Images de page
PDF
ePub

AVENIA.

BOOK I.

[ocr errors][merged small]

INVOCATION....Description of the fertility and beauty of Africa....The native virtue and rural pleasures of its inhabitants....The arrival of the slave ships....The traders procure slaves first by fraud....The hospitality of the natives, and the villainy of the traders described....They proceed by force to surprise and enslave the youths and maidens in their artless jolity....The youths resist and are murdered, and the females are conveyed to the ships.... The warriors in a distant town are informed by a youth who escaped the catastrophe....They immediately fly to arms, and repulse the assassins.... The war commences....A description of the leader of the sable forces ....His speeches.... His rectitude, filial love and native courage described....MONDINGO's wife is murdered.... His bitter lamentations for her.

[ocr errors]

AVENIA.

BOOK I.

AWAKE my muse, the sweet Columbian strain,

Depict the wars on Afric's crimson plain.
Sing how the poor, unhappy sable dames
Are violated at their rural games;

How Afric's sons surrounded with alarms,

Die in the cause of liberty, in arms;

How with their bloody scourge the Christians go
To Africa, dread ministers of woe;

How big with war their tilting dungeons ride,
Like floating castles o'er the yielding tide.
What pen can half their villainies record?

What tongue can count the slaughters of their sword?
Give me, my muse, your melancholy bard,
Give me to paint their guilt and their reward.
Lo, help me now those monsters to decry,
Death on each cheek, and horror in each eye.
Ye sacred Nine! assist me to proclaim
The native virtues of the sable train,
And grandeur of their own paternal plain.
Here fragrant fields, where rice luxurious grow,
And cornels blushing on the hawthorn glow;
Here the spontaneous and the pregnant vines,

Around their bridegroom elm fraternal twines;
Here lofty oaks around quadrupeds spread
Their leaves, while with the acorns they are fed;
While stately palm-trees prove a cool retreat,
To screen the natives from the sultry heat.
Here all the diff'rent species of the wood
Prowl on in safety, and enjoy their food,
Then lay them down by limpid streams, abide,
And slumber as the murm'ring waters glide.
As when a peasant to his garden brings
Soft rills of water from the bubbling springs,
And calls the floods from high to bless his bow'rs,
And feed with pregnant streams the plants and flow'rs;
Soon as he clears whate'er their passage staid,
And marks the future current with his spade,.
Swift o'er the rolling pebbles down the hills,
Louder and louder purl the murm❜ring rills;
Before him scatt'ring, they prevent his pains,
And shine in mazy wand'rings o'er the plains.
The rose and lily spread their various dyes,
And from the jess'mine groves sweet fragrance rise ::
From thence the tuneful linnets soaring high,
With Philomel salute the morning sky;

While each harmonious warbler of the grove
Recounts its Maker's wisdom, truth and love.
Here no forboding fear disturbs the breast
Of Africans, with native freedom blest;
Here crystal streams from their primeval bed,
More cool and sweet than from the bursting lead,
Allay their thirst.

Here heathens make terrestrial bliss their own,

To kings and beggars equally unknown.

Each cottage of content a sweet retreat,

Ne'er purchas'd by the riches of the great,
With happiness and peace and plenty crown'd,
Pours copious blessings, benedictions round.
No beds of down here anxious thoughts impart,
No gilded coach conveys an aching heart;
No mighty ramparts here the natives raise,
No gorgeous palaces with sculpture blaze;
No soldiers here in glitt❜ring armour wait,
No mighty champions guard the despot's gate;
No foaming charger deck'd with gold profound,
Neighs, prances, rears, or foaming, paws the ground;
No precious stones or beaming di'monds shine,
Emboss'd on sculptur'd bowls, with sparkling wine ;
No cringing vassals here their bondage bear,
No cowards court the kings they hate and fear;
No sable hero bends beneath their sway,

No dikes impose, no votaries obey.

But here the lambkins bleat the native's toil,
The hinds are gen'rous as their natal soil.
Woods crown the mountains, and each myrtle grove,
In scented meads the frisking heiffers rove.
Soft rains and pearly dews refresh the fields,
Perpetual spring eternal verdure yields.
The balmy spirit of the fragrant gale
Breathes on the blushing fruits untaught to fail.
Each dropping pear a following pear supplies,
On plantains plantains, plumbs on plumbs arise.
The lovely seasons give the blooms to blow,
The buds to blossom, and the fruits to grow.
The herbs for ever bud, for ever green,
The rose and lily luminate the scene;
The blushing fruits all beauteous to behold,

B. 2

« PrécédentContinuer »