Immagini della pagina
[ocr errors]

Je leur ai commandé de cacher mon injure;
J'attendais en secret le retour d'un parjure.
J'ai cru que tôt au tard, à ton devoir rendu,
Tu me rapporterais un cæur qui m'etait dû.
Je t'aimais inconstant, qu'aurais-je fait fidelle?
Et même, en ce moment, où ta bouche cruelle
Vient si tranquillement m'annoncer le trépas,
Ingrat, je doute encor si je ne t'aime pas.

Reproaches soon produce tenderness and intreaty: this is the coure of nature. And how is this change of tone marked?

Mais, seigneur, s'il faut, si le ciel en colere,
Réserve à d'autres yeux la gloire de vous plaire,
Achevez notre hymen, j'y consens, mais du moins,
Ne forcez pas mes yeux d'en être les temoins.
Pour la derniere fois je vous parle peut-être;
Différer-le d'un jour, demain vous serez maitre.

There are, in this request, many sentiments, of which an agirated mind does not take notice, and which wholly occupy it without its being conscious of it. She is softened, and does not wish that Pyrrhus, by espousing Andromache, should expose himself to the rage of the Greeks. She asks but one day: this at least defers the greatest of misfortunes, and the delay may perhaps prevent it: hope never abandons love. But Pyrrhus appears insensible to her prayer. She asks but one day, and is refused: nothing then remains for her but despair.

Vous ne répondez point? --Perfide, je le roi,
Tu comptes les momens que tu perds avec moi.
Ton cæur, impatient de revoir ta Troyenne;
Ne souffre qu'à regret qu'une autre t'entretienne.
Tu lui parles du cæur, tu la cherches des yeux-
Je ne te retiens plus, sauve-toi de ces lieux,
Va lui jurer le foi que tu m'avais jurée:
Va profaner des dieu la majesté sacrée.
Ces dieux, ces justes dieux n'auront pas oublié
Que les mêmes sermens avec moi t'ont lié.

Porte aux pieds des autels ce caur qui m'abandonne,
Va cours; mais crains encor d'y trouver Hermione.

Love and rage united have never been represented more justly and horribly. It would be endless enter into the detail of all that is expressed in this morsel. The analysis of five or six of Racine's characters of this description, would form a complete history of love. No man ever understood or painted it, in a better

What life there is in this verse!


Tu comptes les momens que tu perds avec moi. How just is the observation! Nothing escapes the piercing eye of a woman who loves, even in the very tempest of passion. She cannot conceal from herself, that reproaches, since they have become unavailing, render her troublesome; and that he who is the object of them involuntarily compares these irksome moments, with those which might be passed so much more pleasantly in the society of another. And the expression ta Troyenne! what haughty contempt is conveyed by it! These are but shades, if you please; but it is the combination of circumstances, even light in themselves, which forms the illusion of the whole: nothing is little in depicting the passions. The expression tu lui parles du caur, is both happy and new. We are unwilling to quit the scene: we pause, and among so many beauties, we seek in vain for a single superfluous word.

(To be continued.)



(Continued, from p. 146.) The next day we pursued the road over the heights before mentioned, and on our descent discovered the province of Choleo belonging to Montezuma. At the distance of not less than two leagues before arriving at any settlement, we found a very handsome building newly erected, and sufficiently large to lodge all my attendants, notwithstanding I had with me more than four thousand Indians. We here found provisions in abundance, a very good fire, and great quantities of wood, a very necessary

precaution, in consequence of the cold caused by the proximity of the mountains.

In this lodging I received several ambassadors from Montezuma, one of whom, I was informed, was his brother. They made me presents to the amount of about three thousand golden crowns, and requested me to return and not persist in entering a country covered with water, where there was no travelling but in canoes or over very difficult roads, and whare provisions were extremely scarce. They again urged me to let them know what were my wishes, assuring me that their master Montezuma would satisfy them, and at the same time engage to pay me annually a stipulated sum, which should be sent to me at whatever place I should appoint.

I treated these ambassadors with much attention, and presented them with such productions of Spain as they esteemed the most, particularly the one whom I supposed to be Montezuma's brother; at the same time I desired them to inform their sovereign, that I would willingly, to gratify him, consent to return, if is depended on me, but that I had come thither by the express orders of your majesty, who had required of me a particular description of that monarch, and the beautiful city in which he resided. That I begged him to receive my visit kindly, assuring him that I would not offer him the least injury, but would return as soon as I had seen him, unless he should be de. sirous of keeping me with him, and that we could much better concert such measures between ourselves as would promote your majesty's interest than could possibly be done through the medium of others, whatever credit they might be entitled to.

The ambassadors returned with this reply. Soon after, on examining carefully the environs of our quarters, I thought I perceived that preparations had been made for attacking us in the night. Of course I kept on my guard in such a manner as to induce our enemies to relinquish their plan, as my scouts discovered that they had privately withdrawn some troops which they had collected in the adjoining wood.

The next morning I departed for Amaqueruca at two leagues distance from where I passed the night. Here we were well accommodated in houses belonging to the caciques. Many of the principal inhabitants came to visit me, and told me that Montezuma had ordered them to attend me and furnish me with whatever I wanted. The chief cacique of the province presented me with forty slaves and a thousand crowns, and for the two days that I remained at Amaqueruca we were abundantly supplied with every necessary. On the third day I quitted that place in company with the envoys of Montezuma, and at night took our lodgings in a small enclosure, partly built on the edge of a large march, and partly on a piece of ground adjoining a range of very steep and rocky mountains, where we were very well ac

commodated. The Mexicans were desirous of engaging us in a situation so disadvantageous; but they wished to do it with security, and to surprise us in our sleep. This was, however, no easy matter, as we kept constantly on our guard, and thwarted all their attempts by the celerity of our measures. The number of our centinels were doubled, and we killed more than twenty of their spies, in canoes, or on the top of the mountain whither they kept constantly coming, to discover a favourable opportunity to attack us, but when they found that it was impossible to surprise us, they changed their plan of conduct, and resolved to treat us well.

On the next morning as I was preparing to depart, ten or twelve of the principal caciques, as I have since found them to be, came to see me. Among them was one,* not exceeding twenty-five years of age, whom the others treated with such respect, that whenever he left his litter, they walked before him, in order to remove the stones and clear the road. When I arrived at my quarters, these ambassadors informed me that they had been sent by Montezuma to accompany me, and that he begged me to excuse him for not coming in person to receive me, as he was indisposed; but that he was not far off, and as I was resolved to come and visit him, we should soon meet, when he would be glad to learn what he could do for your majesty's service. If I would, however, hearken to his advice, I should relinquish my design of advancing farther in a country, where I should experience many toils and privations, and where, to his sorrow, he should be unable to supply me with all that I might want.

The ambassadors adhered with such obstinacy to this point, that they omitted nothing to induce me to return, except actually threatening to oppose my passage if I advanced. I did every thing in my power to satisfy and quiet them, as to the object of my journey, and dismissed them, after having made them presents, and immediately followed after.

At the distance of two musket shot from the road, I passed a small city, built upon piles, apparently well fortified, and inaccessible on all sides, and capable of containing about two thousand inhabitants.

A league farther we came to a causeway, a pike's length in breadth, and two-thirds of a league in extent. This conducted us to a small city, but the most beautiful that I had yet seen. The

* This was Cacamatzin, lord of Tezcuvo, the nephew of Montezuma. Bernal Diaz thus describes his meeting with Cortez: “ Cacamatzin followed, (the four Mexican courtiers who had announced his approach) in the greatest pomp, carried in a magnificent litter, adorned with green plumes, and enriched with jewels, set in the branched pillars of solid gold. He was borne by eight lords, who assisted him out of the litter, and swept the way by which he was to pass.” B. Diaz, p. 130. He is called in the Mexican tradition Quitzalcoutl.

[ocr errors][merged small]


houses, as well as the towers, were handsomely built; and the piles, on which they were placed, arranged in admirable order. The inhabitants amounted to about two thousand; they received us very kindly, furnished us with provisions in abundance, and solicited us to pass the night there. But I was persuaded by the envoys of Montezuma to go on three leagues farther, to Iztapalapa, which belonged to a brother of Montezuma.

We left this city by a causeway similar to the first, of about a league in extent. Before we entered Iztapalapa, one of the caciques of that city, and another of Calnaalcan, came to meet me; and on my arrival I met several others, who presented me with some slaves, pieces of cloth, and three thousand crowns in gold.

Iztapalapa* contains from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants. It is situated partiy on the land, and partly on the water. I saw there several new houses belonging to the governor, which were not quite completed, and were as strong, and nearly as well built, as to their architecture and ornaments, as the best houses in Spain. We found here delightful gardens, filled with odorife

Iztapalapa. Bernal Diaz, in his naïve manner, thus describes that city: "When we beheld the number of populous towns on the water, and firm ground, and that broad causeway (the causeway of Iztalapapa) running straight and level to the city (Mexico) we could compare it to nothing but the enchanted scenes we had read of in Amadis de Gaul, from the great towers and temples, and other edifices of stone and lime, which seemed to rise out of the water. To many of us it appeared doubtful whether we were asleep or awake; nor is the manner in which I express myself to be wondered at; for it must be considered, that never yet did man see, hear, or dream of any thing equal to the spectacle which appeared to our eyes on this day.

“When we approached Iztapalapa, we were received by several great lords of that country, relations of Montezuma, who conducted us to our lodgings there, in palaces magnificently built of stone, the timber of which was cedar, with spacious courts, and apartments furnished with canopies of the finest cotten.'

“ After having contemplated these noble edifices, we walked through the gardens, which were admirable to behold, from the variety of beautiful and aromatic plants, and the numerous alleys filled with fruit trees, roses, and various flowers. Here was also a lake of the clearest water, which communicated with the grand lake of Mexico, by a channel cut for the purpose, and capable of admitting the largest canoes. The whole was ornamented with works of art, painted, and admirably plaistered and whitened, and it was rendered more delightful by numbers of beautiful birds. When I beheld the scenes that were around me, I thought within myself, that this was the garden of the world.” B. Diaz, p. 130–131.

“ The Mexican Indians have preserved the same taste for flowers which Cortez found in his time. A nosegay was the most valuable treat which could be made to the ambassadors who visited the court of Montezuma. This monarch, and his predecessors, had collected a great number of rare plants in the gardens of Iztapalapa. The famous hand-tree, the cheirostemors, described by M. Cervantes, of which, for a long time, only a single individual was known, of very high antiquity, appears to indicate that the



« IndietroContinua »