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Thomas Chatterton Poems
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Heccar and Gaira by Thomas Chatterton
Where the rough Caigra rolls the surgy wave,
Urging his thunders thro' the echoing cave;
Where the sharp rocks, in distant horror seen,
Drive the white currents thro' the spreading green;
Where the loud tiger, pawing in his rage,
Bids the black archers of the wilds engage;
Stretch'd on the sand, two panting warriors lay,
In all the burning torments of the day;
Their bloody jav'lins reeked one living steam,
Their bows were broken at the roaring stream;
Heccar the Chief of Jarra's fruitful hill,
Where the dark vapours nightly dews distil,
Saw Gaira the companion of his soul,
Extended where loud Caigra's billows roll;
Gaira, the king of warring archers found,
Where daily lightnings plough the sandy ground,
Where brooding tempests bowl along the sky,
Where rising deserts whirl'd in circles fly.

Gaira, 'tis useless to attempt the chace,
Swifter than hunted wolves they urge the race;
Their lessening forms elude the straining eye,
Upon the plumage of macaws they fly.
Let us return, and strip the reeking slain
Leaving the bodies on the burning plain.

Heccar, my vengeance still exclaims for blood,
'Twould drink a wider stream than Caigra's flood.
This jav'lin, oft in nobler quarrels try'd,
Put the loud thunder of their arms aside.
Fast as the streaming rain, I pour'd the dart,
Hurling a whirlwind thro' the trembling heart;
But now my ling'ring feet revenge denies,
O could I throw my jav'lin from my eyes!

When Gaira the united armies broke,
Death wing'd the arrow; death impell'd the stroke.
See, pil'd in mountains, on the sanguine sand
The blasted of the lightnings of thy hand.
Search the brown desert, and the glossy green;
There are the trophies of thy valour seen.
The scatter'd bones mantled in silver white,
Once animated, dared the force in fight.
The children of the wave, whose pallid face,
Views the faint sun display a languid face,
From the red fury of thy justice fled,
Swifter than torrents from their rocky bed.
Fear with a sickened silver ting'd their hue;
The guilty fear, when vengeance is their due.

Rouse not Remembrance from her shadowy cell,
Nor of those bloody sons of mischief tell.
Cawna, O Cawna! deck'd in sable charms,
What distant region holds thee from my arms?
Cawna, the pride of Afric's sultry vales,
Soft as the cooling murmur of the gales,
Majestic as the many colour'd snake,
Trailing his glories thro' the blossom'd brake;
Black as the glossy rocks, where Eascal roars,
Foaming thro' sandy wastes to Jaghir's shores;
Swift as the arrow, hasting to the breast,
Was Cawna, the companion of my rest.

The sun sat low'ring in the western sky,
The swelling tempest spread around the eye;
Upon my Cawna's bosom I reclin'd,
Catching the breathing whispers of the wind
Swift from the wood a prowling tiger came;
Dreadful his voice, his eyes a glowing flame;
I bent the bow, the never-erring dart
Pierced his rough armour, but escaped his heart;
He fled, tho' wounded, to a distant waste,
I urg'd the furious flight with fatal haste;
He fell, he died-- spent in the fiery toil,
I strip'd his carcase of the furry spoil,
And as the varied spangles met my eye,
On this, I cried, shall my loved Cawna lie.
The dusky midnight hung the skies in grey;
Impell'd by love, I wing'd the airy way;
In the deep valley and mossy plain,
I sought my Cawna, but I sought in vain,
The pallid shadows of the azure waves
Had made my Cawna, and my children slaves.
Reflection maddens, to recall the hour,
The gods had given me to the demon's power.
The dusk slow vanished from the hated lawn,
I gain'd a mountain glaring with the dawn.
There the full sails, expanded to the wind,
Struck horror and distraction in my mind,
There Cawna mingled with a worthless train,
In common slavery drags the hated chain.
Now judge, my Heccar, have I cause for rage?
Should aught the thunder of my arm assuage?
In ever-reeking blood this jav'lin dyed
With vengeance shall be never satisfied;
I'll strew the beaches with the mighty dead
And tinge the lily of their features red.

When the loud shriekings of the hostile cry
Roughly salute my ear, enraged I'll fly;
Send the sharp arrow quivering thro' the heart
Chill the hot vitals with the venom'd dart;
Nor heed the shining steel or noisy smoke,
Gaira and Vengeance shall inspire the stroke.
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