The Venezuelan-Chilean poet, jurist, philosopher, philologist and educator, Andres Bello (1781-1865), who served the cause of South American independence, also extolled the natural beauty of the continent in his poetry, exemplified by the following poem about the Bio-Bio river in Chile.

To the Bio-Bio

Andres Bello

Blest were he, O Bio-Bio!

Who could dwell forevermore

In a deep grove, cool and shady,

Upon thine enchanted shore!

Just a lowly thatched-roofed cottage

Where thy limpid waters are seen

Pouring their calm flood in silence

Amid foliage fresh and green;

Where, instead of shifting changes

In the fickle things of state,

Wind-stirred oaks and maitens murmur,

And the forest peace is great;

Where the bird amid the branches,

In the early dawning gray,

Sings its untaught, artless music,

Greeting thus the new-born day.

In that humble thatched-roof cottage,

Oh, how happy were my lot,

In the peace that nothing troubles,

Envied not and envying not!

This to me in truth were sweeter

Than the Babel wild and loud

Where in chase of a chimera

All are rushing in a crowd;

Where dark treachery and falsehood

Near the quaking altar stay

That the people's favour raises

To the idols of a day.

Sweet repose, most blissful quiet,

Earthly paradise divine!

Has the palm of war or wisdom

Worth which can outrival thine?

Truth I love, not adulation -

Truth all unadorned and plain,

Not the clamorous applauses

That are raised in Fortune's train.

Growing old, for that false treasure

I would cease my soul to fret -

Say 'Farewell to disappointments!

The forgetful I forget.

'Others call excitement pleasure,

Madly seeking fame or pelf;

I in earth's most hidden corner

Wish to live now for myself.'

*Third World Resurgence No. 301/302, September/October 2015, p 64