The Sleep of the Condor

Original Text: 

Toru Dutt, A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields (London: C. Kegan Paul, 1880): 256-57. Internet Archive

1Beyond the steep ramparts of the high Cordilliferes,
2Beyond the dun fogs where the black eagle's eyrie's,
3Higher, far higher than the bold craters, like funnels,
4Whence springs out the lava from its deep boiling tunnels,
5With wings that hang down, jagged, red in some places,
6The condor looks silent o'er limitless spaces.
7Across the New World, to the sun that no longer
8Blazes bright in his eyes. The shadows grow stronger.
9Night rolls from the east, against mountains in stories,
10At whose feet the wild pampas display all their glories.
11She darkens o'er Chili, its town, and the ocean
12Which slumbers profound, without ripple or motion;
13On the continent silent her banner is planted,
14From the sands to the boulders, up gorges high-slanted
15From crest unto crest, swell, advance her proud surges,
16A high-tide of darkness, some power upward urges.
17On the peak which is topmost, where still a red lustre
18Stains with a blood-streak the glaciers that shimmer.
19He waits with a courage he knows how to muster.
20Alone, like a spectre, growing dimmer and dimmer
21The blackness that threatens like a sea to surround him:
22It comes -- it is near -- at last it has bound him.
23In the depths of the heavens, on a sudden there lightens
24The Cross of the South -- a pale beacon that brightens!
25There's a rattle of pleasure, his neck is erect,
26Bare, musculous; he peers his flight to direct
27He stirs, whipping up, the sharp snow of the Andes,
28He mounts the blue ether with a hoarse cry that grand is,
29Far, far from this globe, by night's banner defended,
30Far, far from its noise, from its strife, its endeavour,
31A speck, but a speck, and as frozen for ever
32He sleeps in the air, with his wings wide-extended.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012