The hideous malady which lost its power
When Jenner's art the dire contagion stay’d,
Among Columbia's sons, in fatal hour
Across the wide Atlantic wave convey'd,
Its fiercest form of pestilence display'd :
Where'er its deadly course the plague began
Vainly the wretched sufferer look'd for aid ;

Parent from child, and child from parent ran, For tyrannous fear dissolved all natural bonds of man.

4. A feeble nation of Guarani race, Thinn'd by perpetual wars, but unsubdued, Had taken up at length a resting place Among those tracts of lake and swamp and wood, Where Mondai issuing from its solitude Flows with slow stream to Empalado's bed. It was a region desolate and rude ;

But thither had the horde for safety fled, And being there conceal'din peace theirlives they led.

5. There had the tribe a safe asylum found Amid those marshes wide and woodlands dense, With pathless wilds and waters spread around, And labyrinthine swamps, a sure defence From human foes,... but not from pestilence. The spotted plague appear'd, that direst ill, ... How brought among them none could tell, or

whence; The mortal seed had lain among them still, And quicken'd now to work the Lord's mysterious will.

6. Alas, it was no medicable grief Which herbs might reach! Nor could the jug

gler's power With all his antic mummeries bring relief. Faith might not aid him in that ruling hour, Himself a victim now. The dreadful stour None could escape, nor aught its force assuage. The marriageable maiden had her dower

From death; the strong man sunk beneath its rage, And death cut short the thread of childhood and of age.

7. No time for customary mourning now; With hand close-clench'd to pluck the rooted hair, To beat the bosom, on the swelling brow Inflict redoubled blows, and blindly tear The cheeks, indenting bloody furrows there, The deep-traced signs indelible of woe; Then to some crag, or bank abrupt, repair,

And giving grief its scope, infuriate throw The impatient body thence upon the earth below.

8. Devices these by poor weak nature taught, Which thus a change of suffering would obtain ; And flying from intolerable thought And piercing recollections, would full fain Distract itself by sense of fleshly pain From anguish that the soul must else endure. Easier all outward torments to sustain,

Than those heart-wounds which only time can cure, And He in whom alone the hopes of man are sure.

9. None sorrow'd here; the sense of woe was sear’d, When every one endured his own sore ill. The prostrate sufferers neither hoped nor fear'd; The body labour'd, but the heart was still:... So let the conquering malady fulfil Its fatal course, rest cometh at the end ! Passive they lay with neither wish nor will

For aught but this ; nor did they long attend Thatwelcome boon from death, thenever failing friend.

10. Who is there to make ready now the pit, The house that will content from this day forth Its easy tenant? Who in vestments fit Shall swathe the sleeper for his bed of earth, Now tractable as when a babe at birth ? Who now the ample funeral urn shall knead, And burying it beneath his proper

hearth Deposit there with careful hands the dead, And lightly then relay the floor above his head ?


Unwept, unshrouded, and unsepulchred,
The hammock where they hang, for winding sheet
And grave suffices the deserted dead :
There from the armadillo's searching feet
Safer than if within the tomb's retreat.
The carrion birds obscene in vain essay
To find that quarry: round and round they beat

The air, but fear to enter for their prey,
And from the silent door the jaguar turns away.

12. But nature for her universal law Hath other surer instruments in store, Whom from the haunts of men no wonted awe Withholds as with a spell. In swarms they pour From wood and swamp: and when their work is o'er, On the white bones the mouldering roof will fall; Seeds will take root, and spring in sun and shower ;

And Mother Earth ere long with her green pall, Resuming to herself the wreck, will cover all.

13. Oh! better thus with earth to have their part, Than in Egyptian catacombs to lie, Age after age preserved by horrid art, In ghastly image of humanity! Strange pride that with corruption thus would vie! And strange delusion that would thus maintain The fleshly form, till cycles shall pass by,

And in the series of the eternal chain, The spirit come to seek its old abode again.

One pair alone survived the general fate ;
Left in such drear and mournful solitude,
That death might seem a preferable state.
Not more deprest the Arkite patriarch stood,
When landing first on Ararat he view'd,
Where all around the mountain summits lay,
Like islands seen amid the boundless flood :

Nor our first parents more forlorn than they,
Thro' Eden when they took their solitary way.

15. Alike to them, it seem'd in their despair, Whither they wander'd from the infected spot. Chance might direct their steps: they took no care; Come well or ill to them, it matter'd not! Left as they were in that unhappy lot, The sole survivors they of all their race, They reck'd not when their fate, nor where,nor what,

In this resignment to their hopeless case, Indifferent to all choice or circumstance of place.

16. That palsying stupor past away ere long, And as the spring of health resumed its power, They felt that life was dear, and hope was strong. What marvel ? 'Twas with them the morning hour, When bliss appears to be the natural dower Of all the creatures of this joyous earth ; And sorrow fleeting like a vernal shower

Scarce interrupts the current of our mirth ; Such is the happy heart we bring with us at birth.

17. Though of his nature and his boundless love Erring, yet tutor’d by instinctive sense, They rightly deem'd the Power who rules above Had saved them from the wasting pestilence. That favouring power would still be their defence: Thus were they by their late deliverance taught To place a child-like trust in Providence,

And in their state forlorn they found this thought Of natural faith with hope and consolation fraught.

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