The troops of Almagro and Alphonso meet on the plains of Cuzco - Manco-Capac attacks them by night - his army is defeated, and he is forced to fly with its scattered remains - Cora goes in search of him - her infant in her arms - overcome with fatigue, she rests at the foot of a mountain - an earthquake - a band of Indians fly to the mountains for shelter - Cora discovers her husband - their interview - her death - he escapes with his infant - Almagro claims a share of the spoils of Cuzco - his contention with Pizarro - the Spaniards destroy each other - Almagro is taken prisoner, and put to death - his soldiers, in revenge, assassinate Pizarro in his palace - Las Casas dies - Gasca, a Spanish ecclesiastic, arrives in Peru - invested with great power - his virtuous conduct - the annual festival of the Peruvians - their late victories over the Spaniards in Chili - a wish for the restoration of their liberty - the Poem concludes.


At length Almagro, and Alphonso's train,
Each peril past, unite on Cusco's plain:
Capac, who now beheld with anxious woe,
Th' increasing numbers of the powerful foe,
Resolves to pierce beneath the shroud of night
The hostile camp, and brave the vent'rous fight;
Tho' weak the wrong'd Peruvians arrowy showers,
To the dire weapons stern Iberia pours.
Fierce was th' unequal contest, for the soul
When rais'd by some high passion's strong controul,
New strings the nerves, and o'er the glowing frame
Breathes the warm spirit of heroic flame.

But from the scene where raging slaughter burns,
The timid muse with pallid horror turns:
The sounds of frantic woe she panting hears,
Where anguish dims a mother's eye with tears;
Or where the maid, who gave to love's soft power
Her faithful spirit, weeps the parting hour:
And ah, till death shall ease the tender woe,
That soul must languish, and those tears must flow;
For never with the thrill that rapture proves
Shall bless'd affection hail the form she loves;
Her eager glance no more that form shall view,
Her quiv'ring lip has breath'd the last adieu!
Now night, that pour'd upon her hollow gale
The moan of death, withdrew her mournful veil;
The sun rose lovely from the sleeping flood,
And morning glitter'd o'er the field of blood;
Where bath'd in gore, Peruvia's vanquish'd train
Lay cold and senseless on the sanguine plain.
Capac, their gen'rous chief, whose ardent soul
Had sought the rage of battle to controul,
Beheld with keen despair his warriors yield,
And fled indignant from the conquer'd field.
From Cusco now a wretched throng repair,
Who tread mid' slaughter'd heaps in mute despair,
O'er some lov'd corse the shroud of earth to spread,
And drop the sacred tear that sooths the dead:
No shriek was heard, for agony supprest
The fond complaints which ease the swelling breast:
Each hope for ever lost, they only crave
The deep repose which wraps the shelt'ring grave.
So the meek Lama, lur'd by some decoy
Of man, from all his unembitter'd joy;
Ere while, as free as roves the wand'ring breeze,
Meets the hard burden on his bending knees[A];
O'er rocks, and mountains, dark, and waste he goes,
Nor shuns the path where no soft herbage grows;
Till worn with toil, on earth he prostrate lies,
Heeds not the barb'rous lash, but patient dies.
Swift o'er the field of death sad Cora flew,
Her infant to his mother's bosom grew;
She seeks her wretched lord, who fled the plain
With the last remnant of his vanquish'd train:
Thro' the lone vale, or forest's sombrous shade
A dreary solitude, the mourner stray'd;
Her timid heart can now each danger dare,
Her drooping soul is arm'd by deep despair -
Long, long she wander'd, till oppress'd with toil,
Her trembling footsteps track with blood the soil;
In vain with moans her distant lord she calls,
In vain the bitter tear of anguish falls;
Her moan expires along the desert wood,
Her tear is mingled with the crimson flood.

Where o'er an ample vale a mountain rose,
Low at its base her fainting form she throws;
"And here, my child, (she cried, with panting breath)
"Here let us wait the hour of ling'ring death:
"This famish'd bosom can no more supply
"The streams that nourish life, my babe must die!
"In vain I strive to cherish for thy sake
"My failing strength; but when my heart-strings break,
"When my chill'd bosom can no longer warm,
"My stiff'ning arms no more enfold thy form,
"Soft on this bed of leaves my child shall sleep,
"Close to his mother's corse he will not weep:
"Oh weep not then, my tender babe, tho' near,
"I shall not hear thy moan, nor see thy tear;
"Hope not to move me by thy piercing cry,
"Nor seek with searching look my answering eye."
As thus the dying Cora's plaints arose,
O'er the fair valley sudden darkness throws
A hideous horror; thro' the wounded air
Howl'd the shrill voice of nature in despair;
The birds dart screaming thro' the fluid sky,
And, dash'd upon the cliff's hard surface die;
High o'er their rocky bounds the billows swell,
Then to their deep abyss affrighted fell;
Earth groaning heaves with dire convulsive throws,
While yawning gulphs her central caves disclose:
Now rush'd a frighted throng with trembling pace
Along the vale, and sought the mountain's base;
Purpos'd its perilous ascent to gain,
And shun the ruin low'ring o'er the plain.
They reach'd the spot where Cora clasp'd her child,
And gaz'd on present death with aspect mild;
They pitying paus'd - she lifts her mournful eye,
And views her lord! - he hears his Cora's sigh -
He meets her look - their melting souls unite,
O'erwhelm'd, and agoniz'd with wild delight -
At length she faintly cried, "we yet must part!
"Short are these rising joys - I feel my heart
"My suff'ring heart is cold, and mists arise
"That shroud thy image from my closing eyes:
"Oh save my child! - our tender infant save,
"And shed a tear upon thy Cora's grave" -
The flutt'ring pulse of life now ceas'd to play,
And in his arms a pallid corse she lay:
O'er her dear form he hung in speechless pain,
And still on Cora call'd, but call'd in vain;
Scarce could his soul in one short moment bear
The wild extreme of transport, and despair.

Now o'er the west in melting softness streams
A lustre, milder than the morning beams;
A purer dawn dispell'd the fearful night,
And nature glow'd in all the blooms of light;
The birds awake the note that hails the day,
And spread their pinions in the purple ray;
A zone of gold the wave's still bosom bound,
And beauty shed a placid smile around.
Then, first awaking from his mournful trance,
The wretched Capac cast an eager glance
On his lov'd babe; th' unconscious infant smil'd,
And showers of softer sorrow bath'd his child.
The hollow voice now sounds in fancy's ear,
She sees the dying look, the parting tear,
That sought with anxious tenderness to save
That dear memorial from the closing grave:
He clasps the object of his love's last care,
And vows for him the load of life to bear;
To rear the blossom of a faded flower,
And bid remembrance sooth each ling'ring hour.
He journey'd o'er a dreary length of way,
To plains where freedom shed her hallow'd ray;
O'er many a pathless wood, and mountain hoar,
To that fair clime her lifeless form he bore.
Ye who ne'er suffer'd passions hopeless pain,
Deem not the toil that sooths its anguish vain;
Its fondness to the mould'ring corse extends,
Its faithful tear with the cold ashes blends.
Perchance, the conscious spirit of the dead
Numbers the drops affection loves to shed;
Perchance a sigh of holy pity gives
To the sad bosom, where its image lives.
Oh nature! sure thy sympathetic ties
Shall o'er the ruins of the grave arise;
Undying spring from the relentless tomb,
And shed, in scenes of love, a lasting bloom.
Not long Iberia's sullied trophies wave,
Her guilty warriors press th' untimely grave;
For av'rice, rising from the caves of earth,
Wakes all her savage spirit into birth;
Bids proud Almagro feel her baleful flame,
And Cusco's treasures from Pizarro claim:
Pizarro holds the rich alluring prize,
With firmer grasp, the fires of discord rise.
Now fierce in hostile rage, each warlike train
Purple with issuing gore Peruvia's plain;
There, breathing hate, and vengeful death they flood,
And bath'd their impious bands in kindred blood;
While pensive on each hill, whose lofty brow
O'erhung with sable woods the vale below;
Peruvia's hapless tribes in scatter'd throngs,
Beheld the fiends of strife avenge their wrongs.
Now conquest, bending on her crimson wings,
Her sanguine laurel to Pizarro brings;
While bound, and trembling in her iron chain,
Almagro swells the victor's captive train.
In vain his pleading voice, his suppliant eye,
Conjure his conqu'ror, by the holy tie
That seal'd their mutual league with sacred force,
When first to climes unknown they bent their course;
When danger's rising horrors lowr'd afar,
The storms of ocean, and the toils of war,
The sad remains of wasted life to spare,
The shrivell'd bosom, and the silver'd hair: -
But vainly from his lips these accents part,
Nor move Pizarro's cold, relentless heart,
That never trembled to the suff'rer's sigh,
Or view'd the suff'rer's tear with melting eye.
Almagro dies - the victor's savage pride
To his pale corse funereal rites denied,
Chill'd by the heavy dews of night it lay,
And wither'd in the sultry beam of day,
Till Indian bosoms, touch'd with gen'rous woe,
In the pale form forgot the tyrant foe;
The last sad duties to his ashes paid,
And sooth'd with pity's tear the hov'ring shade.
With unrelenting hate the conqu'ror views
Almagro's band, and vengeance still pursues;
Condemns the victims of his power to stray
In drooping poverty's chill, thorny way;
To pine with famine's agony severe,
And all the ling'ring forms of death to fear;
Till by despair impell'd, the rival train
Rush to the haughty victor's glitt'ring fane;
Swift on their foe with rage impetuous dart,
And plunge their daggers in his guilty heart.
How unavailing now the treasur'd ore
That made Peruvia's rifled bosom poor!
He falls - no mourner near to breathe a sigh,
Catch the last breath, and close the languid eye;
Deserted, and refus'd the holy tear
That warm affection sheds o'er virtue's bier;
Denied those drops that stay the parting breath,
That sooth the spirit on the verge of death;
Tho' now the pale expiring form would buy
With Andes' glitt'ring mines, one faithful sigh!

Now faint with virtue's toil, Las Casas' soul
Sought with exulting hope, her heav'nly goal:
A bending angel consecrates his tears,
And leads his kindred mind to purer spheres.
But, ah! whence pours that stream of lambent light,
That soft-descending on the raptur'd sight,
Gilds the dark horrors of the raging storm -
It lights on earth - mild vision! gentle form -
'Tis Sensibility! she stands confest,
With trembling step she moves, and panting breast;
Wav'd by the gentle breath of passing sighs
Loose in the air her robe expanded flies;
Wet with the dew of tears her soft veil streams,
And in her eye the ray of pity beams;
No vivid roses her mild cheek illume,
Sorrow's wan touch has chas'd the purple bloom:
Yet ling'ring there in tender, pensive grace,
The softer lily fills the vacant place;
And ever as her precious tears bedew
Its modest flowers, they shed a paler hue.
To yon deserted grave, lo swift she flies
Where her lov'd victim, mild Las Casas lies:
Light on the hallow'd turf I see her stand,
And slowly wave in air her snowy wand;
I see her deck the solitary haunt,
With chaplets twin'd from every weeping plant.
Its odours mild the simple vi'let shed,
The shrinking lily hung its drooping head;
A moaning zephyr sigh'd within the bower,
And bent the yielding stem of every flower:
"Hither (she cried, her melting tone I hear
"It vibrates full on fancy's raptur'd ear)
"Ye gentle spirits whom my soul refines,
"Where all its animating lustre shines;
"Ye who can exquisitely feel the glow
"Whose soft suffusion gilds the cloud of woe;
"Warm as the colours varying iris pours
"That tinge with streaming rays the chilling showers;
"Ye to whose yielding hearts my power endears
"The transport blended with delicious tears,
"The bliss that swells to agony the breast,
"The sympathy that robs the soul of rest;
"Hither with fond devotion pensive come,
"Kiss the pale shrine, and murmur o'er the tomb;
"Bend on the hallow'd turf the tear-full eye
"And breathe the precious incense of a sigh.
"Las Casas' tear has moisten'd mis'ry's grave,
"His sigh has moan'd the wretch it fail'd to save!
"He, while conflicting pangs his bosom tear
"Has sought the lonely cavern of despair;
"Where desolate she fled, and pour'd her thought,
"To the dread verge of wild distraction wrought.
"White drops of mercy bath'd his hoary cheek,
"He pour'd by heav'n inspir'd its accents meek;
"In truth's clear mirror bade the mourner's view
"Pierce the deep veil which darkling error drew;
"And vanquish'd empire with a smile resign,
"While brighter worlds in fair perspective shine." -
She paus'd - yet still the sweet enthusiast bends
O'er the cold turf, and still her tear descends;
The ever-falling tears her beauties shroud,
Till slow she vanish'd in a fleecy cloud.

Mild Gasca now, the messenger of peace,
Suspends the storm, and bids the tumult cease.
Pure spirit! in Religion's garb he came,
And all his bosom felt her holy flame;
'Twas then her vot'ries glory, and their care
To bid oppression's harpy talons spare;
To bend the crimson banner he unfurl'd,
And shelter from his grasp a suff'ring world:
Gasca, the guardian minister of woe,
Bids o'er her wounds the balms of comfort flow
While rich Potosi[B] rolls the copious tide
Of wealth, unbounded as the wish of pride;
His pure, unsullied soul with high disdain
For virtue spurns the fascinating bane;
Her seraph form can still his breast allure
Tho' drest in weeds, she triumph'd to be poor -
Hopeless ambition's murders to restrain,
And virtue's wrongs, he sought Iberia's plain,
Without one mean reserve he nobly brings
A massive treasure, yet unknown to kings:
No purple pomp around his dome was spread
No gilded roofs hung glitt'ring o'er his head;
Yet peace with milder radiance deck'd his bower,
And crown'd with dearer joy life's evening hour;
While virtue whisper'd to his conscious heart
The sweet reflexion of its high desert.

Ah, meek Peruvia, still thy murmur'd sighs
Thy stifled groans in fancy's ear arise;
Sadd'ning she views thy desolated soul,
As slow the circling years of bondage roll,
Redeem from tyranny's oppressive power
With fond affection's force, one sacred hour;
And consecrate its fleeting, precious space,
The dear remembrance of the past to trace.
Call from her bed of dust joy's buried shade;
She smiles in mem'ry's lucid robes array'd,
O'er thy creative scene[C] majestic moves,
And wakes each mild delight thy fancy loves.
But soon the image of thy wrongs in clouds
The fair and transient ray of pleasure shrouds;
Far other visions melt thy mournful eye,
And wake the gushing tear, th' indignant sigh;
There Ataliba's sacred, murder'd form,
Sinks in the billow of oppression's storm;
Wild o'er the scene of death thy glances roll,
And pangs tumultuous swell thy troubled soul;
Thy bosom burns, distraction spreads her flames,
And from the tyrant foe her victim claims.

But, lo! where bursting desolation's night,
A sudden ray of glory cheers my sight;
From my fond eye the tear of rapture flows,
My heart with pure delight exulting glows:
A blooming chief of India's royal race,
Whose soaring soul, its high descent can trace,
The flag of freedom rears on Chili's[D] plain,
And leads to glorious strife his gen'rous train:
And see Iberia bleeds! while vict'ry twines
Her fairest blossoms round Peruvia's shrines;
The gaping wounds of earth disclose no more
The lucid silver, and the glowing ore;
A brighter glory gilds the passing hour,
While freedom breaks the rod of lawless power:
Lo on the Andes' icy steep she glows,
And prints with rapid step th' eternal snows;
Or moves majestic o'er the desert plain,
And eloquently pours her potent strain.
Still may that strain the patriot's soul inspire,
And still this injur'd race her spirit fire.
O Freedom, may thy genius still ascend,
Beneath thy crest may proud Iberia bend;
While roll'd in dust thy graceful feet beneath,
Fades the dark laurel of her sanguine wreath;
Bend her red trophies, tear her victor plume,
And close insatiate slaughter's yawning tomb.
Again on soft Peruvia's fragrant breast
May beauty blossom, and may pleasure rest.
Peru, the muse that vainly mourn'd thy woes,
Whom pity robb'd so long of dear repose;
The muse, whose pensive soul with anguish wrung
Her early lyre for thee has trembling strung;
Shed the weak tear, and breath'd the powerless sigh,
Which soon in cold oblivion's shade must die;
Pants with the wish thy deeds may rise to fame,
Bright on some living harp's immortal frame!
While on the string of extasy, it pours
Thy future triumphs o'er unnumber'd shores.

[A] The Lama's bend their knees and stoop their body in such a manner as not to discompose their burden. They move with a slow but firm pace, in countries that are impracticable to other animals. They are neither dispirited by fasting nor drudgery, while they have any strength remaining; but, when they are totally exhausted, or fall under their burden, it is to no purpose to harrass and beat them: they will continue striking their heads on the ground, first on one side, then on the other, till they kill themselves, - Abbë© Raynal's History of the European Settlements.
[B] See a delightful representation of the incorruptible integrity of this Spaniard in Robertson's History of America.
[C] "O'er thy creative scene." The Peruvians have solemn days on which they assume their antient dress. Some among them represent a tragedy, the subject of which is the death of Atabalipa. The audience, who begin with shedding tears, are afterwards transported, into a kind of madness. It seldom happens in these festivals, but that some Spaniard is slain. - Abbë© Raynal's History.
[D] "On Chili's plain." - An Indian descended from the Inca's, has lately obtained several victories over the Spaniards, the gold mines have been for some time shut up; and there is much reason to hope, that these injured nations may recover the liberty of which they have been so cruelly deprived.