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

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
4096318Queen Moo's Talisman; the Fall of the Maya EmpireQueen Móo's Talisman—VI.Alice Dixon Le Plongeon


Thus Aac remained with power complete at last;
But all his triumph was by gloom o'ercast;
He writhed in torture when, each night, he thought
How great the cost at which his throne was bought.
Worse yet, he'd lost the stake for which he played—
To fail in winning Móo, all else outweighed.
Upon his soul wrath preyed till spent; and now
Dark melancholy hovered o'er his brow.
Unsatisfied, unresting, ne'er at ease,
Seek where he might, nothing in life could please.
Alone he ruled, none dared his word gainsay;
But this could not his discontent allay.

'Twas not remorse that ever brought him pain,
But fierce regret that he had failed to gain
That chief desire of his unyielding will:
This bitter thought his mind would ever fill.
Defied and baffled in his hour of might,
He hated all who had contrived Móo's flight.
Each one suspected quickly met dark fate;
But cruel deeds could not Aac's ire abate.
By passion swayed like tree in tempest blast,
All wish for good and right aside he cast.
One satisfaction yet remained to him—
The flight of time should not his victory dim;
His palace walls should bear upon their face,
In carvings deep that time would ne'er erase,
His triumph over all who strove in vain
To hold him back from what he would attain.
And thus 'twas writ above his palace door,
Above the polished, crimson-painted floor.

Now came the days when Mayas knew no peace
'Neath Aac's harsh rule, and war that did not cease.
With sacred rite they strove to know the will
Of Can the Good; response came not, yet still
They plead; by holy fire would feign invoke
Some aid; and mystic power at last awoke
To seer's gaze the mighty Can of old,
Whose visage stern and sad his sorrow told.
No hope or promise in that face was read;
The country still would be by tyrant bled.

Again the seers besought, and Coh appeared—
Brave prince who had to all himself endeared—
Averted was his gaze, his hands upraised,
Aggrieved he seemed to be and sore amazed;
But not a word expressed; no hope gave he
That from the tyrant Aac they might be free.

There came a final day of vengeance dire,
When subjects turned upon their haughty Sire.
E'en to this time may yet be seen the place
Where he was killed by one of Maya race;
Where last he took his stand upon that height
Within his palace grounds, there forced to fight
In self-defence or yield to prisoner's lot;
Restraint his outraged subjects planned. 'T was not
Their wish, e'en now, to slay the wilful man
Whose being throbbed with blood of honored Can.

Aac towered there amid his fallen men,
Defiant, raging, livid, and 'twas then
That one named Pacab flung his arms aside,
Approached the Prince, and as he neared him cried—
"Now yield thyself; we would not do thee wrong;
Full well we know all rights to thee belong.
Thy safety we desire and not thy life,
Tho' thou hast filled our land with grief and strife."

With one fell blow Aac struck the speaker dead,
Then shook the dripping axe above his head.
But scarce the deed was done when from the crowd
An elder man leaped forth and wailed aloud—
"My son! my son! avenged thou now shalt be;
Thy life destroyed, no Prince is there for me!"

This said, he sprang upon the stalwart Aac
Like maddened brute and roared—"Thy soul is black!
Defend thy life; strike swift or breathe thy last!"
While yet he spake his blows fell thick and fast;
Then Aac, in flaming wrath, stabbed deep his foe;
Their blood in mingling stream was quick to flow.
'T was fierce and brief, the Prince was first to fall,
But wounded unto death, beyond recall,
Was he who thus avenged his country's woes
And brought the reign of Aac to tragic close.