Queen Moo's Talisman; the Fall of the Maya Empire/I

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4094805Queen Moo's Talisman; the Fall of the Maya EmpireQueen Móo's Talisman—I.Alice Dixon Le Plongeon
Winged Circle—from Ococingo (Guatemala).
QUEEN MÓO'S TALISMAN. Fall of the Maya Empire.


Moved by the Will Supreme to be reborn,—
In high estate a soul sought earthly morn;
Life stirred within a beauteous Maya queen
Of noble deeds, of gracious word and mien.

Beneath the wing of Can, just potentate
O'er Maya-land, of old an empire great,
The Princess Móo knew all the joys of youth,
Led on from day to day by Love and Truth.
Earth's fairest blossoms at her feet were flung;
About her slender form rare pearls were hung.
The zephyr soft was music to her ear;
The tempest wild awaked in her no fear.
Within her being Past and Future slept,
And into guileless mind no phantom crept.
Heart sang with Nature's harmonies its best,
Like warbling bird within a downy nest.
But soon 'mong roseate tints more sombre thought
Unto youth's bubbling spring dark ripples brought.

An aged man, divine love in his face,
Led Princess Móo within a sacred place
And there relating many a tale of old,
Of years to come would something too unfold.
Faint echos even now reverberate
What he then told about the awful fate
Of Mu, imperial mistress of the seas,
Renowned for power and wealth thro' centuries.
"O'erwhelmed was she in one appalling night
When Homen, raging in his fearful might,
Threw lofty peaks that lesser mountains crushed,
And every life was into silence hushed.
The rended mountains sent aloft their fire
To meet the lightning's dart and then expire.
From earth and sky incessant thunder broke;
The bursting clouds forced back ascending smoke;
Soon over all the seething billows swept:
Death's lullaby the waters purled, and crept.
Then towering seas that gleamed as with snowcap,
Tossed ships on land, while into Ocean's lap
The land convulsed, her haughty mansions heaved.
Waves onward dashed, as roaring flames they cleaved.
In contest fierce, for mastery thus strove
The elements, as luckless Mu they drove,
With Death to battle, down in yawning hell;
By all her gods forsaken, doomed she fell!"

"In blind despair, brother 'gainst brother fought;
For feeble minds to frenzy soon were brought.
Upon their knees men grovelled in the mud;
In vain from crashing wall, from flame and flood,
A shelter sought, demented they, with fear;
And many a pleading eye met maniac leer.
Fond mothers left their babes and raving fled;
Thus fast and faster unto death all sped.
Men ran distracted; climbed the stalwart trees,
By earthquake rocked like craft on stormy seas.
Cast off, they rushed to find in caverns deep
A refuge safe; nor into those might creep;
For when they drew anear, with thunderous sound
The cavern mouths closed up as heaved the ground.
In cities rich and great the house-tops swarmed
With frantic men, by fear to brutes transformed.
Around, the blackened, angry waters surged
Till dwellings rocked, and melting soon were merged,
Engulfed in dark abyss with writhing woe,
All swiftly spent in one last awful throe!"

"The temples of the gods, the halls of state,
Quick fell, but failed Lord Homen's greed to sate.
High towers of stone in fragments crumbled down—
Of perfect structure those, and wide renown.
About man's shattered works the waters whirled,
And he, to Terror's chariot lashed, was hurled
To deep repose or spheres to man unknown,
While mangled body lay in ocean prone.
Above the horrid sights and awful fear
Dark waters rolled, mud-laden many a year.
At dawn high crested waves, victorious,
Exulted over Mu long glorious!
Of what she was, some vestige yet may rest
In depth profound 'neath Ocean's heaving breast.
Perchance, when ages shall have fled, that land,
Stripped bare-- again unable to withstand
Volcanic force, that will her life-springs start—
May rise, and thus reborn again take part
On this small globe, mere cosmic spark! yet still
A universe whose powers await man's will."

"To Ku the Mighty, hosts of souls went back
Upon that thirteenth night in month of Zac.
The dross returned to nursery of Earth—
All form to fire and water owes its birth.
Our wisemen then by edict made that date
Each week, of thirteen days, to terminate.
And noble hearts that day, with sacred rite,
In urns are hid away from mortal sight;
Then during thirteen days we all lament.
When Maya nation mourns some dire event,
On thirteen altars we our offering make;
And thirteen guests at funeral board partake.
That famous Mu may ne'er forgotten be,
To grief belongs thirteen, by Can's decree."

"For many years Mu's day of doom was feared,
When those who into magic mirrors peered
Saw visions grim; their minds were filled with dread.
Not all believed that into Ocean's bed
A land of vast dimensions could be thrust
By Homen's power, yet many felt mistrust.
But one there was more heedful than the rest,
In science versed and with discernment blest;
From Mu he sailed with those who deemed him wise—
Our ancestor was he, thou dost surmise."

The Princess, deeply touched, in silence heard,
With close attention, not to lose a word.

"To Oracle that ancestor gave ear—
Yet he for self had not a thought of fear—
And thus were many saved, of noble race
That otherwise had left on earth no trace,
With him for guide to this kind shore they came,
Renewing here the glory of their name.
Then all agreed that Can should Sovereign be.
He earnestly desired they might be free
From failings he deplored in that great State
They'd left, because 'twas threatened by dark fate.
He warned them oft—'Of luxury and pride
Beware!'—for well he knew how, side by side,
Such foes can plunge the soul of man in mire.
The arrogance of Mu roused Heaven's ire;
At her debauchery shocked, the gods forth fled;
Deserted thus, in agony she bled.
Simplicity and virtue stern, Can taught;
With zeal his subjects held this righteous thought;
Rejoiced in peace, and in dominion grew,
Till far and near the Mayas throve anew.
Can passed away before proud Mu was crushed,
But his successor's voice was yet unhushed.
Now, Princess dear, we reach, it seems to me,
Portentous years—come then, thy fate we'll see."

Thus spake the Sage, as o'er his raiment white
He threw an ample cloak of feathers bright,
Of royal yellow these and emerald-green,
Beneath the sky resplendent was their sheen
When forth he went, the Princess by his side,
To sacred place that had no roof to hide
The glorious light of day, but walled so high
That none could see within while passing by.

Móo's simple mind was here struck with amaze,
For where the wiseman fixed his earnest gaze
An armadillo thence out crept, nor stayed
Till at her feet, as if it thus obeyed
A force unseen or was by fetter bound;
But none appeared upon that hallowed ground.
The aged man this creature gently placed
Above a brasier which the Princess faced;
As in its depth clear-burning charcoal lay,
With pity moved she cried aloud—"Nay! nay!"
But he—"Think not that I would torture this
Or aught that is; could I then hope for bliss?
Each being in Creation works its way
To perfect rest, all must this law obey.
From Ku all emanate, are thence divine;
Eternal law ordaineth all combine
To aid; each one of us must give and take.
This creature, serving us, will progress make,
And we are lifted up in reaching down;
Thus by endeavor we ourselves may crown.
Learn then, this little friend shall nothing feel,
Experience shall to thee a truth reveal.
Thy slender fingers I but touch, and lo!
All feeling goes, no heat therein doth glow.
Now move thy hand, 'tis free again dost find;
This holy law to suffering flesh is kind;
Who knoweth this, sensation can enchain,
And armadillo shall not suffer pain."

'Twas true indeed, for tranquilly it stayed
Above the burning coal, quite undismayed;
While such the heat endured that soon its shell
O'erspread became with misty lines. To spell
What weighty meaning auspice might conceal
The seer watched, its purport to reveal.
What promised he—of what did he then warn—
Could she evade the fate foretold that morn?
For house of Can he prophesied defeat,
Through dark revenge its overthrow complete;
By jealousy brought on, and Móo its source,
Tho' blameless she, herself bereft of force.

Then back to Cay's sanctum both returned,
Móo's heart oppressed by much that she had learned.
This mood the Sage rebuked and bade her hear
His words: "Dear child, thy path lies straight and clear;
Whate'er may hap, no thought of wrath outsend;
This breedeth ill and nothing doth amend.
In spite of many wrongs thou may'st endure,
Of fame this oracle doth thee assure.
'Twould seem a jest to bid thee do aright,
For man, alas! is in a woful plight!
He gropes along in quest of Wisdom's ray
And, ever seeking, often goes astray.
In noble deeds exert thy human might;
Let acts of kindness be thy best delight.
To give advice for all life's days who dare?
Can one foresee what pitfall may ensnare
Thy feet in paths where thou art bound to tread?
But come what may, thy soul must nothing dread.
Hate's sting fear not; if thou no hatred give,
Its venom reacheth not what shall outlive
All trivial griefs and wrongs, thyself divine,
Bring what life will, let not thy soul repine.
Aid those who seek thy help; there is no joy
Surpassing this, unmingled with alloy.

We know that conflict is a law of life,
For matter feeds itself by constant strife;
The Will Eternal maketh this decree;
We feel results; the why we do not see.
The Heart of Heaven, throbbing with thine own,
Knows all is well. The Infinite alone
Embraces all, and ever lures us on
To blissful rest where all return anon.
In paths of doubt and fear all onward go,
But knowing little, waver to and fro.
At times disconsolate, men yet aspire,
Labor and sigh for bauble they desire;
For riches, joys and honors, they contend;
But on the funeral pyre these all must end.
Let thy wish be to find the highest gift,
The Light Divine, 't will ever thee uplift.
When grief shall rend thy heart, seek thine own soul;
Shut out life's din, and find that sacred goal.

A talisman I give thee—jadeite green,
'Twill ever lend thee intuition keen.
Its wearer may with love herself surround,
For with attractive force it doth abound.
Would one deceive, and traitor prove to thee,
His mind with this thou wilt quite plainly see.
Thro' centuries this talisman can bind
Two souls—desiring this, the way thou 'lt find.
But keep it sacredly for thee alone;
If thou lose this a foe will seize thy throne."

Prince Coh in battle—tracing from fresco painting on walls of Coh's funeral chamber, in Memorial Hall at Chicħen.