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HECCAR AND GAIRA

AN AFRICAN ECLOGUE.

JAN. 3, 1770.

1 WHERE the rough Caigra rolls the surgy wave,
2 Urging his thunders thro the echoing|[distant]
* Echoing and distant, copied from the Boy's own hand; both uncancelled.
cave;
3 Where the sharp rocks, in distant horror seen,
4 Drive the white currents thro' the spreading green;
5 Where the loud Tyger, pawing in his rage,
6 Bids the black Archers of the wilds engage;
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7 Stretch'd on the sand, two panting Warriors lay,
8 In all the burning torments of the day;
9 Their bloody jav'lins reek'd on living steem
10 Their bows were broken at the roaring stream:
11 Heccar the Chief of Jarra's fruitful Hill,
12 Where the dark vapours nightly dews distill,
13 Saw Gaira the companion of his soul,
14 Extended where loud Caigra's billows roll;
15 Gaira, the King of warring Archers found,
16 Where daily lightnings plow the sandy ground,
17 Where brooding tempests howl along the sky,
18 Where rising desarts whirl'd in circles fly.
HECCAR.
19 Gaira, 'tis useless to attempt the chace,
20 Swifter than hunted Wolves they urge the race;
21 Their lessening forms elude the straining eye,
22 Upon the plumage of Macaws they fly.
23 Let us return, and strip the reeking slain
24 Leaving the bodies on the burning plain.
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GAIRA.
25 Heccar, my vengeance still exclaims for blood,
26 'Twould drink a wider stream than Caigra's flood.
27 This jav'lin, oft in nobler quarrels try'd,
28 Put the loud thunder of their arms aside.
29 Fast as the streaming rain, I pour'd the dart,
30 Hurling a whirlwind thro' the trembling heart:
31 But now my lingring feet revenge denies,
32 O could I throw my javlin from my eyes!
HECCAR.
33 When Gaira the united armies broke,
34 Death wing'd the arrow; Death impell'd the stroke.
35 See, pil'd in mountains, on the sanguine sand
36 The blasted of the lightnings of thy hand.
37 Search the brown desart, and the glossy green;
38 There are the trophies of thy valour seen.
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39 The scatter'd bones mantled in silver white,
40 Once animated, dared the force
* Query, whether not intended for foes?
in fight.
41 The Children of the Wave, whose palid race
42 Views the faint sun, display a languid face,
43 From the red fury of thy justice fled,
44 Swifter than torrents from their rocky bed.
45 Fear with a sicken'd silver ting'd their hue:
46 The guilty fear, when vengeance is their due.
GAIRA.
47 Rouse not Remembrance from her shad'wy cell,
48 Nor of those bloody sons of mischief tell.
49 Cawna, O Cawna! deck'd in sable charms,
50 What distant region holds thee from my arms?
51 Cawna, the pride of Afric's sultry vales,
52 Soft as the cooling murmur of the gales,
53 Majestic as the many colour'd Snake,
54 Trailing his glories thro' the blossom'd brake;
55 Black as the glossy rocks, where Eascal roars,
56 Foaming thro' sandy wastes to Jaghirs shores;
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57 Swift as the arrow, hasting to the breast,
58 Was Cawna the companion of my rest.
59 The sun sat low'ring in the Western sky,
60 The swelling tempest spread around the eye;
61 Upon my Cawna's bosom I reclind,
62 Catching the breathing whispers of the wind:
63 Swift from the wood a prowling Tiger came;
64 Dreadful his voice, his eyes a glowing flame;
65 I bent the bow, the never-erring dart
66 Pierc'd his rough armour, but escap'd his heart;
67 He fled, tho' wounded, to a distant waste,
68 I urg'd the furious flight with fatal haste;
69 He fell, he dy'd spent in the fiery toil,
70 I stripid his carcase of the furry spoil
71 And as the varied spangles met my eye,
72 On this, I cried, shall my lov'd Cawna lie.
73 The dusky midnight hung the skies in grey;
74 Impell'd by Love, I wing'd the airy way;
75 In the deep valley and the mossy plain,
76 I sought my Cawna, but I sought in vain.
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77 The pallid shadows of the azure waves
78 Had made my Cawna and my children slaves.
79 Reflection maddens, to recall the hour,
80 The Gods had giv'n me to the Daemon's power.
81 The dusk slow vanish'd from the hated lawn,
82 I gain'd a mountain glaring with the dawn.
83 There the full sails, expanded to the wind,
84 Struck horror and distraction in my mind,
85 There Cawna mingled with a worthless train,
86 In common slav'ry drags the hated chain.
87 Now judge my Heccar, have I cause for rage?
88 Should aught the thunder of my arm assuage?
89 In ever-reeking blood this jav'lin dy'd
90 With vengeance shall be never satisfied:
91 I'll strew the beaches with the mighty dead
92 And tinge the lily of their features red.
HECCAR.
93 When the loud shriekings of the hostile cry
94 Roughly salute my ear, enrag'd I'll fly;
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95 Send the sharp arrow quivering thro' the heart
96 Chill the hot vitals with the venom'd dart;
97 Nor heed the shining steel or noisy smoke,
98 Gaira and Vengeance shall inspire the stroke.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): HECCAR AND GAIRA AN AFRICAN ECLOGUE.
Themes:
Genres: heroic couplet; eclogue

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Source edition

A Supplement to the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton London: printed for T. Becket, in Pall-Mall; Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Their Royal Highnesses the Princes. MDCCLXXXIV., 1784, pp. 53-59. [6],ii,88p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T48948; OTA K045459.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Thomas Chatterton