Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Fall of Zampor
By William Moore Smith (1759–1821)
A Peruvian Ode.

NOW ruin lifts her haggard head
  And madly staring horror screams!
O’er yonder field bestrew’d with dead,
  See, how the lurid lightning gleams!
Lo! ’mid the terrors of the storm,        5
  From yonder black brow’d cloud of night,
The mighty Capac’s dreadful form
  Bursts forth upon my aching sight!
But ah! what phantoms, fleeting round
  Give double horrors to the gloom,        10
Each pointing to the ghastly wound
  That sent him, shroudless to the tomb!
On me they bend the scowling eye;
  For me their airy arms they wave!
Oh! stay—nor yet from Zampor fly,        15
  We ’ll be companions in the grave!—
Dear victims of a tyrant’s rage!
  They ’re gone!—each shadowy form is fled,
Yet soon these hoary locks of age
  Shall low as theirs in dust be laid!        20
Thou faithless steel, that harmless fell
  Upon the haughty Spaniard’s crest,
Swift to my swelling heart, go tell
  How deep thou ’st pierced thy master’s breast.
But shall curst Spain’s destroying son,        25
  With transport smile on Zampor’s fate?
No ere the deed of death be done
  The tyrant’s blood shall glut my hate.
Yon forked flash with friendly glare
  Points where his crimson’d banners fly,        30
Look down, ye forms of fleeting air,
  I yet shall triumph ere I die!
He spoke—and like a meteor’s blaze
  Rush’d on th’ unguarded Spaniard’s lord;
Around his head the lightning plays—        35
  Reflected from his brandish’d sword:
“Great Capac nerve the arm of age,
  And guide it swift to Garcia’s breast,
His pangs shall all my pangs assuage,
  His death shall give my country rest.        40
Ye powers who thirst for human blood
  Receive this victim at your shrine!”
Aghast the circling warriors stood
  Nor could prevent the chief’s design.
“’T is Garcia’s crimson stream that flows,        45
  ’T is Zampor hurls him to his fate—
The author of my country’s woes
  Now sinks the victim of my hate.”
From Garcia’s breast the steel he drew
  And sheathed it deep within his own—        50
“I come, ye gods of lost Peru,”
  He said—and died without a groan.

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