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For when Quiara came, his stay was brief,
40. Yet to behold his face again, and hear His voice, though painful was a deep delight: It was a joy to think that he was near, To see him in the visions of the night, .. To know that the departed still requite The love which to their memory still will cling: And though he might not bless her waking sight
With his dear presence, 't was a blessed thing That sleep would thus sometimes his actual image
Perhaps ... but sooth she could not answer well ; What the departed did, themselves alone could tell.
42. What one tribe held another disbelieved, For all concerning this was dark, she said; Uncertain all, and hard to be received. The dreadful race, from whom their fathers fled, Boasted that even the Country of the Dead Was theirs, and where their Spirits chose to go, The ghosts of other men retired in dread
Before the face of that victorious foe; No better, then, the world above, than this below!
43. What then, alas ! if this were true, was death? Only a mournful change from ill to ill ! And some there were who said the living breath Would ne'er be taken from us by the will Of the Good Father, but continue still To feed with life the mortal frame he gave, Did not mischance or wicked witchcraft kill ;...
Evils from which no care avail'd to save, And whereby all were sent to fill the greedy grave.
But wheresoe'er they fled they found him nigh: None ever could elude that unseen enemy.
45. Bootless the boast, and vain the proud intent Of those who hoped, with arrogant display Of arms and force, to scare him from their tent, As if their threatful shouts and fierce array Of war could drive the Invisible away! Sometimes regardless of the sufferer's groan, They dragg'd the dying out and as a prey
Exposed him, that content with him alone Death might depart, and thus his fate avert their own.
46. Depart he might, ... but only to return In quest of other victims, soon or late; When they who held this fond belief, would learn, Each by his own inevitable fate, That in the course of man's uncertain state Death is the one and only certain thing. Oh folly then to fly or deprecate
That which at last Time, ever on the wing, Certain as day and night, to weary age must bring!
47. While thus the Matron spake, the youthful twain Listen’d in deep attention, wistfully ; Whether with more of wonder or of pain Uneath it were to tell. With steady eye Intent they heard ; and when she paused, a sigh Their sorrowful foreboding seem'd to speak : Questions to which she could not give reply
Yeruti ask'd ; and for that Maiden meek, ... Involuntary tears ran down her quiet cheek.
His gracious will; but little heed she then
49. But these young questioners from time to time Cali'd
up the long-forgotten theme anew. Strange men they were, from some remotest clime She said, of different speech, uncouth to view, Having hair upon their face, and white in hue : Across the World of waters wide they came Devotedly the Father's work to do,
And seek the Red-Men out, and in his name His merciful laws, and love, and promises proclaim.
50. They served a Maid more beautiful than tongue Could tell, or heart conceive. Of human race, All heavenly as that Virgin was, she sprung; But for her beauty and celestial grace, Being one in whose
elements no trace Had e'er inhered of sin or mortal stain, The highest Heaven was now her dwelling place;
There as a Queen divine she held her reign, And there in endless joy for ever would remain.
Her feet upon the crescent Moon were set,
power the Spirit gave this aweful Child; Severe he was, and in his anger dread,
Yet alway at his Mother's will grew mild, So well did he obey that Maiden undefiled.
52. Sometimes she had descended from above To visit her true votaries, and requite Such as had served her well. And for her love, These bearded men, forsaking all delight, With labour long and dangers infinite, Across the great blue waters came, and sought The Red-Men here, to win them, if they might,
From bloody ways, rejoiced to profit aught Even when with their own lives the benefit was bought.
An everlasting guerdon there would meet,