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النشر الإلكتروني

High on Chalco's stormy steep
Shone their phalanx broad and deep;
High the' Hispanian banner raised,
Bore the Cross in gold emblazed *.
Thick the gleaming spears appear'd,
Loud the neighing steeds were heard,
Flash'd the muskets' lightnings round,
Roll'd their thunders o'er the ground,
Echo'd from a thousand caves,
Down to Tenustitan's waves +;-
Spacious lake, that far below
Bade its lucid level flow:
There the ever sunny shore

Groves of palm and cocoa bore;
Maize fields rich, savannas green
Stretch'd around, with towns between.
Tacubà, Tezcùco fair

Rear'd their shining roofs in air :
Mexico's imperial pride

Glitter'd midst the glassy tide,
Bright with gold, with silver bright,
Dazzling, charming all the sight‡;
From their post the war-worn band
Raptured view'd the happy land:
Haste to victory, haste to ease,
Mark the spot that gives us these!'
On the' exulting heroes strode,
Shunn'd the smooth insidious road,

*The device on Cortes's standard was the sign of the Cross. -Vide de Solis.

Tenustitan, otherwise Tenuchtitlan, the ancient name of the Lake of Mexico.

The Spanish historians assert that the walls and houses of the Indian cities were composed of a peculiar kind of glittering stone or plaster, which at a distance resembled silver.

Shunn'd the rock's impending shade,
Shunn'd the' expecting ambuscade *.
Deep within a gloomy wood
Motezume's magicians stood:
Tlcàtlepùca's horrid form,

God of famine, plague, and storm,
High on magic stones they raised;
Magic fires before him blazed;
Round the lurid flames they drew,
Flames whence streams of sulphur flew;
There, while bleeding victims smoked,
Thus his aid they loud invoked-
'Minister supreme of ill,

Prompt to punish, prompt to kill,
Motezuma asks thy aid!

Foreign foes his realms invade;
Vengeance on the strangers shed,
Mix them instant with the dead!
By thy temple's sable floor,
By thy altar stain'd with gore,
Stain'd with gore and strew'd with bones,
Echoing shrieks, and echoing groans!
Vengeance on the strangers shed,
Mix them instant with the dead!'
Ordaz heard, Velasquez heard—
Swift their falchions' blaze appear'd;
Alvarado, rushing near,

Furious raised his glittering spear;

The Indians had blocked up the usual road to Mexico, and opened another broader and smooth at the entrance, but which led among rocks and precipices, where they had placed parties in ambush. Cortes discovered the stratagem, and ordered his troops to remove the obstructions. Being asked by the Mexican ambassadors the reason of this procedure, he replied, The Spaniards always choose to encounter difficulties.' VOL. III.

F

Calm, Olmedo mark'd the scene *,
Calm he mark'd, and stepp'd between:
"Vain their rites and vain their prayer,
Weak attempts beneath your care;
Warriors! let the wretches live!
Christians! pity, and forgive!'
Sudden darkness o'er them spread,
Glow'd the woods with dusky red;
Vast the Idol's stature grew,
Look'd his face of ghastly hue,
Frowning rage, and frowning hate,
Angry at his nation's fate;
Fierce his fiery eyes he roll'd,
Thus his tongue the future told;
Cortes' veterans paused to hear,
Wondering all, though void of fear-
Mourn, devoted city, mourn!
Mourn, devoted city, mourn!
Doom'd for all thy crimes to know
Scenes of battle, scenes of woe!
Who is he-O, spare the sight!—
Robed in gold with jewels bright?
Hark! he deigns the crowd to call;
Chiefs and warriors, prostrate fall†.
Reverence now to fury yields;
Strangers, o'er him spread your shields!

* Bartholeme de Olmedo, chaplain to Cortes: he seems to have been a man of enlarged ideas, much prudence, moderation, and humanity.

Motezuma, who was resident in the Spanish quarters when they were attacked by the Mexicans, proposed showing himself to the people, in order to appease the tumult. At his first appearance he was regarded with veneration, which was soon exchanged for rage, to the effects whereof he fell a victim.

Thick the darts, the arrows fly;
Hapless monarch! he must die!
Mark the solemn funeral state
Passing through the western gate!
Chapultèqua's cave contains
Mighty Motezume's remains.

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'Cease the strife! alas, 'tis vain!
Myriads throng Otumba's plain;
Wide their feathery crests they wave,
All the strong and all the brave*.
Gleaming glory through the skies,
See the' Imperial standard flies!
Down by force resistless torn ;
Off in haughty triumph borne.
Slaughter heaps the vale with dead,
Fugitives the mountains spread.
'Mexico, 'tis thine to know
More of battle, more of woe!—
Bright in arms the stranger train
O'er thy causeways move again.
Bend the bow, the shaft prepare,
Join the breastplate's folds with care;
Raise the sacrificial fire,

Bid the captive youths expire † ;

* Cortes, in his retreat from Mexico, after the death of Motezuma, was followed and surrounded by the whole collective force of the empire, in the plains of Otumba. After repelling the attacks of his enemies on every side, with indefatigable valour, he found himself overpowered by numbers; when, making one desperate effort, with a few select friends, he seized the imperial standard, killed the general, and routed the army.

+ De Solis relates, that the Mexicans sacrificed to their idols a number of Spaniards whom they had taken prisoners, and whose cries and groans were distinctly heard in the Spanish camp, exciting sentiments of horror and revenge in their surviving companions.

1

Wake the sacred trumpet's breath,
Pouring anguish, pouring death*;
Troops from every street repair,
Close them in the fatal snare;
Valiant as they are, they fly,

Here they yield, and there they die.
'Cease the strife! 'tis fruitless all,
Mexico at last must fall!

Lo! the dauntless band return,
Furious for the fight they burn!
Lo! auxiliar nations round,
Crowding o'er the darken'd ground!
Corses fill thy trenches deep;
Down thy temple's lofty steep

See thy priests, thy princes thrown—
Hark! I hear their parting groan!
Blood thy lake with crimson dyes,
Flames from all thy domes arise!
'What are those that round thy shore
Launch thy troubled waters o'er?
Swift canoes that from the fight
Aid their vanquish'd monarch's flight;
Ambush'd in the reedy shade,
Them the stranger barks invade;
Soon thy lord a captive bends,
Soon thy far famed empire ends +;

The above author observes, that the sacred trumpet of the Mexicans was so called because it was not permitted to any but the priests to sound it; and that only when they de nounced war, and animated the people on the part of their gods.

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+ When the Spaniards had forced their way to the centre of Mexico, Guatimozin, the reigning emperor, endeavoured to escape in his canoes across the Lake; but was pursued and taken prisoner by Garcia de Holguin, captain of one of the Spanish brigantines.

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