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There's grandeur in this sounding storm,
That drives the hurrying clouds along
That on each other seem to throng,
And mix in many a varied form :
While, bursting now and then between,
The Moon's dim misty orb is seen,
And casts faint glimpses on the green.
Beneath the blast the forests bend,
And thick the branchy ruin lies,
And wide the shower of foilage flies ;
The lake's black waves in tumult blend,
Revolving o'er and o’er and o'er,
And foaming on the rocky shore,
Whose caverns echo to their roar.
The sight sublime enrapts my thought,
And swift along the past it strays,
And much of strange event surveys,
What History's faithful tongue has taught,
Or Fancy form’d, whose plastic skill
The page with fabled change can fill
Of ill to good, or good to ill.
But can my soul the scene enjoy,
That rends another's breast with pain ?
O hapless he, who, near the main,
Now sees its billowy rage destroy!
Beholds the foundering bark descend,
Nor knows, but what its fate may end
The moments of his dearest friend !
Delightful looks this clear calm sky,
With Cynthia's silver orb on high ;
Delightful looks this smooth green ground,
With shadows cast from cots around :
Quick-twinkling lustre decks the tide ;
And cheerful radiance gently falls
On that white town, and castle walls, That crown the spacious river's further side.
And now along the echoing hills
The night-bird's strain melodious trills;
And now the echoing dale along
Soft flows the shepherd's tuneful song:
And now, wide o'er the water borne,
The city's mingled murmur swells,
And lively change of distant bells,
And varied warbling of the deep-ton'd horn.
Their influence calms the soften'd soul,
The passions feel their strong control :
While Fancy's eye, where'er it strays,
A scene of happiness surveys ;
Through all the various walks of life
No natural ill, nor moral, sees ;
No Famine fell, nor dire Disease,
Nor War's infernal unrelenting strife.
For these, behold a heavenly band
Their white wings waving o'er the land !
Sweet Innocence, a cherub fair ;
And Peace and Joy, a sister pair :
And Kindness mild, their kindred Grace,
Whose brow serene complacence wears,
Whose hand her liberal bounty bears
O'er the vast range of animated space !
Bless'd vision ! O, for ever stay!
O far be Guilt and Pain away?
And yet, perhaps, with Him, whose view
Looks at one glance creation througlı,
To general good our partial ill
Seems but a sand upon the plain,
Seems but a drop amid the main, And some wise unknown purpose may fulfil.
From Cholula's hostile plain,
Left her treacherous legions slain,
Left her temples all in flame,
Cortes' conquering army came.
High on Chalco's stormy steep
Shone their phalanx broad and deep;
High the’ Hispanian banner rais’d,
Bore the Cross in gold emblaz’d.
Thick the gleaming spears appear’d,
Loud the neighing steeds were heard ;
Flash'd the muskets' lightnings round,
Roll’d their thunders o'er the ground,
Echo'd from a thousand caves,
Down to Tenustitan's waves
Spacious lake, that far below
Bade its lucid level flow :
There the ever-sunny shore
Groves of palm and cocoa bore;
Maize-fields rich, savannas green,
Stretch'd around, with towns between.
Tacubà, Tezeùco fair,
Reard their shining roofs in air :
Mexico's imperial pride
Glitter'd midst the glassy tide,
Bright with gold, with silver bright,
Dazzling, charming all the sight
From their post the war-worn band
Raptur'd view'd the happy land :
• Haste to victory, haste to ease,
Mark the spot that gives us these!'
On the’ exulting heroes strode,
Shun'd the smooth insidious road,
Shun’d the rock's impending shade,
Shun'd the expecting ambuscade.
Deep within a gloomy wood
Motezume's magicians stood :
Tlcàtlepùca's horrid form,
God of famine, plague, and storm,
High on magic stones they rais'd;
Magic fires before him blaz'd;
Round the lurid flames they drew,
Flames whence streams of sulphur flew;
There, while bleeding victims smok’d,
Thus his aid they loud invok'd :
• Minister supreme of ill,
Prompt to punish, prompt to kill,
Motezuma asks thy aid !
Foreign foes his realms invade ;
Vengeance on the strangers shed,
Mix them instant with the dead !
By thy temple’s sable floor,
By thy altar stain'd with gore,
Stain'd with gore and strew'd with bones,
Echoing shrieks, and echoing groans !
Vengeance on the strangers shed,
Mix them instant with the dead!'
Ordaz heard, Velasquez heard
Swift their falchions' blaze appear'd;
Alvarado rushing near,
Furious rais'd his glittering spear ;
Calm, Olmedo mark'd the scene,
Calm he mark'd, and stepp'd between :
• Vain their rites and vain their prayer,
Weak attempts beneath your care ;
Warriors ! let the wretches live!
Christians ! pity, and forgive!'
Sudden darkness o'er them spread,
Glow'd the woods with dusky red;
Vast the Idol's stature grew,
Look'd his face of ghastly hue,
Frowning rage, and frowning hate,
Angry at his nation's fate;
Fierce his fiery eyes he roll’d,
Thus his tongue the future told ;
Cortes' veterans paus'd to hear,
Wondering all, though void of fear :
• Mourn, devoted city, mourn ! Mourn, devoted city, mourn ! Doom'd for all thy crimes to know Scenes of battle, scenes of woe! Who is he-O spare the sight! Rob’d in gold, with jewels bright ? Hark! he deigns the crowd to call; Chiefs and warriors prostrate fall.
Reverence now to fury yields ;
Strangers o'er him spread your shields !
Thick she darts, the arrows fly ;
Hapless monarch! he must die !
Mark the solemn funeral state
Passing through the western gate !
Chàpultèqua's cave contains
Mighty Motezume's remains.
• Cease the strife! alas, 'tis vain !
Myriads throng Otumba's plain ;
Wide their feathery crest they wave,
All the strong and all the brave.
Gleaming glory through the skies,
See the’ Imperial standard flies !
Down by force resistless torn;
Off in haughty triumph borne.
Slaughter heaps the vale with dead,
Fugitives the mountains spread.
• Mexico, 'tis thine to know
More of battle, more of woe!-
Bright in arms the stranger train
O’er thy causeways move again.
Bend the bow, the shaft prepare,
Join the breast-plate's folds with care ;
Raise the sacrificial fire,
Bid the captive youths expire;
Wake the sacred trumpet's breath,
Pouring anguish, pouring death;
Troops from every street repair,
Close them in the fatal snare;
Valiant as they are, they fly,
Here they yield, and there they die.
• Cease the strife! 'tis fruitless all,
Mexico at last must fall !
Lo! the dauntless band return,
Furious for the fight they burn!
Lo! auxiliar nations round,
Crowding o'er the darken'd ground !
Corses fill thy trenches deep;
Down thy temple's lofty steep
See thy priests, thy princes thrown-
Hark! I hear their parting groan!
Blood thy lake with crimson dyes,
Flames from all thy domes arise !
• What are those that round thy shore Launch thy troubled waters o'er ?