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Peruvian Tales: Cora, Tale VI



The troops of ALMAGRO and ALPHONSO meet on the plain of CUZCO --. MANCO -CAPAC attacks them by nights--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 mountain 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--The annual festival of the PERUVIANS --Their victories over the Spaniards in Chili--A wish for the restoration of their liberty--Conclusion.

At length ALMAGRO and ALPHONSO'S train,
Each peril past, unite on Cuzco's plain;
CAPAC resolves beneath the shroud of night
To pierce the hostile camp, and brave the fight;
Though 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 silent horror turns;
The blended sounds of grief 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 O, till death shall ease the tender woe,
That soul must languish, and those tears must flow;
For never with the thrill that rapture proves,
Her voice again shall hail the youth she loves!
Her earnest eye no more his form shall view,
Her quiv'ring lip has breath'd the last adieu!
Now night, that pour'd upon the hollow gale
The din of battle, dropp'd 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.
The gen'rous CAPAC saw his warriors yield,
And fled indignant from the conquer'd field.
A wretched throng from Cuzco now repair,
Who tread 'mid slaughter'd heaps in mute despair;
O'er some lov'd corse the shroud of earth to spread,
And breathe some ritual that may soothe the dead.
No moan was heard, for agony supprest
The fond complaints which ease the swelling breast;
Each hope for ever lost, they only crave
The deep repose that wraps the shelt'ring grave:--
So the meek lama, lur'd by some decoy
Of man, from all his unembitter'd joy,
Erewhile as free as roves the wand'ring breeze,
Meets the hard burden on his bending knees;
O'er rocks and mountains, dark and waste he goes,
Nor shuns the path where no fresh herbage grows;
Till, worn with toil, on earth he prostrate lies,
Heeds not the barb'rous lash, and scornful 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 long glen, or forest's gloomy 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.
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 cold 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!
O! 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 mournful cry,
Nor seek with earnest 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 throes,
While yawning gulphs its c
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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