A feeble nation of Guarani race,
Thinn'd by perpetual wars, but unsubdued,
Had taken up at length a resting place
Among those tracts of lake and swamp and wood,
Where Mondai issuing from its solitude
Flows with slow stream to Empalado's bed.
It was a region desolate and rude;
But thither had the horde for safety fled.
And being there conceal'd in peace their lives they led.
There had the tribe a safe asylum found
Amid those marshes wide and woodlands dense,
With pathless wilds and waters spread around,
And labyrinthine swamps, a sure defence
From human foes,—but not from pestilence.
The spotted plague appear'd, that direst ill,—
How brought among them none could tell, or whence;
The mortal seed had lain among them still.
And quicken'd now to work the Lord's mysterious will.