Lamentation Of The Peruvians

A poem by Alfred Tennyson

The foes of the east have come down on our shore,
And the state and the strength of Peru are no more:
Oh! curs’d, doubly curs’d, was that desolate hour,
When they spread o’er our land in the pride of their power!
Lament for the Inca, the son of the Sun;
Ataliba’s fallen–Peru is undone!

Pizarro! Pizarro! though conquest may wing
Her course round thy banners that wanton in air;
Yet remorse to thy grief-stricken conscience shall cling,
And shriek o’er thy banquets in sounds of despair,
It shall tell thee, that he who beholds from his throne
The blood thou hast spilt and the deeds thou hast done,
Shall mock at thy fear, and rejoice at thy groan,
And arise in his wrath for the death of his son!
Why blew ye, ye gales, when the murderer came?
Why fann’d ye the fire, and why fed ye the flame?
Why sped ye his sails o’er the ocean so blue?
Are ye also combin’d for the fall of Peru?–
And thou, whom no prayers, no entreaties can bend,
Thy crimes and thy murders to heav’n shall ascend:
For vengeance the ghosts of our forefathers call;
At thy threshold, Pizarro, in death shalt thou fall!
Ay there–even there in the halls of thy pride,
With the blood of thine heart shall thy portals be dyed!

Lo! dark as the tempests that frown from the north,
From the cloud of past time Manco Capac looks forth–
Great Inca! to whom the gay day-star gave birth,
Whose throne is the heaven, and whose foot-stool the earth–
His visage is sad as the vapours that rise
From the desolate mountain of fire to the skies;
But his eye flashes flame as the lightnings that streak
Those volumes that shroud the volcano’s high peak.
Hark! he speaks–bids us fly to our mountains, and cherish
Bold freedom’s last spark ere for ever it perish;
Bids us leave these wild condors to prey on each other,
Each to bathe his fierce beak in the gore of his brother!
This symbol we take of our godhead the Sun,
And curse thee and thine for the deeds thou hast done.
May the curses pursue thee of those thou hast slain,
Of those that have fallen in war on the plain,
When we went forth to greet ye–but foully ye threw
Your dark shots of death on the sons of Peru.
May the curse of the widow–the curse of the brave–
The curse of the fatherless, cleave to thy grave!
And the words which they spake with their last dying breath,
Embitter the pangs and the tortures of death!

May he that assists thee be childless and poor,
With famine behind him, and death at his door;
May his nights be all sleepless, his days spent alone,
And ne’er may he list to a voice but his own!
Or, if he shall sleep, in his dreams may he view
The ghost of our Inca, the fiends of Peru;
May the flames of destruction that here he has spread
Be tenfold return’d on his murderous head!

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