Forms of angelic mould, and grace divine,
Assembled. All, exil’d the realms of rest,
In vain the sadness of their souls suppress’d;
Yet of their glory many a scatter’d ray
Shot thro’ the gathering shadows of decay.
Each mov’d a God; and all, as Gods, possess’d
One half the globe; from pole to pole confess’d! [Footnote 1]
These in dim shrines and barbarous symbols reign,
Where PLATA and MARAGNON meet the Main. [p]
Those the wild hunter worships as he roves,
In the green shade of CHILI’S fragrant groves;
Or warrior-tribes with rites of blood implore,
Whose night-fires gleam along the sullen shore
Of HURON or ONTARIO, inland seas, [q]
What time the song of death is in the breeze!
’Twas now in dismal pomp and order due,
While the vast concave flash’d with lightnings blue,
On shining pavements of metallic ore,
That many an age the fusing sulphur bore,
They held high council. All was silence round,
When, with a voice most sweet yet most profound,
A sovereign Spirit burst the gates of night,
And from his wings of gold shook drops of liquid light!
MERION, commission’d with his host to sweep
From age to age the melancholy deep!
Chief of the ZEMI, whom the Isles obey’d,
By Ocean sever’d from a world of shade. [Footnote 2]
“Prepare, again prepare,”
Thus o’er the soul the thrilling accents’ came,
“Thrones to resign for lakes of living flame,
And triumph for despair.
He, on whose call afflicting thunders wait,
Has will’d it; and his will is fate!
In vain the legions, emulous to save,
Hung in the tempest o’er the troubled main; [r]
Turn’d each presumptuous prow that broke the wave,
And dash’d it on its shores again.
All is fulfill’d! Behold, in close array,
What mighty banners stream in the bright track of day!”
“No voice, as erst, shall in the desert rise;
Nor antient, dread solemnities
With scorn of death the trembling tribes inspire.
Wreaths for the Conqueror’s brow the victims bind!
Yet, tho’ we fled yon firmament of fire,
Still shall we fly, all hope of rule resign’d?”
* * * * *
* * * * *
He’ spoke; and all was silence, all was night! [s]
Each had already wing’d his formidable flight.
[Footnote 1: Gods, yet confess’d later.—Milton.——Ils ne laissent pas d’en etre les esclaves, & de les honorer plus que le grand Esprit, qui de sa nature est bon.—Lafitau.]
[Footnote 2: La plupart de ces isles ne sont en effet que des pointes de montagnes; et la mer, qui est au-dela, est une vraie mer Mediterranee. Buffon.]