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Peruvian Tales: Cora, Tale IV

ALMAGRO'S expedition to Chili--His troops suffer great hardships from cold, in crossing the Andes--They reach Chili--The Chilians make a brave resistance--The revolt of the Peruvians in Cuzco---They are led on by MANCO CAPAC , the successor of ATALIBA --Parting with CORA , his wife--The Peruvians regain half their city--ALMAGRO leaves Chili--To avoid the Andes, he crosses a vast desert--His troops can find no water--They divide into two bands--ALPHONSO leads the second band, which soon reaches a fertile valley--The Spaniards observe that the natives are employed in searching the streams for gold--They resolve to attack them.

Now the stern partner of PIZARRO'S toils,
ALMAGRO , lur'd by hope of golden spoils,
To distant Chili's ever-verdant meads,
Through paths untrod, a band of warriors leads;
O'er the high Andes' frozen steeps they go,
And wander 'mid eternal hills of snow:
In vain the vivifying orb of day
Darts on th' impervious ice his fervent ray;
Cold, keen as chains the oceans of the pole,
Numbs the shrunk frame, and chills the vig'rous soul;
At length they reach luxuriant Chili's plain,
Where ends the dreary bound of winter's reign.
When first the brave Chilese, with eager glance,
Beheld the hostile sons of Spain advance,
Their threat'ning sabres red with purple streams,
Their lances quiv'ring in the solar beams,
With pale surprise they saw th' impending storm,
Where low'ring danger wore an unknown form;
But soon their spirits, stung with gen'rous shame,
Renounce each terror, and for vengeance flame;
Pant high with sacred freedom's ardent glow,
And meet intrepid the superior foe.
Long unsubdued by stern ALMAGRO'S train,
Their valiant tribes unequal fight maintain;
Long vict'ry hover'd doubtful o'er the field,
And oft she forc'd IBERIA'S band to yield;
Oft love from Spain's proud head her laurel bough,
And bade it blossom on PERUVIA'S brow;
When sudden tidings reach'd ALMAGRO'S ear,
That shook the warrior's soul with doubt and fear.
Of murder'd ATALIBA'S royal race
There yet remain'd a youth of blooming grace,
Who pin'd, the captive of relentless Spain,
And long in Cuzco dragg'd her galling chain;
CAPAC , whose lofty soul indignant bears
The rankling fetters, and revenge prepares.
But since his daring spirit must forego
The hope to rush upon the tyrant foe,
Led by his parent orb, that gives the day,
And fierce as darts the keen meridian ray,
He vows to bend unseen his hostile course,
Then on the victors rise with latent force,
As sudden from its cloud, the brooding storm,
Bursts in the thunder's voice, the light'ning's form.
For this, from stern PIZARRO he obtains
The boon, enlarg'd, to seek the neighb'ring plains,
For one bless'd day, and with his friend's unite,
To crown with solemn pomp an antient rite;
Share the dear pleasures of the social hour,
And 'mid their fetters twine one festal flower.
So spoke the Prince--far other thoughts possest,
Far other purpose animates his breast:
For now PERUVIA'S Nobles he commands
To lead, with silent step, her martial bands
Forth to the destin'd spot, prepared to dare
The fiercest shock of dire, unequal war;
While every sacred human interest pleads,
And urges the firm soul to lofty deeds.
Now CAPAC hail'd th' eventful morning's light,
Rose with its dawn, and panted for the fight;
But first with fondness to his heart he prest
The tender CORA , partner of his breast,
Who with her lord had sought the dungeon's gloom,
And wasted there in grief her early bloom.
"No more," he cried, "no more my love shall feel
The mingled agonies I fly to heal;--
I go, but soon exulting shall return,
And bid my faithful CORA cease to mourn;
For O, amid each pang my bosom knows,
What wastes, what wounds it most are CORA'S woes!
Sweet was the love that crown'd our happier hours,
And shed new fragrance o'er a path of flowers:
But sure divided sorrow more endears
The tie that passion seals with mutual tears!
He paus'd. Fast-flowing drops bedew'd her eyes,
While thus in mournful accents she replies:--
"Still let me feel the pressure of thy chain,
Still share the fetters which my love detain;
The piercing iron to my soul is dear,
Nor will its sharpness wound while thou art near.
Look on our helpless babe, in mis'ry nurst--
My child! my child, thy mother's heart will burst!
O, wherefore bid the raging battle rise,
Nor hear this harmless suff'rer's feeble cries?
Look on those blades that pour a crimson flood,
And plunge their cruel edge in infant blood!"

She could no more--he sees with tender pain
Her grief, and leads
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:03 min read
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Helen Maria Williams

Helen Maria Williams was a British novelist poet and translator of French-language works A religious dissenter she was a supporter of abolitionism and of the ideals of the French Revolution she was imprisoned in Paris during the Reign of Terror but nonetheless spent much of the rest of her life in France A controversial figure in her own time the young Williams was favorably portrayed in a 1787 poem by William Wordsworth but she was portrayed by other writers as irresponsibly politically radical and even as sexually wanton more…

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