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

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4094888Queen Moo's Talisman; the Fall of the Maya EmpireQueen Móo's Talisman—III.Alice Dixon Le Plongeon


Beyond her palace wall Móo heard the chant
Of worshiper imploring Heaven to grant
Its bounteous rain, fresh life to Mother Earth,
The parched land to revive and save from dearth:

When the Master doth rise
To appear in the east
The four corners of heaven are released,
And my broken accents fall
Into the hands of Him who giveth all.

When clouds from east ascend
To the Orderer's throne—
Ah Tzolan, who thirteen cloud-banks rules alone—
Where the lords cloud-tearers wait,
Biding the will of Ah Tzolan the Great,

Then the Keeper who sees
The gods' nectar ferment,
With these guardians of crops is content;
They his holy offerings place
Before the Father, pleading for His grace.

I too my offering make,
Of beauteous virgin bird,
And myself lacerate, breathing holy word.
Thee I love! then heed my cry!
My offering place in hands of the Most High.

Could Móo in far off days forget that prayer?
Ah no! for as it died upon the air
A messenger appeared; his words sought vent—
Ill tidings had to him their fleetness lent.

Poor human heart! that blenches, quivers, shrinks,
Appalled at fatal stroke that swift unlinks
Two lives attuned to one harmonious breath.
O loving heart! thy cruel foe is Death.
With this compared all other anguish pales;
To soothe this pang no human aid avails.

Affrighted eyes met hers—"Speak! speak!" she cried.
Heart knew and leaped—"Thou art alone!" it sighed.

Queen Móo's portrait—Demi-relief on entablature of east façade of Governor's House at Uxmal.

In broken words the dire event was told—
The herald was forbidden to withhold
The worst. Then fiercely battled in Móo's breast
Wild rage and grief, while he obeyed her hest.

Scarce gone the man, when doubt brought some relief—
He must be mad! Allured by this belief
She fixed her gaze on Hope's illusive beam—
"Untrue the tale! a frightful, ghastly dream!
He dead! Impossible! Sore wounded, yes,
As oft; his voice would ease her keen distress.
The valiant Coh could never vanquished be,
Victorious from every fight came he."
Thus to herself, forbidding other thought,
And from her palace rushed, not caring aught
For those who would detain her steps, she fled
To meet the Prince; her servitors she led.

He came surrounded by a mighty crowd.
"Make way for us!" the Queen's men cried aloud—
"The Queen is here!" Her breath was all but spent.
The bearers stopped; with cries the air was rent.
Then bending low, her arms about him flung,
She gasped! To his, cold set, her hot lips clung.
Beneath an arch of warriors' shields upraised,
She saw, she felt; in death Coh's eyes were glazed.
Ah! woful sight! 'twas more than Móo could bear—
She fell, unconscious of the tender care
On her bestowed, as homeward borne apace;
Far happier had she been in Death's embrace.
'Neath holy Ceiba tree, upon the ground,
Struck down by one unknown, Coh had been found.
Whence came the treacherous foe? From foreign land?
Beloved by all was Coh—Whose then the hand?
With brother's blood would Aac himself imbrue?
This thought in vain she struggled to subdue.
"I rave!" she cried; her mind with doubt was torn;
Those brothers royal were from one womb born.
"O wretched man! O cruel, monstrous fate!
Our Prince was sacrificed to mortal hate!
Unarmed was he when came the stealthy foe
Behind, to strike unseen the vengeful blow.
Thrice stabbed, Coh reeled and fell. Then turned to flee
His slayer, who rejoiced alive and free!"

With passion's anguish riven, loud she moaned—
Could she forgive? Must this crime be condoned?
A deed so foul by her own brother base—
What act could e'er such deep-set blot efface?
For brother-consort by a brother slain
Must she herself with bloody vengeance stain?

To dark despair the Queen bereft gave way,
Nor heeded anyone who tried to stay
Her grief, until the Pontiff Cay came—
Successor to the Sage who'd borne that name.
Alone with Móo he groaned, "'Tis Aac I see!
His life is ours to take; but this would be
With crime as infamous ourselves to brand—
Let not two fratricides accurse the land!
Our impulse to avenge must be suppressed;
Nor may our soul by anger be possessed.
Let Aac himself convict. Do thou, I pray,
Request his presence here—he'll quick obey."

Portrait of High Priest Cay. From a sculpture on the west side of the pyramid called the Dwarf's House at Uxmal.

Aac's handsome face wore mask of grief until
The High Priest sternly thus expressed his will:
"Our dauntless Coh is slain by one unknown;
The coward's blood for this crime should atone.
The Maya nation mourns—be thine the task
To see the culprit found—'tis all we ask."

Aac's features changed, with ardor he exclaimed—
"Not so! no blameless man shall be defamed
For what my passion wrought—all mine the guilt!
No clemency beg I—do as thou wilt."

There spake Aac's better self; just thought inbred
Outbreathed. With pity touched, Móo's loathing fled.
Nor could a child of Can know aught of fear;
Aac boldly stood, the Pontiffs word to hear.

"Thou shalt live on; hast made thyself accurst!
Not thus will we—let fools for vengeance thirst.
From Chicħen, go! thy face we would not see.
An edict from our hand shall safeguard thee;
For, mark this well, the people soon must know
Prince Aac alone hath dared to deal the blow.
I see that war upon us thou wilt bring,
And finally, thyself proclaim as king.
Afflicted Móo will feel thy cruel ire;
Thus wilt thou weave for thee a fate most dire.
Myself, thy elder brother, thou'lt degrade;
Cans' dynasty shall fall, by thee betrayed."

Thus forth from royal city Aac was sent,
Empowered on native soil where'er he went,
To live in princely state, with means endowed,
While unto law and Sovereign's will he bowed.