« 前へ次へ »
Have prospered for thy sake; and now when first
The Powers of Evil do begin to work,
Lo! thou art here!—Brother, we have obeyed
Thy will, and the Beloved Teacher's words
Have been our law; but now the Evil Ones
Cry out for blood, and say they are athirst,
And threaten vengeance. I have brought the Priest,
To whom they spake in darkness;–thou art wise,
And the Great Spirit will enlighten thee;—
We know not what to answer.—Tell thy tale,
Hereat did Madoc fix upon him
A searching eye; but he, no whit abashed,
Began with firm efrontery his speech.
The Feast of the departed is at hand,
And I, in preparation, on the Field
Of the Spirit 4 past the night. It came to me
In darkness, after midnight, when the moon
Was gone, and all the stars were blotted out;
It gathered round me, with a noise of storms,
And entered into me, and I could feel
It was the Snake-God rolled and writhed within;
And I, too, with the inward agony,
On yonder mountain-top, now never bare,
Before these things I was, 3–where, or from whence,
I know not.—who can tell? But then I was,
And in the shadow of the Spirit stood;
And I beheld the Spirit, and in him
Saw all things, even as they were to be;
And I held commune with him, not of words,
But thought with thought. Then was it given me
That I should chuse my station when my hour
Of mortal birth was come, hunter, or chief,
Or to be mightiest in the work of war,
Or in the shadow of the Spirit live,
And he in me. According to my choice,
For ever overshadowed by his power,
I walk among mankind. At times I feel not
The burden of his presence; then am I
Like other men; but when the season comes,
Or if I seek the visitation, then
He fills me, and my soul is carried on,
And then do I forelive the race of men,
So that the things that will be, are to me
Amalahta lified then his eyes A moment.—It is true, he cried; we know
He is a gifted man, and wise beyond
The reach of mortal powers. Ayayaca
Hath also heard the warning.
As I slept,
Replied the aged Priest, upon the Field
Of the Spirit, a loud voice awakened me,
Crying, I thirst! Give, give! or I will take!
And then I heard a hiss, as if a snake
Were threatening at my side.—But saw you nothing?
Quoth Madoc.—Nothing; for the night was dark.
And felt you nothing? said the Ocean Prince.
He answered, Nothing; only sudden fear.—
No inward struggle, like possession?—None.
I thought of the Beloved Teacher's words,
And crost myself, and then he had no power.
Thou hast slept heretofore upon the Field,
Said Madoc ; didst thou never witness voice,
Orominous sound! Ayayaca replied,
Certes the Field is holy! it receives,
All the year long, the operative power
Which falleth from the sky, or from below
Pervades the earth; no harvest groweth there,
Nor tree, nor bush, nor herb is left to spring.
But there the virtue of the elements
Is gathered, till the circle of the months
Be full; then, when the Priest, by mystic rites,
Long vigils and long abstinence prepared,
Goeth there to pass the appointed night alone,
The whole collected influence enters him.
Doubt not but I have felt strange impulses
On that mysterious Field, and in my dreams
Been visited; and have heard sounds in the air,
I knew not what;-but words articulate
Never till now. It was the Wicked One!
He wanted blood.
who says the Wicked One?
It was our Fathers' God cried Neolin.
Son of the Ocean, why should we forsake
The worship of our fathers 16 Ye obey
The White-Man's Maker; but to us was given
A different skin and speech and land and law.
The Snake-God understands the Red-Man's prayer,
And knows his wants and loves him. Shame be to us,
That since the Stranger here set foot among us,
We have let his lips be dry!
Madoc, who at Cadwallon's look represt
His answering anger. We will hold a talk
Of this hereafter. Beye sure, mean time,
That the Great Sprit will from Evil Powers
Protect his people. This, too, be ye sure,
That every deed of darkness shall be brought
To light, and woe be to the lying lips!
At meat, did Amalahta many a time
Lift his slow eye askance, and eagerly
Gaze on Goervyl's beauty; for whate'er
In man he might have thought deformed or strange
Seemed beautiful in her, her golden curls,
Bright eyes of heavenly blue, and that clear skin,7
Blooming with health and youth and happiness.
He, lightly yielding to the impulse, bent
His head aside, and to Erillyab spake.
Mother, said he, tell them to give to me
That woman for my wife, that we may be
Brethren and friends. She, in the same low tone
Rebuked him, in her heart too well aware
How far unworthy he. Abashed thereby,
As he not yet had wholly shaken off
Habitual reverence, he sate sullenly,
Brooding in silence his imagined wiles,
By sight of beauty made more apt for ill;
For he himself being evil, good in him
And now Madoc, pouring forth
The ripe metheglin, to Erillyab gave
The horn of silver brim. Taste, Queen and friend,
Said he, what from our father-land we bring,
The old beloved beverage. Sparingly
Drink, for it hath a strength to stir the brain,
And trouble reason, if intemperate lips
Abuse its potency. She took the horn,
And sipt with wary wisdom—Canst thou teach us
The art of this rare beverage? quoth the Queen;
Or is the gift reserved for ye alone,
By the Great Spirit, who hath favoured ye
In all things above us?—The Chief replied,
All that we know of useful and of good
Ye also shall be taught, that we may be
One people. While he spake, Erillyab passed
The horn to Amalahta. Sparingly!
Madoc exclaimed; but when the savage felt
The luscious flavour, and the poignant life,
He heeded nought beyond the immediate joy.
Deep did he drink, and still with clinching hands
Struggled, when from his lips unsatisfied,
Erillyab plucked the cup with sharp reproof,
Chiding his stubborn wilfulness. Ere long
The generous liquor flushed him ; he could feel
His blood play faster, and the joyful dance
Of animal life within him. Bolder grown,
He at Goervyl lifts no longer now
The secret glance, but gloats with greedy eye;
Till, at the long and loathsome look abashed,
She rose, and nearer to her brother drew,
On light pretence of speech, being half in fear.
But he, regardless of Erillyab now,
To Madoc cried aloud, Thou art a King,
And I a King!—Give me thy sister there o
To be my wife, and then we will be friends,
And reign together.
Let me answer him,
Madoc Cadwallon cried. I better know
Their language, and will set aside all hope,
Yet not incense the savage—A great thing,
Prince Amalahta, hast thou asked said he,
Nor is it in Lord Madoc's power to give
Or to withhold; for marriage is with us
The holiest ordinance of God, whereon
The bliss or bale of human life depends.
Love must be won by love, and heart to heart
Linked in mysterious sympathy, before
We pledge the marriage-vow; and some there are,
Who hold, that, eer we enter into life,
Soul hath with soul been mated, each for each
Especially ordained. Prince Madoc's will
Avails not, therefore, where this secret bond
Hath not been framed in heaven.
The skilful speech
Which, with wild faith and reason, thus confirmed,
Yet tempered the denial, for a while
Silenced him, and he sate in moody dreams
Of snares and violence. Soon a drunken thirst,
And longing for the luscious beverage,
Drove those dark thoughts aside.
Give me the drink!—Madoc again repeats
His warning, and again with look and voice
Erillyab chides; but he of all restraint
Impatient, cries aloud, Am I a child 1
Give! give! or I will take!—Perchance ye think
I and my God alike cry out in vain
But ye shall find us true!
Give him the horn'
Cadwallon answered; there will come upon him
Folly and sleep, and then an after pain,
Which may bring wisdom with it, if he learn
Therefrom to heed our warning.—As thou sayest,
No child art thou!—the choice is in thy hand;—
Drink, if thou wilt, and suffer, and in pain
He clenched the horn, and swilled
The sweet intoxication copious down.
So bad grew worse. The potent draught provoked
Fierce pride and savage insolence. Aye! uow
It seems that I have taught ye who I am!
The inebriate wretch exclaimed. This land is mine,
Not hers; the kingdom and the power are mine!
I am the master!
Hath it made thee mad?
Erillyab cried.—Ask thou the Snake-God that
Quoth he , ask Neolin and Aztlan that!
Hear me, thou Son of the Waters! will thou have me
For friend or foe 1–Give me that woman there,
And store me with this blessed beverage,
And thou shalt dwell in my domains,—or else,
Blood, blood the Snake-God calls for blood; the
Gods Of Aztlan and the people call for blood; They call on me, and I will give them blood, Till they have had their fill. Meanwhile the Queen, In wonder and amazement heard and grief; Watching the fiendish workings of his face, And turning to the Prince at times, as if She looked to him for comfort. Give him drink, To be at peace! quoth Madoc. The good mead Did its good office soon; his dizzy eyes Rolied with a sleepy swim; the joyous thrill Died away; and as every limb relaxed, Down sunk his heavy head and down he fell. Then said the Prince, We must rejoice in this, O Queen and friend, that, evil though it be, Evil is brought to light; he hath divulged, In this mad mood, what else had been concealed By guilty cunning. Set a watch upon him
And on Priest Neolin; they plot against us;
Your fall aud mine alike do they conspire,
Being leagued with Aztlan to destroy us both.
Thy son will not remember that his lips
Have let the treason pass. Be wary, then,
And we shall catch the crafty in the pit
Which they have dug for us.
A look of anger, made intense by grief,
On Amalahta—Cursed be the hour
Wherein I gave thee birth ! she cried; that pain
Was light to what thy base and brutal nature
Hath sent into my soul—But take thou heed!
I have borne many a woe and many a loss, -
My father's realm, the husband of my youth,
My hope in thee!—all motherly love is gone,—
Sufferance well nigh worn out.
This is the day, when, in a foreign grave,
King Owen's relics shall be laid to rest.
No bright emblazonries bedecked his bier,
No tapers blazed, no prelate sung the mass,
No choristers the funeral dirge intoned,
No mitred abbots, and no tonsured train,
Lengthened the pomp of ceremonious woe.
His decent bier was with white linen spread
And canopied; two elks and bisons yoked,
Drew on the car; foremost Cadwallon bore
The Crucifix, with single voice, distinct,
The good priest Llorien chaunted loud and deep
The solemn service; Madoc next the bier
Followed his father's corpse; bareheaded then
Came all the people, silently and slow.
The burial-place was in a grassy plat,
A little level field of sunny green,
Between the river and a rocky bank,
Which, like a buttress, from the precipice
Of naked rock sloped out. On either side *
T was skirted by the woodlands. A stone cross
Stood on Cynetha's grave, sole monument.
Beneath a single cocoa, whose straight trunk
Rose like an obelisk, and waved on high
Its palmy plumage, green and never sere.
Here by Cynetha's side, with Christian prayers,
All wrongs forgotten now, was Owen laid.
Rest, King of Gwyneth, in a forcign grave!
From foul indignity of Romish pride
And bigot priesthood, from a falling land
Thus timely snatched; and from the impending yoke,
Rest in the kingdom of thy noble son!
| Advanced;—Prince Madoc, said the youth, I come,
True to thy faith and thee, and to the weal
Of Aztlan true, and bearing, for that truth,
Reproach and shame and scorn and obloquy.
In sorrow come I here, a banished man;
Here take, in sorrow, my abiding-place,
Cut off from all my kin, from all old ties
Divorced; all dear familiar countenances
No longer to be present to my sight;
The very mother-language which I learnt,
A lisping baby on my mother's knees,
No more with its sweet sounds to comfort me.
So be it !—To his brother then he turned;
Yuhidthiton, said he, when thou shalt find,-
As find thou wilt, that those accursed men
Have played the juggler with thee, and deceived
Thine honest heart, when Aztlan groans in blood,
Bid her remember then, that Malinal
Is in the dwellings of her enemy:
Where all his hope in banishment hath been
To intercede for her, and heal her wounds,
And mitigate her righteous punishment.
Sternly and sullenly his brother heard;
Yet hearkened he as one whose heart perforce
Supprest its instinct, and there might be seen
A sorrow in his silent stubbornness.
And now his ministers on either hand
A water-vessel fill, and heap dry sedge
And straw before his face, and fire the pile.
The Hoamen in their Council-hall” are met
To hold the Feast of Souls: seat above seat,
Ranged round the circling theatre they sit.
No light but from the central fire, whose smoke,
Slow passing through the over aperture,
Excludes the day, and fills the conic roof,
And hangs above them like a cloud. Around,
The ghastly bodies of their chiefs are hung,
Shrivelled and parched, by heat; the humbler dead
Lie on the floor, white bones, exposed to view,
On deer, or elk-skin laid, or softer fur,
Or web, the work of many a mournful hour;
The loathlier forms of fresh mortality
Swathed, and in decent tenderness concealed.
Beside each body pious gifts are laid,
Mantle and belt and feathery coronal,
The bow he used in war, his drinking-shell,
Ilis arrows for the chase, the sarbacan,"
Through whose long tube the slender shaft, breath-
Might pierce the winged game. Husbands and wives,
Parents and children, there in death they lie;
The widowed and the parent and the child
Look on in silence. Not a sound is heard
But of the crackling brand, or mouldering fire,
Or when, amid yon pendant string of shells,”
The slow wind wakes a shrill and feeble sound,-
A sound of sorrow to the mind attuned
By sights of woe.
Ayayaca at length
Came forward.—Spirits, is it well with ye?
Is it well, Brethren said the aged Priest;
Have ye received your mourning, and the rites
Of righteous grief? or round your dwelling-place
Still do your shadows roam dissatisfied,
And to the cries of wailing woe return
A voice of lamentation 2'3 Teach us now,
If we in aught have failed, that I, your Priest,
When I shall join ye soon, as soon I must,
May unimpeded pass the perilous floods,
And, in the Country of the Dead, be hailed
By you, with song and dance and grateful joy.
So saying, to the Oracle he turned,
Awaiting there the silence which implied
Peaceful assent. Against the eastern wall,
Fronting the narrow portal's winding way,
An Image stood: a cloak of fur disguised
The rude proportion of its uncouq limbs;
The skull of some old seero of days of old
Topped it, and with a visor this was masked, o
IIonouring the oracular Spirit, who at times
There took his resting-place. Ayayaca
Repeated, Brethren, is it well with ye?
And raised the visor. But he started back,
Appalled and shuddering; for a moony light
Lay in its eyeless sockets, and there came
From its immoveable and bony jaws
A long deep groan, thrice uttered, and thrice felt
In every heart of all the hearers round.
The good old Priest stood tottering, like a man
Stricken with palsy; and he gazed with eyes
Of asking horror round, as if he looked
For counsel in that fear. But Neolin
Sprung boldly to the oracle, and cried,
Speak, Spirit tell us of our sin, and teach
The atonement! A sepulchral voice replied,
Ye have for other Gods forsaken us,
And we abandon you!—and crash with that, |
The Image fell.
A loud and hideous shriek,
As of a demon, Neolin set up;
So wild a yell, as, even in that hour,
Came with fresh terror to the startled ear.
While yet they sate, pale and irresolute,
Helhua the Azteca came in. He bore
A shield and arrow, tokens these of war,
Yet now beheld with hope, so great relief
They felt his human presence.
- IIoamen, locar me!
The messenger began; Erillyab hear,
Priests, Elders, People! but hear chiefly thou
Prince Amalahta, as of these by birth,
So now of years mature, the rightful Lord!—
Shall it be peace or war?—Thus Aztlan saith;
She, in her anger, from the land will root
The Children of the Sea; but viewing you
In mercy, to your former vassalage
Invites ye, and remits the tribute lives,
And for rebellion claimeth no revenge.
Oh praise your Gods ! cried Neolin, and hail
This day spring of new hope! Aztlan remits
The tribute lives,—what more could Madoc give?
She claimeth no revenge, and, if she claimed,
He could not save. O Hoamen, bless your Gods;
Appease them! Thou, Prince Amalahta, speak,
And seize the mercy.
In act of speech; but then Erillyab rose—
Who gives thee, Boy, this Elder's privilege?
The Queen exclaimed;—and thou, Priest Neolin,
Curb thou thy traitorous tongue! The reign is mine;
I hold it from my father, he from his;
Age before age, beyond the memory
Of man it liath been thus. My father fell
In battle for his people, and his sons
Fell by his side; they perished, but their names
Are with the names we love-their happy souls
Pursue, in fields of bliss, the shadowy decr;”
The spirit cf that noble blood which ran
From their death-wounds, is in the ruddy clouds
Which go before the Sun, when he comes forth
In glory. ” Last of that illustrious race
Was I, Erillyab. Ye remember well,
Elders, that day when I assembled here
The people, and demanded at their choice The worthiest, to perpetuate our old line Of Kings and Warriors.--To the wind he spread His black and blood-red banner. Even now I hear his war-drum's tripled sound, that called The youth to battle; even now behold The hope which lit his dark and fiery eye, And kindled with a sunnier glow his cheek, * As he from yonder war-pole, in his pride, Took the death-doers down.—Lo here the bones Of King Tepollomi!—my husband's bones — There should be some among ye who beheld, When, all with arrows quilled, and clothed with blood, As with a purple garment, he sustained The unequal contlict, till the Aztecas Took him at vantage, and their monarch's club Let loose his struggling soul. Look, Hoamen, here, See through how wide a wound his spirit fled! Twenty long years of mournful widowhood Have past away; so long have I maintained The little empire left us, loving well My people, and by them as well beloved. Say, Hoamen, am I still your Queen? At once The whole assembly rose with one acclaim, Still, O Erillyab, O Beloved, rule Thy own beloved people! But the Gods ! Cried Amalahta, -but the Oracle! The Oracle! quoth she; what hath it said That forty years of suffering hath not taught This wretched people?—They abandon us?— So let them go.! where were they at that hour, when, like a blasting night-wind in the spring, The multitudes of Aztlan came upon us? where were they when my father went to war? Where were they when my father's stiffened corpse, Even after death a slave, held up the lamp To light his conqueror's revels?—Think not, Boy, To palter with me thus! a fire may tremble Within the sockets of a skull, and groans May issue from a dead mean's fleshless jaws, And images may fall, and yet no God £e there —if it had walked abroad with life, That had indeed becn something! Then she turned Her voice toward the people.—Ye have heard This Priest of Aztlan, whose insidious tongue Bids ye desert the Children of the Sea, And vow again your former vassalage. Speaks Aztlan of the former ? O my people, i too could tell ye of the former days," When yonder plain was ours, with all its woods And waters and savannahs!—of those days, When, following where her husband's stronger arm | Had opened the light glebe, the willing wife Dropt in the yellow maize; ere long to bear s o
Its increase to the general store, and toss
Her flowing tresses in the dance of joy.
And I could tell ye how these summer stores
Were hoarded for the invader's winter feasts;
And how the widows clipt those flowing locks
To strew them,-not upon their husband's graves,
Their husbands had no graves!—but on the rocks
And mountains in their flight. And even these rocks
And mountains could not save us! year by year
Our babes, like firstlings of the flock, were culled
To be the banquet of these Aztecas!
This very wretch, who tells us of the past,
Hath chosen them for the butchery.—Oh, I thank you
For this brave anger!—in your name I take
Gods of Aztlan, Helhua cried,
As to Erillyab's ready hand he gave
The deadly token, in your name I give
The war-gift Ye have thirsted over long;
Take now your fill of blood!—He turned away;
And Queen Eriilyab bade the tribe fulfil
Their customary riles.
Bore its own dead, and to the general grave,
With melancholy song and sob of woe,
The slow procession moves. The general grave
Was delved within a deep and shady dell,
Fronting a cavern in the rock,-the scene
Of many a bloody rite, ere Madoc came,
A temple, as they deemed, by Nature made.
Where the Snake-ldol's stood. On fur and cloth
Of woven grass, they lay their burthens down,
Within the ample pit; their offerings range
Beside, and piously a portion take
Of that cold earth, to which for ever now
Consigned, they leave their fathers, dust to dust; '9
Sad relic that, and wise remembrancer.
But as with bark and resinous boughs they pile
The sepulchre, suddenly Neolin
Sprung up aloft, and shrieked, as one who treads
Upon a viper in his heedless path.
The God! the very God! he cried, and howled
One long, shrill, piercing, modulated cry;
Whereat from that dark temple issued forth
A Serpent, huge and hideous. On he came,
Straight to the sound, and curled around the Priest
His mighty folds inuocuous, overtopping
His human height, and, arching down his head,
Sought in the hands of Neolin for food;
Then questing, reared and stretched and waved his neck,
And glanced his forky tongue. Who then had seen
The man, with what triumphant fearlessness,
Arms, thighs, and neck, and body, wreathed and ringed
In those tremendous folds, he stood secure,
Played with the reptile's jaws, and called for food,
Food for the present God!—who then had seen
The fiendish joy which fired lais countenance,
Might well have weened that he had summoned up
The dreadful monster from its native Hell,
By devilish power, himself a siend intleshed.
Blood for the God! he cried, Lincoya's blood!
Friend of the Serpent's foe!—Lincoya's blood'
Cried Amalahta, and the people turned
Their eyes to seek the victim, as if each
Sought his own safety in that sacrifice.
Alone Erillyab raised her voice, confused
But not confounded; she alone exclaimed,
Madoc shall answer this! unheard her voice
By the bewildered people, by the Priest
Unheeded; and Lincoya sure had fallen
The victim of their fear, had he been found
In that wild hour; but when his watchful eye
Beheld the monster from his den come forth,
He fled to bear the tidings.-Neolin
Repeats the accursed call, Food for the God'