NARVA AND MORED,
AN AFRICAN ECLOGUE.
1 RECITE the loves of Narva and Mored
2 The priest of Chalma's triple idol said.
3 High from the ground the youthful warriors sprung,
4 Loud on the concave shell the lances rung:
5 In all the mystic mazes of the dance,
6 The youths of Banny's burning sands advance,
7 Whilst the soft virgin panting looks behind,
8 And rides upon the pinions of the wind:
9 Ascends the mountains brow, and measures round
10 The steepy cliffs of Chalma's sacred ground.
11 Chalma, the god whose noisy thunders fly
12 Thro' the dark covering of the midnight sky.
13 Whose arm directs the close-embattled host,
14 And sinks the labouring vessels on the coast.
15 Chalma, whose excellence is known from far;
16 From Lupa's rocky hill to Calabar.
17 The guardian god of Afric and the isles,
18 Where Nature in her strongest vigour smiles;
19 Where the blue blosson of the forky thorn,
20 Bends with the nectar of the op'ning morn:[Page 57]
21 Where ginger's aromatic, matted root,
22 Creep through the mead, and up the mountains shoot.
23 Three times the virgin, swimming on the breeze,
24 Danc'd in the shadow of the mystic trees:
25 When, like a dark cloud spreading to the view,
26 The first-born sons of war and blood pursue;
27 Swift as the elk they pour along the plain;
28 Swift as the flying clouds distilling rain.
29 Swift as the boundings of the youthful roe,
30 They course around, and lengthen as they go.
31 Like the long chain of rocks, whose summits rise,
32 Far in the sacred regions of the skies;
33 Upon whose top the black'ning tempest lours,
34 Whilst down its side the gushing torrent pours,
35 Like the long cliffy mountains which extend
36 From Lorbar's cave, to where the nations end,
37 Which sink in darkness, thick'ning and obscure,
38 Impenetrable, mystic and impure;
39 The flying terrors of the war advance,
40 And round the sacred oak, repeat the dance.
41 Furious they twist around the gloomy trees,
42 Like leaves in autumn, twirling with the breeze.
43 So when the splendor of the dying day
44 Darts the red lustre of the wat'ry way;[Page 58]
45 Sudden beneath Toddida's whistling brink,
46 The circling billows in wild eddies sink,
47 Whirl furious round, and the loud bursting wave
48 Sinks down to Chalma's sacerdotal cave,
49 Explores the palaces on Zira's coast,
50 Where howls the war-song of the chieftain's ghost;
51 Where the artificer in realms below,
52 Gilds the rich lance, or beautifies the bow;
53 From the young palm-tree spins the useful twine,
54 Or makes the teeth of elephants divine.
55 Where the pale children of the feeble sun,
56 In search of gold, thro' every climate run:
57 From burning heat to freezing torments go,
58 And live in all vicissitudes of woe.
59 Like the loud eddies of Toddida's sea,
60 The warriors circle the mysterious tree:
61 'Till spent with exercise they spread around
62 Upon the op'ning blossoms of the ground.
63 The priestess rising, sings the sacred tale,
64 And the loud chorus echoes thro' the dale.
65 Far from the burning sands of Calabar;
66 Far from the lustre of the morning star;[Page 59]
67 Far from the pleasure of the holy morn;
68 Far from the blessedness of Chalma's horn:
69 Now rest the souls of Narva and Mored,
70 Laid in the dust, and number'd with the dead.
71 Dear are their memories to us, and long,
72 Long, shall their attributes be known in song.
73 Their lives were transient as the meadow flow'r
74 Ripen'd in ages, wither'd in an hour.
75 Chalma, reward them in his gloomy cave,
76 And open all the prisons of the grave.
77 Bred to the service of the godhead's throne,
78 And living but to serve his God alone,
79 Narva was beauteous as the op'ning day
80 When on the spangling waves the sun-beams play,
81 When the Mackaw ascending to the sky,
82 Views the bright splendor with a steady eye.
83 Tall, as the house of Chalma's dark retreat;
84 Compact and firm, as Rhadal Ynca's fleet,
85 Compleatly beauteous as a summers sun,
86 Was Narva, by his excellence undone.
87 Where the soft Togla creeps along the meads,
88 Thro' scented Calamus and fragrant reeds;
89 Where the sweet Zinsa spreads its matted bed
90 Liv'd the still sweeter flow'r, the young Mored;
91 Black was her face, as Togla's hidden cell;
92 Soft as the moss where hissing adders dwell. [Page 60]
93 As to the sacred court she brought a fawn,
94 The sportive tenant of the spicy lawn,
95 She saw and lov'd! And Narva too forgot
96 His sacred vestment and his mystic lot.
97 Long had the mutual sigh, the mutual tear,
98 Burst from the breast and scorn'd confinement there,
99 Existence was a torment! O my breast!
100 Can I find accents to unfold the rest!
101 Lock'd in each others arms, from Hyga's cave,
102 They plung'd relentless to a wat'ry grave;
103 And falling murmur'd to the pow'rs above,
104 "Gods! Take our lives, unless we live to love."
Shoreditch, May 2, 1770.