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“Equal ye are in courage and in worth;
Heaven has assigned to all an equal birth :
In wealth, in power, and majesty of soul,
Each Chief seems worthy of the world's control.
These gracious gifts, not gratefully beheld,
To this dire strife your daring minds impelled.

“But on your generous valor I depend,
That all our country's woes will swiftly end.
A Leader still our present state demands,
To guide to vengeance our impatient bands;
Fit for this hardy task that Chief I deem,
Who longest may sustain a massive beam:
Your rank is equal, let your force be tried
And for the strongest let his strength decide."

The chieftains acquiesce in this proposal. The beam is produced, and of a size so enormous that the poet declares himself afraid to specify its weight. The first chieftains who engage in the trial support it on their shoulders five and six hours each ; Tucapel fourteen ; and Lincoya more than double that number, - when the assembly, considering his strength as almost supernatural, is eager to bestow on him the title of general : but in the moment he is exulting in this new honor, Caupolican arrives without attendants.

Though from his birth one darkened eye he drew
(The viewless orb was of the granite's hue),
Nature, who partly robbed him of his sight,
Repaid this failure by redoubled might.
This noble youth was of the highest state;
His actions honored, and his words of weight:
Prompt and resolved in every generous cause,
A friend to Justice and her sternest laws:
Fashioned for sudden feats, or toils of length,
His limbs possessed both suppleness and strength:
Dauntless his mind, determined and adroit
In every quick and hazardous exploit.

This accomplished chieftain is received with great joy by the assembly; and having surpassed Lincoya by many degrees in the trial, is invested with the supreme command. He dispatches a small party to attack a neighboring Spanish fort : they execute his orders, and make a vigorous assault. After a sharp conflict they are repulsed ; but in the moment of their retreat Caupolican arrives with his army to their support. The Spaniards in despair evacuate the fort, and make their escape in the night : the news is brought to Valdivia, the Spanish commander in the city of Conception; and with his resolution to punish the barbarians the canto concludes.




After a panegyric on clemency, and a noble censure of those enormous cruelties by which his countrymen sullied their military fame, the poet relates the dreadful carnage which ensued as the Indians approached the fort. The Spaniards, after destroying numbers by their artillery, send forth a party of horse, who cut the fugitives to pieces. They inhumanly murder thirteen of their most distinguished prisoners, by blowing them from the mouths of cannon : but none of the confederate chieftains whom the poet has particularly celebrated were included in this number; for those high-spirited barbarians had refused to attend Caupolican in this assault, as they considered it disgraceful to attack their enemies by surprise. The unfortunate Indian leader, seeing his forces thus unexpectedly massacred, escapes with ten faithful followers, and wanders through the country in the most calamitous condition. The Spaniards endeavor, by all the means they can devise, to discover his retreat: the faithful inhabitants of Arauco refuse to betray him.

Ercilla, in searching the country with a small party, finds a young wounded female. She informs him that, marching with her husband, she had the misfortune of seeing him perish in the late slaughter; that a friendly soldier, in pity for her extreme distress, had tried to end her miserable life in the midst of the confusion, but had failed in his generous design, by giving her an ineffectual wound; that she had been removed from the field of battle to that sequestered spot, where she languished in the hourly hope of death, which she now implores from the hand of Ercilla. Our poet consoles her, dresses her wound, and leaves one of his attendants to protect her.


One of the prisoners whom the Spaniards had taken in their search after Caupolican is at last tempted by bribes to

betray his general. He conducts the Spaniards to a spot near the sequestered retreat of this unfortunate chief, and directs them how to discover it ; but he refuses to advance with them, overcome by his dread of the hero whom he is tempted to betray. The Spaniards surround the house in which the chieftain had taken refuge with his ten faithful associates. Alarmed by a sentinel, he prepares for defense ; but being soon wounded in the arm, surrenders, endeavoring to conceal his high character, and to make the Spaniards believe him an ordinary soldier.

With their accustomed shouts, and greedy toil,
Our furious troops now riot in their spoil;
Through the lone village their quick rapine spread,
Nor leave unpillaged e'en a single shed:
When from a tent, that placed on safer ground,
The neighboring hill's uncultured summit crowned,
A woman rushed, who, in her hasty flight,
Ran through the roughest paths along the rocky height.
A Negro of our train, who marked her way,
Soon made the hapless fugitive his prey ;
For thwarting crags her doubtful steps impede,
And the fair form was ill prepared for speed;
For at her breast she bore her huddled son;
To fifteen months the infant's life had run:
From our brave captive sprung the blooming boy,
Of both his parents the chief pride and joy.
The Negro carelessly his victim brought,
Nor knew th' important prize his haste had caught.

Our soldiers now, to catch the cooling tide,
Had sallied to the murmuring river's side:
When the unhappy Wife beheld her Lord,
His strong arms bound with a disgraceful cord,
Stript of each ensign of his past command,
And led the pris'ner of our shouting band;
Her anguish burst not into vain complaint,
No female terrors her firm soul attaint;
But, breathing fierce disdain, and anger wild,
Thus she exclaimed, advancing with her child :-

“The stronger arm that in this shameful band
Has tied thy weak effeminated hand,
Had nobler pity to thy state exprest
If it had bravely pierced that coward breast.
Wert thou the Warrior whose heroic worth
So swiftly flew around the spacious earth,

Whose name alone, unaided by thy arm,
Shook the remotest climes with fear's alarm ?
Wert thou the Victor whose triumphant strain
Promised with rapid sword to vanquish Spain;
To make new realms Arauco's power revere,
And spread her empire o'er the Arctic sphere?
Wretch that I am! how was my heart deceived,
In all the noble pride with which it heaved,
When through the world my boasted title ran,
Tresia, the wife of great Caupolican!
Now, plunged in misery from the heights of fame,
My glories end in this detested shame,
To see thee captive in a lonely spot,
When death and honor might have been thy lot ?

“What now avail thy scenes of happier strife,
So dearly bought by many a nobler life;
The wondrous feats, that valor scarce believed,
By thee with hazard and with toil achieved ?
Where are the vaunted fruits of thy command,
The laurels gathered by this fettered hand ?
All sunk! all turned to this abhorred disgrace,
To live the slave of this ignoble race!
Say, had thy soul no strength, thy hand no lance,
To triumph o'er the fickle power of chance ?
Dost thou not know that to the Warrior's name,
A gallant exit gives immortal fame ?

“ Behold the burden which my breast contains, Since of thy love no other pledge remains ! Hadst thou in glory's arms resigned thy breath, We both had followed thee in joyous death : Take, take thy son! he was a tie most dear, Which spotless love once made my

heart revere ; Take him ! — by generous pain, and wounded pride, The currents of this fruitful breast are dried : Rear him thyself, for thy gigantic frame, To woman turned, a woman's charge may claim : A mother's title I no more desire, Or shameful children from a shameful sire!"

As thus she spoke, with growing madness stung, The tender nursling from her arms she flung, With savage fury, hast’ning from our sight, While anguish seemed to aid her rapid flight. Vain were our efforts, our indignant cries, No gentle prayers, Cur angry threats, suffice To make her breast, where cruel frenzy burned, Receive the little innocent she spurned.



(From “The Lusiad.")

[LUIZ DE CAMOENS, the greatest Portuguese epic poet, was born about 1524 at Coimbra, where he studied the ancient classics in the university of that city. In consequence of a love affair with Donna Caterina de Ataide, a lady in attendance on the queen, he was banished to Santarem ; joined the army of Africa; and lost his right eye in a naval battle. Subsequently he embarked for India and settled at Goa, whence he was exiled to Macao for a satire exposing the corruption of Portuguese officials. After various adventures in Goa, Macao, and Mozambique, he landed in Lisbon with no other possession than his epic “The Lusiad." He passed his last years in dire poverty, and died obscurely in the hospital at Lisbon, June 10, 1580. His principal work, “The Lusiad” (published in 1572), commemorates the achievements of Portuguese heroism, and is regarded in Portugal as the national epic. His minor works include sonnets, comedies, ballads, and epigrams.]

As thus in Jove's ethereal domicile,
Of high debate is prosperous issue won,
The martial people on the seas the while
Up from the south, and eastward bearing, run
Betwixt that Ethiop coast and famous Isle
Of Madagascar, at what time the sun
Inflames the starry twain who took the shape
Of fishes, dread Typhæus to escape.

The wind so gently wafted them along,
It seemed to know that heaven was now their friend;
Serene the air, no cloud above them hung,
Nor sign around that danger might portend.
On Ethiop's coast a name when earth was young-
The Cape of Prassus smoothly cleared, they wend,
Till now the sea reveals new isles, a group
Enlinked and fondled in its wavy loop.

No cause perceived for tarriance, even brief,
On shores that showed no trace of human kind,
Vasco da Gama, the high-hearted chief -
A man by nature for command designed,
True to his aim, alike in joy or grief,
And loved by Fortune for his constant mind —
Right onward would have held, but here th' event
Crossed his surmise, and baffled his intent.

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