Poets of John Company/To Bera Pennoo
To Bera Pennoo: The Earth Goddess.
An Invocation before Human Sacrifice.
Goddess of earth! Dread source of ill!
Thy just revenge o'erwhelms us still
For rites unpaid;
But oh! forgive!—Our stores are small,
Our lessened means uncertain all.
Denied thine aid.
Goddess that taught mankind to feel
Poison in plants, and death in steel—
A fearful lore—
Forgive—forgive! and ne'er again
Shall we neglect thy shrine to stain
With human gore!
Let plenty all our land o'erspread.
Make green the ground with living bread.
Our pastures fill
So close with cattle side by side
That no bare spot may be descried
From distant hill.
And when unto the broad flat pool.
Their thirst to quench, their sides to cool,
Our herds are led;
So num'rous make them that no form
Of fish or frog, or toad or worm,
Survive their tread.
So fill with sheep each ample fold
That he who digs man-deep the mould,
Their compost rare.
Meet not a stone. May swine abound
Until their plough-like snouts the ground
For seed prepare.
So fill our cots with childhood's din
The voice be rarely heard within,
And ne'er without;
Each thatch with crowded poultry hide,
Give jars that bruise the fountain's side
With metal stout.
Oh! Bera Pennoo! once again
Protect us in the grove and plain
From beasts of prey;
Nor let sly snake or tiger bold
Fright children, save in stories old
Of Fathers grey.
Oh! make it each man's only care
Yearly to build a store-room fair
For goods unspent;
And we thy rites shall duly pay:—
Lo! one bought victim now we slay—
One life present.