MEXICAN HUNTING-GROUNDS AND SCENERY a Poem
MEXICAN HUNTING-GROUNDS AND SCENERY
HIGH on a bare volcanic cliff
Above the drifting clouds I stand,
And gaze o'er many a shining league
Of the flowery Mexic land;
Beneath me ancient forests lie,
Their green tops rippled by the breeze;
Their massive foliage heaves and rolls
Like tumbling billows of the seas;
So thick they weave their leafy screen
That scarce a broken sunbeam falls
Thro' their green arches to illume
The sombre shadows of their halls;
And many a gay, resplendent vine
Like glittering serpent climbs their tops;
The cactus twines its color'd crowns,
The aloe its gay garland drops;
And radiant birds with spangled wings
Dart through the forest openings.
And here the browsing deer-herds roam;
Now scouring the extended plain.
Now lost in arbor of the wild,
Now trampling by the surging main;
And through the thick umbrageous depths
The shy wild-turkey leads its brood,
And swarms of chattering monkeys sweep
Along the summits of the wood.
High soaring in the empty air
Vast cones volcanic rise like clouds,
Each with its vapory flag of smoke
That ever the tall height enshrouds.
The Indian, ages long ago,
Or ere the Spaniard trod the shore,
With awe beheld those mystic flames
And hearken'd to the crater's roar;
Deeming the goblins of the mine,
With incantations weird and dark
Mingling their orgies in the gloom
Of midnight, lit each lurid spark.
Far down, amid the valleys green,
Soft scenes o'erspread the smiling land,
Flowers of bright hues and fragrant smell
Are sown broadcast by nature's hand;
All the gay colors that entwine
The rainbow, here celestial shine,—
Each radiant with a matchless bloom,
Each aromatic with perfume.
Afar I hear the tinkling bell
Of the slow caravan ascend,
And voices of the muleteers
In soft, harmonious cadence blend;
Far-off o'er Guatemala's plain,
O'er peasant huts I see the smokes,
And from each little chapel hear
The evening bell's soft-chiming strokes.
And, glistening in the setting sun,
The distant city glitters bright;
Belfry and cupola sublime
Irradiant with the streaming light.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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