THE COMPLETE WORKS OF JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
By John Greenleaf Whittier
VOLUME I. NARRATIVE AND LEGENDARY POEMS
The Standard Library Edition of Mr. Whittier's writings comprises his poetical and prose works as re-arranged and thoroughly revised by himself or with his cooperation. Mr. Whittier has supplied such additional information regarding the subject and occasion of certain poems as may be stated in brief head-notes, and this edition has been much enriched by the poet's personal comment. So far as practicable the dates of publication of the various articles have been given, and since these were originally published soon after composition, the dates of their first appearance have been taken as determining the time at which they were written. At the request of the Publishers, Mr. Whittier has allowed his early poems, discarded from previous collections, to be placed, in the general order of their appearance, in an appendix to the final volume of poems. By this means the present edition is made so complete and retrospective that students of the poet's career will always find the most abundant material for their purpose. The Publishers congratulate themselves and the public that the careful attention which Mr. Whittier has been able to give to this revision of his works has resulted in so comprehensive and well-adjusted a collection.
The portraits prefixed to the several volumes have been chosen with a view to illustrating successive periods in the poet's life. The original sources and dates are indicated in each case.
THE VAUDOIS TEACHER THE FEMALE MARTYR EXTRACT FROM "A NEW ENGLAND LEGEND" THE DEMON OF THE STUDY THE FOUNTAIN PENTUCKET THE NORSEMEN FUNERAL TREE OF THE SOKOKIS ST JOHN THE CYPRESS-TREE OF CEYLON THE EXILES THE KNIGHT OF ST JOHN CASSANDRA SOUTHWICK THE NEW WIFE AND THE OLD
THE BRIDAL OF PENNACOOK I. THE MERRIMAC II. THE BASHABA III. THE DAUGHTER IV. THE WEDDING V. THE NEW HOME VI. AT PENNACOOK VII. THE DEPARTURE VIII. SONG OF INDIAN WOMEN
BARCLAY OF URY THE ANGELS OF BUENA VISTA THE LEGEND OF ST MARK KATHLEEN THE WELL OF LOCH MAREE THE CHAPEL OF THE HERMITS TAULER THE HERMIT OF THE THEBAID THE GARRISON OF CAPE ANN THE GIFT OF TRITEMIUS SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE THE SYCAMORES THE PIPES AT LUCKNOW TELLING THE BEES THE SWAN SONG OF PARSON AVERY THE DOUBLE-HEADED SNAKE OF NEWBURY
MABEL MARTIN: A HARVEST IDYL PROEM I. THE RIVER VALLEY II. THE HUSKING III. THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER IV. THE CHAMPION V. IN THE SHADOW VI. THE BETROTHAL
THE PROPHECY OF SAMUEL SEWALL THE RED RIVER VOYAGEUR THE PREACHER THE TRUCE OF PISCATAQUA MY PLAYMATE COBBLER KEEZAR'S VISION AMY WENTWORTH THE COUNTESS
AMONG THE HILLS PRELUDE AMONG THE HILLS
THE DOLE OF JARL THORKELL THE TWO RABBINS NOREMBEGA MIRIAM MAUD MULLER MARY GARVIN THE RANGER NAUHAUGHT, THE DEACON THE SISTERS MARGUERITE THE ROBIN
THE PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM INTRODUCTORY NOTE PRELUDE THE PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM
KING VOLMER AND ELSIE THE THREE BELLS JOHN UNDERHILL CONDUCTOR BRADLEY THE WITCH OF WENHAM KING SOLOMON AND THE ANTS IN THE "OLD SOUTH" THE HENCHMAN THE DEAD FEAST OF THE KOL-FOLK THE KHAN'S DEVIL THE KING'S MISSIVE VALUATION RABBI ISHMAEL THE ROCK-TOMB OF BRADORE
THE BAY OF SEVEN ISLANDS To H P S THE BAY OF SEVEN ISLANDS
THE WISHING BRIDGE HOW THE WOMEN WENT FROM DOVER ST GREGORY'S GUEST CONTENTS BIRCHBROOK MILL THE TWO ELIZABETHS REQUITAL THE HOMESTEAD HOW THE ROBIN CAME BANISHED FROM MASSACHUSETTS THE BROWN DWARF OF RUGEN
NOTE.—The portrait prefixed to this volume was etched by S. A. Schoff, in 1888, after a painting by Bass Otis, a pupil of Gilbert Stuart, made in the winter of 1836-1837.
I LOVE the old melodious lays Which softly melt the ages through, The songs of Spenser's golden days, Arcadian Sidney's silvery phrase, Sprinkling our noon of time with freshest morning dew.
Yet, vainly in my quiet hours To breathe their marvellous notes I try; I feel them, as the leaves and flowers In silence feel the dewy showers, And drink with glad, still lips the blessing of the sky.
The rigor of a frozen clime, The harshness of an untaught ear, The jarring words of one whose rhyme Beat often Labor's hurried time, Or Duty's rugged march through storm and strife, are here.
Of mystic beauty, dreamy grace, No rounded art the lack supplies; Unskilled the subtle lines to trace, Or softer shades of Nature's face, I view her common forms with unanointed eyes.
Nor mine the seer-like power to show The secrets of the heart and mind; To drop the plummet-line below Our common world of joy and woe, A more intense despair or brighter hope to find.
Yet here at least an earnest sense Of human right and weal is shown; A hate of tyranny intense, And hearty in its vehemence, As if my brother's pain and sorrow were my own.
O Freedom! if to me belong Nor mighty Milton's gift divine, Nor Marvell's wit and graceful song, Still with a love as deep and strong As theirs, I lay, like them, my best gifts on thy shrine.
AMESBURY, 11th mo., 1847.
The edition of my poems published in 1857 contained the following note by way of preface:—
"In these volumes, for the first time, a complete collection of my poetical writings has been made. While it is satisfactory to know that these scattered children of my brain have found a home, I cannot but regret that I have been unable, by reason of illness, to give that attention to their revision and arrangement, which respect for the opinions of others and my own afterthought and experience demand.
"That there are pieces in this collection which I would 'willingly let die,' I am free to confess. But it is now too late to disown them, and I must submit to the inevitable penalty of poetical as well as other sins. There are others, intimately connected with the author's life and times, which owe their tenacity of vitality to the circumstances under which they were written, and the events by which they were suggested.
"The long poem of Mogg Megone was in a great measure composed in early life; and it is scarcely necessary to say that its subject is not such as the writer would have chosen at any subsequent period."
After a lapse of thirty years since the above was written, I have been requested by my publishers to make some preparation for a new and revised edition of my poems. I cannot flatter myself that I have added much to the interest of the work beyond the correction of my own errors and those of the press, with the addition of a few heretofore unpublished pieces, and occasional notes of explanation which seemed necessary. I have made an attempt to classify the poems under a few general heads, and have transferred the long poem of Mogg Megone to the Appendix, with other specimens of my earlier writings. I have endeavored to affix the dates of composition or publication as far as possible.
In looking over these poems I have not been unmindful of occasional prosaic lines and verbal infelicities, but at this late day I have neither strength nor patience to undertake their correction.
Perhaps a word of explanation may be needed in regard to a class of poems written between the years 1832 and 1865. Of their defects from an artistic point of view it is not necessary to speak. They were the earnest and often vehement expression of the writer's thought and feeling at critical periods in the great conflict between Freedom and Slavery. They were written with no expectation that they would survive the occasions which called them forth: they were protests, alarm signals, trumpet-calls to action, words wrung from the writer's heart, forged at white heat, and of course lacking the finish and careful word-selection which reflection and patient brooding over them might have given. Such as they are, they belong to the history of the Anti-Slavery movement, and may serve as way-marks of its progress. If their language at times seems severe and harsh, the monstrous wrong of Slavery which provoked it must be its excuse, if any is needed. In attacking it, we did not measure our words. "It is," said Garrison, "a waste of politeness to be courteous to the devil." But in truth the contest was, in a great measure, an impersonal one,—hatred of slavery and not of slave-masters.
"No common wrong provoked our zeal, The silken gauntlet which is thrown In such a quarrel rings like steel."
Even Thomas Jefferson, in his terrible denunciation of Slavery in the Notes on Virginia, says "It is impossible to be temperate and pursue the subject of Slavery." After the great contest was over, no class of the American people were more ready, with kind words and deprecation of harsh retaliation, to welcome back the revolted States than the Abolitionists; and none have since more heartily rejoiced at the fast increasing prosperity of the South.
Grateful for the measure of favor which has been accorded to my writings, I leave this edition with the public. It contains all that I care to re-publish, and some things which, had the matter of choice been left solely to myself, I should have omitted. J. G. W.
NARRATIVE AND LEGENDARY POEMS
THE VAUDOIS TEACHER.
This poem was suggested by the account given of the manner which the Waldenses disseminated their principles among the Catholic gentry. They gained access to the house through their occupation as peddlers of silks, jewels, and trinkets. "Having disposed of some of their goods," it is said by a writer who quotes the inquisitor Rainerus Sacco, "they cautiously intimated that they had commodities far more valuable than these, inestimable jewels, which they would show if they could be protected from the clergy. They would then give their purchasers a Bible or Testament; and thereby many were deluded into heresy." The poem, under the title Le Colporteur Vaudois, was translated into French by Professor G. de Felice, of Montauban, and further naturalized by Professor Alexandre Rodolphe Vinet, who quoted it in his lectures on French literature, afterwards published. It became familiar in this form to the Waldenses, who adopted it as a household poem. An American clergyman, J. C. Fletcher, frequently heard it when he was a student, about the year 1850, in the theological seminary at Geneva, Switzerland, but the authorship of the poem was unknown to those who used it. Twenty-five years later, Mr. Fletcher, learning the name of the author, wrote to the moderator of the Waldensian synod at La Tour, giving the information. At the banquet which closed the meeting of the synod, the moderator announced the fact, and was instructed in the name of the Waldensian church to write to me a letter of thanks. My letter, written in reply, was translated into Italian and printed throughout Italy.
"O LADY fair, these silks of mine are beautiful and rare,— The richest web of the Indian loom, which beauty's queen might wear; And my pearls are pure as thy own fair neck, with whose radiant light they vie; I have brought them with me a weary way,—will my gentle lady buy?"
The lady smiled on the worn old man through the dark and clustering curls Which veiled her brow, as she bent to view his silks and glittering pearls; And she placed their price in the old man's hand and lightly turned away, But she paused at the wanderer's earnest call,— "My gentle lady, stay!
"O lady fair, I have yet a gem which a purer lustre flings, Than the diamond flash of the jewelled crown on the lofty brow of kings; A wonderful pearl of exceeding price, whose virtue shall not decay, Whose light shall be as a spell to thee and a blessing on thy way!"
The lady glanced at the mirroring steel where her form of grace was seen, Where her eye shone clear, and her dark locks waved their clasping pearls between; "Bring forth thy pearl of exceeding worth, thou traveller gray and old, And name the price of thy precious gem, and my page shall count thy gold."
The cloud went off from the pilgrim's brow, as a small and meagre book, Unchased with gold or gem of cost, from his folding robe he took! "Here, lady fair, is the pearl of price, may it prove as such to thee Nay, keep thy gold—I ask it not, for the word of God is free!"
The hoary traveller went his way, but the gift he left behind Hath had its pure and perfect work on that high- born maiden's mind, And she hath turned from the pride of sin to the lowliness of truth, And given her human heart to God in its beautiful hour of youth
And she hath left the gray old halls, where an evil faith had power, The courtly knights of her father's train, and the maidens of her bower; And she hath gone to the Vaudois vales by lordly feet untrod, Where the poor and needy of earth are rich in the perfect love of God! 1830.
THE FEMALE MARTYR.
Mary G——-, aged eighteen, a "Sister of Charity," died in one of our Atlantic cities, during the prevalence of the Indian cholera, while in voluntary attendance upon the sick.
"BRING out your dead!" The midnight street Heard and gave back the hoarse, low call; Harsh fell the tread of hasty feet, Glanced through the dark the coarse white sheet, Her coffin and her pall. "What—only one!" the brutal hack-man said, As, with an oath, he spurned away the dead.
How sunk the inmost hearts of all, As rolled that dead-cart slowly by, With creaking wheel and harsh hoof-fall! The dying turned him to the wall, To hear it and to die! Onward it rolled; while oft its driver stayed, And hoarsely clamored, "Ho! bring out your dead."
It paused beside the burial-place; "Toss in your load!" and it was done. With quick hand and averted face, Hastily to the grave's embrace They cast them, one by one, Stranger and friend, the evil and the just, Together trodden in the churchyard dust.
And thou, young martyr! thou wast there; No white-robed sisters round thee trod, Nor holy hymn, nor funeral prayer Rose through the damp and noisome air, Giving thee to thy God; Nor flower, nor cross, nor hallowed taper gave Grace to the dead, and beauty to the grave!
Yet, gentle sufferer! there shall be, In every heart of kindly feeling, A rite as holy paid to thee As if beneath the convent-tree Thy sisterhood were kneeling, At vesper hours, like sorrowing angels, keeping Their tearful watch around thy place of sleeping.
For thou wast one in whom the light Of Heaven's own love was kindled well; Enduring with a martyr's might, Through weary day and wakeful night, Far more than words may tell Gentle, and meek, and lowly, and unknown, Thy mercies measured by thy God alone!
Where manly hearts were failing, where The throngful street grew foul with death, O high-souled martyr! thou wast there, Inhaling, from the loathsome air, Poison with every breath. Yet shrinking not from offices of dread For the wrung dying, and the unconscious dead.
And, where the sickly taper shed Its light through vapors, damp, confined, Hushed as a seraph's fell thy tread, A new Electra by the bed Of suffering human-kind! Pointing the spirit, in its dark dismay, To that pure hope which fadeth not away.
Innocent teacher of the high And holy mysteries of Heaven! How turned to thee each glazing eye, In mute and awful sympathy, As thy low prayers were given; And the o'er-hovering Spoiler wore, the while, An angel's features, a deliverer's smile!
A blessed task! and worthy one Who, turning from the world, as thou, Before life's pathway had begun To leave its spring-time flower and sun, Had sealed her early vow; Giving to God her beauty and her youth, Her pure affections and her guileless truth.
Earth may not claim thee. Nothing here Could be for thee a meet reward; Thine is a treasure far more dear Eye hath not seen it, nor the ear Of living mortal heard The joys prepared, the promised bliss above, The holy presence of Eternal Love!
Sleep on in peace. The earth has not A nobler name than thine shall be. The deeds by martial manhood wrought, The lofty energies of thought, The fire of poesy, These have but frail and fading honors; thine Shall Time unto Eternity consign.
Yea, and when thrones shall crumble down, And human pride and grandeur fall, The herald's line of long renown, The mitre and the kingly crown,— Perishing glories all! The pure devotion of thy generous heart Shall live in Heaven, of which it was a part. 1833.
EXTRACT FROM "A NEW ENGLAND LEGEND."
(Originally a part of the author's Moll Pitcher.)
How has New England's romance fled, Even as a vision of the morning! Its rites foredone, its guardians dead, Its priestesses, bereft of dread, Waking the veriest urchin's scorning! Gone like the Indian wizard's yell And fire-dance round the magic rock, Forgotten like the Druid's spell At moonrise by his holy oak! No more along the shadowy glen Glide the dim ghosts of murdered men; No more the unquiet churchyard dead Glimpse upward from their turfy bed, Startling the traveller, late and lone; As, on some night of starless weather, They silently commune together, Each sitting on his own head-stone The roofless house, decayed, deserted, Its living tenants all departed, No longer rings with midnight revel Of witch, or ghost, or goblin evil; No pale blue flame sends out its flashes Through creviced roof and shattered sashes! The witch-grass round the hazel spring May sharply to the night-air sing, But there no more shall withered hags Refresh at ease their broomstick nags, Or taste those hazel-shadowed waters As beverage meet for Satan's daughters; No more their mimic tones be heard, The mew of cat, the chirp of bird, Shrill blending with the hoarser laughter Of the fell demon following after! The cautious goodman nails no more A horseshoe on his outer door, Lest some unseemly hag should fit To his own mouth her bridle-bit; The goodwife's churn no more refuses Its wonted culinary uses Until, with heated needle burned, The witch has to her place returned! Our witches are no longer old And wrinkled beldames, Satan-sold, But young and gay and laughing creatures, With the heart's sunshine on their features; Their sorcery—the light which dances Where the raised lid unveils its glances; Or that low-breathed and gentle tone, The music of Love's twilight hours, Soft, dream-like, as a fairy's moan Above her nightly closing flowers, Sweeter than that which sighed of yore Along the charmed Ausonian shore! Even she, our own weird heroine, Sole Pythoness of ancient Lynn,' Sleeps calmly where the living laid her; And the wide realm of sorcery, Left by its latest mistress free, Hath found no gray and skilled invader. So—perished Albion's "glammarye," With him in Melrose Abbey sleeping, His charmed torch beside his knee, That even the dead himself might see The magic scroll within his keeping. And now our modern Yankee sees Nor omens, spells, nor mysteries; And naught above, below, around, Of life or death, of sight or sound, Whate'er its nature, form, or look, Excites his terror or surprise, All seeming to his knowing eyes Familiar as his "catechise," Or "Webster's Spelling-Book."
THE DEMON OF THE STUDY.
THE Brownie sits in the Scotchman's room, And eats his meat and drinks his ale, And beats the maid with her unused broom, And the lazy lout with his idle flail; But he sweeps the floor and threshes the corn, And hies him away ere the break of dawn.
The shade of Denmark fled from the sun, And the Cocklane ghost from the barn-loft cheer, The fiend of Faust was a faithful one, Agrippa's demon wrought in fear, And the devil of Martin Luther sat By the stout monk's side in social chat.
The Old Man of the Sea, on the neck of him Who seven times crossed the deep, Twined closely each lean and withered limb, Like the nightmare in one's sleep. But he drank of the wine, and Sindbad cast The evil weight from his back at last.
But the demon that cometh day by day To my quiet room and fireside nook, Where the casement light falls dim and gray On faded painting and ancient book, Is a sorrier one than any whose names Are chronicled well by good King James.
No bearer of burdens like Caliban, No runner of errands like Ariel, He comes in the shape of a fat old man, Without rap of knuckle or pull of bell; And whence he comes, or whither he goes, I know as I do of the wind which blows.
A stout old man with a greasy hat Slouched heavily down to his dark, red nose, And two gray eyes enveloped in fat, Looking through glasses with iron bows. Read ye, and heed ye, and ye who can, Guard well your doors from that old man!
He comes with a careless "How d' ye do?" And seats himself in my elbow-chair; And my morning paper and pamphlet new Fall forthwith under his special care, And he wipes his glasses and clears his throat, And, button by button, unfolds his coat.
And then he reads from paper and book, In a low and husky asthmatic tone, With the stolid sameness of posture and look Of one who reads to himself alone; And hour after hour on my senses come That husky wheeze and that dolorous hum.
The price of stocks, the auction sales, The poet's song and the lover's glee, The horrible murders, the seaboard gales, The marriage list, and the jeu d'esprit, All reach my ear in the self-same tone,— I shudder at each, but the fiend reads on!
Oh, sweet as the lapse of water at noon O'er the mossy roots of some forest tree, The sigh of the wind in the woods of June, Or sound of flutes o'er a moonlight sea, Or the low soft music, perchance, which seems To float through the slumbering singer's dreams,
So sweet, so dear is the silvery tone, Of her in whose features I sometimes look, As I sit at eve by her side alone, And we read by turns, from the self-same book, Some tale perhaps of the olden time, Some lover's romance or quaint old rhyme.
Then when the story is one of woe,— Some prisoner's plaint through his dungeon-bar, Her blue eye glistens with tears, and low Her voice sinks down like a moan afar; And I seem to hear that prisoner's wail, And his face looks on me worn and pale.
And when she reads some merrier song, Her voice is glad as an April bird's, And when the tale is of war and wrong, A trumpet's summons is in her words, And the rush of the hosts I seem to hear, And see the tossing of plume and spear!
Oh, pity me then, when, day by day, The stout fiend darkens my parlor door; And reads me perchance the self-same lay Which melted in music, the night before, From lips as the lips of Hylas sweet, And moved like twin roses which zephyrs meet!
I cross my floor with a nervous tread, I whistle and laugh and sing and shout, I flourish my cane above his head, And stir up the fire to roast him out; I topple the chairs, and drum on the pane, And press my hands on my ears, in vain!
I've studied Glanville and James the wise, And wizard black-letter tomes which treat Of demons of every name and size Which a Christian man is presumed to meet, But never a hint and never a line Can I find of a reading fiend like mine.
I've crossed the Psalter with Brady and Tate, And laid the Primer above them all, I've nailed a horseshoe over the grate, And hung a wig to my parlor wall Once worn by a learned Judge, they say, At Salem court in the witchcraft day!
"Conjuro te, sceleratissime, Abire ad tuum locum!"—still Like a visible nightmare he sits by me,— The exorcism has lost its skill; And I hear again in my haunted room The husky wheeze and the dolorous hum!
Ah! commend me to Mary Magdalen With her sevenfold plagues, to the wandering Jew, To the terrors which haunted Orestes when The furies his midnight curtains drew, But charm him off, ye who charm him can, That reading demon, that fat old man!
On the declivity of a hill in Salisbury, Essex County, is a fountain of clear water, gushing from the very roots of a venerable oak. It is about two miles from the junction of the Powow River with the Merrimac.
TRAVELLER! on thy journey toiling By the swift Powow, With the summer sunshine falling On thy heated brow, Listen, while all else is still, To the brooklet from the hill.
Wild and sweet the flowers are blowing By that streamlet's side, And a greener verdure showing Where its waters glide, Down the hill-slope murmuring on, Over root and mossy stone.
Where yon oak his broad arms flingeth O'er the sloping hill, Beautiful and freshly springeth That soft-flowing rill, Through its dark roots wreathed and bare, Gushing up to sun and air.
Brighter waters sparkled never In that magic well, Of whose gift of life forever Ancient legends tell, In the lonely desert wasted, And by mortal lip untasted.
Waters which the proud Castilian Sought with longing eyes, Underneath the bright pavilion Of the Indian skies, Where his forest pathway lay Through the blooms of Florida.
Years ago a lonely stranger, With the dusky brow Of the outcast forest-ranger, Crossed the swift Powow, And betook him to the rill And the oak upon the hill.
O'er his face of moody sadness For an instant shone Something like a gleam of gladness, As he stooped him down To the fountain's grassy side, And his eager thirst supplied.
With the oak its shadow throwing O'er his mossy seat, And the cool, sweet waters flowing Softly at his feet, Closely by the fountain's rim That lone Indian seated him.
Autumn's earliest frost had given To the woods below Hues of beauty, such as heaven Lendeth to its bow; And the soft breeze from the west Scarcely broke their dreamy rest.
Far behind was Ocean striving With his chains of sand; Southward, sunny glimpses giving, 'Twixt the swells of land, Of its calm and silvery track, Rolled the tranquil Merrimac.
Over village, wood, and meadow Gazed that stranger man, Sadly, till the twilight shadow Over all things ran, Save where spire and westward pane Flashed the sunset back again.
Gazing thus upon the dwelling Of his warrior sires, Where no lingering trace was telling Of their wigwam fires, Who the gloomy thoughts might know Of that wandering child of woe?
Naked lay, in sunshine glowing, Hills that once had stood Down their sides the shadows throwing Of a mighty wood, Where the deer his covert kept, And the eagle's pinion swept!
Where the birch canoe had glided Down the swift Powow, Dark and gloomy bridges strided Those clear waters now; And where once the beaver swam, Jarred the wheel and frowned the dam.
For the wood-bird's merry singing, And the hunter's cheer, Iron clang and hammer's ringing Smote upon his ear; And the thick and sullen smoke From the blackened forges broke.
Could it be his fathers ever Loved to linger here? These bare hills, this conquered river,— Could they hold them dear, With their native loveliness Tamed and tortured into this?
Sadly, as the shades of even Gathered o'er the hill, While the western half of heaven Blushed with sunset still, From the fountain's mossy seat Turned the Indian's weary feet.
Year on year hath flown forever, But he came no more To the hillside on the river Where he came before. But the villager can tell Of that strange man's visit well.
And the merry children, laden With their fruits or flowers, Roving boy and laughing maiden, In their school-day hours, Love the simple tale to tell Of the Indian and his well.
The village of Haverhill, on the Merrimac, called by the Indians Pentucket, was for nearly seventeen years a frontier town, and during thirty years endured all the horrors of savage warfare. In the year 1708, a combined body of French and Indians, under the command of De Chaillons, and Hertel de Rouville, the famous and bloody sacker of Deerfield, made an attack upon the village, which at that time contained only thirty houses. Sixteen of the villagers were massacred, and a still larger number made prisoners. About thirty of the enemy also fell, among them Hertel de Rouville. The minister of the place, Benjamin Rolfe, was killed by a shot through his own door. In a paper entitled The Border War of 1708, published in my collection of Recreations and Miscellanies, I have given a prose narrative of the surprise of Haverhill.
How sweetly on the wood-girt town The mellow light of sunset shone! Each small, bright lake, whose waters still Mirror the forest and the hill, Reflected from its waveless breast The beauty of a cloudless west, Glorious as if a glimpse were given Within the western gates of heaven, Left, by the spirit of the star Of sunset's holy hour, ajar!
Beside the river's tranquil flood The dark and low-walled dwellings stood, Where many a rood of open land Stretched up and down on either hand, With corn-leaves waving freshly green The thick and blackened stumps between. Behind, unbroken, deep and dread, The wild, untravelled forest spread, Back to those mountains, white and cold, Of which the Indian trapper told, Upon whose summits never yet Was mortal foot in safety set.
Quiet and calm without a fear, Of danger darkly lurking near, The weary laborer left his plough, The milkmaid carolled by her cow; From cottage door and household hearth Rose songs of praise, or tones of mirth.
At length the murmur died away, And silence on that village lay. —So slept Pompeii, tower and hall, Ere the quick earthquake swallowed all, Undreaming of the fiery fate Which made its dwellings desolate.
Hours passed away. By moonlight sped The Merrimac along his bed. Bathed in the pallid lustre, stood Dark cottage-wall and rock and wood, Silent, beneath that tranquil beam, As the hushed grouping of a dream. Yet on the still air crept a sound, No bark of fox, nor rabbit's bound, Nor stir of wings, nor waters flowing, Nor leaves in midnight breezes blowing.
Was that the tread of many feet, Which downward from the hillside beat? What forms were those which darkly stood Just on the margin of the wood?— Charred tree-stumps in the moonlight dim, Or paling rude, or leafless limb? No,—through the trees fierce eyeballs glowed, Dark human forms in moonshine showed, Wild from their native wilderness, With painted limbs and battle-dress.
A yell the dead might wake to hear Swelled on the night air, far and clear; Then smote the Indian tomahawk On crashing door and shattering lock;
Then rang the rifle-shot, and then The shrill death-scream of stricken men,— Sank the red axe in woman's brain, And childhood's cry arose in vain. Bursting through roof and window came, Red, fast, and fierce, the kindled flame, And blended fire and moonlight glared On still dead men and scalp-knives bared.
The morning sun looked brightly through The river willows, wet with dew. No sound of combat filled the air, No shout was heard, nor gunshot there; Yet still the thick and sullen smoke From smouldering ruins slowly broke; And on the greensward many a stain, And, here and there, the mangled slain, Told how that midnight bolt had sped Pentucket, on thy fated head.
Even now the villager can tell Where Rolfe beside his hearthstone fell, Still show the door of wasting oak, Through which the fatal death-shot broke, And point the curious stranger where De Rouville's corse lay grim and bare; Whose hideous head, in death still feared, Bore not a trace of hair or beard; And still, within the churchyard ground, Heaves darkly up the ancient mound, Whose grass-grown surface overlies The victims of that sacrifice. 1838.
In the early part of the present century, a fragment of a statue, rudely chiselled from dark gray stone, was found in the town of Bradford, on the Merrimac. Its origin must be left entirely to conjecture. The fact that the ancient Northmen visited the north-east coast of North America and probably New England, some centuries before the discovery of the western world by Columbus, is very generally admitted.
GIFT from the cold and silent Past! A relic to the present cast, Left on the ever-changing strand Of shifting and unstable sand, Which wastes beneath the steady chime And beating of the waves of Time! Who from its bed of primal rock First wrenched thy dark, unshapely block? Whose hand, of curious skill untaught, Thy rude and savage outline wrought?
The waters of my native stream Are glancing in the sun's warm beam; From sail-urged keel and flashing oar The circles widen to its shore; And cultured field and peopled town Slope to its willowed margin down. Yet, while this morning breeze is bringing The home-life sound of school-bells ringing, And rolling wheel, and rapid jar Of the fire-winged and steedless car, And voices from the wayside near Come quick and blended on my ear,— A spell is in this old gray stone, My thoughts are with the Past alone!
A change!—The steepled town no more Stretches along the sail-thronged shore; Like palace-domes in sunset's cloud, Fade sun-gilt spire and mansion proud Spectrally rising where they stood, I see the old, primeval wood; Dark, shadow-like, on either hand I see its solemn waste expand; It climbs the green and cultured hill, It arches o'er the valley's rill, And leans from cliff and crag to throw Its wild arms o'er the stream below. Unchanged, alone, the same bright river Flows on, as it will flow forever I listen, and I hear the low Soft ripple where its waters go; I hear behind the panther's cry, The wild-bird's scream goes thrilling by, And shyly on the river's brink The deer is stooping down to drink.
But hark!—from wood and rock flung back, What sound comes up the Merrimac? What sea-worn barks are those which throw The light spray from each rushing prow? Have they not in the North Sea's blast Bowed to the waves the straining mast? Their frozen sails the low, pale sun Of Thule's night has shone upon; Flapped by the sea-wind's gusty sweep Round icy drift, and headland steep. Wild Jutland's wives and Lochlin's daughters Have watched them fading o'er the waters, Lessening through driving mist and spray, Like white-winged sea-birds on their way!
Onward they glide,—and now I view Their iron-armed and stalwart crew; Joy glistens in each wild blue eye, Turned to green earth and summer sky. Each broad, seamed breast has cast aside Its cumbering vest of shaggy hide; Bared to the sun and soft warm air, Streams back the Norsemen's yellow hair. I see the gleam of axe and spear, The sound of smitten shields I hear, Keeping a harsh and fitting time To Saga's chant, and Runic rhyme; Such lays as Zetland's Scald has sung, His gray and naked isles among; Or muttered low at midnight hour Round Odin's mossy stone of power. The wolf beneath the Arctic moon Has answered to that startling rune; The Gael has heard its stormy swell, The light Frank knows its summons well; Iona's sable-stoled Culdee Has heard it sounding o'er the sea, And swept, with hoary beard and hair, His altar's foot in trembling prayer.
'T is past,—the 'wildering vision dies In darkness on my dreaming eyes The forest vanishes in air, Hill-slope and vale lie starkly bare; I hear the common tread of men, And hum of work-day life again;
The mystic relic seems alone A broken mass of common stone; And if it be the chiselled limb Of Berserker or idol grim, A fragment of Valhalla's Thor, The stormy Viking's god of War, Or Praga of the Runic lay, Or love-awakening Siona, I know not,—for no graven line, Nor Druid mark, nor Runic sign, Is left me here, by which to trace Its name, or origin, or place. Yet, for this vision of the Past, This glance upon its darkness cast, My spirit bows in gratitude Before the Giver of all good, Who fashioned so the human mind, That, from the waste of Time behind, A simple stone, or mound of earth, Can summon the departed forth; Quicken the Past to life again, The Present lose in what hath been, And in their primal freshness show The buried forms of long ago. As if a portion of that Thought By which the Eternal will is wrought, Whose impulse fills anew with breath The frozen solitude of Death, To mortal mind were sometimes lent, To mortal musings sometimes sent, To whisper-even when it seems But Memory's fantasy of dreams— Through the mind's waste of woe and sin, Of an immortal origin!
FUNERAL TREE OF THE SOKOKIS.
Polan, chief of the Sokokis Indians of the country between Agamenticus and Casco Bay, was killed at Windham on Sebago Lake in the spring of 1756. After the whites had retired, the surviving Indians "swayed" or bent down a young tree until its roots were upturned, placed the body of their chief beneath it, then released the tree, which, in springing back to its old position, covered the grave. The Sokokis were early converts to the Catholic faith. Most of them, prior to the year 1756, had removed to the French settlements on the St. Francois.
AROUND Sebago's lonely lake There lingers not a breeze to break The mirror which its waters make.
The solemn pines along its shore, The firs which hang its gray rocks o'er, Are painted on its glassy floor.
The sun looks o'er, with hazy eye, The snowy mountain-tops which lie Piled coldly up against the sky.
Dazzling and white! save where the bleak, Wild winds have bared some splintering peak, Or snow-slide left its dusky streak.
Yet green are Saco's banks below, And belts of spruce and cedar show, Dark fringing round those cones of snow.
The earth hath felt the breath of spring, Though yet on her deliverer's wing The lingering frosts of winter cling.
Fresh grasses fringe the meadow-brooks, And mildly from its sunny nooks The blue eye of the violet looks.
And odors from the springing grass, The sweet birch and the sassafras, Upon the scarce-felt breezes pass.
Her tokens of renewing care Hath Nature scattered everywhere, In bud and flower, and warmer air.
But in their hour of bitterness, What reek the broken Sokokis, Beside their slaughtered chief, of this?
The turf's red stain is yet undried, Scarce have the death-shot echoes died Along Sebago's wooded side;
And silent now the hunters stand, Grouped darkly, where a swell of land Slopes upward from the lake's white sand.
Fire and the axe have swept it bare, Save one lone beech, unclosing there Its light leaves in the vernal air.
With grave, cold looks, all sternly mute, They break the damp turf at its foot, And bare its coiled and twisted root.
They heave the stubborn trunk aside, The firm roots from the earth divide,— The rent beneath yawns dark and wide.
And there the fallen chief is laid, In tasselled garb of skins arrayed, And girded with his wampum-braid.
The silver cross he loved is pressed Beneath the heavy arms, which rest Upon his scarred and naked breast.
'T is done: the roots are backward sent, The beechen-tree stands up unbent, The Indian's fitting monument!
When of that sleeper's broken race Their green and pleasant dwelling-place, Which knew them once, retains no trace;
Oh, long may sunset's light be shed As now upon that beech's head, A green memorial of the dead!
There shall his fitting requiem be, In northern winds, that, cold and free, Howl nightly in that funeral tree.
To their wild wail the waves which break Forever round that lonely lake A solemn undertone shall make!
And who shall deem the spot unblest, Where Nature's younger children rest, Lulled on their sorrowing mother's breast?
Deem ye that mother loveth less These bronzed forms of the wilderness She foldeth in her long caress?
As sweet o'er them her wild-flowers blow, As if with fairer hair and brow The blue-eyed Saxon slept below.
What though the places of their rest No priestly knee hath ever pressed,— No funeral rite nor prayer hath blessed?
What though the bigot's ban be there, And thoughts of wailing and despair, And cursing in the place of prayer.
Yet Heaven hath angels watching round The Indian's lowliest forest-mound,— And they have made it holy ground.
There ceases man's frail judgment; all His powerless bolts of cursing fall Unheeded on that grassy pall.
O peeled and hunted and reviled, Sleep on, dark tenant of the wild! Great Nature owns her simple child!
And Nature's God, to whom alone The secret of the heart is known,— The hidden language traced thereon;
Who from its many cumberings Of form and creed, and outward things, To light the naked spirit brings;
Not with our partial eye shall scan, Not with our pride and scorn shall ban, The spirit of our brother man! 1841.
The fierce rivalry between Charles de La Tour, a Protestant, and D'Aulnay Charnasy, a Catholic, for the possession of Acadia, forms one of the most romantic passages in the history of the New World. La Tour received aid in several instances from the Puritan colony of Massachusetts. During one of his voyages for the purpose of obtaining arms and provisions for his establishment at St. John, his castle was attacked by D'Aulnay, and successfully defended by its high-spirited mistress. A second attack however followed in the fourth month, 1647, when D'Aulnay was successful, and the garrison was put to the sword. Lady La Tour languished a few days in the hands of her enemy, and then died of grief.
"To the winds give our banner! Bear homeward again!" Cried the Lord of Acadia, Cried Charles of Estienne; From the prow of his shallop He gazed, as the sun, From its bed in the ocean, Streamed up the St. John.
O'er the blue western waters That shallop had passed, Where the mists of Penobscot Clung damp on her mast. St. Saviour had looked On the heretic sail, As the songs of the Huguenot Rose on the gale.
The pale, ghostly fathers Remembered her well, And had cursed her while passing, With taper and bell; But the men of Monhegan, Of Papists abhorred, Had welcomed and feasted The heretic Lord.
They had loaded his shallop With dun-fish and ball, With stores for his larder, And steel for his wall. Pemaquid, from her bastions And turrets of stone, Had welcomed his coming With banner and gun.
And the prayers of the elders Had followed his way, As homeward he glided, Down Pentecost Bay. Oh, well sped La Tour For, in peril and pain, His lady kept watch, For his coming again.
O'er the Isle of the Pheasant The morning sun shone, On the plane-trees which shaded The shores of St. John. "Now, why from yon battlements Speaks not my love! Why waves there no banner My fortress above?"
Dark and wild, from his deck St. Estienne gazed about, On fire-wasted dwellings, And silent redoubt; From the low, shattered walls Which the flame had o'errun, There floated no banner, There thundered no gun!
But beneath the low arch Of its doorway there stood A pale priest of Rome, In his cloak and his hood. With the bound of a lion, La Tour sprang to land, On the throat of the Papist He fastened his hand.
"Speak, son of the Woman Of scarlet and sin! What wolf has been prowling My castle within?" From the grasp of the soldier The Jesuit broke, Half in scorn, half in sorrow, He smiled as he spoke:
"No wolf, Lord of Estienne, Has ravaged thy hall, But thy red-handed rival, With fire, steel, and ball! On an errand of mercy I hitherward came, While the walls of thy castle Yet spouted with flame.
"Pentagoet's dark vessels Were moored in the bay, Grim sea-lions, roaring Aloud for their prey." "But what of my lady?" Cried Charles of Estienne. "On the shot-crumbled turret Thy lady was seen:
"Half-veiled in the smoke-cloud, Her hand grasped thy pennon, While her dark tresses swayed In the hot breath of cannon! But woe to the heretic, Evermore woe! When the son of the church And the cross is his foe!
"In the track of the shell, In the path of the ball, Pentagoet swept over The breach of the wall! Steel to steel, gun to gun, One moment,—and then Alone stood the victor, Alone with his men!
"Of its sturdy defenders, Thy lady alone Saw the cross-blazoned banner Float over St. John." "Let the dastard look to it!" Cried fiery Estienne, "Were D'Aulnay King Louis, I'd free her again!"
"Alas for thy lady! No service from thee Is needed by her Whom the Lord hath set free; Nine days, in stern silence, Her thraldom she bore, But the tenth morning came, And Death opened her door!"
As if suddenly smitten La Tour staggered back; His hand grasped his sword-hilt, His forehead grew black. He sprang on the deck Of his shallop again. "We cruise now for vengeance! Give way!" cried Estienne.
"Massachusetts shall hear Of the Huguenot's wrong, And from island and creekside Her fishers shall throng! Pentagoet shall rue What his Papists have done, When his palisades echo The Puritan's gun!"
Oh, the loveliest of heavens Hung tenderly o'er him, There were waves in the sunshine, And green isles before him: But a pale hand was beckoning The Huguenot on; And in blackness and ashes Behind was St. John!
THE CYPRESS-TREE OF CEYLON.
Ibn Batuta, the celebrated Mussulman traveller of the fourteenth century, speaks of a cypress-tree in Ceylon, universally held sacred by the natives, the leaves of which were said to fall only at certain intervals, and he who had the happiness to find and eat one of them was restored, at once, to youth and vigor. The traveller saw several venerable Jogees, or saints, sitting silent and motionless under the tree, patiently awaiting the falling of a leaf.
THEY sat in silent watchfulness The sacred cypress-tree about, And, from beneath old wrinkled brows, Their failing eyes looked out.
Gray Age and Sickness waiting there Through weary night and lingering day,— Grim as the idols at their side, And motionless as they.
Unheeded in the boughs above The song of Ceylon's birds was sweet; Unseen of them the island flowers Bloomed brightly at their feet.
O'er them the tropic night-storm swept, The thunder crashed on rock and hill; The cloud-fire on their eyeballs blazed, Yet there they waited still!
What was the world without to them? The Moslem's sunset-call, the dance Of Ceylon's maids, the passing gleam Of battle-flag and lance?
They waited for that falling leaf Of which the wandering Jogees sing: Which lends once more to wintry age The greenness of its spring.
Oh, if these poor and blinded ones In trustful patience wait to feel O'er torpid pulse and failing limb A youthful freshness steal;
Shall we, who sit beneath that Tree Whose healing leaves of life are shed, In answer to the breath of prayer, Upon the waiting head;
Not to restore our failing forms, And build the spirit's broken shrine, But on the fainting soul to shed A light and life divine—
Shall we grow weary in our watch, And murmur at the long delay? Impatient of our Father's time And His appointed way?
Or shall the stir of outward things Allure and claim the Christian's eye, When on the heathen watcher's ear Their powerless murmurs die?
Alas! a deeper test of faith Than prison cell or martyr's stake, The self-abasing watchfulness Of silent prayer may make.
We gird us bravely to rebuke Our erring brother in the wrong,— And in the ear of Pride and Power Our warning voice is strong.
Easier to smite with Peter's sword Than "watch one hour" in humbling prayer. Life's "great things," like the Syrian lord, Our hearts can do and dare.
But oh! we shrink from Jordan's side, From waters which alone can save;
And murmur for Abana's banks And Pharpar's brighter wave.
O Thou, who in the garden's shade Didst wake Thy weary ones again, Who slumbered at that fearful hour Forgetful of Thy pain;
Bend o'er us now, as over them, And set our sleep-bound spirits free, Nor leave us slumbering in the watch Our souls should keep with Thee!
The incidents upon which the following ballad has its foundation about the year 1660. Thomas Macy was one of the first, if not the first white settler of Nantucket. The career of Macy is briefly but carefully outlined in James S. Pike's The New Puritan.
THE goodman sat beside his door One sultry afternoon, With his young wife singing at his side An old and goodly tune.
A glimmer of heat was in the air,— The dark green woods were still; And the skirts of a heavy thunder-cloud Hung over the western hill.
Black, thick, and vast arose that cloud Above the wilderness,
As some dark world from upper air Were stooping over this.
At times the solemn thunder pealed, And all was still again, Save a low murmur in the air Of coming wind and rain.
Just as the first big rain-drop fell, A weary stranger came, And stood before the farmer's door, With travel soiled and lame.
Sad seemed he, yet sustaining hope Was in his quiet glance, And peace, like autumn's moonlight, clothed His tranquil countenance,—
A look, like that his Master wore In Pilate's council-hall: It told of wrongs, but of a love Meekly forgiving all.
"Friend! wilt thou give me shelter here?" The stranger meekly said; And, leaning on his oaken staff, The goodman's features read.
"My life is hunted,—evil men Are following in my track; The traces of the torturer's whip Are on my aged back;
"And much, I fear, 't will peril thee Within thy doors to take A hunted seeker of the Truth, Oppressed for conscience' sake."
Oh, kindly spoke the goodman's wife, "Come in, old man!" quoth she, "We will not leave thee to the storm, Whoever thou mayst be."
Then came the aged wanderer in, And silent sat him down; While all within grew dark as night Beneath the storm-cloud's frown.
But while the sudden lightning's blaze Filled every cottage nook, And with the jarring thunder-roll The loosened casements shook,
A heavy tramp of horses' feet Came sounding up the lane, And half a score of horse, or more, Came plunging through the rain.
"Now, Goodman Macy, ope thy door,— We would not be house-breakers; A rueful deed thou'st done this day, In harboring banished Quakers."
Out looked the cautious goodman then, With much of fear and awe, For there, with broad wig drenched with rain The parish priest he saw.
Open thy door, thou wicked man, And let thy pastor in, And give God thanks, if forty stripes Repay thy deadly sin."
"What seek ye?" quoth the goodman; "The stranger is my guest; He is worn with toil and grievous wrong,— Pray let the old man rest."
"Now, out upon thee, canting knave!" And strong hands shook the door. "Believe me, Macy," quoth the priest, "Thou 'lt rue thy conduct sore."
Then kindled Macy's eye of fire "No priest who walks the earth, Shall pluck away the stranger-guest Made welcome to my hearth."
Down from his cottage wall he caught The matchlock, hotly tried At Preston-pans and Marston-moor, By fiery Ireton's side;
Where Puritan, and Cavalier, With shout and psalm contended; And Rupert's oath, and Cromwell's prayer, With battle-thunder blended.
Up rose the ancient stranger then "My spirit is not free To bring the wrath and violence Of evil men on thee;
"And for thyself, I pray forbear, Bethink thee of thy Lord, Who healed again the smitten ear, And sheathed His follower's sword.
"I go, as to the slaughter led. Friends of the poor, farewell!" Beneath his hand the oaken door Back on its hinges fell.
"Come forth, old graybeard, yea and nay," The reckless scoffers cried, As to a horseman's saddle-bow The old man's arms were tied.
And of his bondage hard and long In Boston's crowded jail, Where suffering woman's prayer was heard, With sickening childhood's wail,
It suits not with our tale to tell; Those scenes have passed away; Let the dim shadows of the past Brood o'er that evil day.
"Ho, sheriff!" quoth the ardent priest, "Take Goodman Macy too; The sin of this day's heresy His back or purse shall rue."
"Now, goodwife, haste thee!" Macy cried. She caught his manly arm; Behind, the parson urged pursuit, With outcry and alarm.
Ho! speed the Macys, neck or naught,— The river-course was near; The plashing on its pebbled shore Was music to their ear.
A gray rock, tasselled o'er with birch, Above the waters hung, And at its base, with every wave, A small light wherry swung.
A leap—they gain the boat—and there The goodman wields his oar; "Ill luck betide them all," he cried, "The laggards on the shore."
Down through the crashing underwood, The burly sheriff came:— "Stand, Goodman Macy, yield thyself; Yield in the King's own name."
"Now out upon thy hangman's face!" Bold Macy answered then,— "Whip women, on the village green, But meddle not with men."
The priest came panting to the shore, His grave cocked hat was gone; Behind him, like some owl's nest, hung His wig upon a thorn.
"Come back,—come back!" the parson cried, "The church's curse beware." "Curse, an' thou wilt," said Macy, "but Thy blessing prithee spare."
"Vile scoffer!" cried the baffled priest, "Thou 'lt yet the gallows see." "Who's born to be hanged will not be drowned," Quoth Macy, merrily;
"And so, sir sheriff and priest, good-by!" He bent him to his oar, And the small boat glided quietly From the twain upon the shore.
Now in the west, the heavy clouds Scattered and fell asunder, While feebler came the rush of rain, And fainter growled the thunder.
And through the broken clouds, the sun Looked out serene and warm, Painting its holy symbol-light Upon the passing storm.
Oh, beautiful! that rainbow span, O'er dim Crane-neck was bended; One bright foot touched the eastern hills, And one with ocean blended.
By green Pentucket's southern'slope The small boat glided fast; The watchers of the Block-house saw The strangers as they passed.
That night a stalwart garrison Sat shaking in their shoes, To hear the dip of Indian oars, The glide of birch canoes.
The fisher-wives of Salisbury— The men were all away— Looked out to see the stranger oar Upon their waters play.
Deer-Island's rocks and fir-trees threw Their sunset-shadows o'er them, And Newbury's spire and weathercock Peered o'er the pines before them.
Around the Black Rocks, on their left, The marsh lay broad and green; And on their right, with dwarf shrubs crowned, Plum Island's hills were seen.
With skilful hand and wary eye The harbor-bar was crossed; A plaything of the restless wave, The boat on ocean tossed.
The glory of the sunset heaven On land and water lay; On the steep hills of Agawam, On cape, and bluff, and bay.
They passed the gray rocks of Cape Ann, And Gloucester's harbor-bar; The watch-fire of the garrison Shone like a setting star.
How brightly broke the morning On Massachusetts Bay! Blue wave, and bright green island, Rejoicing in the day.
On passed the bark in safety Round isle and headland steep; No tempest broke above them, No fog-cloud veiled the deep.
Far round the bleak and stormy Cape The venturous Macy passed, And on Nantucket's naked isle Drew up his boat at last.
And how, in log-built cabin, They braved the rough sea-weather; And there, in peace and quietness, Went down life's vale together;
How others drew around them, And how their fishing sped, Until to every wind of heaven Nantucket's sails were spread;
How pale Want alternated With Plenty's golden smile; Behold, is it not written In the annals of the isle?
And yet that isle remaineth A refuge of the free, As when true-hearted Macy Beheld it from the sea.
Free as the winds that winnow Her shrubless hills of sand, Free as the waves that batter Along her yielding land.
Than hers, at duty's summons, No loftier spirit stirs, Nor falls o'er human suffering A readier tear then hers.
God bless the sea-beat island! And grant forevermore, That charity and freedom dwell As now upon her shore!
THE KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN.
ERE down yon blue Carpathian hills The sun shall sink again, Farewell to life and all its ills, Farewell to cell and chain!
These prison shades are dark and cold, But, darker far than they, The shadow of a sorrow old Is on my heart alway.
For since the day when Warkworth wood Closed o'er my steed, and I, An alien from my name and blood, A weed cast out to die,—
When, looking back in sunset light, I saw her turret gleam, And from its casement, far and white, Her sign of farewell stream,
Like one who, from some desert shore, Doth home's green isles descry, And, vainly longing, gazes o'er The waste of wave and sky;
So from the desert of my fate I gaze across the past; Forever on life's dial-plate The shade is backward cast!
I've wandered wide from shore to shore, I've knelt at many a shrine; And bowed me to the rocky floor Where Bethlehem's tapers shine;
And by the Holy Sepulchre I've pledged my knightly sword To Christ, His blessed Church, and her, The Mother of our Lord.
Oh, vain the vow, and vain the strife! How vain do all things seem! My soul is in the past, and life To-day is but a dream.
In vain the penance strange and long, And hard for flesh to bear; The prayer, the fasting, and the thong, And sackcloth shirt of hair.
The eyes of memory will not sleep, Its ears are open still; And vigils with the past they keep Against my feeble will.
And still the loves and joys of old Do evermore uprise; I see the flow of locks of gold, The shine of loving eyes!
Ah me! upon another's breast Those golden locks recline; I see upon another rest The glance that once was mine.
"O faithless priest! O perjured knight!" I hear the Master cry; "Shut out the vision from thy sight, Let Earth and Nature die.
"The Church of God is now thy spouse, And thou the bridegroom art; Then let the burden of thy vows Crush down thy human heart!"
In vain! This heart its grief must know, Till life itself hath ceased, And falls beneath the self-same blow The lover and the priest!
O pitying Mother! souls of light, And saints and martyrs old! Pray for a weak and sinful knight, A suffering man uphold.
Then let the Paynim work his will, And death unbind my chain, Ere down yon blue Carpathian hill The sun shall fall again.
In 1658 two young persons, son and daughter of Lawrence Smithwick of Salem, who had himself been imprisoned and deprived of nearly all his property for having entertained Quakers at his house, were fined for non-attendance at church. They being unable to pay the fine, the General Court issued an order empowering "the Treasurer of the County to sell the said persons to any of the English nation of Virginia or Barbadoes, to answer said fines." An attempt was made to carry this order into execution, but no shipmaster was found willing to convey them to the West Indies.
To the God of all sure mercies let my blessing rise to-day, From the scoffer and the cruel He hath plucked the spoil away; Yea, He who cooled the furnace around the faithful three, And tamed the Chaldean lions, hath set His hand- maid free! Last night I saw the sunset melt through my prison bars, Last night across my damp earth-floor fell the pale gleam of stars; In the coldness and the darkness all through the long night-time, My grated casement whitened with autumn's early rime. Alone, in that dark sorrow, hour after hour crept by; Star after star looked palely in and sank adown the sky; No sound amid night's stillness, save that which seemed to be The dull and heavy beating of the pulses of the sea;
All night I sat unsleeping, for I knew that on the morrow The ruler and the cruel priest would mock me in my sorrow, Dragged to their place of market, and bargained for and sold, Like a lamb before the shambles, like a heifer from the fold!
Oh, the weakness of the flesh was there, the shrinking and the shame; And the low voice of the Tempter like whispers to me came: "Why sit'st thou thus forlornly," the wicked murmur said, "Damp walls thy bower of beauty, cold earth thy maiden bed?
"Where be the smiling faces, and voices soft and sweet, Seen in thy father's dwelling, heard in the pleasant street? Where be the youths whose glances, the summer Sabbath through, Turned tenderly and timidly unto thy father's pew?
"Why sit'st thou here, Cassandra?-Bethink thee with what mirth Thy happy schoolmates gather around the warm bright hearth; How the crimson shadows tremble on foreheads white and fair, On eyes of merry girlhood, half hid in golden hair.
"Not for thee the hearth-fire brightens, not for thee kind words are spoken, Not for thee the nuts of Wenham woods by laughing boys are broken; No first-fruits of the orchard within thy lap are laid, For thee no flowers of autumn the youthful hunters braid.
"O weak, deluded maiden!—by crazy fancies led, With wild and raving railers an evil path to tread; To leave a wholesome worship, and teaching pure and sound, And mate with maniac women, loose-haired and sackcloth bound,—
"Mad scoffers of the priesthood; who mock at things divine, Who rail against the pulpit, and holy bread and wine; Sore from their cart-tail scourgings, and from the pillory lame, Rejoicing in their wretchedness, and glorying in their shame.
"And what a fate awaits thee!—a sadly toiling slave, Dragging the slowly lengthening chain of bondage to the grave! Think of thy woman's nature, subdued in hopeless thrall, The easy prey of any, the scoff and scorn of all!"
Oh, ever as the Tempter spoke, and feeble Nature's fears Wrung drop by drop the scalding flow of unavailing tears, I wrestled down the evil thoughts, and strove in silent prayer, To feel, O Helper of the weak! that Thou indeed wert there!
I thought of Paul and Silas, within Philippi's cell, And how from Peter's sleeping limbs the prison shackles fell, Till I seemed to hear the trailing of an angel's robe of white, And to feel a blessed presence invisible to sight.
Bless the Lord for all his mercies!—for the peace and love I felt, Like dew of Hermon's holy hill, upon my spirit melt; When "Get behind me, Satan!" was the language of my heart, And I felt the Evil Tempter with all his doubts depart.
Slow broke the gray cold morning; again the sunshine fell, Flecked with the shade of bar and grate within my lonely cell; The hoar-frost melted on the wall, and upward from the street Came careless laugh and idle word, and tread of passing feet.
At length the heavy bolts fell back, my door was open cast, And slowly at the sheriff's side, up the long street I passed; I heard the murmur round me, and felt, but dared not see, How, from every door and window, the people gazed on me.
And doubt and fear fell on me, shame burned upon my cheek, Swam earth and sky around me, my trembling limbs grew weak: "O Lord! support thy handmaid; and from her soul cast out The fear of man, which brings a snare, the weakness and the doubt."
Then the dreary shadows scattered, like a cloud in morning's breeze, And a low deep voice within me seemed whispering words like these: "Though thy earth be as the iron, and thy heaven a brazen wall, Trust still His loving-kindness whose power is over all."
We paused at length, where at my feet the sunlit waters broke On glaring reach of shining beach, and shingly wall of rock; The merchant-ships lay idly there, in hard clear lines on high, Tracing with rope and slender spar their network on the sky.
And there were ancient citizens, cloak-wrapped and grave and cold, And grim and stout sea-captains with faces bronzed and old, And on his horse, with Rawson, his cruel clerk at hand, Sat dark and haughty Endicott, the ruler of the land.
And poisoning with his evil words the ruler's ready ear, The priest leaned o'er his saddle, with laugh and scoff and jeer; It stirred my soul, and from my lips the seal of silence broke, As if through woman's weakness a warning spirit spoke.
I cried, "The Lord rebuke thee, thou smiter of the meek, Thou robber of the righteous, thou trampler of the weak! Go light the dark, cold hearth-stones,—go turn the prison lock Of the poor hearts thou hast hunted, thou wolf amid the flock!"
Dark lowered the brows of Endicott, and with a deeper red O'er Rawson's wine-empurpled cheek the flush of anger spread; "Good people," quoth the white-lipped priest, "heed not her words so wild, Her Master speaks within her,—the Devil owns his child!"
But gray heads shook, and young brows knit, the while the sheriff read That law the wicked rulers against the poor have made, Who to their house of Rimmon and idol priesthood bring No bended knee of worship, nor gainful offering.
Then to the stout sea-captains the sheriff, turning, said,— "Which of ye, worthy seamen, will take this Quaker maid? In the Isle of fair Barbadoes, or on Virginia's shore, You may hold her at a higher price than Indian girl or Moor."
Grim and silent stood the captains; and when again he cried, "Speak out, my worthy seamen!"—no voice, no sign replied; But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind words met my ear,— "God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl and dear!"
A weight seemed lifted from my heart, a pitying friend was nigh,— I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his eye; And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so kind to me, Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring of the sea,—
"Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins of Spanish gold, From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of her hold, By the living God who made me!—I would sooner in your bay Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child away!"
"Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their cruel laws!" Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people's just applause. "Like the herdsman of Tekoa, in Israel of old, Shall we see the poor and righteous again for silver sold?"
I looked on haughty Endicott; with weapon half- way drawn, Swept round the throng his lion glare of bitter hate and scorn; Fiercely he drew his bridle-rein, and turned in silence back, And sneering priest and baffled clerk rode murmuring in his track.
Hard after them the sheriff looked, in bitterness of soul; Thrice smote his staff upon the ground, and crushed his parchment roll. "Good friends," he said, "since both have fled, the ruler and the priest, Judge ye, if from their further work I be not well released."
Loud was the cheer which, full and clear, swept round the silent bay, As, with kind words and kinder looks, he bade me go my way; For He who turns the courses of the streamlet of the glen, And the river of great waters, had turned the hearts of men.
Oh, at that hour the very earth seemed changed beneath my eye, A holier wonder round me rose the blue walls of the sky, A lovelier light on rock and hill and stream and woodland lay, And softer lapsed on sunnier sands the waters of the bay.
Thanksgiving to the Lord of life! to Him all praises be, Who from the hands of evil men hath set his hand- maid free; All praise to Him before whose power the mighty are afraid, Who takes the crafty in the snare which for the poor is laid!
Sing, O my soul, rejoicingly, on evening's twilight calm Uplift the loud thanksgiving, pour forth the grateful psalm; Let all dear hearts with me rejoice, as did the saints of old, When of the Lord's good angel the rescued Peter told.
And weep and howl, ye evil priests and mighty men of wrong, The Lord shall smite the proud, and lay His hand upon the strong. Woe to the wicked rulers in His avenging hour! Woe to the wolves who seek the flocks to raven and devour!
But let the humble ones arise, the poor in heart be glad, And let the mourning ones again with robes of praise be clad. For He who cooled the furnace, and smoothed the stormy wave, And tamed the Chaldean lions, is mighty still to save!
THE NEW WIFE AND THE OLD.
The following ballad is founded upon one of the marvellous legends connected with the famous General ——, of Hampton, New Hampshire, who was regarded by his neighbors as a Yankee Faust, in league with the adversary. I give the story, as I heard it when a child, from a venerable family visitant.
DARK the halls, and cold the feast, Gone the bridemaids, gone the priest. All is over, all is done, Twain of yesterday are one! Blooming girl and manhood gray, Autumn in the arms of May!
Hushed within and hushed without, Dancing feet and wrestlers' shout; Dies the bonfire on the hill; All is dark and all is still, Save the starlight, save the breeze Moaning through the graveyard trees, And the great sea-waves below, Pulse of the midnight beating slow.
From the brief dream of a bride She hath wakened, at his side. With half-uttered shriek and start,— Feels she not his beating heart? And the pressure of his arm, And his breathing near and warm?
Lightly from the bridal bed Springs that fair dishevelled head, And a feeling, new, intense, Half of shame, half innocence, Maiden fear and wonder speaks Through her lips and changing cheeks.
From the oaken mantel glowing, Faintest light the lamp is throwing On the mirror's antique mould, High-backed chair, and wainscot old, And, through faded curtains stealing, His dark sleeping face revealing.
Listless lies the strong man there, Silver-streaked his careless hair; Lips of love have left no trace On that hard and haughty face; And that forehead's knitted thought Love's soft hand hath not unwrought.
"Yet," she sighs, "he loves me well, More than these calm lips will tell. Stooping to my lowly state, He hath made me rich and great, And I bless him, though he be Hard and stern to all save me!"
While she speaketh, falls the light O'er her fingers small and white; Gold and gem, and costly ring Back the timid lustre fling,— Love's selectest gifts, and rare, His proud hand had fastened there.
Gratefully she marks the glow From those tapering lines of snow; Fondly o'er the sleeper bending His black hair with golden blending, In her soft and light caress, Cheek and lip together press.
Ha!—that start of horror! why That wild stare and wilder cry, Full of terror, full of pain? Is there madness in her brain? Hark! that gasping, hoarse and low, "Spare me,—spare me,—let me go!"
God have mercy!—icy cold Spectral hands her own enfold, Drawing silently from them Love's fair gifts of gold and gem. "Waken! save me!" still as death At her side he slumbereth.
Ring and bracelet all are gone, And that ice-cold hand withdrawn; But she hears a murmur low, Full of sweetness, full of woe, Half a sigh and half a moan "Fear not! give the dead her own!"
Ah!—the dead wife's voice she knows! That cold hand whose pressure froze, Once in warmest life had borne Gem and band her own hath worn. "Wake thee! wake thee!" Lo, his eyes Open with a dull surprise.
In his arms the strong man folds her, Closer to his breast he holds her; Trembling limbs his own are meeting, And he feels her heart's quick beating "Nay, my dearest, why this fear?" "Hush!" she saith, "the dead is here!"
"Nay, a dream,—an idle dream." But before the lamp's pale gleam Tremblingly her hand she raises. There no more the diamond blazes, Clasp of pearl, or ring of gold,— "Ah!" she sighs, "her hand was cold!"
Broken words of cheer he saith, But his dark lip quivereth, And as o'er the past he thinketh, From his young wife's arms he shrinketh; Can those soft arms round him lie, Underneath his dead wife's eye?
She her fair young head can rest Soothed and childlike on his breast, And in trustful innocence Draw new strength and courage thence; He, the proud man, feels within But the cowardice of sin!
She can murmur in her thought Simple prayers her mother taught, And His blessed angels call, Whose great love is over all; He, alone, in prayerless pride, Meets the dark Past at her side!
One, who living shrank with dread From his look, or word, or tread, Unto whom her early grave Was as freedom to the slave, Moves him at this midnight hour, With the dead's unconscious power!
Ah, the dead, the unforgot! From their solemn homes of thought, Where the cypress shadows blend Darkly over foe and friend, Or in love or sad rebuke, Back upon the living look.
And the tenderest ones and weakest, Who their wrongs have borne the meekest, Lifting from those dark, still places, Sweet and sad-remembered faces, O'er the guilty hearts behind An unwitting triumph find.
THE BRIDAL OF PENNACOOK.
Winnepurkit, otherwise called George, Sachem of Saugus, married a daughter of Passaconaway, the great Pennacook chieftain, in 1662. The wedding took place at Pennacook (now Concord, N. H.), and the ceremonies closed with a great feast. According to the usages of the chiefs, Passaconaway ordered a select number of his men to accompany the newly-married couple to the dwelling of the husband, where in turn there was another great feast. Some time after, the wife of Winnepurkit expressing a desire to visit her father's house was permitted to go, accompanied by a brave escort of her husband's chief men. But when she wished to return, her father sent a messenger to Saugus, informing her husband, and asking him to come and take her away. He returned for answer that he had escorted his wife to her father's house in a style that became a chief, and that now if she wished to return, her father must send her back, in the same way. This Passaconaway refused to do, and it is said that here terminated the connection of his daughter with the Saugus chief.—Vide MORTON'S New Canaan.
WE had been wandering for many days Through the rough northern country. We had seen The sunset, with its bars of purple cloud, Like a new heaven, shine upward from the lake Of Winnepiseogee; and had felt The sunrise breezes, midst the leafy isles Which stoop their summer beauty to the lips Of the bright waters. We had checked our steeds, Silent with wonder, where the mountain wall Is piled to heaven; and, through the narrow rift Of the vast rocks, against whose rugged feet Beats the mad torrent with perpetual roar, Where noonday is as twilight, and the wind Comes burdened with the everlasting moan Of forests and of far-off waterfalls, We had looked upward where the summer sky, Tasselled with clouds light-woven by the sun, Sprung its blue arch above the abutting crags O'er-roofing the vast portal of the land Beyond the wall of mountains. We had passed The high source of the Saco; and bewildered In the dwarf spruce-belts of the Crystal Hills, Had heard above us, like a voice in the cloud, The horn of Fabyan sounding; and atop Of old Agioochook had seen the mountains' Piled to the northward, shagged with wood, and thick As meadow mole-hills,—the far sea of Casco, A white gleam on the horizon of the east; Fair lakes, embosomed in the woods and hills; Moosehillock's mountain range, and Kearsarge Lifting his granite forehead to the sun!
And we had rested underneath the oaks Shadowing the bank, whose grassy spires are shaken By the perpetual beating of the falls Of the wild Ammonoosuc. We had tracked The winding Pemigewasset, overhung By beechen shadows, whitening down its rocks, Or lazily gliding through its intervals, From waving rye-fields sending up the gleam Of sunlit waters. We had seen the moon Rising behind Umbagog's eastern pines, Like a great Indian camp-fire; and its beams At midnight spanning with a bridge of silver The Merrimac by Uncanoonuc's falls.
There were five souls of us whom travel's chance Had thrown together in these wild north hills A city lawyer, for a month escaping From his dull office, where the weary eye Saw only hot brick walls and close thronged streets; Briefless as yet, but with an eye to see Life's sunniest side, and with a heart to take Its chances all as godsends; and his brother, Pale from long pulpit studies, yet retaining The warmth and freshness of a genial heart, Whose mirror of the beautiful and true, In Man and Nature, was as yet undimmed By dust of theologic strife, or breath Of sect, or cobwebs of scholastic lore; Like a clear crystal calm of water, taking The hue and image of o'erleaning flowers, Sweet human faces, white clouds of the noon, Slant starlight glimpses through the dewy leaves, And tenderest moonrise. 'T was, in truth, a study, To mark his spirit, alternating between A decent and professional gravity And an irreverent mirthfulness, which often Laughed in the face of his divinity, Plucked off the sacred ephod, quite unshrined The oracle, and for the pattern priest Left us the man. A shrewd, sagacious merchant, To whom the soiled sheet found in Crawford's inn, Giving the latest news of city stocks And sales of cotton, had a deeper meaning Than the great presence of the awful mountains Glorified by the sunset; and his daughter, A delicate flower on whom had blown too long Those evil winds, which, sweeping from the ice And winnowing the fogs of Labrador, Shed their cold blight round Massachusetts Bay, With the same breath which stirs Spring's opening leaves And lifts her half-formed flower-bell on its stem, Poisoning our seaside atmosphere.
It chanced that as we turned upon our homeward way, A drear northeastern storm came howling up The valley of the Saco; and that girl Who had stood with us upon Mount Washington, Her brown locks ruffled by the wind which whirled In gusts around its sharp, cold pinnacle, Who had joined our gay trout-fishing in the streams Which lave that giant's feet; whose laugh was heard Like a bird's carol on the sunrise breeze Which swelled our sail amidst the lake's green islands, Shrank from its harsh, chill breath, and visibly drooped Like a flower in the frost. So, in that quiet inn Which looks from Conway on the mountains piled Heavily against the horizon of the north, Like summer thunder-clouds, we made our home And while the mist hung over dripping hills, And the cold wind-driven rain-drops all day long Beat their sad music upon roof and pane, We strove to cheer our gentle invalid.
The lawyer in the pauses of the storm Went angling down the Saco, and, returning, Recounted his adventures and mishaps; Gave us the history of his scaly clients, Mingling with ludicrous yet apt citations Of barbarous law Latin, passages From Izaak Walton's Angler, sweet and fresh As the flower-skirted streams of Staffordshire, Where, under aged trees, the southwest wind Of soft June mornings fanned the thin, white hair Of the sage fisher. And, if truth be told, Our youthful candidate forsook his sermons, His commentaries, articles and creeds, For the fair page of human loveliness, The missal of young hearts, whose sacred text Is music, its illumining, sweet smiles. He sang the songs she loved; and in his low, Deep, earnest voice, recited many a page Of poetry, the holiest, tenderest lines Of the sad bard of Olney, the sweet songs, Simple and beautiful as Truth and Nature, Of him whose whitened locks on Rydal Mount Are lifted yet by morning breezes blowing From the green hills, immortal in his lays. And for myself, obedient to her wish, I searched our landlord's proffered library,— A well-thumbed Bunyan, with its nice wood pictures Of scaly fiends and angels not unlike them; Watts' unmelodious psalms; Astrology's Last home, a musty pile of almanacs, And an old chronicle of border wars And Indian history. And, as I read A story of the marriage of the Chief Of Saugus to the dusky Weetamoo, Daughter of Passaconaway, who dwelt In the old time upon the Merrimac, Our fair one, in the playful exercise Of her prerogative,—the right divine Of youth and beauty,—bade us versify The legend, and with ready pencil sketched Its plan and outlines, laughingly assigning To each his part, and barring our excuses With absolute will. So, like the cavaliers Whose voices still are heard in the Romance Of silver-tongued Boccaccio, on the banks Of Arno, with soft tales of love beguiling The ear of languid beauty, plague-exiled From stately Florence, we rehearsed our rhymes To their fair auditor, and shared by turns Her kind approval and her playful censure.
It may be that these fragments owe alone To the fair setting of their circumstances,— The associations of time, scene, and audience,— Their place amid the pictures which fill up The chambers of my memory. Yet I trust That some, who sigh, while wandering in thought, Pilgrims of Romance o'er the olden world, That our broad land,—our sea-like lakes and mountains Piled to the clouds, our rivers overhung By forests which have known no other change For ages than the budding and the fall Of leaves, our valleys lovelier than those Which the old poets sang of,—should but figure On the apocryphal chart of speculation As pastures, wood-lots, mill-sites, with the privileges, Rights, and appurtenances, which make up A Yankee Paradise, unsung, unknown, To beautiful tradition; even their names, Whose melody yet lingers like the last Vibration of the red man's requiem, Exchanged for syllables significant, Of cotton-mill and rail-car, will look kindly Upon this effort to call up the ghost Of our dim Past, and listen with pleased ear To the responses of the questioned Shade.
I. THE MERRIMAC.
O child of that white-crested mountain whose springs Gush forth in the shade of the cliff-eagle's wings, Down whose slopes to the lowlands thy wild waters shine, Leaping gray walls of rock, flashing through the dwarf pine; From that cloud-curtained cradle so cold and so lone, From the arms of that wintry-locked mother of stone, By hills hung with forests, through vales wide and free, Thy mountain-born brightness glanced down to the sea.
No bridge arched thy waters save that where the trees Stretched their long arms above thee and kissed in the breeze: No sound save the lapse of the waves on thy shores, The plunging of otters, the light dip of oars.
Green-tufted, oak-shaded, by Amoskeag's fall Thy twin Uncanoonucs rose stately and tall, Thy Nashua meadows lay green and unshorn, And the hills of Pentucket were tasselled with corn. But thy Pennacook valley was fairer than these, And greener its grasses and taller its trees, Ere the sound of an axe in the forest had rung, Or the mower his scythe in the meadows had swung.
In their sheltered repose looking out from the wood The bark-builded wigwams of Pennacook stood; There glided the corn-dance, the council-fire shone, And against the red war-post the hatchet was thrown.
There the old smoked in silence their pipes, and the young To the pike and the white-perch their baited lines flung; There the boy shaped his arrows, and there the shy maid Wove her many-hued baskets and bright wampum braid.
O Stream of the Mountains! if answer of thine Could rise from thy waters to question of mine, Methinks through the din of thy thronged banks a moan Of sorrow would swell for the days which have gone.
Not for thee the dull jar of the loom and the wheel, The gliding of shuttles, the ringing of steel; But that old voice of waters, of bird and of breeze, The dip of the wild-fowl, the rustling of trees.
II. THE BASHABA.
Lift we the twilight curtains of the Past, And, turning from familiar sight and sound, Sadly and full of reverence let us cast A glance upon Tradition's shadowy ground, Led by the few pale lights which, glimmering round That dim, strange land of Eld, seem dying fast; And that which history gives not to the eye, The faded coloring of Time's tapestry, Let Fancy, with her dream-dipped brush, supply.
Roof of bark and walls of pine, Through whose chinks the sunbeams shine, Tracing many a golden line On the ample floor within; Where, upon that earth-floor stark, Lay the gaudy mats of bark, With the bear's hide, rough and dark, And the red-deer's skin.
Window-tracery, small and slight, Woven of the willow white, Lent a dimly checkered light; And the night-stars glimmered down, Where the lodge-fire's heavy smoke, Slowly through an opening broke, In the low roof, ribbed with oak, Sheathed with hemlock brown.
Gloomed behind the changeless shade By the solemn pine-wood made; Through the rugged palisade, In the open foreground planted, Glimpses came of rowers rowing, Stir of leaves and wild-flowers blowing, Steel-like gleams of water flowing, In the sunlight slanted.
Here the mighty Bashaba Held his long-unquestioned sway, From the White Hills, far away, To the great sea's sounding shore; Chief of chiefs, his regal word All the river Sachems heard, At his call the war-dance stirred, Or was still once more.
There his spoils of chase and war, Jaw of wolf and black bear's paw, Panther's skin and eagle's claw, Lay beside his axe and bow; And, adown the roof-pole hung, Loosely on a snake-skin strung, In the smoke his scalp-locks swung Grimly to and fro.
Nightly down the river going, Swifter was the hunter's rowing, When he saw that lodge-fire, glowing O'er the waters still and red; And the squaw's dark eye burned brighter, And she drew her blanket tighter, As, with quicker step and lighter, From that door she fled.