Man is born to die

Man is born to die,
And so are nations. Thus I mused,
As on the Inca's pyramid
I sat and gazed around.
Here, methought, a royal race,
To whom a nation bowed,
As if they were the sons of Heaven,
Came and paid their adoration
To the all-o'erseeing sun.
And where is now that royal race?
Gone, and mingled with the ages
That have passed away.
Here a countless multitude
Of self-made slaves, through weary years,
Toiled and built this stately pile.
Years on years have rolled away,
Since they who built it lived.
Still it rears its massy front,
And stands unmoved, in proud defiance,
'Gainst the scythe of time
And ruin's crumbling hand;
While the same winds bleach the bones
Of the poor slave, that toiled,
And the great king, who bade.

'T WAS midnight,β€”and the full round moon
Was riding in the midway heaven,
And poured her faint but spotless light
Around the pillow where he lay.
On the tender grass, and half-shut flowers,
That closed their leaves against the nightly air,
The dews, that hung in falling drops,
Sparkled with a feeble ray.
Sleep poured ouTher poppy dews,
And spread her gauzy mantle o'er him;
Like an infant in its cradle,
There in innocence he lay,
Unconscious of impending harm.
Sudden from the ground he starts,
And feels it rock beneath his feet,
And like the ocean roll.
From the north, a growling sound
Rushes on his ear.
Louder, louder, on it comes,
Like the never-ending din
Of some wide waterfall,
That in the desert pours its ceaseless flood;
Or like the roar of ocean
When the tempest rages,
And on a reef of broken rocks
The billows chafing, bursting, foam;
Or like the rush of myriad horsemen
When to conflict fierce they ride,
And 'neath the thundering tramp
Quivers the embattled plain.
Never ending, still increasing,
On it comes, and now beneath him
Bellows like the groans of hell:
Instant to the ground he falls,
And long entranced is lost.
Hark! the volcan's thunder
Rolling o'er the hills.
As at midnight, when the storm
Rears its front in Heaven,
And sheds a thicker darkness o'er the gloom,
Bursts the thunderbolt,
And shakes the solid ground:
So the volcan's thunder rolls.
See the lightning's flash
Quivering in the sky.
Long red streams of flaring light
Rise and lick the stars.
From the crater's mouth
Rolls the fiery flood:
Down the rocks it sweeps its way,
And the ice of ages
In an instant melts,
And bursts a torrent to the plains below.
Slower rolls the fiery flood,β€”
From cliff to cliff it tumbles,
And like the mingled roar of thousand cataracts,
Deeper, deeper strikes the ear.
Hast thou seen Niobe's statue
Stand in speechless agony,
With eye upraised, and clasped hand,
As if to curse the bolt of Heaven?
So Atalpa stood.

The night draws on,
And closer o'er the wave
Her sombre curtain spreads.
The dark-blue Heaven swells o'er the sea,
And rests its pillars on the tossing deep.
The star of evening
Has lit its lamp,
And, hanging o'er the western wave,
Sparkles upon the foam below.
How calmly steal the winds along the main,
And heave the water round the cleaving prow!
The sail swells lightly overhead,
And the streamer scarcely flutters; all is still,
But the petrel, as he circles round,
And skims the wave with snowy wing.

'T IS midnight, and the moon
Has liTher lamp in heaven.
Around her silver throne
The twinkling stars grow pale,
So bright she pours her beams.
Below her, o'er the sea,
Spread like a floor of glass
Unruffled by the winds,
Her image travels on.
As the mariner looks at the wake of the ship,
He sees a long track of light behind,
And the sparkling foam a world of gems.
I hear the voice of mirth,
The song of love, and the flute's soft note
Floating o'er the wave.
A white sail steers its course against the moon
And seems a sheet of snow.
Beneath its shade the music breathes,β€”
'T is the ship of joy that sails.
Streamers of silk wave on the topmast,
Shining with purple and gold.
So light the west wind blows,β€”
The sails flap and the cordage creaks;
While, moving to the sound of flutes,
The long white oars in order strike,
And cut the marble main.

The morn is young in heaven,
And the light is spread over the mountains;
The sky is blue above,
And the earth is green below;
The mist rolls over the rocks,
And curls its light folds in the valley;
The grass is wet with dew,
A gem is on every twinkling blade;
The song of the birds has awaked the sleeper,
And he starts on his journey anew.
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