 35.
Where Missisippi’s milder currents glide,
Where midland realms their swelling mountainsheave,
And slope their champaigns to the distant wave,
On the green banks, and o’er the extended plain,
Rise into sight the happiest walks of man. 40.
The placid ports, that break the billowing gales,
Rear their tall masts and stretch their whitening sails;
The harvests wave, the groves with fruitage bend,
And bulwarks heave, and spiry domes ascend;
Fair works of peace in growing splendor rise, 45.
And grateful earth repays the bounteous skies.
Till war invades; when opening vales disclose,
In moving crouds, the savage tribes of foes;
High tufted quills their painted foreheads press,
Dark spoils of beasts their shaggy shoulders dress, 50.
The bow bent forward, for the combat strung,
The ax, the quiver on the girdle hung;
The deep, discordant yells convulse the air,
And the wild waste resounds approaching war.
The hero look’d; and every darken’d height 55.
Pours down the dusky squadrons to the fight.
Where Kennebec’s high source forsakes the sky,
Where deep Champlain’s extended waters lie,
Where the bold Hudson leads his shadowy tide,
Where Kaatskill-heights the azure vault divide, 60.
Where the dim Alleganies range sublime,
And give their streams to every distant clime,
The swarms descended, like an evening shade,
And wolves and vultures follow’d where they spread.
Thus when a storm, on eastern pinions driven, 65.
Meets the firm Andes in the midst of heaven,
The clouds convulse, the torrents pour amain,
And the black waters sweep the subject plain.
Thro’ cultured fields, the bloody myriads spread,
Sack the lone village, strow the streets with dead; 70.
The flames aspire, the smoky volumes rise,
And shrieks and shouts redouble round the skies;
Fair babes and matrons in their domes expire,
Or burst their passage thro’ the folding fire;
O’er woods and plains, promiscuous rave along 75.
The yelling victors and the driven throng;
The streams run purple; all the extended shore
Is wrapp’d in flames and trod with steps of gore.
Till numerous hosts, collecting from afar,
Exalt the standard and oppose the war, 80.
Point their loud thunders on the shouting foe,
And brave the shafted terrors of the bow.
When, like a broken wave, the savage train
Lead back the flight and scatter o’er the plain,
Slay their weak captives, leave their shafts in haste, 85.
Forget their spoils and scour the distant waste.
As, when the morning sun begins his way,
The shadows vanish where he gives the day;
So the dark tribes, from brighter regions hurl’d,
Sweep o’er the heights and lakes, far thro’ the wilder’d world.
Now move in nobler pomp the toils of peace
New temples rise and splendid towers increase.
He saw, where Penn his peaceful thousands led,
A spreading town bright Del’ware’s waves o’ershade;
The crossing streets in fair proportion run, 95.
The walls and pavements sparkle to the sun.
Like that famed city, rose the beauteous plan,
Whose spacious bounds Semiramis began;
Long ages finish’d what her hand design’d,
The pride of kings and wonder of mankind. 100.
Where labouring Hudson’s glassy current strays,
York’s growing walls their splendid turrets raise,
Albania rising in her midland pride,
Rolls her rich treasures on his lengthening tide;
Fair in her circling streams blest Newport laves, 105.
And Boston opens o’er the subject waves;
On southern shores, where happier currents glide,
The banks bloom gay, and cities grace their side;
Like morning clouds, that tinge their skirts with gold,
Bright Charleston’s roofs and sparkling spires unfold. 110.
Thro’ each extended realm, in wisdom great,
Rose the dread sires, that claim the cares of state;
Long robes of purest white their forms embrace,
Their better hands imperial sceptres grace,
Their left the laws, that shining leaves infold, 115.
Where rights and charters flame in figured gold.
High on a seat, that opening crouds disclose,
Blest Baltimore, from toils and dangers, rose;
The sacred Cross, before his kindling eyes,
From foes defended, and of peace the prize, 120.
Waves o’er the host; who catch the liberal flame,
Partake the freedom and extend the fame,
With port majestic, rising to his throne,
Immortal Penn, in rival lustre shone,
Dispensing justice to the train below, 125.
Peace in his voice and firmness on his brow.
Another croud sees generous Belcher stand,
And gains new glory from his liberal hand;
He aids the toil, and still exalts the plan,
Patron of science, liberty and man, 130.
With steady step, bold Winthrop towers along,
Waves the bright wand and cheers the noble throng;
Beneath his firm, unalterable sway,
Fair Virtue reigns, and grateful realms obey.
While other forms, the rising states around, 135.
By wisdom graced, with equal honours crown’d,
Trail the long robe, extend the sceptred hand,
Drive guilt and slavery from the joyous land,
Bid arts and culture, wealth and wisdom rise,
Friends of mankind and favourites of the skies. 140.
Up the wild streams, that bound the hero’s view,
Great Gallia’s sons their western course pursue;
On fertile banks fair towns and villas rose,
That dared the vengeance of surrounding foes.
Here cold Canadia round her Laurence spread, 145.
And raised her cities o’er his watery glade;
There Louisiana’s happier borders run,
Spread fairer lawns and feel a purer sun;
While the glad lakes and broad Ohio’s stream
Seem smiling conscious of approaching same. 150.
Now larger barks pursue their rapid course,
Unite their labours and extend their force;
Beneath their listed sails, arise in sight
White flags display’d and armies robed in white;
Through the deep midland waste, they stream afar, 155.
And threat weak realms with desolating war.
Where proud Quebec exalts her rocky seat,
They range their camp and spread the frowning fleet,
Lead conquering legions, western wilds to brave,
Raise lone Oswago o’er the untraversed wave; 160.
While other squadrons tempt another flood,
And dark Ohio swells beneath the load.
When, fierce, from Albion’s coast, a warlike train
Moves o’er the sea, and treads the dusky plain;
Swift to their aid, from all the crouded strand, 165.
Rise, bright in arms, the wide colonial band;
They join their force; and, tow’rd the falling day,
The same bold banners lead their dreadful way;
O’er Allagany-heights, like streams of fire,
The red flags wave and glittering arms aspire; 170.
Beyond the hills, where, o’er the lonely flood,
A hostile fortress spreads its bounds abroad,
They bend the venturous march; the host within
Behold their danger, and the strife begin.
From the full bursting gates, the sweeping train 175.
Pour forth the war and hide the sounding plain;
The opposing squadrons, ranged in order bright,
Wait the dire shock and kindle for the fight;
The batteries blaze, the moving vollies pour,
The shuddering vales and echoing mountains roar; 180.
Clouds of convolving smoke the welkin spread,
Shroud the wide champaign, and the hills o’ershade.
Lost in the rocking thunder’s loud career,
No shouts or groans invade the hero’s ear,
Nor val’rous feats are seen, nor flight, nor fall, 185.
While deep-surrounding darkness buries all.
Till, driv’n by rising winds, the clouds withdrew,
And oped the spreading slaughter to his view;
He saw the British leader, borne afar,
In dust and gore beyond the wings of war; 190.
Saw the long ranks of foes his host surround,
His chiefs confused, his squadrons press the ground;
As, hemm’d on every side, the trembling train
Nor dare the fight, nor can they flee the plain.
But, while conflicting tumult thinn’d the host, 195.
Their flags, their arms in wild confusion tost,
Bold in the midst a blooming warrior strode,
And tower’d undaunted o’er the field of blood,
In desperate toils with rising vengeance burn’d,
And the pale squadrons brighten’d where he turn’d. 200.
As, when thick vapors veil the evening sky,
And starry hosts, in half-seen lustre fly,
Bright Hesper shines o’er all the twinkling croud,
And gives new splendor thro’ the opening cloud.
Fair on a firey steed, sublime he rose, 205.
Wedg’d the firm files and eyed the circling foes;
Then waved his gleamy sword, that flash’d the day,
And, thro’ dread legions, hew’d the rapid way,
His hosts roll forward, like an angry flood,
Sweep ranks away and smear their paths in blood; 210.
The hovering foes pursue the strife afar,
And shower their balls along the flying war;
When the brave leader turns his sweeping force,
Points the flight forward–speeds his backward course;
The foes fly scattering where his arm is wheel’d, 215.
And his firm train treads safely o’er the field.
While these fierce toils the pensive chief descried,
With anxious thought he thus address’d the guide;
These numerous throngs, in robes of white array’d,
From Gallia’s shores the peaceful bounds invade, 220.
And there Britannia’s standard waves sublime,
In crimson pomp to shield the friendly clime.
Why here, in vengeance, roll the furious bands?
And strow their corses o’er these pathless lands?
Can Europe’s realms, the seat of endless strife, 225.
Afford no trophies for the waste of life?
Can monarchs there no proud applauses gain?
No living laurel for their subjects slain?
Nor Belgia’s plains so fertile made with gore,
Hide heroes’ bones nor feast the vultures more? 230.
Danube and Rhine no more their currents stain,
Nor sweep the slaughter’d myriads to the main?
That infant empires here the rage must feel,
And these pure streams with foreign carnage swell.
But who the chief, that closed in firm array 235.
The baffled legions and restored the day?
There shines, in veteran skill and youthful charms,
The boast of nature and the pride of arms.
The Power replied; In each successive age,
Their different views thy varying race engage. 240.
Here roll the years, when Albion’s generous host,
Leagued with thy children, guard the invaded coast;
That infant states their veteran force may train,
And nobler toils in later fields sustain;
When future foes superior banners wave, 245.
The realms to ravage and the race enslave.
Here toils brave Albion with the sons of Gaul;
Here hapless Braddock finds his destined fall;
Thy greatest son, in that young martial frame,
From yon lost field begins a life of fame. 250.
Tis he, in future strife and darker days,
Desponding states to sovereign rule shall raise,
When the weak empire, in his arm, shall find
The sword, the shield, the bulwark of mankind.
The Seraph spoke; when thro’ the purpled air, 255.
The northern squadrons spread the flames of war:
O’er dim Champlain, and thro’ surrounding groves
Rash Abercrombie, mid his thousands, moves
To fierce unequal strife; the batteries roar,
Shield the grim foes and rake the banner’d shore; 260.
His fainting troops the dreadful contest yield,
And heaps of carnage strow the fatal field.
While glorious Amherst on a distant isle,
Leads a bold legion, and renews the toil;
High flame the ships, the billows swell with gore, 265.
And the red standard shades the conquer’d shore.
And lo, a British host, unbounded spread,
O’er sealike Laurence, casts a moving shade;
On lessening tides, they hold their fearless flight,
Till rocky walls salute their longing sight. 270.
They tread the shore, the arduous conflict claim,
Rise the tall mountain, like a rolling flame,
Stretch their wide wings in circling onset far,
And move to fight, as clouds of heaven at war.
The smoke falls folding thro’ the downward sky, 275.
And shrouds the mountain from the hero’s eye;
While on the burning top, in open day,
The flashing swords, in fiery arches, play.
As on a ridgy storm, in terrors driven,
The forky flames curl round the vault of heaven, 280.
The thunders break, the bursting torrents flow,
And flood the air, and whelm the hills below;
Or, as on plains of light, when Michael strove,
And swords of Cherubim to combat move;
Ten thousand fiery forms together play, 285.
And flash new lightning on empyreal day.
Long raged promiscuous combat, half conceal’d;
When sudden parle suspended all the field;
Thick groans succeed, the cloud forsakes the plain,
And the high hill is topp’d with heaps of slain. 290.
Now, proud in air, the conquering standard waved,
And shouting hosts proclaim’d a country saved;
While, calm and silent, where the ranks retire,
He saw brave Wolfe, in pride of youth, expire.
So the pale moon, when morning beams arise, 295.
Veils her lone visage in the silent skies;
Required no more to drive the shades away,
Nor waits to view the glories of the day.
Again the towns aspire, the cultured field
And blooming vale their copious treasures yield; 300.
The grateful hind his cheerful labour proves,
And songs of triumph fill the warbling groves;
The conscious flocks, returning joys that share,
Spread thro’ the midland, o’er the walks of war:
When, borne on eastern winds, dark vapors rise, 305.
And sail and lengthen round the western skies;
Veil all the vision from his anxious sight,
And wrap the climes in universal night.
The hero grieved, and thus besought the Power
Why sinks the scene? or must I view no more? 310.
Must here the fame of that fair world descend?
And my brave children find so soon their end?
Where then the word of Heaven, Mine eyes should see
That half mankind should owe their bliss to me?
The Power replied; Ere long, in happier view, 315.
The realms shall brighten, and thy joys renew.
The years advance, when round the thronging shore,
They rise confused to change the source of power;
When Albion’s Prince, that sway’d the happy land,
Shall stretch, to lawless rule, the sovereign hand; 320.
To bind in slavery’s chains the peaceful host,
Their rights unguarded and their charters lost.
Now raise thine eye; from this delusive claim,
What glorious deeds adorn their growing fame!
Columbus look’d; and still around them spread, 325.
From south to north, the immeasurable shade;
At last, the central shadows burst away,
And rising regions open’d on the day.
He saw, once more, bright Del’ware’s silver stream.
And Penn’s throng’d city cast a cheerful gleam: 330.
The dome of state, that met his eager eye,
Now heaved its arches in a loftier sky;
The bursting gates unfold; and lo, within,
A solemn train, in conscious glory, shine.
The well-known forms his eye had traced before, 335.
In different realms along the extended shore;
Here, graced with nobler fame, and robed in state,
They look’d and moved magnificently great.
High on the foremost seat, in living light,
Majestic Randolph caught the hero’s sight: 340.
Fair on his head, the civic crown was placed,
And the first dignity his sceptre graced.
He opes the cause, and points in prospect far,
Thro’ all the toils that wait the impending war–
But, hapless sage, thy reign must soon be o’er, 345.
To lend thy lustre and to shine no more.
So the bright morning star, from shades of even,
Leads up the dawn, and lights the front of heaven,
Points to the waking world the sun’s broad way,
Then veils his own and shines above the day. 350.
And see great Washington behind thee rise,
Thy following sun, to gild our morning skies;
O’er shadowy climes to pour the enlivening flame,
The charms of freedom and the fire of fame.
The ascending chief adorn’d his splendid seat, 355.
Like Randolph, ensign’d with a crown of state;
Where the green patriot bay beheld, with pride,
The hero’s laurel springing by its side;
His sword hung useless, on his graceful thigh,
On Britain still he cast a filial eye; 360.
But sovereign fortitude his visage bore,
To meet their legions on the invaded shore.
Sage Franklin next arose, in awful mein,
And smiled, unruffled, o’er the approaching scene;
High on his locks of age a wreath was braced, 365.
Palm of all arts, that e’er a mortal graced;
Beneath him lies the sceptre kings have borne,
And crowns and laurels from their temples torn,
Nash, Rutledge, Jefferson, in council great,
And Jay and Laurens oped the rolls of fate; 370.
The Livingstons, fair Freedom’s generous band,
The Lees, the Houstons, fathers of the land,
O’er climes and kingdoms turn’d their ardent eyes,
Bade all the oppress’d to speedy vengeance rise;
All powers of state, in their extended plan, 375.
Rise from consent to shield the rights of man.
Bold Wolcott urged the all-important cause;
With steady hand the solemn scene he draws;
Undaunted firmness with his wisdom join’d,
Nor kings nor worlds could warp his stedfast mind. 380.
Now, graceful rising from his purple throne,
In radiant robes, immortal Hosmer shone;
Myrtles and bays his learned temples bound,
The statesman’s wreath the poet’s garland crown’d,
Morals and laws expand his liberal soul, 385.
Beam from his eyes and in his accents roll.
But lo, an unseen hand the curtain drew,
And snatch’d the patriot from the hero’s view;
Wrapp’d in the shroud of death, he sees descend
The guide of nations and the Muses’ friend. 390.
Columbus dropp’d a tear; the Angel’s eye
Traced the freed spirit mounting thro’ the sky.
Adams, enraged, a broken charter bore,
And lawless acts of ministerial power;
Some injured right, in each loose leaf appears, 395.
A king in terrors and a land in tears;
From all the guileful plots the veil he drew,
With eye retortive look’d creation thro’,
Oped the wide range of nature’s boundless plan,
Traced all the steps of liberty and man; 400.
Crouds rose to vengeance while his accents rung,
And Independence thunder’d from his tongue.
The hero turn’d. And tow’rd the crouded coast,
Rose on the wave a wide-extended host,
They shade the main and spread their sails abroad, 405.
From the wide Laurence to the Georgian flood,
Point their black batteries to the approaching shore,
And bursting flames begin the hideous roar.
Where guardless Falmouth, looking o’er the bay,
Beheld, unmoved, the stormy thunders play, 410.
The fire begins; the shells o’er-arching fly,
And shoot a thousand rainbows thro’ the sky;
On Charlestown spires, on Bristol roofs, they light,
Groton and Fairfield kindle from the flight,
Fair Kingston burns, and York’s delightful fanes, 415.
And beauteous Norfolk lights the neighbouring plains,
From realm to realm, the smoky volumes bend,
Reach round the bays and up the streams extend;
Deep o’er the concave heavy wreaths are roll’d,
And midland towns and distant groves infold. 420.
Thro’ the dark curls of smoke the winged fires
Climb in tall pyramids, above the spires;
Cinders, high-sailing, kindle heaven around,
And falling structures shake the smouldering ground.
Now, where the sheeted flames thro’ Charlestown roar 425.
And lashing waves hiss round the burning shore,
Thro’ the deep folding fires, a neighbouring height
Thunders o’er all and seems a field of fight.
Like shadowy phantoms in an evening grove,
To the dark strife the closing squadrons move; 430.
They join, they break, they thicken thro’ the air,
And blazing batteries burst along the war;
Now, wrapp’d in reddening smoke, now dim in sight,
They sweep the hill or wing the downward flight;
Here, wheel’d and wedg’d, whole ranks together turn, 435.
And the long lightnings from their pieces burn,
There, scattering flashes light the scanty train,
And broken squadrons tread the moving plain.
Britons in fresh battalions rise the height,
And, with increasing vollies, give the fight. 440.
Till, smear’d with clouds of dust, and bath’d in gore,
As growing foes their raised artillery pour,
Columbia’s hosts move o’er the fields afar,
And save, by slow retreat, the sad remains of war.
There strides bold Putnam, and from all the plains, 445.
Calls the tired host, the tardy rear sustains,
And, mid the whizzing deaths that fill the air,
Waves back his sword and dares the following war.
Thro’ falling fires, Columbus sees remain
Half of each host in heaps promiscuous slain; 450.
While dying crouds the lingering life-blood pour,
And slippery steeps are trod with prints of gore.
There, hapless Warren, thy cold earth was seen,
There spring thy laurels in immortal green;
Dearest of chiefs, that ever press’d the plain, 455.
In Freedom’s cause, with early honours, slain,
Still dear in death, as when in fight you moved,
By hosts applauded and by Heaven approved;
The faithful Muse shall tell the world thy fame,
And unborn realms resound the immortal name. 460.
Now, from all plains, as smoky wreaths decay,
Unnumber’d shapes start forward to the affray;
Tall, thro’ the lessening shadows, half conceal’d,
They glide and gather in a central field;
There, stretch’d immense, like lengthening groves they stand,
Eye the dark foe and eager strife demand.
High in the frowning front, exalted shone
A hero, pointing tow’rd the half-seen sun;
As, thro’ the mist the bursting splendors glow,
And light the passage to the distant foe; 470.
His waving steel returns the living day,
Clears the broad plains and marks the warrior’s way;
The long, deep squadrons range in order bright,
And move impatient for the promised fight.
When great Columbus saw the chief arise, 475.
And his bold blade cast lightning on the skies,
He traced the form that met his view before,
On drear Ohio’s desolated shore.
Matured with years, with nobler glory warm,
Fate in his eye, and vengeance on his arm. 480.
The great Observer here with joy beheld
The hero moving in a broader field.
Unnumber’d chiefs around their leader stand,
Fired by his voice, and guided by his hand,
Now on his steps their raptured eye-balls glow, 485.
And now roll dreadful on the approaching foe.
There rose brave Greene, in all the strength of arms,
Unmoved and brightening as the danger warms;
In counsel great, in every science skill’d,
Pride of the camp and terror of the field. 490.
With eager look, conspicuous o’er the croud,
The daring port of great Montgomery strode;
Bared the bright blade, with honour’s call elate,
Claim’d the first field, and hasten’d to his fate.
Calm Lincoln next, with unaffected mein, 495.
In dangers daring, active and serene,
Careless of pomp, with steady greatness shone,
Sparing of others’ blood and liberal of his own.
Heath, for the impending strife, his falchion draws;
And fearless Wooster aids the sacred cause. 500.
There stood stern Putnam, seam’d with many a scar,
The veteran honours of an earlier war;
Undaunted Stirling, dreadful to his foes,
And Gates and Sullivan to vengeance rose;
While brave M’Dougall, steady and sedate, 505.
Stretch’d the nerved arm to ope the scene of fate.
Howe moved with rapture to the toils of fame,
And Schuyler still adorn’d an honour’d name;
Parsons and Smallwood lead their daring bands,
And bold St. Clair in front of thousands stands. 510.
There gallant Knox his moving engines brings
Mounted and graved, the last resort of kings;
The long, black rows in dreadful order wait,
Their grim jaws gaping soon to utter fate;
When, at his word, the red-wing’d clouds shall rise, 516.
And the deep thunders rock the shores and skies.
Beneath a waving sword, in blooming prime,
Fayette moves graceful, ardent and sublime;
In foreign guise, in freedom’s noble cause,
His untried blade the youthful hero draws; 521.
On the great chief his eyes in transport roll,
And fame and Washington inspire his soul.
Steuben advanced, in veteran armour drest,
The noble ensign beaming on his breast;
From rank to rank, in eager haste, he flew, 526.
And marshall’d hosts in dread arrangement drew
Morris, in aid, with open coffers stood,
And Wadsworth, patron of the brave and good.
While other chiefs and heirs of deathless fame
Rise into sight, and equal honours claim; 531.
But who can tell the dew-drops of the morn?
Or count the rays that in the diamond burn?
Now, the broad field as gathering squadrons shade,
The sun’s glad beam their shining ranks display’d;
The glorious leader waved his glittering steel, 536.
Bade the long train in circling order wheel;
And while the banner’d hosts around him roll,
Thus into thousands speaks the warrior’s soul:
Ye patriot chiefs, and every daring band,
That lift the steel or tread the invaded strand, 541.
Behold the task! these beauteous realms to save,
Or yield whole nations to an instant grave.
See the dark squadrons moving to the shore,
Hear, from all ports, their boasted thunders roar:
O’er bloody plains, from Charlestown-heights, they stray, 546.
O’er far Champlain they lead their northern way,
Virginian banks behold their streamers glide,
And hostile navies load each southern tide.
Beneath their steps your smouldering temples lie,
And wreaths of smoke o’ercast the reddening sky. 551.
With eager stride they tempt a nobler prize;
These boundless empires feast their envious eyes;
They see your fields to lordly manors turn’d,
Your children butcher’d and your villas burn’d;
While following millions, thro’ the reign of time, 556.
That claim their birth in this indulgent clime,
Bend the weak knee, in servile chains confined;
And sloth and slavery overwhelm mankind.
Rise then to war, to noble vengeance rise,
Ere the grey sire, the helpless infant dies; 561.
Look thro’ the world, where endless years descend,
What realms, what ages on your arms depend!
Reverse the fate, avenge the insulted sky;
Move to the strife, we conquer or we die.
While thus he spoke, the furious files advance, 566.
And fiercer lightnings o’er the champaign dance.
At once, the different skirts are wheel’d, afar,
In different realms, to meet the distant war.
With his dread host, Montgomery issues forth,
And lights his passage thro’ the dusky north; 571.
O’er streams and lakes his conquering banners play,
Navies and forts, surrendering, mark his way;
Thro’ desert wilds, o’er rocks and fens, they go,
And hills before them, lose their craggs in snow;
Unbounded toils they brave; when rise in sight 576.
Quebec’s dread walls, and Wolfe’s still dreary height;
They climb the steep, he eyes the turrets round,
With piked hosts and dark artillery crown’d,
The daring onset points; and, high in air,
O’er rocky ramparts leads the dreadful war. 581.
As wreaths of morning mist ascend on high
Up the tall mountain’s side, and reach the sky,
So rose the rapid host; the walls are red
With flashing flames; down roll the heaps of dead;
Now back recoil the ranks, o’er squadrons slain, 586.
And leave their leader, with a scanty train,
Closed in the circling terrors of the wall,
Where round his arm the hostile legions fall.
Through the wide streets, collecting from afar,
The foes in shouting squadrons urged the war, 591.
The smoke convolved, the thunders rock’d around,
And the brave hero prest the gorey ground.
Another Wolfe Columbus here beheld,
In youthful charms, a soul undaunted yield:
But lost, o’erpower’d, his hardy host remains, 596.
Stretch’d by his side, or led in captive chains.
Now the bright Angel turn’d the hero’s eye,
In other realms, where other standards fly;
Where the great leader, mid surrounding foes,
Still greater rises, as the danger grows; 601.
And wearied ranks, o’er weltering warriors slain,
Attend his course thro’ many a crimson’d plain.
From Hudson’s banks, along the dreary strand,
He guards in firm retreat, his feeble band;
While countless foes, with British Howe advance, 606.
Bend o’er his rear and point the lifted lance;
O’er Del’ware’s frozen wave, with scanty force,
He lifts the sword and points the backward course,
Wings the dire vengeance on the shouting train,
And leads whole squadrons in the captive chain; 611.
Where vaunting foes to half their numbers yield,
Tread back the flight, or press the fatal field.
While, mid the furious strife, brave Mercer strode,
And seal’d the victory with his streaming blood.
Now, where dread Laurence mingles with the main, 616.
Rose, on the widening wave, a hostile train:
From shore to shore, along the unfolding skies,
Beneath full sails, the approaching squadrons rise;
High waving on the right, red banners dance,
And British legions o’er the decks advance; 621.
While at their side an azure flag, display’d,
Leads a long host, in German robes array’d
Tall on the boldest bark, superior shone
A warrior, ensign’d with a various crown;
Myrtles and laurels equal honours join’d, 626.
Which arms had purchased and the Muses twined;
His sword waved forward, and his ardent eye
Seem’d sharing empires in the southern sky.
Beside him rose a herald, to proclaim
His various honours, titles, feats and fame; 631.
Who raised an opening scroll, where proudly shone
Pardon to realms and nations yet unknown.
Champlain receives the congregated host,
And his dark waves, beneath the sails, are lost;
St. Clair beholds; and, with his scanty train, 636.
In firm retreat, o’er many a fatal plain,
Lures their wild march.–Wide moves their furious force,
Where flaming hamlets mark their wasting course;
Thro’ pathless realms their spreading ranks are wheel’d
O’er Mohawk’s western wave and Bennington’s dread field. 641.
Till, where deep Hudson’s winding waters stray,
A yeoman host opposed their rapid way;
There on a towery height brave Gates arose,
Waved the blue steel and dared the headlong foes;
Undaunted Lincoln, moving at his side, 646.
Urged the dread strife, and spread the squadrons wide;
Now roll, like winged storms, the lengthening lines,
The clarion thunders and the battle joins;
Thick flames, in vollied flashes, fill the air,
And echoing mountains give the noise of war; 651.
The clouds rise reddening, round the dreadful height,
And veil the skies and wrap the sounding fight.
Now, in the skirt of night, where thousands toil,
Ranks roll away and into light recoil;
The rout increases, all the British train 656.
Tread back their steps and scatter o’er the plain;
To the glad holds precipitate retire,
And wide behind them streams the flashing fire.
Scarce moved the smoke above the gorey height,
And oped the slaughter to the hero’s sight; 661.
Back to their fate, when baffled squadrons flew,
Resumed their rage and pour’d the strife anew,
Again the batteries roar, the lightnings play,
Again they fall, again they roll away.
And now Columbia, circling round the field, 666.
Points her full force, the trembling thousands yield;
When bold Burgoyne, in one disastrous day,
Sees future crowns and former wreaths decay;
While two illustrious armies shade the plain,
The mighty victors and the captive train. 671.
Coast of France rises in vision. Character and speech of Louis.
Spain, Holland, the northern Powers, Germany, Ireland, variously affected by
the affairs of America. Battle of Monmouth. Actions of Lincoln. Movements of
Cornwallis. Progress of Greene. French and American armies move toward
Naval action of De Grasse and Graves. Capture of Cornwallis.
Thus view’d the sage. When, lo, in eastern skies,
From glooms unfolding, Gallia’s coasts arise.
Bright o’er the scenes of state, a golden throne,
Instarr’d with gems and hung with purple, shone. 5.
Great Louis there, the pride of monarchs, sate,
And fleets and moving armies round him wait;
O’er western shores extend his ardent eyes,
Thro’ glorious toils where struggling nations rise;
Each virtuous deed, each new illustrious name, 10.
Wakes in his soul the living light of fame.
He sees the liberal, universal cause,
That wondering worlds in still attention draws;
And marks, beyond, through western walks of day,
Where midnight suns their happier beams display, 15.
What sires of unborn nations claim their birth,
And ask their empires in that waste of earth.
Then o’er the eastern world he turn’d his eye;
Where, sunk in slavery hapless kingdoms lie;
Saw realms exhausted to enrich a throne, 20.
Their fruits untasted and their rights unknown:
A tear of pity spoke his melting mind–
He raised his sceptre to relieve mankind,
Eyed the great father of the Bourbon name,
Awaked his virtues and recall’d his fame. 25.
Fired by the grandeur of the splendid throne,
Illustrious chiefs and councils round him shone;
On the glad youth with kindling joy they gaze,
The rising heir of universal praise.
Vergennes rose stately o’er the noble throng, 30.
And fates of nations on his accents hung;
Columbia’s wrongs his indignation fired,
And generous thoughts his glowing breast inspired;
To aid her infant toils his counsel moved,
In freedom founded and by Heaven approved. 35.
While other peers, in sacred virtue bold,
With eager voice the coming scenes unfold;
Surrounding heroes wait the monarch’s word,
In foreign fields to draw the glittering sword,
Prepared with joy to trace the distant main, 40.
Mix in the strife and join the martial train;
Who now assert the rights of sovereign power,
And build new empires on the western shore.
O’er all, the approving monarch cast a look,
And listening nations trembled while he spoke. 45.
Ye states of France, and, ye of rising name,
That work those distant miracles of fame,
Hear and attend; let Heaven the witness bear,
We lift the sword, we aid the righteous war.
Let leagues eternal bind each friendly land, 50.
Given by our voice, and ‘stablish’d by our hand;
Let yon extensive empire fix her sway,
And spread her blessings with the bounds of day.
Yet know, ye nations, hear, ye Powers above,
Our purposed aid no views of conquest move; 55.
In that vast world, revives no ancient claim
Of regions peopled by the Gallic name;
Our envied bounds, already stretch’d afar,
Nor ask the sword, nor fear the rage of war;
But Virtue, struggling with the vengeful Power, 60.
That stains yon fields and desolates that shore,
With nature’s foes bids former compact cease;
We war reluctant, and our wish is peace;
To suffering nations be the succour given,
The cause of nations is the cause of Heaven. 65.
He spoke; the moving armies shade the plain,
And bold D’Estaing rode bounding on the main;
O’er lands and seas, the loud applauses rung,
And War and Union dwelt on every tongue.
And now Columbus, tow’rd his favourite sky, 70.
Saw sails and stores and chiefs and armies fly;
Thro’ clouds of smoke, and stain’d with streaming blood,
Contending navies spread their wings abroad.
Europe, from all her shores, approves the sight,
And balanced empires wait the finish’d fight. 75.
Now circling far, above the labouring main,
Rose into view the extended coasts of Spain;
He saw bold barks their warlike engines wield,
New squadrons coursing round the banner’d field;
Where Gallic streamers o’er the main advance, 80.
The Hispanian flags in wonted union dance;
Round the deep gulph, that fair Floridia laves,
In martial pride, their conquering standard waves;
While, thro’ the entrance of the midland sea,
Encountering sails and hostile banners play. 85.
And now the level strand, extending wide,
That opes the busy Texel’s loaded tide,
Rose brightening from the gloom; beneath his eye,
Famed Belgia’s temples glitter to the sky.
Sudden, the assembled States new glory warms, 90.
Their ships collect, their thousands, rush to arms,
And, roused by conquering Rodney to prepare,
In foreign seas, to meet the sweeping war;
Lift holder wings, in sign of rage, unfurl’d,
And vengeance bears them round the watery world. 95.
Where waves and mountains skirt the northern sky,
New scenes ascending met the hero’s eye.
Increasing splendors up the vault aspire,
Like boreal lights, the midnight heavens that fire;
And raise to view the Baltic’s gleaming wave, 100.
Whose opening streams surrounding cities lave.
Fair on her throne, revolving distant fate,
Imperial Katharine majestic sate;
Courts throng around her, kings and heroes stand,
Receiving swords and sceptres from her hand. 105.
She waits the day, and bids the nations rest,
Till that new empire, rising in the west,
Shall sheathe the sword, the liberal main ascend,
And, join’d with her, the scale of power suspend;
Bid arts arise, and vengeful factions cease, 110.
And commerce lead to universal peace.
Christiern, amid his waves, exalted high,
On the great empress cast a reverent eye;
While Sweden’s prince obeys her sovereign word,
And aged Frederic half assumes his sword. 115.
Where wide Germania’s opening towers arise,
Immortal Joseph lifts his ardent eyes.
High in a golden car, he stands sublime,
Late borne disguised to every distant clime,
The powers, the policies of every throne 120.
He mark’d, unnoticed, and by all unknown;
Now, mid his splendid court, his travels o’er,
With eyes directed tow’rd the western shore,
The monarch learns, from that illustrious train,
To share with liberal hand the bounties of his reign. 125.
Where fair Hibernia’s flowery circuit lies,
Her glad sails wave and gathering armies rise.
Leinster and Grattan there assert her claim,
And raise the realm to freedom and to fame.
Thus all the eastern world, in glad amaze, 130.
Gaze on the scene and brighten as they gaze;
Wake to new life, assume a borrow’d name,
Enlarge the lustre and partake the fame.
So mounts of ice, that polar skies invade,
Unheeded stand beneath the evening shade; 135.
Yet, when the morning lights their glaring throne,
Give back the day and imitate the sun.
The growing contest now, with loud alarms,
Fill’d every clime and roused the world to arms.
Where Indian borders skirt the orient skies, 140.
To furious strife unwonted myriads rise;
Great Hyder, there, unconquerably bold,
Bids vengeance move and freedom’s flag unfold;
Fires the wide realms t’assert their ancient sway;
And scourge fierce Britons from their lawless prey. 145.
Round the rich isles that grace the Atlantic tide,
In dread array the encountering navies ride;
Where Albion’s treasures yield a wealthier prize,
And o’er her walls the Gallic standards rise.
Still to fresh toils, o’er all the western shore, 150.
Her thronging fleets their new battalions pour;
The realms unconquer’d still their terrors wield,
And stain with mingled gore the embattled field.
O’er Schuylkill’s wave, to various fight they move,
And adverse nations equal slaughter prove; 155.
Till, where dread Monmouth lifts a bloomy height,
Britannia’s thousands met the Observer’s sight.
There strode imperious Clinton o’er the field,
And marshall’d hosts for ready combat held.
As the dim sun, beneath the skirts of even, 160.
Crimsons the clouds that sail the western heaven;
So, in red wavy rows, where spread the train
Of men and standards, shone the unmeasured plain,
But now the chief of heroes moved in sight,
And the long ranks roll forward to the fight; 165.
He points the charge, the mounted thunders roar,
And plough the plain, and rock the distant shore.
Above the folds of smoke, that veil’d the war,
His guiding sword illumed the fields of air;
The vollied flames, that burst along the plain, 170.
Break the deep clouds and show the piles of slain;
Till flight begins; the smoke is roll’d away,
And the red standards open into day.
Britons and Germans hurry from the field,
Now wrapp’d in dust, and now to sight reveal’d; 175.
Behind, great Washington his falchion drives,
Thins the pale ranks, and copious vengeance gives.
Hosts captive bow, and move behind his arm,
And hosts before him wing the driven storm;
When the glad shore salutes their fainting sight, 180.
And thundering navies screen their rapid flight.
Thro’ plains of death, that gleam with hostile sires,
Brave Lincoln now to southern climes retires;
Where o’er her streams beleagured Charleston rose,
The hero moves to meet the assembled foes. 185.
Shading the invaded isle, on either flood,
Red standards waved and winged batteries rode;
While, braving death his scanty host remains,
And the dread strife with various fate sustains.
High from the sable decks, the bursting fires 190.
Sweep the full streets, and cleave the glittering spires.
Vaulted with flying flames, the burning air
Reddens with shells and pours the etherial war;
The tented plain, where dauntless heroes tread,
Is torn with broken craggs and strow’d with dead. 195.
Long crouds of suppliants, round the gallant chief,
Raise their wild cries and pour their frantic grief;
Each shower of flames renews their startled woe,
They wail the strife, they dread the infuriate foe
The afflicted Fair, while tears bedew their charms, 200.
Babes at their side and infants in their arms,
With piercing shrieks his guardian hand implore,
To save them trembling from the victor’s power.
He shares their anguish with a moistening eye,
And bids the balls rain thicker thro’ the sky; 205.
When a lost hero, in a neighbouring post,
Gives a lone fortress to the approaching host.
Now gathering thousands croud around the isle,
Threat wider vengeance and increase the toil;
On temper’d terms, great Lincoln yields the prize, 210.
And plucks the standard from the saddening skies.
The conquering legions now the champaign tread,
And tow’rd the north their fire and slaughter spread;
Thro’ towns and realms, where arming peasants fly,
The bold Cornwallis bears his standard high; 215.
O’er many a field displays his dreadful force,
And thousands fall and thousands aid his course;
While thro’ the conquer’d lands, from every plain,
The fresh battalions join his splendid train.
So mountain streams, o’er climes of melting snow, 220.
Spread with encreasing waves, and whelm the world below.
The great Columbus, with an anxious sigh,
Saw British ensigns reaching round the sky,
Saw desolation whelm his favourite coast,
His children scatter’d and their vigor lost; 225.
De Kalb in furious combat press the plain,
Morgan and Smallwood various shocks sustain;
When Greene, in lonely greatness, rose to view,
A few firm patriots to his standard drew;
And, moving stately to a rising ground, 230.
Bade the loud trump to speedy vengeance sound;
Fired by the voice, new squadrons, from afar,
Croud to the hero and demand the war.
Round all the shores and plains he turn’d his eye;
Saw forts arise and conquering banners fly: 235.
The saddening scene suspends his rising soul,
And fates of empires in his bosom roll.
With scanty force where should he lift the steel?
While hosting foes immeasurably wheel;
Or how behold the boundless slaughter spread? 240.
Himself stand idle and his country bleed?
A silent moment, thus the hero stood,
And held his warriors from the field of blood;
Then points the British legions where to roll,
Marks out their progress and designs the whole. 245.
He lures their chief, o’er yielding realms to roam,
To build his greatness and to find his doom;
With gain and grandeur feeds his sateless flame,
And leaves the victory to a nobler name;
Gives to great Washington, to meet his way, 250.
Nor claims the glories of so bright a day.
Now to the conquer’d south with gathering force,
O’er sanguine plains he shapes his rapid course;
Forts fall around him; hosts before him fly,
And captive bands his growing train supply. 255.
At length, far spreading thro’ a fatal field,
Collecting chiefs their circling armies wheel’d;
Near Eutaw’s fount, where, long renown’d for blood,
Pillars of ancient fame in triumph stood,
Britannia’s squadrons, ranged in order bright, 260.
Stand, like a fiery wall, and wait the shock of fight.
When o’er the distant hill brave Greene arose,
Eyed the far plain and view’d the glittering foes;
Disposed his squadrons, form’d each folded train,
To lead the charge, or the wide wings sustain, 265.
Roused all their rage superior force to prove,
Waved the bright blade, and bade the onset move.
As hovering clouds, when morning beams arise,
Hang their red curtains round the eastern skies,
Unfold a space to hail the promised sun, 270.
And catch their splendors from his rising throne;
Thus glow’d the approaching fronts, whose steely glare
Glanced o’er the hideous interval of war.
Now roll with kindling haste the rapid lines,
From wing to wing the sounding battle joins; 275.
Batteries, and fosses wide, and ranks of fire,
In mingled shocks, their thundering blasts expire
Beneath the smoke, when firm advancing bands,
With piked arms bent forward in their hands,
In dreadful silence tread. As, wrapp’d from sight, 280.
The nightly ambush moves to secret fight;
So rush the raging files, and sightless close,
In plunging strife, with fierce conflicting foes;
They reach, they strike, they struggle o’er the slain,
Deal heavier blows, and strow with death the plain; 285.
Ranks crush on ranks, with equal slaughter gored,
While dripping streams, from every lifted sword,
Stain the thin carnaged hosts; who still maintain,
With mutual shocks, the vengeance of the plain.
Till, where brave Williams strove and Campbell fell, 290.
Unwonted strokes the British force repel:
The rout begins; the shatter’d wings, afar,
Roll back in haste and scatter from the war;
They drop their arms, they scour the marshy field;
Whole squadrons fall and faint battalions yield. 295.
O’er all the great Observer fix’d his eye,
Mark’d the whole strife, beheld them sall and fly;
He saw where Greene thro’ all the combat drove,
And death and victory with his presence move;
Beneath his arm, saw Marion pour the strife, 300.
Pickens and Sumner, prodigal of life;
He saw young Washington, the child of fame,
Preserve in fight the honours of his name;
Brave Lee, in pride of youth, and veteran might
Swept the dread field, and put whole troops to flight; 305.
While numerous chiefs, that equal trophies raise
Wrought, not unseen, the deeds of deathless praise.
Columbus now his gallant sons beheld
In triumph move thro’ many a banner’d field;
When o’er the main, from Gallia’s crouded shore, 310.
To the glad strife a host of heroes pour.
On the tall shaded decks the leaders stand,
View lessening waves and hail the approaching strand.
Brave Rochambeau, in gleamy steel array’d,
The ascending scenes with eager joy survey’d; 315.
Saw Washington, amid his thousands, stride,
And long’d to toil and conquer by his side.
Great Chastelleux, with philosophic view,
Mark’d the glad prize that rising realms pursue;
Intent in thought, his glowing bosom warms, 320.
To grace the walks of science and of arms.
Two brother chiefs, in rival lustre, rose,
Rear’d the long lance, and claim’d the field of foes;
The bold Viominils, of equal fame,
And eager both t’exalt the noble name. 325.
Lauzon, beneath his sail, in armour bright
Frown’d o’er the wave, impatient for the fight;
A fiery steed beside the hero stood,
And his broad blade waved forward o’er the croud.
And now, with eager haste, they tread the coast; 330.
Thro’ grateful regions lead the veteran host;
Hail the great chief, beneath his banners join,
Demand the foe and bid the strife begin.
Again Columbus cast his anxious eye,
Where the red standard waved along the sky; 335.
And, graced with spoils of many a field of blood,
The bold Cornwallis on a bulwark stood.
O’er conquer’d provinces and towns in flame,
He mark’d his recent monuments of fame,
High raised in air, his hands securely hold, 340.
With conscious pride, a sheet of cypher’d gold;
There, in delusive haste, his skill had graved
A clime subdued, a flag in triumph waved:
A middle realm, by fairer figures known,
Adorn’d with fruits, lay bounded for his own; 345.
Deep thro’ the centre, spreads a beauteous bay,
Full sails ascend and golden rivers stray;
Bright palaces arise, relieved in gold,
And gates and streets the crossing lines unfold.
O’er all the mimic scene, his fingers trace. 350.
His future seat and glory of his race.
While thus the raptured chief his conquests view’d,
And gazing thousands round the rampart stood,
Whom future ease and golden dreams employ,
The songs of triumph and the feast of joy; 355.
Sudden, great Washington arose in view,
And union’d flags his stately steps pursue;
Blest Gallia’s bands and young Columbia’s pride,
Bend the long march and glitter at his side.
Now on the wave the warring fleets advance, 360.
And different ensigns o’er their pinions dance;
From northern shores, great Albion’s flag, unfurl’d,
Waved proud defiance to the watery world;
While, from the southern isles, a daring train,
With Gallic banners; shades the billowy main. 365.
Here brave De Grasse in awful splendor, rode,
And there stern Graves a rival splendor show’d.
The approaching sails, as far as eye can sweep,
Look thro’ the skies and shade the shuddering deep.
As, when the winds of heaven, from each far pole, 370.
Their adverse storms across the concave roll,
The fleecy vapors thro’ the expansion run,
Veil the blue vault and tremble o’er the sun;
Till the dark folding wings together drive,
And, ridg’d with fires, and rock’d with thunders, strive; 375.
So, bearing thro’ the void, at first appear.
White clouds of canvass, floating on the air;
Then frown the approaching fronts; the sails are laid,
And the black decks extend a dreadful shade;
While rolling flames and tides of smoke arise, 380.
And thundering cannons rock the seas and skies.
Where the long bursting fires the cloud disclose,
Hosts heave in sight and blood the decks o’er-flows;
There, from the strife, tost navies rise to view,
Drive back to vengeance and the toil renew; 385.
Here, shatter’d barks in squadrons move afar,
Led thro’ the smoke, and struggling from the war;
While hulls half-seen, beneath a gaping wave,
And plunging heroes fill the watery grave.
Now the dark smoky volumes roll’d away, 390.
And a long line ascended into day;
The pinions swell’d, Britannia’s flag arose,
And flew the vengeance of triumphing foes.
When up the bay, Virginian lands that laves,
Great Gallia’s line its conquering standard waves: 395.
Where still dread Washington allumes the way,
And fleets and moving realms his voice obey;
While the brave Briton, mid the gathering host,
Perceives his glories and his empire lost.
The heaven-taught sage in this broad scene beheld 400.
His favourite sons the fates of nations wield;
There joyous Lincoln shone in arms again,
Nelson and Knox moved ardent o’er the plain,
Unconquer’d Scammel, mid the closing strife,
In sight of victory, pour’d his gallant life; 405.
While Gallic thousands eager toils sustain,
And death and danger brighten every train.
Where Tarleton strides, with hopes of flight elate,
Brave Lauzon moves, and drives him back to fate.
In one dread view, two chosen bands advance, 410.
Columbia’s veterans and the pride of France;
These bold Viominil exalts to fame,
And those Fayette’s conducting guidance claim.
They lift the sword, with rival glory warm,
O’er piked ramparts pour the flaming storm, 415.
The mounted thunders brave, and lead the foe,
In captive squadrons, to the plain below.
O’er all great Washington his arm extends,
Points every movement, every toil defends,
Bids closer strife and bloodier strokes proceed, 420.
New batteries blaze and heavier squadrons bleed;
Round the grim foe approaching banners rise,
And shells like meteors vault the flaming skies.
With dire dismay the British chief beheld
The foe advance, his veterans quit the field; 425.
Despair and slaughter when he turns his eye.
No hope in combat and no power to fly;
There dread De Grasse o’ershades the loaded tide,
Here conquering thousands all the champaign hide;
Fosses and batteries, growing on the sight, 430.
Still pour new thunders and increase the fight,
Shells rain before him, rock the shores around
And craggs and balls o’erturn the tented ground;
From post to post, the driven ranks retire,
The earth in crimson and the skies on fire. 435.
Now grateful truce suspends the burning war,
And groans and shouts, promiscuous, load the air;
When the pent squadrons, where the smokes decay,
Drop all their arms and move in open day.
Columbus saw the immeasurable train, 440.
Thousands on thousands, redden all the plain;
Beheld the glorious Leader stand sedate,
Hosts in his chain, and banners at his feet;
Nor smile o’er all, nor chide the fallen chief,
But share with pitying eye his manly grief. 445.
Thus thro’ the extremes of life, in every state,
Shines the clear soul, beyond all fortune great;
While smaller minds, the dupes of fickle chance,
Slight woes o’erwhelm and sudden joys entrance.
So the full sun thro’ all the changing sky, 450.
Nor blasts, nor overpowers the naked eye;
Tho’ transient splendors, borrow’d from his light,
Glance on the mirror and destroy the sight.
He points brave Lincoln, as they move along,
To claim the triumph of the trembling throng; 455.
Who sees, once more, two armies shade the plain,
The mighty victors and the captive train.
Hymn to Peace. Progress of Arts in America. Furr-trade. Fisheries.
Productions and Commerce. Education. Philosophical inventions, Painting.
Hail sacred Peace, who claim’st thy bright abode,
Mid circling saints that grace the throne of God.
Before his arm, around the shapeless earth,
Stretch’d the wide heavens and gave to nature birth;
Ere morning stars his glowing chambers hung, 5.
Or songs of gladness woke an angel’s tongue,
Veil’d in the brightness of the Almighty’s mind,
In blest repose thy placid form reclined;
Borne through the heavens with his creating voice,
Thy presence bade the unfolding worlds rejoice, 10.
Gave to seraphic harps their sounding lays,
Their joys to angels, and to men their praise.
From scenes of blood, these beauteous shores that stain,
From gasping friends that press the sanguine plain,
From fields, long taught in vain thy flight to mourn, 15.
I rise, delightful Power, and greet thy glad return.
Too long the groans of death, and battle’s bray
Have rung discordant through the unpleasing lay:
Let pity’s tear its balmy fragrance shed,
O’er heroes’ wounds and patriot warriors dead; 20.
Accept, departed Shades, these grateful sighs,
Your fond attendants to the approving skies.
And thou, my earliest friend, my Brother dear,
Thy fall untimely wakes the tender tear.
In youthful sports, in toils, in blood allied, 25.
My kind companion and my hopeful guide,
When Heaven’s sad summons, from our infant eyes
Had call’d our last, loved parent to the skies.
Tho’ young in arms, and still obscure thy name,
Thy bosom panted for the deeds of fame, 30.
Beneath Montgomery’s eye, when, by thy steel,
In northern wilds, the lurking savage fell.
‘Yet, hapless youth! when thy great leader bled,
Thro’ the same wound thy parting spirit fled.
But now the untuneful trump shall grate no more, 35.
Ye silver streams, no longer swell with gore;
Bear from your beauteous banks the crimson stain,
With yon retiring navies to the main.
While other views, unfolding on my eyes,
And happier themes bid bolder numbers rise. 40.
Bring, bounteous Peace, in thy celestial throng
Life to my soul, and rapture to my song;
Give me to trace, with pure unclouded ray,
The arts and virtues that attend thy sway;
To see thy blissful charms, that here descend, 45.
Through distant realms and endless years extend.
To cast new glories o’er the changing clime,
The Seraph now reversed the flight of time;
Roll’d back the years, that led their course before,
And stretch’d immense the wild uncultured shore; 50.
The paths of peaceful science raised to view,
And show’d the ascending crouds that useful arts pursue.
As o’er the canvass, when the master’s mind,
Glows with a future landscape, well design’d,
While gardens, vales and streets and structures rise, 55.
A new creation to his kindling eyes;
He smiles o’er all; and, in delightful strife,
The pencil moves, and calls the whole to life.
So, while the great Columbus stood sublime,
And saw wild nature clothe the trackless clime; 60.
The green banks heave, the winding currents pour,
The bays and harbours cleave the yielding shore,
The champaigns spread, the solemn groves arise,
And the rough mountains lengthen round the skies,
Through all the scene, he traced with skillful ken 65.
The unform’d seats and future walks of men;
Mark’d where the fields should bloom, and streamers play,
And towns and empires claim their peaceful sway;
When, sudden waken’d by the Angel’s hand,
They rose in pomp around the cultured land. 70.
In western wilds, where still the natives tread,
From sea to sea an inland commerce spread;
O’er the dim streams and thro’ the gloomy grove,
The trading bands their cumberous burdens move;
Where furrs and skins, and all the exhaustless store 75.
Of midland realms descended to the shore.
Where summer’s suns, along the northern coast,
With feeble force dissolve the chains of frost,
Prolific waves the scaly nations trace,
And tempt the toils of man’s laborious race. 80.
Though rich Peruvian strands, beneath the tide,
Their rocks of pearl and sparkling pebbles hide;
Lured by the gaudy prize, the adventurous train
Plunge the dark deep and brave the surging main;
Whole realms of slaves the dangerous labours dare, 85.
To stud a sceptre or emblaze a star:
Yet wealthier stores these genial tides display,
And busy throngs with nobler spoils repay.
The hero saw the hardy hosts advance,
Cast the long line and aim the barbed lance; 90.
Load the deep floating barks, and bear abroad
To each far clime the life-sustaining food;
While growing swarms by nature’s hand supplied,
People the shoals and fill the exhaustless tide.
Where southern streams thro’ broad savannahs bend, 95.
The rice-clad vales their verdant rounds extend;
Tobago’s plant its leaf expanding yields,
The maize luxuriant clothes a thousand fields;
Steeds, herds and flocks o’er northern regions rove,
Embrown the hill and wanton thro’ the grove; 100.
The wood-lands wide their sturdy honours bend,
The pines, the live-oaks to the shores descend;
Along the strand unnumber’d keels arise,
The huge hulls heave, and masts ascend the skies;
Launch’d in the deep, o’er eastern waves they fly, 105.
Feed every isle and distant lands supply.
Silent he gazed; when thus the guardian Power–
These works of peace awhile adorn the shore;
But other joys and deeds of lasting praise
Shall crown their labours and thy rapture raise. 110.
Each orient realm, the former pride of earth,
Where men and science drew their ancient birth,
Shall soon behold, on this enlighten’d coast,
Their fame transcended and their glory lost.
That train of arts, that graced mankind before, 115.
Warm’d the glad sage or taught the Muse to soar,
Here with superior sway their progress trace,
And aid the triumphs of thy filial race;
While rising crouds, with genius unconfined,
Through deep inventions lead the astonish’d mind, 120.
Wide o’er the world their name unrivall’d raise,
And bind their temples with immortal bays.
In youthful minds to wake the ardent flame,
To nurse the arts, and point the paths of fame,
Behold their liberal sires, with guardian care, 125.
Thro’ all the realms their seats of science rear.
Great without pomp the modest mansions rise;
Harvard and Yale and Princeton greet the skies;
Penn’s ample walls o’er Del’ware’s margin bend,
On James’s bank the royal spires ascend, 130.
Thy turrets, York, Columbia’s walks command,
Bosom’d in groves, see growing Dartmouth stand;
While, o’er the realm reflecting solar fires,
On yon tall hill Rhode-Island’s seat aspires.
O’er all the shore, with sails and cities gay, 135.
And where rude hamlets stretch their inland sway,
With humbler walls unnumber’d schools arise,
And youths unnumber’d sieze the solid prize,
In no blest land has Science rear’d her fane,
And fix’d so firm her wide-extended reign; 140.
Each rustic here, that turns the furrow’d soil,
The maid, the youth, that ply mechanic toil,
In freedom nurst, in useful arts inured,
Know their just claims, and see their rights secured.
And lo, descending from the seats of art, 145.
The growing throngs for active scenes depart;
In various garbs they tread the welcome land,
Swords at their side or sceptres in their hand,
With healing powers bid dire diseases cease,
Or sound the tidings of eternal peace. 150.
In no blest land has fair Religion shone,
And fix’d so firm her everlasting throne.
Where, o’er the realms those spacious temples shine,
Frequent and full the throng’d assemblies join;
There, fired with virtue’s animating flame, 155.
The sacred task unnumber’d sages claim;
The task, for angels great; in early youth,
To lead whole nations in the walks of truth,
Shed the bright beams of knowledge on the mind,
For social compact harmonize mankind, 160.
To life, to happiness, to joys above,
The soften’d soul with ardent zeal to move;
For this the voice of Heaven, in early years,
Tuned the glad songs of life-inspiring seers,
For this consenting seraphs leave the skies, 165.
The God compassionates, the Saviour dies.
Tho’ different faiths their various orders show,
That seem discordant to the train below;
Yet one blest cause, one universal flame,
Wakes all their joys and centres every aim; 170.
They tread the same bright steps, and smoothe the road,
Lights of the world and messengers of God.
So the galaxy broad o’er heaven displays
Of various stars the same unbounded blaze;
Where great and small their mingling rays unite, 175.
And earth and skies repay the friendly light.
While thus the hero view’d the sacred band,
Moved by one voice and guided by one hand,
He saw the heavens unfold, a form descend,
Down the dim skies his arm of light extend, 180.
From God’s own altar lift a living coal,
Touch their glad lips and brighten every soul;
Then, with accordant voice and heavenly tongue,
O’er the wide clime these welcome accents rung.
Ye darkling race of poor distrest mankind, 185.
For bliss still groping and to virtue blind,
Hear from on high th’Almighty’s voice descend;
Ye heavens, be silent, and thou earth, attend.
I reign the Lord of life; I fill the round,
Where stars and skies and angels know their bound; 190.
Before all years, beyond all thought I live,
Light, form and motion, time and space I give;
Touch’d by this hand, all worlds within me roll,
Mine eye their splendor and my breath their soul.
Earth, with her lands and seas, my power proclaims, 195.
There moves my spirit, there descend my flames;
Graced with the semblance of the Maker’s mind,
Rose from the darksome dust the reasoning kind,
With powers of thought to trace the eternal Cause,
That all his works to one great system draws, 200.
View the full chain of love, the all-ruling plan,
That binds the God, the angel and the man,
That gives all hearts to feel, all minds to know
The bliss of harmony, of strife the woe.
This heaven of concord, who of mortal strain 205.
Shall dare oppose–he lifts his arm in vain;
The avenging universe shall on him roll
The intended wrong, and whelm his guilty soul.
Then lend your audience; hear, ye sons of earth,
Rise into life, behold the promised birth; 210.
From pain to joy, from guilt to glory rise,
Be babes on earth, be seraphs in the skies.
Lo, to the cries of grief mild mercy bends,
Stern vengeance softens and the God descends,
The atoning God, the pardoning grace to seal, 215.
The dead to quicken and the sick to heal.
See from his sacred side the life-blood flow,
Hear in his groans unutterable woe;
While, fixt in one strong pang, the all-suffering Mind
Bears and bewails the tortures of mankind. 220.
But lo, the ascending pomp! around him move
His rising saints, the first-born sons of love;
View the glad throng, the glorious triumph join,
His paths pursue and in his splendor shine;
Purged from your stains in his atoning blood, 225.
Assume his spotless robes and reign beside your God.
Thus heard the hero–while his roving view
Traced other crouds that liberal arts pursue;
When thus the Seraph–Lo, a favourite band,
The torch of science flaming in their hand! 230.
Thro’ nature’s range their ardent souls aspire,
Or wake to life the canvass and the lyre.
Fixt in sublimest thought, behold them rise,
Superior worlds unfolding to their eyes;
Heaven in their view unveils the eternal plan, 235.
And gives new guidance to the paths of man.
See on yon darkening height bold Franklin tread,
Heaven’s awful thunders rolling o’er his head;
Convolving clouds the billowy skies deform,
And forky flames emblaze the blackening storm. 240.
See the descending streams around him burn,
Glance on his rod and with his guidance turn;
He bids conflicting heavens their blasts expire,
Curbs the fierce blaze and holds the imprison’d fire.
No more, when folding storms the vault o’er-spread, 245.
The livid glare shall strike thy race with dread;
Nor towers nor temples, shuddering with the sound,
Sink in the flames and spread destruction round.
His daring toils, the threatening blast that wait,
Shall teach mankind to ward the bolts of fate; 250.
The pointed steel o’er-top the ascending spire,
And lead o’er trembling walls the harmless fire;
In his glad fame while distant worlds rejoice,
Far as the lightnings shine or thunders raise their voice.
See the sage Rittenhouse, with ardent eye, 255.
Lift the long tube and pierce the starry sky;
Clear in his view the circling systems roll,
And broader splendors gild the central pole.
He marks what laws the eccentric wanderers bind,
Copies creation in his forming mind, 260.
And bids, beneath his hand, in semblance rise,
With mimic orbs, the labours of the skies.
There wondering crouds with raptured eye behold
The spangled heavens their mystic maze unfold;
While each glad sage his splendid hall shall grace, 265.
With all the spheres that cleave the etherial space.
To guide the sailor in his wandering way,
See Godfrey’s toils reverse the beams of day.
His lifted quadrant to the eye displays
From adverse skies the counteracting rays; 270.
And marks, as devious sails bewilder’d roll,
Each nice gradation from the stedfast pole.
See, West with glowing life the canvass warms;
His sovereign hand creates impassion’d forms,
Spurns the cold critic rules, to sieze the heart, 275.
And boldly bursts the former bounds of Art.
No more her powers to ancient scenes confined,
He opes her liberal aid to all mankind;
She calls to life each patriot, chief or sage,
Garb’d in the dress and drapery of his age; 280.
Again bold Regulus to death returns,
Again her falling Wolfe Britannia mourns;
Warriors in arms to frowning combat move,
And youths and virgins melt the soul to love;
Grief, rage and fear beneath his pencil start, 285.
Roll the wild eye and pour the flowing heart;
While slumbering heroes wait his wakening call,
And distant ages fill the storied wall.
With rival force, see Copley’s pencil trace
The air of action and the charms of face; 290.
Fair in his tints unfold the scenes of state,
The Senate listens and the peers debate;
Pale consternation every heart appalls,
In act to speak, while death-struck Chatham falls.
His strong, deep shades a bold expression give, 295.
Raised into light the starting figures live:
With polish’d pride the finish’d features boast,
The master’s art in nature’s softness lost.
Fired with the martial toils, that bathed in gore
His brave companions on his native shore 300.
Trumbull with daring hand the scene recalls,
He shades with night Quebec’s beleagur’d walls,
Mid flashing flames, that round the turrets rise,
Blind carnage raves and great Montgomery dies.
On Charlestown’s height, thro’ floods of rolling fire, 305.
Brave Warren falls, and sullen hosts retire;
While other plains of death, that gloom the skies,
And chiefs immortal o’er his canvass rise.
See rural seats of innocence and ease,
High tufted towers and walks of waving trees, 310.
The white waves dashing on the craggy shores,
Meandering streams and meads of spangled flowers,
Where nature’s sons their wild excursions lead,
In just design, from Taylor’s pencil spread.
Steward and Brown the moving portrait raise, 315.
Each rival stroke the force of life conveys;
See circling Beauties round their tablets stand,
And rise immortal from their plastic hand;
Each breathing form preserves its wonted grace,
And all the soul stands speaking in the face. 320.
Two kindred arts the swelling statue heave,
Wake the dead wax and teach the stone to live.
While the bold chissel claims the rugged strife,
To rouse the sceptred marble into life;
While Latian shrines their figured patriots boast, 325.
And gods and heroes croud each orient coast,
See Wright’s fair hands the livlier fire controul,
In waxen forms she breathes the impassion’d soul;
The pencil’d tint o’er moulded substance glows,
And different powers the unrivall’d art compose. 330.
To equal fame ascends thy tuneful throng,
The boast of genius and the pride of song;
Warm’d with the scenes that grace their various clime,
Their lays shall triumph o’er the lapse of time.
With keen-eyed glance thro’ nature’s walks to pierce, 335.
With all the powers and every charm of verse,
Each science opening in his ample mind,
His fancy glowing and his taste refined,
See Trumbull lead the train. His skillful hand
Hurls the keen darts of Satire thro’ the land; 340.
Pride, knavery, dullness, feel his mortal stings,
And listening virtue triumphs while he sings;
Proud Albion’s sons, victorious now no more,
In guilt retiring from the wasted shore,
Strive their curst cruelties to hide in vain– 345.
The world shall learn them from his deathless strain.
On glory’s wing to raise the ravish’d soul,
Beyond the bounds of earth’s benighted pole,
For daring Dwight the Epic Muse sublime
Hails her new empire on the western clime. 350.
Fired with the themes by seers seraphic sung,
Heaven in his eye, and rapture on his tongue,
His voice divine revives the promised land,
The Heaven-taught Leader and the chosen band.
In Hanniel’s fate, proud faction finds her doom, 355.
Ai’s midnight flames light nations to their tomb,
In visions bright supernal joys are given,
And all the dread futurities of heaven.
While freedom’s cause his patriot bosom warms,
In counsel sage, nor inexpert in arms, 360.
See Humphreys glorious from the field retire,
Sheathe the glad sword and string the sounding lyre;
That lyre which, erst, in hours of dark despair,
Roused the sad realms to urge the unfinish’d war.
O’er fallen friends, with all the strength of woe, 365.
His heart-felt sighs in moving numbers flow;
His country’s wrongs, her duties, dangers, praise,
Fire his full soul and animate his lays;
Immortal Washington with joy shall own
So fond a favourite and so great a son. 370.
The vision suspended. Causes of the slow progress of Science and
its frequent interruptions. Its ancient compared with its modern establishment.
Consequences of the latter. Causes of the apparent uncertainty in matters of
theology. Superstition built on the passions; scepticism on the reasoning
power. Necessity and happy effect of the united force of reason and the
passions in the discovery of truth.29.
And now the Angel, from the trembling sight,
Veil’d the wide world–when sudden shades of night
Move o’er the etherial vault; the starry train
Paint their dim forms beneath the placid main;
While earth and heaven, around the hero’s eye, 5.
Seem arch’d immense, like one surrounding sky.
Still, from the Power superior splendors shone,
The height emblazing like a radiant throne;
To converse sweet the soothing shades invite,
And on the guide the hero fix’d his sight. 10.
Kind messenger of Heaven, he thus began,
Why this progressive labouring search of man?
If man by wisdom form’d hath power to reach
These opening truths that following ages teach,
Step after step, thro’ devious mazes, wind, 15.
And fill at last the measure of the mind,
Why did not Heaven, with one unclouded ray,
All human arts and reason’s powers display?
That mad opinions, sects and party strife
Might find no place t’imbitter human life. 20.
To whom the Angelic Power; to thee ’tis given,
To hold high converse, and enquire of heaven,
To mark uncircled ages and to trace
The unfolding truths that wait thy kindred race.
Know then, the counsels of th’unchanging Mind, 25.
Thro’ nature’s range, progressive paths design’d,
Unfinish’d works th’harmonious system grace,
Thro’ all duration and around all space;
Thus beauty, wisdom, power, their parts unroll,
Till full perfection joins the accordant whole. 30.
So the first week, beheld the progress rise,
Which form’d the earth and arch’d th’incumbant skies.
Dark and imperfect first, the unbeauteous frame,
From vacant night, to crude existence came;
Light starr’d the heavens and suns were taught their bound,
Winds woke their force, and floods their centre found;
Earth’s kindred elements, in joyous strife,
Warm’d the glad glebe to vegetable life,
Till sense and power and action claim’d their place,
And godlike reason crown’d the imperial race. 40.
Progressive thus, from that great source above,
Flows the fair fountain of redeeming love.
Dark harbingers of hope, at first bestow’d,
Taught early faith to feel her path to God:
Down the prophetic, brightening train of years, 45.
Consenting voices rose of different seers,
In shadowy types display’d the accomplish’d plan,
When filial Godhead should assume the man,
When the pure Church should stretch her arms abroad,
Fair as a bride and liberal as her God; 50.
Till warm benevolence and truth refined,
Pervade the world and harmonize mankind.
And thus fair Science, of celestial birth,
With times long circuit, treads the gladsome earth;
By gradual steps to mark the extended road, 55.
That leads mankind to reason and to God.
In elder times, when savage tribes began,
A few strong passions sway’d the wayward man;
Envy, revenge and sateless lust of power
Fired the dark soul and stain’d the fields with gore. 60.
By jarring strife, all milder joys supprest,
Lost their soft influence on the furious breast
No friendly ties the barbarous feuds assuage,
And ceaseless carnage, feeds the brutal rage.
When different tribes, in social bands combined, 65.
Their local views the joyless soul confined,
Eternal bickerings brutal strength supply’d,
Cities are wall’d and warring hosts divide.
When infant arts, in growing nations, rose,
They lured the envy of surrounding foes; 70.
The savage bands united sieze the prey,
Destroy the learning and obstruct the sway.
Thus, at the Muse’s call, when Thebes arose,
And science sway’d where nurt’ring Nilus flows,
Rich with the spoils of art, fair structures blazed, 75.
And barb’rous nations envy’d as they gazed;
The tempting pyramid, the growing store,
The charm of conquest and the grasp of power
Lured the dark world, with envious pride esate,
To whelm fair Science in the wrecks of state. 80.
Till Thebes and Memphis nameless ruins lie,
And crush’d the power that raised them to the sky.
O’er bright Chaldea’s plains her vot’ries stray,
Described the stars and fix’d their wandering way,
The unclouded skies the shepherd learn’d to read, 85.
His loves to cherish and his flocks to feed;
Till haughty Babel stretch’d an envy’d sway,
And furious millions warr’d the arts away,
Ilissus’ banks display’d a happier seat,
Where every Muse and all the graces meet; 90.
Parnassian heights she soars; then, steering far,
Driven by the close pursuit of vengeful war,
She wings her flight, a western region gams,
And moves in majesty o’er Latian plains.
But pride and conquest follow where she leads, 95.
Her eagle flies, the untutor’d savage bleeds,
Rome’s haughty Genius, taught by her to soar,
With pride of learning swells the pride of power;
From Brits, from Scythians plucks the laurel crown,
And deems, by right, the unletter’d world his own. 100.
Till, fired by insult, vengeful myriads rose,
And all the north pours forth the swarming foes,
Like sweeping tempests in embattled heaven,
When fire and blackness streak the sails of even,
The dark-red hosts of painted warriors roll, 105.
Rome’s thoughtless capitol the tempting goal;
Nor arts they need nor order points thier way,
For arts and order swell the Roman sway;
Spain, Latium, Afric feed the furious flame,
And hapless Science mourns her buried name. 110.
As when the sun moves o’er the flaming zone,
Careering clouds attend his servid throne,
Superior splendors, in his course display’d,
Proclaim the progress of a heavier shade;
Thus where the Power her ancient circuit held, 115.
Her shining course succeeding darkness veil’d.
Fear, interest, envy bound her laurel’d reign,
A coast her walk, the Hellespont her main,
Ere Goya’s trembling steel could point the pole,
Or heavens inverted taught thy bark to roll. 120.
At length the scene a nobler pomp assumes,
A milder beam dispels the Gothic glooms;
In sober majesty, and charms of peace,
The goddess moves, and cheers her filial race,
Lifts bolder wings, with happier flight to soar, 125.
No more to rest till heavens illume no more.
At once, consenting nations rise to fame;
Here Charles’s genius wakes the Gallic name,
There Alfred aids the universal cause,
And opes the source of liberty and laws; 130.
Here Greece invites her to her ancient home,
There in rough greatness heaves her Gothic dome,
Wide spreads her sway o’er blest Arabian plains,
Where her own Caliph, liberal Rachid reigns,
O’er all the climes extends the rising Power, 135.
From farthest Ganges to the Atlantic shore.
Even horrid war, that erst her course withstood,
And whelm’d, so oft, her peaceful shrines in blood,
Now leads thro’ paths unseen her glorious way,
Extends her limits and confirms her sway. 140.
See, from all Europe’s bounds, the warriors pour,
In crouding millions to the Asian shore;
Mankind their prey, the unmeaning Cross their pride,
And sacred vengeance their delusive guide.
Zeal points their way, thro’ famine, toil and blood, 145.
To aid with arms the imagin’d cause of God;
Till fields of slaughter whelm the broken host,
Their pride appall’d, their countless myriads lost,
The sad remains to peaceful toils return,
Skill’d in the arts, that eastern climes adorn; 150.
O’er Europe’s changing shores, the charms display
And wasted realms with happier fruits repay,
The rival barons, whom ambition draws,
Their wealth to lavish in the holy cause,
In peace retiring, yield the regal crown, 155.
And blend their counsels to exalt the throne.
While slaves, no longer purchased with the soil,
Waked into freemen, ply the cheerful toil,
Assert their rights, extend the royal reign,
And mutual terrors break the feudal chair. 160.
Now growing commerce in firm compact joins
Surrounding nations and their force combines;
From rich Ausonia, bold advent’rers rise,
Trace midland currents tow’rd the northern skies,
Enlarge their navies, and with wealthier train, 165.
Roll with the Rhine and widen with the main;
Then tempt a broader flight, extend the sail,
Point the sure compass, call a foreign gale,
For spicy fruits the orient surges brave,
And load with sparkling gems the liberal wave. 170.
See Rome once more the unfolding arts attend,
Her groves rewarble and her walls ascend;
Bologna’s learned towers arise to fame,
And thine, fair Paris, nobler honours claim;
In rival splendor, bright Oxonia, smiles, 175.
And spreads her blessings o’er the British isles;
There, like the star that leads the orient day,
Chaucer directs his tuneful sons their way.
See hapless Gallileo’s daring soul
Explore the stars and point their orbs to roll; 180.
And, happier Faustus, thy inventive mind
Awakes the unbounded genius of mankind:
O’er wondering climes thy letter’d types display
The works of science and extend her sway.
Bold chivalry romantic aids her cause; 185.
In honour’s name the knight his falchion draws;
Lured by the charms that grace the guardless fair,
To suffering virtue bends his generous care,
Thro’ toil and pain in quest of glory roves,
Braves death and danger for the maid he loves; 190.
While fired by gallantry, the generous art,
Improves the manners and amends the heart.
When pride and rapine held their vengeful sway,
And praise pursued where conquest led the way,
Fair nature’s mildest grace, the female mind, 195.
By rough-brow’d power neglected and confined,
Unheeded sigh’d, mid empire’s rude alarms,
Unknown its virtues and enslaved its charms.
So the lone wild-rose opes the sweetest bloom,
To scent the unconscious thorn, and wither round the tomb. 200.
Blest Science then, to rugged toils confined,
Rose but to conquer and enslave mankind,
O’er gentle passions spread a harsh controul,
And waked the glare of grandeur in the soul,
She taught the lance to thirst for human gore, 205.
She taught pale avarice to swell the store,
Taught milder arts the peaceful prize to yield,
Her Muse to thunder thro’ the embattled field;
In ruin’d realms to build the shrine of fame,
And call celestial aid to raise a tyrant’s name. 210.
In chains and darkness mourn’d the hapless fair,
The price of gold, the insulted prize of war,
While sires, unfeeling, claim’d the sordid dower,
And nymphs were sold the slaves of lust and power.
A happier morn now brightens in the skies, 215.
Superior arts, in peaceful glory, rise;
While softer virtues claim their guardian care,
And crowns of laurel grace the rising fair.
With all the raptures of celestial fire,
Each rival sex the rival arts inspire; 220.
This bids bold commerce load the labouring main,
Or swells the peaceful harvest of the plain,
That leads the hours of calm, domestic toil,
And cheers the houshold with an evening smile,
While states and empires, policies and laws 225.
Lure the firm patriot in the bolder cause,
To stem the tide of power or guide the war,
Like thee to suffer and like thee to dare–
With equal honour, as with softer grace,
The matron virtues guide the rising race. 230.
On this broad base while Science rears her fane,
New toils and triumphs fill her glorious train,
Thro’ fairer fields she leads the expanding mind,
Glads every clime and dignifies mankind.
Contending kings their views harmonious blend, 235.
With temper’d force their arts and arms extend;
The opposing hosts beneath their liberal reign,
Croud the vast wave and glitter o’er the plain,
With thundering engines rend the harmless air,
And lose the horrors in the pomp of war. 240.
See the glad sage to useful labours soar,
Tempt other seas and unknown worlds explore,
Bid feeble tribes display their powers abroad,
And regions smile without the waste of blood.
Then, while the daring Muse, from heavenly quires, 245.
With life divine the raptured bard inspires,
With bolder hand he strikes the trembling string,
Virtues and loves and deeds like thine to sing.
No more with vengeful chiefs and furious gods,
Old Ocean crimsons and Olympus nods, 250.
Nor heavens, convulsive, rend the dark profound,
Nor Titans groan beneath the heaving ground;
But milder themes shall wake the peaceful song,
Life in the soul and rapture on the tongue;
To moral beauties bid the world attend, 255.
And distant lands their social ties extend,
Thro’ union’d realms the rage of conquest cease,
War sink in night, and nature smile in peace.
Then shall he soar sublimer heights, and rove
O’er brighter walks, and happier climes of love; 260.
Rapt into vision of the blest abode,
From Angel-harps to catch the inspiring God;
Thro’ heavens o’ercanopy’d by heavens behold
New suns ascend and other skies unfold,
Seraphs and system’d worlds around him shine, 265.
And lift his mortal strains to harmony divine.
To these superior flights, the chief rejoin’d,
If happier years shall raise the roving mind;
Progressive arts exalt the soul on high,
Peace rule the earth and faith unfold the sky; 270.
Say, how shall truths like these to man be given?
Or science find the limits mark’d by Heaven?
In every age since reasoning pride began,
And heaven’s dread Sire reveal’d himself to man,
What different faiths the changing race inspire! 275.
What blind devotions and unhallow’d fire!
What gods of human form and savage power
Cold fear could fashion or mad zeal adore!
These croud their temples, those their names despise,
In each dire cause the exulting martyr dies; 280.
Till, sense renounced, and virtue driven afar,
Rage fires the realms, religion sounds to war;
And the first blessing, Heaven for earth design’d,
Seems the severest curse that waits mankind.
Say then, my guide, if heavenly wisdom gave 285.
To erring man a life beyond the grave–
If one creative Power, one living soul
Produced all beings and preserves the whole;
Who, throned in light, with full perfection blest,
Mid changing worlds, enjoys eternal rest; 290.
While man, still grovling, passionate and blind,
Wars with his neighbour and destroys his kind–
Say, what connecting chain, in endless line,
Links earth to heaven, and mortal with divine?
Applies alike to every age and clime, 295.
And lifts the soul beyond the bounds of time;
And when shall science trace the immortal way,
And hail religion in her native day?
The Power return’d. Thy race shall soon behold
Reason refined, and moral lights unroll’d, 300.
While science rises, freed from pedant pride,
Of truth the standard and of faith the guide.
The passions wild, that sway the changing mind,
The reasoning powers, her watchful guides design’d
Each, unrestrain’d, alike subvert the plan, 305.
Mislead the judgment and betray the man.
Hence raging zeal, or sceptic scorn prevails,
And arms decide the faith, where wisdom sails.
Of human passions, one above the rest,
Fear, love, or envy, rules in every breast; 310.
And, while it varies with the changing clime,
Now stoops to earth, now lifts the soul sublime,
Forms local creeds of superstitious lore,
Creates the God, and bids the world adore.
Lo! at the Lama’s feet, as lord of all, 315.
Age, following age, in dumb devotion fall!
The youthful God, mid suppliant kings inshrined,
Dispensing fate and ruling half mankind,
Sits, with contorted limbs, a silent slave,
An early victim of a secret grave. 320.
And, where the mosk’s dim arches bend on high,
See the dead prophet mount the mimic sky;
While pilgrim hosts, o’er trackless deserts come,
Croud the deep shrine, and worship round his tomb.
See Memphian altars reek with human gore, 325.
Gods hiss from caverns, or in cages roar,
Nile pours from heaven a tutulary flood,
And vales produce the vegetable Gods.
Two rival Powers the Magian faith inspire,
The sire of darkness and the source of fire: 330.
Evil and good, in these contending rise,
And each, by turns, the sovereign of the skies.
Sun, stars and planets round the earth behold
Their fanes of marble and their shrines of gold;
The sea, the grove, the harvest and the vine 335.
Spring from their Gods, and claim a source divine;
While heroes, kings and sages of their times,
Those Gods on earth, are Gods in happier climes;
Minos in judgment sits, and Jove in power,
And Odin’s friends are feasted still with gore. 340.
Yet wisdom’s eye with just contempt descries
These rites absurd, and bids the world despise:
Then reasoning powers o’er passion gain the sway,
And shroud in deeper glooms the mental ray.
See the proud sage, with philosophic eye, 345.
Rove thro’ all climes, and trace the starry sky,
The systems mark, their various laws pursue,
The God still rising to his raptured view;
But what this God? and what the great design,
Why creatures live or worlds around him shine? 350.
If all perfection dwelt in him alone,
If power, he cries, and wisdom were his own,
No pain, no guilt, no variance could annoy
The realm of peace, the universe of joy.
Yet reason here with homeward ken, descries 355.
From jarring parts what dark disorders rise;
From frost and fire what storms untemper’d rave!
What plagues, what earthquakes croud the gaping grave!
Pain, toil and torture give the infant breath,
His life is misery and his portion death. 360.
From moral ills a like destruction reigns,
War sounds the trump, and slaughter dyes the plains;
While wrath divine proclaims a heavier doom,
And guilt, astonish’d, looks beyond the tomb.
Whence these unnumber’d causeless ills, he cries, 365.
Could wisdom form them? or could love devise?
No love, no wisdom, no consistent plan,
No God in heaven, nor future life to man!
While thus, thro’ nature’s walks he soars on high,
Acquits all guilt, dispeoples all the sky, 370.
Denies unseen existence, and believes
No form beyond what human sense perceives,
An anxious search impels the curious mind,
Its own bright essence and its powers to find.
From conscious thought his reasoning force he plies, 375.
And deep in search the active soul descries;
Yet sense and substance no relation claim,
That dupes the reason, this exists a name:
All matter, mind, sense, knowledge, pleasure, pain,
Seem the wild phantoms of the vulgar brain; 380.
Reason, collected sits above the scheme,
Proves God and nature but an idle dream,
In one great learned doubt invelopes all,
And whelms it’s own existence in the fall,
These wide extremes of passion and of pride 385.
A while on earth thy changing race divide;
That man may find his limits and his laws,
Where zeal inflames, or coward caution awes;
And learn, by these, the happier course to steer,
Nor sink too low, nor mount beyond his sphere. 390.
And soon, that happier course thy race shall gain,
And zealots rave, and sceptics doubt, in vain;
While reason, sense and passion aid the soul,
Science her guide and truth the eternal goal.
First, his own powers the man, with care, descries, 395.
What nature gives, and various art supplies;
Rejects the ties of controversial rules,
The pride of names, the prejudice of schools;
The sure foundation lays, on which to rise,
To look thro’ earth and meditate the skies: 400.
And finds some general laws in every breast,
Where ethics, faith and politics may rest.
Of human powers, the Senses always chief,
Produce instruction or inforce belief;
Reason, as next in sway, the balance bears, 405.
Receives their tidings, and with skill compares,
Restrains wild fancy, calms the impassion’d soul,
Illumes the judgment and refines the whole.
Sense, the great source of knowledge, ever just,
High in command, but faithful to its trust, 410.
Aid of this life, and suited to its place,
Given to secure, but not exalt the race;
Descries no God, nor claims superior birth,
And knows no life beyond the bounds of earth.
Reason, tho’ taught by sense to range on high, 415.
To trace the stars and measure all the sky;
Tho’ fancy, memory, foresight fill her train,
And o’er the beast she lifts the pride of man,
Yet, still to matter, form and space confined,
Or moral truths, or laws that rule mankind, 420.
Could ne’er unaided pierce the mental gloom,
Explore new scenes beyond the closing tomb,
Reach with immortal hope the blest abode,
Or raise one thought of spirit, or of God.
Yet names of God, and powers of heavenly strain 425.
All nations reverence and all tongues contain;
Thro’ every age the conscious mind perceives,
Reason pronounces and the sense believes.
What cause mysterious could the thought impart,
Not taught by nature nor acquired hy art? 430.
It speaks of nature’s God–no matter when
The name was caught, ’tis never lost by men;
From clime to clime, from age to age it flies,
Sounds thro’ the world and echos to the skies.
It proves him, self-reveal’d; and all the plan 435.
On this connexion rests of God and man.
Observe, in man, desires immortal given,
To range o’er earth and climb a happier heaven;
Yet fear and conscious guilt his flight restrain,
His God offended, and his wishes vain: 440.
The wrath divine impending on his breast
Precludes the hope of refuge and of rest;
He seeks the fane, obtests the avenging skies,
Pours the full tear, and yields the sacrifice;
Some foreign aid, some mediating grace, 445.
He seeks to shield him from his Maker’s face.
All forms of worship, that engage mankind,
In different climes to various Powers confined,
Require of suppliants some external aid,
Some victim offer’d, or some penance paid, 450.
Some middle name, or reconciling plan,
To soothe the Godhead and redeem the man.
This thought, so wide diffused thro’ all mankind,
Rose not from earth, or force of human mind;
From heaven reveal’d, it shows some sov’reign scheme, 455.
To link this nature with the Power supreme.
From guilt and pain to lift the soul on high,
And ope a happier scene, a world beyond the sky.
From clime to clime while rove the sage’s eyes,
Books croud on Books, and creeds on creeds arise. 460.
Reason refined with liberal eye surveys
The opposing faiths and various modes of praise;
Yet finds in all, what nature might approve,
A God of justice reconciled by love;
With joy beholds the accordant scheme of heaven, 465.
Dire vengeance sooth’d, a mediation given,
Man freed from pain, the stains of guilt removed,
To angels liken’d and by Heaven approved;
Death bound in chains from his old empire hurl’d,
And peace and pardon promised to the world. 470.
Here ends the toilsome search; in this may rest
The doubts and fears that move the labouring breast;
These few fair truths, to common feeling plain,
The work unfold, and every part sustain.
As, on an arch of stone, some temple stands, 475.
Raised to the clouds, and shines to distant lands;
The firm foundations, open to the sight,
Croud, as it grows, and strengthen with the weight;
Thus, on the characters of God and man,
By Heaven reveal’d in this conformant plan, 480.
The beauteous system rests; and tho’ awhile,
Mad zeal o’erload it, and cold scorn revile,
Stands, self-exalted, fill’d with native light,
Firm to the faith, and growing on the sight.
It speaks one simple, universal cause, 485.
Which time and space from one great centre draws;
Whence this unfolded, that began its flight,
Worlds fill’d the skies, and nature roll’d in light;
Whither all beings tend; and where, at last,
Their progress, changes, imperfections, past, 490.
Matter shall turn to light, to pleasure pain,
Strife end in union, angel form in man;
From stage to stage, from life to life, refined,
All centre, whence they sprang, in one eternal Mind.
In this harmonious round, united rise, 495.
Power to create, and wisdom to devise;
While Love supreme, before all action, stood,
The first, the last, the chain of general good;
Through nature’s range t’extend the sway divine,
And heaven and earth in mild accordance join, 500.
To one great moral Sense, all sense to draw,
Strong as necessity, and fixt as law.
This branch of Godhead, thro’ the system known,
Image and brightness of the Eternal throne;
By whom all wisdom shines, all power extends, 505.
God stands reveal’d and Heaven with nature blends,
Thro’ earth and skies proclaim’d the indulgent plan,
And spoke the law to Angel and to man;
In man’s clear view display’d the etherial road,
To love the neighbour and adore the God. 510.
Yet, firm in justice as in mercy great,
His sovereign power directs the scenes of sate,
Wide o’er the world with guardian care extends,
Curbs the proud nations and the weak defends;
That feeble faith and boasting scorn may prove 515.
The frown of vengeance, or the smile of love,
Holds, in his own right hand, the dreadful doom
Of woes unnumber’d here, and death beyond the tomb
Fill’d with his fire, and guided by his hand,
See the long train of white-robed prophets stand! 520.
Thro’ opening heaven, their eyes sublimely roll,
Peace on their tongue, and rapture in their soul;
The past records, the deeds of unborn time
Flame in their page, and shine to every clime:
There, nations read their fate, and kings, to come, 525.
Find, in the leaves, their glory or their doom.
There unborn Cyrus, preordain’d to fame,
On Babel’s ruins, builds the Persian name;
The chief of Macedon, the realm of Greece,
The Latian grandeur, and the Prince of peace, 530.
In order ranged their song prophetic grace,
And time stands pointing to the destined place.
When now, with rolling years these deeds of fame
Rise into light and faith of nations claim.
Behold, on earth the promised Prince bestow’d! 535.
The Virgin’s offspring and the filial God;
The appointed star its rapid course suspends,
The skies unfold, the mystic dove descends,
Glad songs attend him, heaven and earth combine,
To hail the new-born babe, and speak his birth divine. 540.
See nature’s laws suspended by his power!
Unclosing graves their slumbering dead restore,
Winds rise to waft him, storms, to lull him, sleep,
He walks the wave, and triumphs o’er the deep;
He dies, he conquers death, ascends on high, 545.
And rising saints attend him thro’ the sky.
Thus, all the mystic scheme, design’d by heaven,
With clearest light to stedfast faith is given;
Here the great moral Sense, the God conceal’d,
To human sense in earthly form reveal’d, 550.
Suffers in open day, to teach mankind
His secret sufferings in the opposer’s mind;
To teach how pain and death and endless woes,
From wayward strife, and breach of order, rose;
How each discordant wish, the soul that swells, 555.
‘Gainst human bliss and heavenly power rebels,
Weakens the chain of love, subverts the plan,
While nature drives the vengeance back on man.
Here all religion rests, and soon thy race
Her purest lights, by wisdom’s eye shall trace. 560.
Here the last flights of science shall ascend,
To look thro’ heaven, and sense with reason blend;
View the great source of love, that flows abroad,
Spreads to all creatures, centres still in God,
Lives thro’ the whole, from nature’s compact springs, 565.
Orders, reverses, fills the sum of things;
In law constrains, in gospel reconciles,
In judgment frowns, in gentle mercy smiles,
Commands all sense to feel, all life to prove
The attracting force of universal love. 570.
The Vision resumed and extended over the whole earth. Present
character of different nations. Future progress of society with respect to
commerce, discoveries, the opening of canals, philosophical, medical and
political knowledge, the assimilation and final harmony of all languages. Cause
of the first confusion of tongues explained, and the effect of their union
described. View of a general council of all nations assembled to establish the
political harmony of mankind. Conclusion.30.
Now, round the yielding canopy of shade,
Again the Guide his heavenly power display’d.
Sudden, the stars their trembling fires withdrew,
Returning splendors burst upon the view;
Floods of unfolding light the skies adorn, 5.
And more than midday glories grace the morn.
So shone the earth, as all the starry train,
Broad as full suns, had sail’d the etherial plain;
When no distinguish’d orb could strike the sight,
But one clear blaze of all-surrounding light 10.
O’erflow’d the vault of heaven. For now, in view
Remoter climes and future ages drew;
While deeds of happier fame, in long array,
Call’d into vision, fill the new-born day.
Far as the Angelic Power could lift the eye, 15.
Or earth, or ocean bend the yielding sky;
Or circling suns awake the breathing gale,
Drake lead the way, or Cook extend the sail;
All lands, all seas, that boast a present name,
And all that unborn time shall give to fame, 20.
Around the chief in fair expansion rise,
And earth’s whole circuit bounds the level’d skies.
He saw the nations tread their different shores,
Ply their own toils and claim their local powers.
He mark’d what tribes still rove the savage waste, 25.
What happier realms the sweets of plenty taste;
Where arts and virtues fix their golden reign,
Or peace adorns, or slaughter dyes the plain.
He saw the restless Tartar, proud to roam,
Move with his herds, and spread his transient home; 30.
Thro’ the vast tracts of China’s fixt domain,
The sons of dull contentment plough the plain;
The gloomy Turk ascends the blood-stain’d car,
And Russian banners shade the plains of war;
Brazilia’s wilds and Afric’s burning sands 35.
With bickering strife inflame the furious bands;
On blest Atlantic isles, and Europe’s shores,
Proud wealth and commerce heap their growing stores,
While his own western world, in prospect fair,
Calms her brave sons, now breathing from the war, 40.
Unfolds her harbours, spreads the genial soil,
And welcomes freemen to the cheerful toil.
When thus the Power. In this extended view,
Behold the paths thy changing race pursue.
See, thro’ the whole, the same progressive plan, 45.
That draws, for mutual succour, man to man,
From friends to tribes, from tribes to realms ascend,
Their powers, their interests and their passions blend;
Adorn their manners, social virtues spread,
Enlarge their compacts and extend their trade; 50.
While chiefs like thee, with persevering soul,
Bid venturous barks to new discoveries roll;
High in the north, and tow’rd the southern skies,
New isles and nations greet the roving eyes;
Till each remotest realm, by friendship join’d, 55.
Links in the chain that binds all human kind,
The union’d banners rise at last unfurl’d,
And wave triumphant round the accordant world.
As small swift streams their furious course impel,
Till meeting waves their winding currents swell; 60.
Then widening sweep thro’ each descending plain,
And move majestic to the boundless main:
‘Tis thus society’s small sources rise;
Through passions wild their devious progress lies;
Interest and faith and pride and power withstand, 65.
And mutual ills the growing views expand;
Till tribes and states and empires find their place,
And one wide interest sways the peaceful race.
And see, in haste, the ascending scenes advance,
The ports unfold, the glimmering navies dance; 71.
For commerce arm’d the different Powers combine,
And Heaven approving aids the blest design.
Tho’ jarring realms, awhile the combat wage,
And hold in lingering strife, the unsettled age;
Yet no rude war, that sweeps the crimson plain, 76.
Shall dare disturb the labours of the main.
For Heaven impartial spread the watery way,
Liberal as air and unconfined as day;
That every distant land the wealth might share,
Exchange their fruits and fill their treasures there; 81.
Their speech assimilate, their empires blend,
And mutual interest fix the mutual friend.
The hero look’d: beneath his wondering eyes,
Bright streamers lengthen round the seas and skies;
The countless nations open all their stores, 86.
Load every wave and croud the masted shores;
The sails, in mingling mazes, sweep the air,
And commerce triumphs o’er the rage of war.
From Baltic streams, that swell in lonely pride,
From Rhine’s long course, and Texel’s labouring tide, 91.
From Gallia’s coast, from Albion’s hoary height,
And fair Hibernia, clothed in purer light,
Hispania’s strand, that two broad oceans lave,
From Senegal’s and Tagus’ winding wave,
The gathering masts, in peaceful squadrons, rise, 96.
And wave their cloudly curtains to the skies.
Thro’ the deep strait that leads the midland tide,
The sails look forth and swell their beauteous pride;
Where Asia’s isles and utmost shores extend,
Like rising suns, the sheeted masts ascend, 101.
And join with peaceful toil the friendly train,
No more to combat on the liquid plain.
In distant glory, where the watery way
Spreads the blue borders of descending day,
The flowing flags unfold, in lengthening sweep, 106.
Pride of the world and daughters of the deep.
From Arctic heavens, and deep in southern skies,
Where frost recedes as blooms of culture rise–
Where eastern Amur’s lengthening current glides,
Where California breaks the billowy tides, 111.
Peruvian streams their golden margins boast,
And spreading Chili leads the channel’d coast,
The pinions swell; till all the cloud-like train,
From pole to pole, o’ershades the whitening main.
So some imperial Seraph, placed on high, 116.
From heaven’s sublimest tower o’erlook’d the sky;
When space unfolding heard the voice of God,
And suns and stars and systems roll’d abroad,
Caught their first splendors from the all-beaming Eye
Began their years, and vaulted round the sky; 121.
Their mingling spheres in bright confusion play,
Exchange their beams and fill the new-born day.
He saw, as widely spreads the unchannel’d plain,
Where inland realms for ages bloom’d in vain,
Canals, long-winding, ope a watery flight, 126.
And distant streams and seas and lakes unite,
Where Darien hills o’erlook the gulphy tide,
By human art, the ridgy banks divide;
Ascending sails the opening pass pursue,
And waft the sparkling treasures of Peru. 131.
Jeneiro’s stream from Plata winds his way,
And bold Madera opes from Paraguay.
From fair Albania, tow’rd the falling sun,
Back thro’ the midland, lengthening channels run,
Meet the far lakes, their beauteous towns that lave, 136.
And Hudson join to broad Ohio’s wave.
From dim Superior, whose unfathom’d sea
Drinks the mild splendors of the setting day,
New paths, unfolding, lead their watery pride,
And towns and empires rise along their side; 141.
To Missisippi’s source the passes bend,
And to the broad Pacific main extend.
From the red banks of blest Arabia’s tide,
Thro’ the dread Isthmus, waves unwonted glide;
From Europe’s crouded coasts while bounding sails 146.
Look through the pass and call the Asian gales.
Volga and Oby distant oceans join,
And the long Danube meets the rolling Rhine;
While other streams that cleave the midland plain,
Spread their new courses to the distant main. 151.
He saw the aspiring genius of the age
Soar in the bard and strengthen in the sage;
With daring thought thro’ time’s long flight extend,
Rove the wide earth and with the heaven ascend;
Bid each fond wish, that leads the soul abroad, 156.
Breathe to all men, to nature and to God.
He saw, where pale diseases, wont to brave
The pride of art, and croud the untimely grave,
With long-wrought life the nations learn to glow,
And blooming health adorn the locks of snow, 161.
A countless train the healing science aid,
Its power establish and its blessings spread;
In every shape, that varying matter gives,
That rests or ripens, vegetates or lives,
By chymic power the springs of health they trace, 166.
And add new beauties to the joyous race.
While thus the realms their mutual glories lend,
Unnumber’d sires the cares of state attend;
Blest with each human art, and skill’d to find,
Each wild device that prompts the wayward mind; 171.
What soft restraints the untemper’d breast requires,
To caste new joys and cherish new desires,
Expand the selfish to the social flame,
And fire the soul to deeds of nobler fame.
They see, in all the boasted paths of praise, 176.
What partial views heroic ardor raise;
What mighty states on others’ ruins stood,
And built, secure, their haughty seats in blood;
How public virtue’s ever-borrow’d name
With proud applause hath graced the deeds of shame, 181.
Bade Rome’s imperial standard wave sublime,
And patriot slaughter spread to every clime;
From chief to chief, the kindling spirit ran,
The heirs of fame and enemies of man.
Where Grecian states in even balance hung, 186.
And warm’d with jealous fires the sage’s tongue,
The exclusive ardor cherish’d in the breast
Love to one land, and hatred to the rest.
And where the flames of civil discord rage,
And kindred arms destructive combat wage, 191.
The unchanging virtue rises, still the same,
To build a Cromwell’s as a Charles’s name,
No more the noble patriotic mind,
To narrow views and local laws confined,
‘Gainst neighbouring lands directs the public rage, 196.
Plods for a realm or counsels for an age;
But lifts a larger thought, and reaches far,
Beyond the power, beyond the wish of war;
For realms and ages forms the general aim,
Makes patriot views and moral views the same, 201.
Sees with prophetic eye in peace combined,
The strength and happiness of human-kind.
Now had the hero, with delighted eye,
Roved o’er the climes, that lengthen’d round the sky;
When the blest Guide his heavenly power display’d, 206.
The earth all trembles and the visions fade:
Thro’ other scenes descending ages roll,
And still new wonders open on his soul.
Again his view the range of nature bounds,
Confines the concave and the world surrounds; 211.
When the wide nations all arise more near,
And a mixt tumult murmurs in his ear.
At first, like heavy thunders, borne, afar,
Or the dire conflict of a moving war,
Or waves resounding on the craggy shore, 216.
Hoarse roll’d the loud-toned undulating roar.
At length the sounds, like human voices, rise,
And different nations’ undistinguish’d cries
Flow from all climes around in wild career,
And grate harsh discord in the aching ear. 221.
Now more distinct the wide concussion, grown,
Rolls forth, at times, an accent like his own;
While thousand tongues from different regions pour,
And drown all words in one convulsing roar.
By turns the sounds assimilating rise, 226.
And smoother voices gain upon the skies;
Mingling and softening still, in every gale,
O’er the harsh tones harmonious strains prevail.
At last a simple, universal sound
Fills every clime and soothes the world around; 231.
From echoing shores the swelling strain replies,
And moves melodious o’er the warbling skies.
Such wild commotions as he heard and view’d,
In fixt astonishment the hero stood,
And thus besought the Guide: Celestial friend, 236.
What good to man can these dread scenes intend?
What dire distress attends that boding sound,
That breathes hoarse thunder o’er the trembling ground?
War sure has ceased; or have my erring eyes
Misread the glorious visions of the skies? 241.
Tell then, my Seer, if future earthquakes sleep,
Closed in the conscious caverns of the deep,
Waiting the day of vengeance, when to roll,
And rock the rending pillars of the pole?
Or tell if ought, more dreadful to my race, 246.
In these dark signs, thy heavenly wisdom trace?
And why the wild confusion melts again,
In the smooth glidings of a tuneful strain?
The voice of Heaven replied; Thy fears give o’er;
The rage of war shall sweep the plains no more; 251.
No dire distress these strange events foredoom,
But give the marks of nobler joys to come;
The tongues of nations, here, harmonious blend,
Till one pure language thro’ the earth extend.
Thou knowest, when impious Babel dared arise, 256.
With sacred rites to grace the starry skies,
Tumultuous discord seized the trembling bands,
Opposed their labours and unnerved their hands,
Dispersed the bickering tribes, and drove them far,
To roam the waste and fire their souls for war; 261.
Bade kings arise, and from their seats be hurl’d,
And pride and conquest range the extended world.
In this the marks of heavenly wisdom shine,
And speak the counsel, as the hand, divine.
In that far age, when o’er the world’s broad waste, 266.
Surrounding shades their gloomy horrors cast,
If men, while pride and power the breast inflamed,
By speech allied, one natal region claim’d,
No timorous tribe a different clime would gain,
Or lift the sail, or dare the billowy main. 271.
Fixt in a central spot their lust of power
Would rage insatiate, and the race devour;
A howling waste the unpeopled world remain;
And oceans roll, and climes extend in vain.
Far other counsels, in the Eternal Mind, 276.
Lead on the unconscious steps of human kind;
O’errule the ills their daring crimes produce,
By ways unseen, to serve the happiest use.
For this, the early tribes were taught to range,
For this, their language and their laws to change; 281.
Tempt the wide wave and warm the genial soil,
To crown with fruits the hardy hand of toil,
Divide their forces, wheel the conquering car,
Deal mutual death, and civilize by war.
And now the effects, thro’ every land, extend, 286.
These dread events have found their fated end;
Unnumber’d tribes have dared the savage wood,
And streams unnumber’d swell’d with human blood,
Increasing nations with the years of time,
Spread their wide walks to each delighted clime, 291.
To mutual wants their barter’d tributes paid,
Their counsels soften’d and their wars allay’d;
While powerful commerce bids the flag unroll,
And wave the union of the accordant whole.
At this blest period, when thy peaceful race 296.
Shall speak one language and one cause embrace,
Science and arts a speedier course shall find,
And open earlier on the infant mind,
No foreign terms shall croud with barbarous rules,
The dull, unmeaning pageantry of schools; 301.
Nor dark authorities, nor names unknown
Fill the learn’d head with ign’rance not its own;
But truth’s fair eye, with beams unclouded, shine,
And simplest rules her moral lights confine;
One living language, one unborrow’d dress 306.
Her boldest flights with happiest force express;
Triumphant virtue, in the garb of truth,
Win a pure passage to the heart of youth,
Pervade all climes, where suns or oceans roll,
And bid the gospel cheer the illumined whole. 311.
As the glad day-star, on his golden throne,
Fair type of truth and promise of the sun,
Smiles up the orient, in his rosy ray,
Illumes the front of heaven, and leads the day;
Thus soaring Science daughter of the skies, 316.
First o’er the nations bids her beauties rise,
Prepares the glorious way, to pour abroad
The beams of Heaven’s own morn, the splendors of a God.
Then blest Religion leads the raptured mind,
Thro’ brighter fields and pleasures more refined; 321.
Teaches the roving eye, at one broad view,
To glance o’er time and look Existence thro’,
See worlds, and worlds, to Being’s formless end,
With all their hosts, on one dread Power depend,
Seraphs and suns and systems round him rise, 326.
Live in his life and kindle from his eyes,
His boundless love, his all-pervading soul
Illume, sublime and harmonize the whole;
Teaches the pride of man to fix its bound,
In one small point of this amazing round; 331.
To shrink and rest, where Heaven has fix’d its fate,
A line its space, a moment for its date;
Instructs the heart a nobler joy to taste,
And share its feelings with another’s breast,
Extend its warmest wish for all mankind, 336.
And catch the image of the Maker’s mind;
While mutual love commands all strife to cease,
And earth join joyous in the songs of peace.
Thus heard the chief, impatient to behold
The expected years, in all their charms, unfold: 341.
The soul stood speaking thro’ his gazing eyes,
And thus his voice; Oh, bid the visions rise!
Command, celestial guide, from each far pole,
The blissful morn to open on my soul;
And lift those scenes, that ages fold in night, 346.
Living, and glorious, to my longing sight;
Let heaven, unfolding, ope the eternal throne,
And all the concave flame in one clear sun;
On clouds of fire, with Angels at his side,
The Prince of peace, the King of Salem ride, 351.
With smiles of love to greet the raptured earth,
Call slumbering ages to a second birth;
With all his white-robed millions fill the train,
And here commence the interminable reign.
Such views, the Power replies, would drown thy sight, 356.
And seal thy visions in eternal night;
Nor Heaven permits, nor Angels can display
The unborn glories of that blissful day.
Enough for thee, that thy delighted mind,
Should trace the deeds and blessings of thy kind; 361.
That time’s descending vale should ope so far,
Beyond the reach of wretchedness and war;
Till all the paths in Heaven’s extended plan,
Fair in thy view should lead the steps of man;
To form, at last, in earth’s benighted ball, 366.
Union of parts and happiness of all.
To thy glad view these rolling scenes have shown,
What boundless blessings thy vast labours crown;
That, with the joys of unborn ages blest,
Thy soul, exulting, may retire to rest, 371.
And find, in regions of unclouded day,
What heaven’s bright walks and endless years display.
Behold, once more, around the earth and sky,
The last glad visions wait thy raptured eye.
The great Observer look’d; the land and sea, 376.
In solemn grandeur, stretch’d beneath him, lay;
Here swell the mountains, there the oceans roll,
And beams of beauty kindle round the pole.
O’er all the range, where coasts and climes extend,
In glorious pomp the works of peace ascend. 381.
Robed in the bloom of spring’s eternal year,
And ripe with fruits, the same glad fields appear,
On each long strand unnumber’d cities run,
Bend their bright walls and sparkle to the sun;
The streams, all freighted from the bounteous plain, 386.
Swell with the load and labour to the main;
Where widening waves command a bolder gale,
And prop the pinions of a broader sail:
Sway’d with the floating weight, the ocean toils,
And joyous nature’s last perfection smiles. 391.
Now, fair beneath his view, the important age
Leads the bold actors on a broader stage;
When, clothed majestic in the robes of state,
Moved by one voice, in general council meet
The fathers of all empires: ’twas the place, 396.
Near the first footsteps of the human race;
Where wretched men, first wandering from their God,
Began their feuds and led their tribes abroad.
In this mid region, this delightful clime,
Rear’d by whole realms, to brave the wrecks of time, 401.
A spacious structure rose, sublimely great,
The last resort, the unchanging scene of state.
On rocks of adamant the walls ascend,
Tall columns heave, and Parian arches bend;
High o’er the golden roofs, the rising spires, 406.
Far in the concave meet the solar fires;
Four blazing fronts, with gates unfolding high,
Look, with immortal splendor, round the sky:
Hither the delegated sires ascend,
And all the cares of every clime attend. 411.
As the fair first-born messengers of heaven,
To whom the care of stars and suns is given,
When the last circuit of their winding spheres
Hath finish’d time and mark’d their sum of years,
From all the bounds of space (their labours done) 416.
Shall wing their triumphs to the eternal throne;
Each, from his far dim sky, illumes the road,
And sails and centres tow’rd the mount of God;
There, in mid heaven, their honour’d seats to spread,
And ope the untarnish’d volumes of the dead: 421.
So, from all climes of earth, where nations rise,
Or lands or oceans bound the incumbent skies,
Wing’d with unwonted speed, the gathering throng
In ships and chariots, shape their course along;
Till, wide o’er earth and sea, they win their way, 426.
Where the bold structure flames against the day;
There, hail the splendid seat by Heaven assign’d,
To hear and give the counsels of mankind.
Now the dread concourse, in the ample dome,
Pour thro’ the arches and their seats assume; 431.
Far as the extended eye can range around,
Or the deep trumpet’s solemn voice resound,
Long rows of reverend sires, sublime, extend,
And cares of worlds on every brow suspend.
High in the front, for manlier virtues known, 436.
A sire elect, in peerless grandeur, shone;
And rising oped the universal cause,
To give each realm its limit and its laws;
Bid the last breath of dire contention cease,
And bind all regions in the leagues of peace, 441.
Bid one great empire, with extensive sway,
Spread with the sun and bound the walks of day,
One centred system, one all-ruling soul,
Live thro’ the parts, and regulate the whole.
Here, said the Angel with a blissful smile, 446.
Behold the fruits of thy unwearied toil.
To yon far regions of descending day,
Thy swelling pinions led the untrodden way,
And taught mankind adventurous deeds to dare,
To trace new seas and peaceful empires rear; 451.
Hence, round the globe, their rival sails, unfurl’d,
Have waved, at last, in union o’er the world.
Let thy delighted soul no more complain,
Of dangers braved and griefs endured in vain,
Of courts insidious, envy’s poison’d stings, 456.
The loss of empire and the frown of kings;
While these bright scenes thy glowing thoughts compose,
To spurn the vengeance of insulting foes;
And all the joys, descending ages gain,
Repay thy labours and remove thy pain. 461.