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Title: Alhalla, or the Lord of Talladega - A Tale of the Creek War. With Some Selected Miscellanies, Chiefly of Early Date.
Author: Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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TALLADEGA***


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ALHALLA, OR THE LORD OF TALLADEGA.

A Tale of the Creek War.
With Some Selected Miscellanies,
Chiefly of Early Date.

by

HENRY ROWE COLCRAFT.



New-York and London:
Wiley and Putnam.
MDCCCXLIII.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843,
by Henry Rowe Colcraft,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the
Southern District of New-York.

John F. Trow, Printer,
33 Ann-street.



TO WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, ESQ. OF NEW-YORK.


SIR:—Whatever may be the particular estimate set upon the intellectual
character of the American aborigines, or the decision had on the
perplexing question of their remote origin, or their actual and varying
condition, few will dispute the large share of interest which they have
in the public mind. And it is a species of interest which, I think we
shall perceive, will be found to assume a higher and more imaginative
cast, connected with the advancing state of letters and the fine
arts, as we recede from the historical era, when these tribes were
confessedly the lords and rulers of the land.

Their name and semblance are, in truth, infiltrated, if I may use a
chemical phrase, into the very elements of the American landscape,
which can hardly ever be contemplated without bringing out from the
latent depths of the imagination, the image of the lithe Indian, with
his Robin Hood arms and his picturesque costume. The policy which an
enlightened government and people ought to pursue towards them, at
all times, is a question that chiefly concerns the statesman and the
philanthropist. But there are a hundred subordinate questions which
come home for decision to the bosoms of all readers and thinkers,
travellers and writers, to whom the race itself, viewed as a broken
link in the ethnological chain, is a fruitful theme, both for
retrospection and for actual observation. I have indeed, myself,
participated largely in this field of observation, and may with truth
affirm, that I return to society, after completing a period of but
little short of four and twenty years in their territories.

How far the interest of these reminiscences of a noble race are
realized, or communicated in the following tale, I cannot pretend
to predict. But if I may rely on the American press, and it is an
authority which, in this instance, is sustained abroad, there are
few persons who are so well qualified to judge of success in this
particular as yourself. This consideration would plead a justification
for the liberty I take, of addressing the present sketch to you; but it
is a liberty which I should hardly venture on, were I not,

                                          Very truly yours,
                                             THE AUTHOR.



ADVERTISEMENT.


The treaty of Ghent, concluded in the autumn of 1814, terminated the
contest then existing between the United States and Great Britain,
although it was not promulgated in time to arrest one of the severest
battles of the war. In this contest, as in all prior ones of a general
character, subsequent to the settlement of European nations in the new
world, the native tribes were deeply involved. Indeed, it was under the
influence of an extraordinary prophetic delusion, that it may be said
to have commenced, on their part, on the plains of Tippecanoe.

If the opening of this renewed struggle for supremacy by the aborigines
in 1811, on the banks of the Wabash, had the effect to bring on the
stage of action a noted warrior, in the person of Tecumthe,[1] who
certainly has had few equals as a military and political leader,
since the era of the prior stand made by the American tribes under
Pontiac; its onward events, and its, to them, disastrous close, drew
into prominent notice a scarcely less remarkable, and in some traits
superior, character, under the name of Tuscaloosa, or the Black
Warrior. This man, from his personal courage, skill, and activity,
absorbed the full confidence of his tribe; and to him was, in effect,
committed the cause of the Indian war in the south, until the date of
his voluntary personal surrender to the American commander, after the
power of his nation had been crushed in a series of sanguinary battles,
and a price set upon his head.

It was the race of the Muscogees, who, under the popular name of
Creeks, opposed the most strenuous opposition to the arms of the United
States. This nation, in its numerous clans and subdivisions, were, at
the period, strong in their numbers, and confident in their strength.
These clans, influenced and misled by foreign counsel, were seated
in their original vallies, forests, and fastnesses, in the remoter
slopes and spurs of the Southern Alleghanies, stretching towards the
gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi, but were found to have their chief
point of military supply in Florida, then under the dominion of Spain,
into which the operations of the war were eventually and necessarily
transferred. It was in this manner that the Seminoles, who have since
made so protracted a stand, first drew upon themselves the force of the
American arms.

The present tale, in which fiction builds itself upon these general
facts, turns upon the contest of the Muscogees, their exertions, their
discomfitures, and their final fall. It opens at a distant point, many
degrees towards the north, within a short period after the close of
the Creek war. It occupies two days and two nights in its action. The
idea here brought forward of uniting or intermingling the dramatic,
with the narrative and descriptive, is believed to be well adapted to
topics of this character, in which the natural bent of the natives
for declamation and mystic romance may be indulged, while the time
of the action, it is conceived, may be thereby curtailed, and verbal
description retrenched. The measure is thought to be not ill adapted
to the Indian mode of enunciation. Nothing is more characteristic of
their harangues and public speeches, than that vehement, yet broken and
continued strain of utterance, which would be subject to the charge of
monotony, were it not varied by an extraordinary compass in the stress
of voice, broken by the repetition of high and low accent, and often
terminated with an exclamatory vigor, which is sometimes startling.
It is not the less in accordance with these traits, that nearly every
initial syllable of the measure chosen, is under accent. This at least
may be affirmed, that it imparts a movement to the narrative, which, at
the same time that it obviates languor, favors that repetitious rhythm,
or pseudo-parallelism, which so strongly marks their highly compound
lexicography.

Of the theme itself, nothing further is requisite to be said. The
tale was written, as it now stands, in 1826, with a few exceptions of
earlier date; and it may be added, that it was among the _agremens_
of the writer’s seclusion, while he was living in a public capacity,
within the impressive scenes, and among the manly tribes, in the lake
region described. That its publication should have been deferred until
the author had seen cause to resume the original orthography of the
initial syllable of his patronymic name, may render it proper further
to add, in this connection, that the change from School, and resumption
of Col, in the adjective syllable of the name, is in strict conformity
with family tradition, supported by recent observation in England. In
the latter country, however, the name is uniformly written Cal, however
it may be pronounced.

[1] A name inveterately recorded in our annals, under the false
orthography of Tecumseh—which is not true Shawanoe.



INTRODUCTORY STANZAS.


    Stretched on his couch, the Indian warrior lay,
    His bow and quiver prostrate at his side,
    Revolving all his fate in still dismay,
    Dominion lost, skill baffled, power defied.
    “Shades of my fathers!” thus his reverie ran,
    “And shall the Red Man thus, in clouds decline,
    With no memorial of his name or clan,
    Or only left to point the poet’s line,
    And tell to other years, the tale of his decline?”

    “Oh, is it thus, the noble woodswise race,
    Shall steal away to an unhonored tomb,
    Who once were lords of the ascendant chase,
    And swept the forests in their pristine bloom?
    Brave were their hearts, and strong in sinewy strength
    They drew the shaft that fell’d the stately deer,
    Or spread the craven foeman at his length,
    And triumphed in the battle’s wild career,
    A wanderer of the woods—lord of the bow and spear.”

    “Ah tell me, Spirit of the Golden West!
    Say, is it want of knowledge dooms my race?
    Or the wild passions of an untamed breast,
    That leaves nor peace nor virtue there a place?
    Can raging tumults of the mortal soul
    Prejudge its fate, and lead the wayward mind
    Through seas of want and poverty to roll,
    Till in a gloom of fixed despair it find
    Life’s path without a friend, and even death unkind?”

    “Doth human rectitude, in mind and heart,
    The inward purposes of right and wrong
    In human acts—so great a boon impart,
    Or lead, by their neglect, to thraldom strong?
    And can it be, ye messengers of air!
    Who know the great high Spirit’s sov’reign will,
    So vast a detriment he can prepare
    For those who follow nature’s dictates still,
    And worship Manitoes on every breezy hill?”

    “’Tis wondrous all, and yet there are, I ween,
    Some inward inklings of the Indian soul
    That whisper to his mind of things unclean,
    That taint his rites, and all his life control,
    Leading the mind—whenever he would do
    An evil act, or e’en the purpose form,
    To that High Excellence beyond the view,
    Who guides the sun and regulates the storm,
    Dispensing winter winds, or summer breezes warm.”

    “And is this conscience? So the white man tells,
    Pointing to letters as the star-light kind,
    That man’s own heart to man himself reveals,
    And warms and renovates the wandering mind,
    Impels the hand to drop the bloody blade,
    And seek support from art’s more kindly cares,
    Where genial fields invite the plough and spade,
    And industry her golden wreath prepares,
    And peace and joy and health, the household circle shares.”

    “But why—and here my doubts and fears arise—
    Why are kind precepts of such angel forms
    All bleared by acts that sunder friendship’s ties,
    And overcast our atmosphere with storms;
    Our lands despoiled by arts, we know not how,
    Erst in the solemn council we convene,
    But ere we note the hour, the white man’s plough,
    Driven reckless through each quiet hamlet scene,
    While steel-armed horsemen, stand as guards between?”

    “And whence—if we must acts by precepts try—
    Whence all the new-found ills that mar our life,
    The liquid fire of distillation high,
    That whelms our bands in most unseemly strife,
    And oft our maddening blood, unruled before,
    Stains with its purple tide our utmost lands?
    Is this benignly meant? say, ye who teach—
    Or be there few that aim to overreach?
    Ah, do not outward acts most eloquently preach?”

    Such is the race, whose deeds of scaith and strife,
    The muse essays in numbers to review,
    In that dark hour of opening peril rife,
    When late to arms the Southern war chiefs flew,
    Albeit, misguided in their warlike ires,
    By foreign counsels cast with cruel ken,
    And war, through all their borders, lit his fires,
    Transferring ruin to the peaceful glen,
    And woe to many a band of noble hunter men.



ALHALLA, OR THE LORD OF TALLADEGA.



CANTO I.

TRADITIONARY GLEAMS OF THE CREATION. THE COUNCIL.


  [_Scene._ A tent on the open shores of Lake Superior—a
     camp-fire—canoes turned up on the beach—boatmen engaged
     in cooking. A conference at the tent-door. Ethwald, a
     traveller. Oscar, a missionary. De la Joie, a trader.
     Mongazid (Azid), an Indian Prophet and hunter, with his
     retinue. The pipe is about to be lit. Time—sun-set.]

ETHWALD.

      HOARY hunter, stern and wild,
    Nature’s lone forsaken child!
    Wand’ring born and wand’ring bred,
    Forest school’d and forest fed—
    Turn thy quick revolving glance,
    O’er yon water’s bright expanse.
    See—along the purple sky,
    See the billows looming high;
    Not in rage as (if aright
    Men report the wild affright,)
    Oft with fear too sorely true,
    Thy advent’rous kinsmen view,
    But with long and lab’ring swells,
    That of lulling tempest tells;
    Seest thou? near the horizon dim,
    Shadowy form upon its brim,
    Dun and small—that closer scann’d,
    Main and margin, should be land.
    Tell!—for by thy lifted eye,
    Well I ken thou read’st the sky—
    Tell me!—in its shadowy forms
    Is there sunshine—is there storms?
    Seest thou there, a spirit mild,
    Or the fiend of waters wild,
    Who shall make to-morrow’s wave,
    Many a hapless hunter’s grave,
    And along the yellow strand,
    Raise their mounds amid the sand?
    Or to thy well-practised eye,
    Is the god of south winds nigh,
    With his soft, ethereal balms,
    Whisp’ring peace and breathing calms?
    Say, shall mortal blade essay,
    O’er yon waves a tranquil way
    On the morrow—spirit blest!
    Shall it speed toward the west,
    And the genii of the strand,
    Waft the vent’rous bark from land,
    With a breeze and with a smile,
    To yon dim-discovered isle?

MONGAZID.[2]

      Listen, white man! go not there;
    Unseen spirits stalk the air!
    Though the sky be clear and calm,
    And the south-west winnow balm—
    Though each wave be smooth and fair,
    Be thou cautioned—go not there!
    Misty forms, that walk the wind,
    Guard the treasures there enshrined;
    Hungry birds their influence lend,
    Snakes defy, and kites defend:
    There, the star-eyed panther prowls,
    And the wolf in hunger howls;
    There, the speckled adder breeds,
    And the mighty canieu feeds;
    Spirits prompt them—fiends incite—
    They are eager for the fight,
    And are thirsting, night and day,
    On the human heart to prey:
    Be they gods, or be they not,
    Touch not thou the sacred spot.

[2] Print of the Loon’s foot.

ETHWALD.

      Tell me, red man! old and hoar,
    Dweller on Igomee’s[3] shore!
    Wherefore bound by spell or wile,
    Spirit guarded, is yon isle?
    Is there not embowelled there
    Many a gem of lustre rare—
    Glow there not, in hidden mine,
    Jewel stones of ray divine—
    Ore resplendent—crystal bright,
    That illume the cavern-night?
    Or, along the mystic strand,
    Massy piles of golden sand?
    Tell me, hunter! wilt thou not
    Guide me to the treasur’d spot?
    Arms, with Europe’s skill prepared,
    Shall the daring deed reward;
    Bands shall deck thee, feathers bless,
    And the pride of Albion dress,
    With Columbia’s banner wide,
    And a chieftain’s plate beside.

[3] An abbreviation of Git-chi-go-mee,—the Indian name for Lake
Superior.

MONGAZID.

      Listen, white man! Moons have past
    Since this earth was all a waste:
    Rains had drenched it—thunders rent—
    Winds demolished—waters spent—
    And the ocean, black and still,
    Slumbered deep o’er every hill,
    And not one ling’ring beam of light
    Illum’d the vast and sullen night.
    ’Twas then the spirit of the sky,
    In mercy hung yon lamps on high—
    Sun, moon and stars—and by their light
    Expelled the dread chaotic night:
    Then clothed he hills and vales with trees,
    And stated bounds to lakes and seas;
    Then sent he bird and beast in woods,
    And fish in all our limpid floods,
    And creatures small, of foot and wing,
    And every living, breathing thing:—
    Last sent he man—(a barb’rous race,
    From whom my long descent I trace,)
    As lord o’er all—and thus benign,
    Addressed the parent of our line.

      To thee I give these smiling woods,
    These lofty hills, and peopled floods,
    Filled with all needful game, and blest
    For thy maintainance, peace and rest.
    I give thee bow, I give thee spear,
    To dart the fish, and fell the deer;
    I give thee bark full light to sweep
    O’er the broad stream and billowy deep;
    I give thee skins for thy attire;
    To shade thee, woods; to warm thee, fire;
    More need’st thou not, nor covet more,
    And peace her joys shall round thee pour.
    But touch not gold; the tempter fly,
    Or all thy kin shall droop and die;
    For in that potent evil pent,
    Lurk envy, pain, and discontent;
    And luxury—of life the bane—
    And woe, with all her haggard train.

      Listen, white man! Dreamest thou
    My soul could e’er descend so low,
    To sell my country, life, and line,
    For any frail reward of thine?
    Or break the Sire-of-life’s command,
    By treading yonder sacred strand?
    My fare is scant; my roof is low;
    My country cold, and deep my woe,
    And every moon that gilds yon hill,
    Sees growing want and growing ill!
    But scantier still must be my meal,
    And keener woes my bosom feel,
    A sharper winter chill our sky,
    And louder tempests rage on high,
    Gaunt famine howl along the plain,
    And every limb be rack’d with pain,
    Ere I compromit heaven’s decree,
    By touching gold, or guiding thee.

ETHWALD.

      Man of the woods! thy fancies seem
    Like some distemper’d midnight dream;
    Wild and devoid of reason. Vain
    Are all thy fears of gold or gain!
    Not more vain the infant’s call
    To the starry skies to fall;
    Or the fear this ocean-lake
    O’er yon cliffs its way shall take,
    If a single pebble-trace
    Circles in its glassy face.

MONGAZID.

      Wealth is a curse, our old men said,
    [Their wisdom speaks, though they be dead,]
    Wealth is a curse, and all its trust
    A breath of wind—a heap of dust:
    ’Tis here—’tis gone! told or untold—
    And Mystery is my name for gold.
    We have been pining, since we knew
    The wonders ye could make it do—
    But find with cavil, years, and time,
    It is the white man’s curse and crime.
    Of old, our fathers held it good
    To deal in shells, and rove the wood;
    And had no fear of scaith or storm,
    With food, and skins to keep them warm.
    But ye, with your unhallowed gain,
    Have burned our forests from the plain,
    Causing our hope—our game—to fly,
    And making life itself a lie.

ETHWALD.

      Know! thou man of suff’ring proud,
    Ills that press, and woes that cloud!
    Know, that gold doth hold a charm
    Want to banish, care disarm—
    To dispel the father’s fears,
    And suppress kind woman’s tears.
    Gold ensures the ready meal,
    And the joys the lib’ral feel,
    In the palace, or the cot,
    Fam’d, applauded, or forgot.
    Oft its peace-inspiring power
    Gilds fair virtue’s evening hour—
    Oft, at stern-eyed power’s command,
    Renovates a drooping land—
    Opening, by a blest employ,
    Founts of noble, lasting joy:
    From its toil-impelling springs,
    Commerce spreads her daring wings;
    Art uprears the public dome,
    Agriculture treads her loom,
    And a thousand pleasures stand
    To obey its potent wand.
    It is not wealth that ills produce—
    So sages write—but its _abuse_.

MONGAZID.

      Yet, is the sweet with bitter blent,
    And all without that boon—content!
    Else hadst thou not quit friend and home,
    In these unmeasured wilds to roam;
    Or boldly dared this forest-sea
    For gains, that still thy grasp shall flee—
    Or proffered me thy valued pelf
    To sell my gods—my peace—myself!

ETHWALD.

      Thou wouldst shun the white man’s joy,
    Lest there should be slight alloy:
    Know, to mortal is not given
    Joy unmixed, by righteous heaven:
    Death and sorrow, toil and woe,
    All must dread, and all must know.
    But me thinks thy purpose stern,
    That would neither teach nor learn,
    Give nor guide, remit or feel,
    Doth some _secret_ power reveal—
    Power that doth thy being sway,
    And thou must, perforce, obey!
    Is it pride of hunter fame,
    Azid’s art, or Azid’s name?
    Is it dread of fate severe,
    Is it hope, or is it fear?

MONGAZID.

      Fear of mortal shaft or ill,
    Foeman’s ire or foeman’s skill—
    Dread of pain or dread of woe,
    Azid’s heart can never know!
    It hath breasted famine drear,
    And the jagged flinty spear,
    Warrior’s wrath, or wizard’s sign,
    Nor doth dread the force of thine!

ETHWALD.

      Wizard am I not, nor part,
    Read or know of such foul art,
    False and visionary. There,
    Wrapt in his robes of holy care,
    Behold yon pilgrim, early gray,
    Companion of my toilsome way,
    As now along the desert strand,
    With sober tread, he marks the sand—
    E’en now his lips the skies implore,
    Thy long-lost people to restore;
    To lead their steps where joys invite,
    And love, and truth, and life, and light!
    Disciple he, severe and high,
    Of the great ruler of the sky,
    To thee but known by thunders loud,
    The rushing wind, the fire-lit cloud;
    But to our fathers, sage and eld,
    By holy word and book revealed.
    If aught from fiend, or spirit’s wile
    Thou fearest on the desert isle,
    His simple, solemn, sacred pray’r
    Shall guard and guide and bless thee there.

OSCAR.

      The fear from which you fly, is this—
    You would not _make_ but _find_ your bliss.
    But so God ruleth not his people. He
    Hath so hewn out our destiny,
    And linked it with our own free will,
    That means with ends must tally still.
    The bliss for which you chase and roam,
    You might more truly find at home,
    If but one tittle of the time
    You give to hunting, war, and crime,
    Were turned, with simple, peaceful hand,
    To stocks or grain upon the land.
    Besides, in every good man’s view,
    You worship now—ye know not who;
    The very Power, which, dark of eye,
    If seen, ye would most swiftly fly.

MONGAZID.

      ’Tis well! _Thy_ god will list to _thee_,
    And think’st thou _mine_ shall turn from _me_?
    More may be vain: thee and thy crew
    Fair skies o’ershadow—friend, adieu!

DE LA JOIE.

      Hunter, stay; I have a gift,
    Of such potence it shall lift
    From thy brain, and from thy mind,
    Every care of grosser kind,
    Every latent, earthly woe,
    Such as weary mortals know,
    And induce the lifted soul
    In one round of joy to roll.
    It shall banish selfish care,
    Change the fouler fate to fair,
    And inspire, with visions high,
    Thy sedate, prophetic eye.

      Take this little vase; the draught
    May be oft and freely quaffed,
    By those only who have felt
    Oft its sovereign power to melt,
    Raise and gladden; but with care
    Let thy lips the liquid share!
    When the sun, with splendor bright,
    Wakes the drowsy world with light,
    Come thou hither, straight, and tell
    If my gift be ill or well:
    If my words thou findest true—
    If such raptures may ensue—
    And, with new-found courage brave,
    Thou wilt tempt with me the wave.

ETHWALD.

[_An attendant here introduces the pipe of peace._]

      Accept my pledge of purpose high,
    That calls me to your northern sky.
    Much have I heard, and longed to view
    These spreading coasts, and waters blue,
    These rosy skies, and beaming shores,
    Replete with all their sylvan stores.
    Nor less my interest in that race
    Who poise the dart, and lead the chase;
    And, with a pride of kin and sire,
    Still light up here their council fire.
    Tradition hath informed me well
    Of deeds in which ye yet excel:
    Your skill by water, rift and rock,
    The war-path and the battle’s shock;
    And all those arts, through which ye sing,
    “I am the wild-wood’s subtle king.”
    Take of my proffered pledge: we stand
    Thus heart in heart, as hand in hand.

MONGAZID.

      So be it, sire: the heavens turn black
    On all who from this pledge draw back.



CANTO II.

THE SACRED ISLAND. A DISCOVERY.


  [_Scene._ The broad expanse of the Lake. An assemblage of
     Indian canoes on the water. One, in advance, bearing the
     national flag of the United States. Time—morning.]

      THE golden sun with early ray,
    Saw Ethwald on his ocean way,
    With silent Azid for his guide,
    And mission-father by his side:
    His birchen vessel light and gay
    Speeds swan-like o’er the liquid way—
    The sky is calm—the morning air
    Scarce stirs that mass, so vast, so fair—
    That, like a sheet of waving gold,
    The eye may not undimm’d behold;
    Yet is there motion—bark and crew
    Dance lightly on that ocean blue,
    And ever, as up and down they ride
    Upon that broad, eternal tide,
    The strained sight descries the while,
    Short glimpses of that holy isle,
    Like dreams of bliss, that, fair and sheen,
    Flit in the moment they are seen.
    Nearer and nearer as they ply,
    A gathering mist swells up the sky,
    And every object, dun or fair,
    Spreads wild distorted through the air—
    The trees like shrouded spectres stand,
    To guard that evil haunted land—
    The pointed cliffs spread broad and square,
    Like castles with their banners fair,
    And motley shapes of monstrous size
    Start up, and glare before the eyes.
    To all but Azid’s fearful view
    The scene is glorious, grand, and new,
    But wondrous not—they know and prize
    The gay refractions of these skies;
    But Azid—ghastly forms pursue,
    All that he fears he sees in view!
    At first he mutters—then he speaks,
    Cold drops bedew his aged cheeks;
    But ere he lifts th’ imploring eye,
    T’ appease the spirit of the sky,
    An offering meet of sacred things
    Upon the misty wave he flings,
    But chief that herb whose sacred fame
    And power, the tribes Ussáma name.
    Then with brief word and solemn air
    Recites the simple hunter’s prayer.
    “’Tis now with Thee—Great Spirit free,
    My rite is done—it is with Thee!”

      Now western breezes briskly play,
    And sweep those fleecy forms away;
    In broken fields they wheel on high,
    And show that treasur’d island nigh,
    In all its loveliest verdure drest,
    Like sanctuary of the blest,
    Where peace hath rear’d her forest throne,
    To man and all his works unknown.
    With joy they reach the silver strand,
    With joy they gaze—they leap to land,
    Like beings from a higher sphere,
    Dropt down to dwell and worship here.

      On all its cliffs and arching bays,
    They pour intent their ardent gaze—
    Each airy, wild, fantastic sight,
    They scan with ever new delight,
    As if the very earth-clod there
    Had something more than earthly fair,
    And every rock that wall’d the shore
    Were jewel set, or bright with ore;
    Each pebble on the saffron sands,
    They search with prying, chemic hands,
    By glass or magnet, lest perchance
    Aught should escape a grosser glance:
    The fragile little helix shell
    Along the shore their steps impel,
    Intent each speck’d and striped whorl
    To find a mass of orient pearl:
    The fallen trunk they search with care,
    For mark of ancient hatchet there;
    Or scan the antler bleach’d and dry
    With curious, searching, eager eye.

      Hours thus elapse: and every hour
    Is fraught with some expressive power;
    But now a task must be essayed,
    They seek the island’s central shade;
    And first they pass a thicket green,
    Where birch and aspen intervene,
    And next a grove of sombre hue,
    Where spruce and fir arrest the view;
    A hill succeeds, and then a wold,
    With pines encumber’d, sere and old,
    That stretch their branches dead and bare,
    High forked amid the upper air—
    Beyond, a beetling rock is seen,
    Of massy granite—crown’d with green,
    And from its clefts a limpid stream
    Pours on the sight its silver gleam,
    And murm’ring on its downward way
    Speeds idly to a neighb’ring bay.

      Here pause the travellers, joy’d to meet
    Such lonely, wild, and still retreat;
    And oft the streamlet’s mossy side
    They press, to taste the crystal tide,
    Or lost in pleasing converse gay,
    Review the devious, toilsome way.
    But hark! a sound or voice is heard,
    A human voice—perchance a bird?
    Or, in some spiral cliff around,
    Can rushing winds produce the sound?
    Or is the gaunt hyena here?
    To Azid—’tis a voice of fear!
    But hark again—the softening sound
    Reverb’rates as if cavern-bound.
    They pause, they list—a strain is sung,
    ’Tis in the well-known Indian tongue.
    They list—a female voice essays
    This fond lament of other days.


EDNEE’S SONG.


                    1.

    To sunny vales—to balmy skies,
    My though—a flowery arrow flies.
    I see the wood—the bank—the glade,
    Where first a wild-wood girl I played:
    I think on scenes and faces dear;
    They are not _here_—they are not _here_.

                    2.

    In this cold sky—in this lone isle
    I meet no friend’s—no mother’s smile:
    I list the wind—I list the wave,
    They seem like songs around the grave,
    And all my heart’s young joys are gone;
    It is alone—it is alone.

                    3.

    Ah! can I ever cease recall
    My father’s cot, though it were small;
    The stream where oft, in sun and shade,
    I roved, a happy Indian maid,
    Pleased with the wild flowers, pink and red,
    A brave youth bound around my head.

                    4.

    I love the land that gave me birth,
    Its woods and streams, its air and earth;
    I love the very sounds I knew—
    Sweet woodland sounds—when life was new;
    I love the garb my fathers had,
    And my own bright Muscogee lad.


      That voice is mute: with care they seek,
    By winding rock and fallen peak,
    For rift or path that foot may tread,
    To gain the crag’s o’erhanging head.
    At length a rugged path they spy,
    That seems nor light, nor safe to try;
    But still with patience, skill and might
    Suffices to attain that height.
    A faintly beaten path succeeds;
    This through a cedar coppice leads,
    Then by a rock, when turning short,
    A cave displays its ample port;—
    An Indian maid of stature fair,
    And forehead high and flowing hair,
    Sits pensively, secure and lone,
    Beside that rustic hall of stone;
    A string of shining shells she prest
    Upon her slender chisell’d breast;
    Unmoved her air,—and now again
    She raised the half unfinished strain,
    When that priz’d guardian of the night,
    The hunter’s dog, and fond delight,
    Darts forth instinctive, and defies
    Their near approach with doubling cries.
    Instant she starts, as with a shock,
    And flies within the cavern’d rock.

      Soon from within a man of years,
    The warrior father, slow appears;
    Tall, rigid—firm of step and eye,
    That speaks of sage, or prophecy;
    A head, by nature bald, or shorn,
    A look of care, but not forlorn—
    A simple spear is in his hand;
    With brow upraised, and gesture bland,
    He stands beside the cavern way,
    With silent gaze, that seems to say,
    Come friend—come foe—ye still shall find
    A proud, resolved, unbroken mind,
    That oft hath tried the battle blade,
    Or set the deadly ambuscade;
    That neither shuns, nor seeks to die,
    That will not stoop, and will not fly.

OSCAR.

      Holy hermit—not in ire
    Press we on thy cavern fire;
    Travellers we, from distant shores,
    Where the loud Atlantic roars,
    And the sun its earliest light
    Pours on valley, plain and height.
    By the Erie’s fretted shore,
    Plied we fast the cedar oar,
    And the Huron’s placid sea
    Swept with spirits light and free:
    Northward still we held our way,
    Glancing on by isle and bay,
    Bank and river, rift and wall,
    To St. Mary’s sounding fall—
    Foamy pass of waters wild!
    Islet green and rock up-piled,
    Where the torrent silver-crown’d,
    Dances on with murm’ring sound,
    Deep and mellow—while the eye
    Glows with thrilling ecstasy!

      There we paus’d, and gazed, and felt
    Nature’s potent power to melt;
    But with ever brief delay
    Urged again our watery way,
    Till we felt the dizzy swell,
    As it rose, and as it fell,
    Of this vasty sheet and breeze,
    Sire of continental seas!
    And with joy unfelt before,
    Gazed upon its ocean shore.

      Nor upon that border hoarse,
    Bent we many days our course,
    When a hunter, old and hoar,
    Spied we joyous on the shore.
    Him we urged, and by his skill
    Reached this storm-indented isle:
    Yet in all our lengthened way,
    Nought of wondrous, grave or gay,
    Have we met in joy or fear,
    Strange as thy existence here,
    Deemed by men a sacred shore,
    Mortal never trod before.

ALHALLA.

      Hear me! of thy race severe,
    Nought I hope and nought I fear,
    Steel’d in heart, and steel’d in mind,
    To the ills of human kind;
    Yet, if in fate’s thorny round,
    Woes that press, and pains that wound,
    There were still a pang unblest,
    Deeper, keener than the rest,
    ’Twould be, in this secret place,
    To behold the white-man’s face—
    Fatal race! to whom I owe
    Bitter, lasting streams of woe—
    Hunted from my native plains,
    By wild war’s horrific strains—
    From my nation’s council-fire,
    By the plunderer’s reckless ire—
    From my lov’d, paternal streams,
    By the cannon’s battle-gleams—
    Driven from all I valued most,
    Kindred, country, fortune lost!
    I resolved apace to flee
    To some valley lone and free,
    Friendly wood or sheltering cave,
    Or some wild and distant wave,
    All too frigid, poor and dread,
    E’er to tempt the white-man’s tread;
    There unknown to pass my life,
    Free from rapine—free from strife—
    Happy in th’ unpeopled wild,
    With my loved, my only child!
    And full happy, freed from cares,
    Envy breeds, or hate prepares!
    Here in numbers brief and low,
    All unseen to vent my woe—
    Dream o’er scenes of early peace,
    And, as life’s pulsations cease,
    Sink to earth without a groan,
    Calm, unnoticed, and alone.
      But e’en this may not be so,
    Fresh the springs of sorrow flow!
    And the fiat black and drear
    Still pursues its victim here;
    As if ’twere a boon too high
    Thus to live and thus to die!
    To declare thy presence here
    Doth inspire a joy sincere,
    Or with gladness fills my eye,
    Were most base, unseemly lie!
    Yet, to wayward mortal feet,
    Is my roof a safe retreat;
    Be ye foes, or be ye friends,
    If impelled by noble ends,
    Chance, or circumstance severe,
    Chilly blast, or famine drear,
    Welcome is my stony cot,
    Welcome is my forest lot;
    Freely enter—freely share
    Cottage fire and cottage fare.



CANTO III.

THE BATTLES OF TALLASATCHES AND TALLADEGA.


  [_Scene._ A Cave on the Island. The king of the Hillabees,
     his sister and daughter. Ethwald and Oscar. Others
     attendance. Time, evening.]

      The fire shone bright on rift and wall,
    Within Alhalla’s cavern-hall;
    And oft had that lone maid, his pride,
    With splinter’d pine the flame supplied,
    And kindly spread, with ready zeal,
    The wholesome, frugal cottage meal:
    The ruddy haunch, the shreded moose,
    With vermil trout, and firland grouse,
    And sapid rice, and many a root,
    And many a tiny forest-fruit;
    And oft, in birchen vase, supplied
    The limpid fountain’s crystal tide,
    With such obeisance kind and brief,
    As well may suit an Indian chief.
    Nor wanting she—whose age and art
    Supplied the maid—a mother’s part.
    And now that chieftain, proud and high,
    Glanced round a wild, unsettled eye,
    As if that scanning glance should say,
    Up, strangers, and pursue your way!
    This Oscar marked with ready art,
    And thus express’d his glowing heart.

OSCAR.

      Thanks were but light and all too weak,
    Hearts mantling o’er, like ours, to speak,
    But we shall hold and carry hence,
    Of thee and thine, so high a sense,
    Thy courtesy—thy life—thy lot,
    As but with life can be forgot.
    One only wish—one strong desire,
    Still draws us to thy cavern-fire,
    And stays th’ intent we felt the while,
    To quit this ocean-cinctured isle.
    ’Tis more to know—to hear—to see,
    Of one so noble, poor, and free,
    So proud—unfortunate as thee.
    Deign, then, oh chief!—for trust you may,
    If aught that man can feel or say
    Can give assurance of our faith,
    To hold thee quit of ill or scaith.
    Deign, then, thy latent woes to tell,
    The rush and struggle, rout and yell,
    The scenes of care, or deeds of strife,
    That mark thy onward course through life,
    And weighing down with double weight,
    Of age and care that ne’er abate,
    Have sear’d thy cheeks, and sear’d thy heart,
    And made thee, exile! what thou art.
    So when we reach our native vales,
    Dear land where home-bred bliss prevails!
    With joy—with pride we may relate
    A good man’s fame, a brave man’s fate.

ALHALLA.

      Man of prayer—for I ween,
    By thy words, and dress, and mien,
    Such thou art,—words, words are vain
    To cure my woes, or soothe my pain.
    Little boots it thee, to know
    Whence I came or whence I go.
    Hard my lot—nor would I e’er
    Draw afresh the scalding tear,
    Tear the wound that has been heal’d,
    Or renew the bloody field;
    And if e’en my tongue were prone
    Thus to dwell on actions done,
    Could I? ’twere reliance base,
    E’er again to trust thy race.

OSCAR.

      Deem not, stoic of the wood,
    Harshly thus of Christian blood;
    Warm, and pure, and kind it flows,
    For the suffering Indian’s woes,
    Proudly beats and nobly swells,
    Where bland pity’s voice impels,
    Honor points, or justice draws—
    Justice! guide of Christian laws!
    There are bosoms burning high,
    Souls of bland philanthropy!
    Hearts and hands and means and space
    That would joy to serve thy race,
    Joy to see thee happier here,
    Happier in another sphere,
    And e’en life itself would give,
    That the Indian’s _soul_ should live.
    And were none to teach or pray,
    Point or lead the heavenly way,
    Soothe the lot so roughly cast,
    Or avert fate’s angry blast—
    Were there not in all the land,
    One kind heart with love so bland,
    Aim so noble, care divine,
    Trust, lone recluse, trust to mine!
    Mine the purpose, mine the will,
    Heaven’s kind message to reveal,
    Teach the ever-glorious Son,
    Mercies promised, doing, done!
    Aid the weak, persuade the wise,
    And lead to worlds beyond the skies.

ALHALLA.

      Man of wisdom, on mine ear
    Dark thy holy truths appear,
    And I would not, old and weak,
    Novel rites or doctrines seek,
    Or a path unknown pursue,
    That my fathers never knew,
    Though thou put the thorns aside,
    And lead on, a zealous guide.
    Ponder well this furrow’d face,
    See in me a hunter race,
    Rude in manners, poor in skill,
    Wanting knowledge, wanting will,
    Means and purpose, care and force,
    To pursue the white man’s course,
    But not lacking means or power
    That may suit the hunter’s bower,
    Brave the ills a man may brave,
    And deserve an honored grave,
    I would scorn the labor base
    Of thy wonder-working race;
    As my fathers lived, would I
    Wish to live and wish to die,
    Hold the precepts they have given,
    Seek with them my final heaven;
    Proper are thy gifts to _thee_,
    Proper are my gifts to _me_;
    Go thy way—my fervent cry
    Is _here_ undisturbed to die.

ETHWALD.

      Yet when, beside the stormy wave,
    The tall grass whistles o’er thy grave,
    ’Twere sweet, perhaps, for thee to know
    Kind hearts remember thee below.
    Thy glorious feats in earthly wars,
    Thy name, thy honors, and thy scars.

OSCAR.

      And when the good, by word or pen,
    Spoke praises meet of gallant men,
    Chief, hunter, warrior—hearts divine!
    Who grace the manly Indian line,
    ’Twere grateful thy proud course to scan,
    And say, thou wert the braver man.

ALHALLA.

      Hear my words:—Thrice twenty snows
    Have bleach’d and chill’d these frontless brows,
    And sun and frost, and wind and rain,
    Prevail’d alternate o’er the plain,
    As moons revolved—since erst with joy
    I roved a careless hunter boy,
    Full free from sorrow, care, and pain,
    On Talladega’s sunny plain,
    And every year with fresh delight,
    Gleamed on my fond enraptured sight,
    And youth fled fast, and manhood came,
    But manhood found me still the same.
    I swept the woods with bended bow,
    And laid the deer and panther low;
    I sail’d the streams with net and line,
    And captive schools were often mine;
    I marched against the western foe,
    And laid the roving Paunee low;
    I sung my war-song, danced my round,
    Spuming with manly tread the ground;
    I met my peers in wood and glen,
    And knew no want, and fear’d no men,
    But look’d, and spoke, and felt, and thought,
    As one that lack’d and dreaded nought;
    And all was glorious—all was gay,
    A happy, bright, transcendent day.
      But years, that turn the young man gray,
    Brought silent on another day.
    War came:—not such as mem’ry tells
    Once rung through Tuscaloosa’s dells,
    When simple wood-craft plied her art,
    Club against club, and dart to dart,
    But grim, exterminating wrath,
    That heaped with dead his giant path,
    Embracing in one gen’ral sweep
    Both those; who strike and those who weep,
    The young and old, the weak and brave,
    Driv’n onward to one gen’ral grave.
    Upon the front of this fell storm,
    Rode gallant chief of martial form,
    Whose woodland skill, and battle ire,
    E’en vanquish’d warriors may admire.

OSCAR.

      Sayest thou there was no mercy shown,
    No prisoner saved in battle—none?

ALHALLA.

      Little there was—I must be brief,
    Yet would not play the knave or thief,
    By robbing foeman, chief or youth,
    Of one small tittle of the truth,
    To save this wither’d trunk the ire
    And rack of slow-consuming fire.
    When erst this cloud obdurate rose,
    Red with the wrath of many foes,
    And men and steeds promiscuous slain,
    Strewed Tallasatche’s fatal plain,
    The struggle o’er, compassion fair,
    Perched on the standards floating there!
    I, on that sanguinary day,
    Mixed freely in the dubious fray,
    And with my war-axe, lance and brand,
    Fought with the foremost of my band.
    These scars upon my arm and breast,
    My valor on that day attest.
    But vain was every warrior art,
    By charge or war-whoop, club or dart;
    The foeman pressing on our ground,
    With horse and bayonet wall’d us round,
    And with fierce courage bearing down,
    Swept plain and covert, host and town,
    And nine score warriors, whom I led,
    Upon that day lay cold and dead.

      Few suns set on that dismal scene,
    My wounds were still unsear’d and green,
    When thundering on with trump and drum,
    I heard again the war-horse come,
    Like gathering tempest, big and black,
    That through the forest wings its track,
    Sweeping and tearing all that stand,
    And desolating wood and land.
    But I had oft seen danger near,
    And knew not that base feeling—fear!
    I roused my warriors from the rest
    That with short, fitful dreams they prest,
    And armed for fight, and strife and pain,
    Stood firm on Talladega’s plain.
    Oh Talladega! thou art still
    My native wood! my native hill!
    There knew I first my father’s voice,
    And felt my infant mind rejoice,
    And all those sweet endearments start,
    That nature winds about the heart,
    And home, and love, and bliss, and fame,
    That cluster round a parent’s name.
    And there I hoped to live and die,
    In nature’s sweet simplicity;
    Unmov’d with arts, or cares, or strife,
    That mingle in the white man’s life;
    Nor knew I whence th’ intruder came,
    Nor what his race, or what his fame;
    Nor car’d, nor wish’d, nor sought to be
    Else than I was—a Hillabee.
    And still I hoped, when nature threw
    Around my brows the silver hue,
    And fainting limbs proclaimed the close
    Of earthly cares and earthly woes,
    To lay me down with sober care,
    And slumber with my fathers there.
      Ah! land of all my heart holds dear,
    Thy groves are desolate and sear—
    The echoes of thy winding shore
    Shall charm my listening ear no more—
    The winds that whistle o’er thy plain
    Repeat a sad and hollow strain,
    And all thy haunts are fill’d with moans,
    And whitened by my nation’s bones.

      But let me drop this strain of woe:
    I told thee of the coming foe,
    And he did come, in such array
    As well foretold a stubborn day.
    Few words I spoke to those who stood,
    With ready arms, within that wood;
    But, when I ceas’d, the battle cry
    Rung long and loudly—strike or die!
    Erst trampling horse, in armor bright,
    Pricked to the front and wooed the fight,
    With volley quick and furious tread
    Essayed th’ assault, and, wheeling, fled.
    I forward sprang, and at one yell
    A thousand warriors served me well,
    And urging ball and feather’d dart,
    Play’d hot and strong the warrior’s part;
    And once I drove the reeling ranks
    Back on their chief—the chief outflanks,
    Pours from behind his galling horse,
    And opes the war with all his force.
    Thick round my sides my bowmen lie—
    They faint, they waver, and they fly;
    Then streams afresh the battle gore
    Wider and wider along the shore,
    And those who fly but fly to feel
    Th’ avenging horsemen’s angry steel.
    And when the night closed on that plain,
    To veil the dying and the slain,
    Few, out of all my gallant band,
    Had ’scaped the mark of ball or brand;
    And death, of brave Muscogee men,
    Had numbered fourteen score and ten.



CANTO IV.

THE WARRIOR’S DREAM. A PROPHECY.


  [Scene in reminiscence. The forest of Talladega.
      Alhalla alone. Time, midnight.]

ALHALLA.

      The sun went down that fatal night,
    Not as it wont, in glory bright,
    But veil’d in clouds of sombre trace,
    Prophetic of my falling race.
    I stood upon a rising ground,
    As darkness flung her mantle round,
    And heard the last, departing din,
    Of horse and footmen, gathering in,
    With clank of steel, and sharp hallo,
    As from the onset they withdrew,
    Far winding down the distant hill,
    Faint, and more faint—then all was still,
    Save crackling tread, or groan severe
    Of hapless comrade, weltering near:
    For all that wide, extended wood,
    Was strewed with carnage, death and blood.
    I stood as petrified, with thought
    On all one fleeting day had wrought—
    Of friend and foe—the brave and dead—
    And those who fought, and those who fled;
    And bitter were the pangs that came
    That hour within my inmost frame:
    For I had seen a father slain,
    A father old in years and pain;
    Two brothers stricken at my side,
    And a fond parent’s dearest pride,
    The child hope shone most brightly on,
    My loved, my first-born, only son!
    In grief absorbed and musing high,
    And yet no tear escaped my eye—
    No sigh my bosom heaved—no moan
    Bespoke my heart’s forsaken tone;
    But sealed in woe, within that wood,
    Unmoved as storm-beat rock I stood.

      The moon, in pity veiled that night,
    Shed out a transitory light,
    As dusky clouds, in rapid chase,
    Now hid, and now revealed her face;
    And by her feeble, trembling ray,
    I took my solitary way—
    The narrow, winding, leaf-clad road,
    Conducting to my own abode—
    The fragile shed, that, low and poor,
    So oft hath made me feel secure;
    So oft hath spread its sheathing wild
    To guard the mother and the child;
    That shed, which, howsoe’er he roam,
    Still forms the Indian warrior’s home—
    And which he would not change, or give,
    Like Briton, Scot, or Gaul to live,
    For all the wealth that kings command,
    Or temples made with mortal hand.

      Brief space I walked, when, turning round
    A beetling rock that walled the ground,
    And just o’erhung my lodge, there fell
    Sounds on my ear I knew not well;
    A murmur indistinct—and then
    The harsh, brief words of stranger men.
    A pause ensued—shriek! I sped
    To guard my lowly, leaf-crowned shed,
    And saw, with deeply rous’d alarms,
    My Ednee in a soldier’s arms
    Borne shrieking off, in accents wild,
    ‘Oh, father! save thy injured child!’
    What space there was ’twixt him that bore
    And my own stand upon the shore,
    Ill can I vouch—but, wide or spare,
    One instant served to waft me there.
    I raised one yell my warriors knew—
    For I had warriors still, and true—
    Then sprang, and drew, and smote with might,
    And still the plunderers answered—smite!
    And still those thrilling accents wild,
    Rung in my ears—“Oh, save thy child!”
    Vain cry! outnumbered, hand to hand
    I felt the foeman’s heavy brand,
    And reeled to earth—and bleeding there,
    I felt unutt’rable despair,
    For still I heard that plaint so wild,
    “Oh, father! save thy injured child!”

      As hungry panther from his tree
    Darts on his victim, bold and free,
    Or black crotalis, ere he spring,
    Gives warning of the deadly sting,
    Thus swift and sure in strength and mood
    Ten warriors leapt from out the wood,
    Upon the instant when, with pain,
    I sank upon the dewy plain;
    Each armed with arms of steel and dread,
    With brave Clewalla at their head,
    And at one shout, and at one bound,
    They shake the trembling woods around.
    They fight—they vanquish! words are vain,
    They bring me safe my child again.
    What boots it, that I here should tell,
    Or those who ’scap’d, or those who fell?
    Th’ assailants, merged in margin damp
    And tangled brushwood, sought their camp.
    Of those who fell, a liquid grave
    We gave in Coosa’s yellow wave;
    Which, soft and slow, and winding, bore
    Its charge to ocean’s sand-bound shore.
    Now sober silence once again
    Began to hold her wonted reign;
    My wounds, with simple skill, were bound,
    My warriors lay reclining round,
    And ere the hour of midnight chill,
    All seemed as dreary, hush’d, and still,
    As if the shout, or battle’s roar,
    Had ne’er been heard upon that shore.

      I sat within my tent, and mused,
    (As oft in peaceful days I used,)
    Upon the Spirit, great and high,
    That rules the earth, the sea, the sky,
    And that mysterious power and will
    That warrants man still man to kill,
    Sends powers and nations to and fro,
    And fills the earth with strife and woe.
    I thought upon my own wild kin,
    And all their wand’rings, want, and sin,
    And that untoward fate that gave,
    Profuse, their bodies to the grave,
    And seemed to set them in array,
    For Saxon arms to drive and slay.
    I cast my eye in thought profound,
    On that dear circle slumb’ring round,
    And mark’d th’ unoccupied recess
    A son, a father, once could press;
    And last bethought me of the fate
    And juncture of my own estate:
    Weak, wounded, foiled, and sore distrest—
    Of friends bereav’d—by foemen prest—
    Sad, bitter thoughts my heart control,
    A dreamy madness steeps my soul,
    Or wake or sleeping wist I not,
    By whom environ’d, whom forgot;
    Unreal scenes before me rise,
    And visions pass before my eyes.
    Methought I looked upon the sea,
    And low, dark waves, not large nor free,
    Came rolling in towards the shore,
    With scarce a pebble dash, or roar,
    Then larger grew, and louder sound,
    Till one wide tumult rings around.
    I looked again—a monster bear,
    With claws of steel, and fiery hair,
    Emerged from out the deep—his head,
    Two polished horns of brass o’erspread,
    And at his side a leader stood,
    Of visage pale,—a full-plum’d hood
    Danced o’er his brows, and in his hand
    He held a sharp and shining brand.
    I looked again, and from a tree,
    A beauteous bird sang joyfully;
    A ray of light from either eye
    Shot forth in bright tranquillity,
    Illuminating all the wood,
    Within whose ample disk I stood.
    Yet once again my view I cast;
    Another changing vision past:
    A fleecy cloud came from its height,
    And stood before my wond’ring sight,
    And parting, like two banners drawn,
    A figure stept upon the lawn,
    In size, and color, dress and air
    Like my own kindred—but more fair.
    I, wondering much what these should bode,
    Put question meet—he answer’d—“God,
    Whom once thy sires, on burning sands,
    In other years and other lands
    Most truly served, hath doomed thy race
    To melt before the white-man’s face,
    To fail in battle, and in store,
    A scorn—a by-word on the shore;
    For ye from his commands have turn’d,
    And ye unholy fires have burn’d,
    And with new altars and abodes
    Set up and worship’d other gods,
    And through unholy rites and sin,
    In word and deed become unclean;
    And for a season he hath given
    Your nations to the wrath of heaven,
    By divers men from foreign climes,
    Who loathe your waywardness and crimes,
    And congregate from far and near
    To worship God in spirit here.”

      ’Tis well, I said; but tell me true,
    What bodes this vision to my view?
    It comes with a prophetic air,
    But can I see the Red Race there?
    “The little waves which erst thou spy’d,
    Calm and unruffled,” he replied,
    “Denote the earliest flag unfurl’d,
    Advent’rous in this western world;
    Whence gaining strength, in heart and hand,
    The stranger spreads along the strand,
    Like tumbling waves, whose onward way
    No human force can check or stay.
    The monster rising from the sea,
    Imports dominion—once by thee
    In peace and war triumphant sway’d,
    But now to other hands convey’d;
    His horns of brass and claws of steel,
    A more obdurate power reveal;
    His altered, red and fiery hair,
    Denotes unnumbered means of war,
    Complex inventions, sharp and true,
    Such as thy fathers never knew,
    Whereby the rule at first he gains,
    And then with growing power maintains;
    The leader is that iron race,
    Who drive thee on, from place to place,
    And long have driv’n, and long shall drive,
    The waning, scattered, Indian hive,
    Till they forsake th’accursed road,
    And turn to virtue, peace, and God.
    Then shall they quit the forest gloom,
    The sceptre and the plough resume,
    Renounce all base, revengeful ires,
    Rebuild the altars, light the fires,
    And cherish every sweet employ
    Denoted by the bird of joy,
    Whose beaming eyes, with stellar light,
    Shall chase away barbaric night,
    And teach thy race in holy lays
    To sing the great Elohim’s praise.”



CANTO V.

THE FALL OF THE MUSCOGEE RACE. THE VOLUNTARY EXILE.


  [Scene in reminiscence. The valley of the Coosa river, and
      parts adjacent.]

ALHALLA.

      Who is Elohim? who? I said—
    The vision broke—the angel fled.
    Dread on my ear these accents broke,
    And high—it seemed a god who spoke—
    His features, as my race he drew,
    Assumed a clear and heavenly hue,
    And voice, and attitude, and air,
    Became more fearful, bright and fair,
    Till the transcendence pained the sight;
    And when he ceas’d—a cloud of light,
    Far stretching up the starry frame,
    Told whence he flew, and whence he came.
    My soul an inward tremor shook,
    And in a wild amaze I woke.
    The sun was darting from his bed
    A gorgeous flame of gold and red,
    That streaming far, and wide, and free,
    Gilt bank and bower, cliff and tree,
    And merry birds of plumage fair,
    With varied sweetness fill’d the air.

      The man who o’er unfathom’d brink
    Hangs trembling, and in dread to sink,
    By friendly arm quick rescued thence,
    Feels not more deep or joyful sense
    Of peril past—than to my heart
    That morning’s opening scenes impart.
    But as that fear the trembler knew,
    My joy was all as transient too.
    I could not chase away the gleam,
    And semblance of that mystic dream;
    And still before my waking eyes,
    I saw that bloody monster rise,
    And heard the furious dash and roar,
    Of waves loud beating on the shore—
    I felt the truths that spirit said,
    I felt that we had err’d and stray’d,
    And left the bright and shining road,
    That leads through nature up to God:
    And yet, I ill could comprehend,
    That vision’s proper type and end,
    Or tell what time my warlike band,
    Had worship’d him in other land,
    Or followed other rites, or why
    Thus doomed to quit that kindlier sky;
    Or how I might direct my race,
    Their ’wildered track again to trace.
    Hard, dark and cruel seem’d my lot,
    Part knew I, and part knew I not—
    And as, on either hand I weighed
    Thought and belief—the more I stray’d:
    This told me, it were sure design’d,
    One God should rule all human kind;
    That, that the white and red man’s road
    Led upward to a separate god;
    That spirits obdurate or kind,
    Of lesser rank o’erruled the mind,
    And that, of powers who o’er us stood,
    The good, unasked, were ever good,
    While some fit rite and off’ring had
    Been deem’d a duty tow’rd the bad.

OSCAR.

      An erring creed! one God alone,
    Rules and supports the starry throne,
    And earthly spheres—and all the host,
    Of various men, from coast to coast;
    Nor could that power be good or just,
    To sanction discord, crime, or lust.

ALHALLA.

      Thou speakest of thy knowledge. Mine,
    Ill should I speak, to call divine.
    In forests nurtured, raised, and taught,
    Of simple nature is my thought—
    That nature which, if e’er it felt
    The power of love divine to melt,
    And purify and raise the heart,
    And tread the darkling maze of art,
    Or ever learned to think or feel,
    With holy, pure, ethereal zeal,
    Long since hath fall’n and wander’d thence,
    To deeds of plain, material sense;
    And what we touch, and know, and see,
    With form or life to move or be,
    And all that is not such, or seems,
    Makes up the Indian’s world of dreams.
    Nor, till that well remembered hour,
    E’er felt I aught of _other_ power,
    Or task’d my mind to think my fate
    Hung on supernal love or hate;
    Or when, from this frail tenement
    To other worlds the spirit went,
    Had questioned my confiding breast,
    The brave man’s spirit should be blest.

      But anxious thoughts opprest me now,
    I felt—what I could scarce avow—
    A sense of error deep and base,
    Both in myself and in my race,
    And that whate’er in former hour
    Had been my nation’s fame or power,
    Or whatsoe’er that power might be,
    In distant, dim futurity,
    We now were given o’er to feel
    The strong oppressor’s heavy steel,
    And weak and vain must be that fight,
    Maintain’d in fate’s and heaven’s spite.

      I call’d the elders—they who prest
    Still on the leafy couch of rest,
    And leaning on my staff arose,
    To paint our bleeding country’s woes—
    I spoke of losses dread and sore,
    By shot or brand, in field and store,
    And that still sorer press and great,
    I saw within the womb of fate;
    And last—upon th’ awaken’d ear,
    With voice and gesture strong and clear,
    I poured my high prophetic dream,
    Part after part—such as still gleam
    Before my mind, its features dread,
    With all that boding spirit said.
    “And oh, my people,” thus I cried,
    “Snatch from your breast the serpent, pride;
    Forsake the war-path and the strife,
    Throw from your hands the murd’rous knife,
    And bury deep, and bury free,
    The purple war-club; and decree,
    That he who digs it up in ire,
    The same shall expiate in fire.”
    I ceas’d—approving plaudits loud,
    Rang heart-responsive through the crowd.

      The sun had not ascended high,
    Along the blue, unclouded sky,
    When, bearing pipe and wampum gay,
    My counsellors were on their way,
    And ere the heath had lost its damp,
    They stood within the foeman’s camp,
    Prepared from further strife to cease,
    The firm ambassadors of peace,
    And urge their suit: the war-worn chief,
    Assents in words direct and brief,
    But calls on all the gathered band,
    Before his star-crown’d tent to stand,
    By chief or elder—there to treat,
    And judge of peace, and limits meet;
    Meantime with promise bids them speed,
    To consecrate such holy deed.

      But ah! what mortal man can say,
    He counts upon one single day
    Of fortune, favor, health, or bliss,
    In such uncertain scene as this!
    For, ere another setting sun,
    All—all! was vanished, lost, undone!
    And while, from war-mark’d front and cheek
    My young men washed the vermil streak,
    And elders counsel and prepare
    To drop the war-club and the war—
    Upon a sudden—horse and men
    Come rushing on o’er hill and glen,
    And wide encircling field and cot,
    With fire and sword, and hissing shot,
    Assail my wonder-stricken bands,
    Who stand with peace-pipes in their hands!

      Unarmed and unprepared, they spy
    The foe perfidious drawing nigh,
    Yet scarce can deem that deed so base
    Should stain the whites’ obdurate race;
    Nor deigned they—when they felt th’ attack,
    With all its missile horror black!
    To raise a lance—or draw a bow,
    Or supplicate th’ infuriate foe;
    Or break that honest pledge of faith
    Once given: but calmly meeting death,
    There brave as noble martyrs stood,
    Nor shed one drop of foeman’s blood,
    While three score warriors, honor-crown’d,
    In mortal silence pressed the ground,
    And twice six score the conq’ror saves,
    To grace his tarnish’d sword as slaves.

      Perfidious! have I called—who slights
    Or peace or war’s time-honored rights!
    For then I knew not _other_ head[4]
    That band of fierce assailants led,
    And not that chief surnamed The Hard,[5]
    Who erst received our warm regard.
    But ours the wrong, and ours the woe,
    We only saw one gen’ral foe,
    And knew not name or rank, or who
    Th’ extended hand of peace withdrew.

[4] This attack was made by troops commanded by the late Judge Hugh L.
White.

[5] Gen. Jackson.

      Me, wounds detained within my bower,
    Upon that fell, destroying hour,
    Nor deemed I rout, or battle roar,
    Should vex my suppliant nation more;
    Their hapless fate my bosom mourn’d,
    And all to peace my hopes I turn’d.
    Old as I was, and weak and scarr’d,
    Meet seemed the thought, to be prepared,
    At night or noon, in bed or field,
    The prisoned spark of life to yield,
    And leave to those with vigor rife,
    Its sweets and sorrows, joys and strife.
    One wish alone inspir’d my breast,
    It was to see my Ednee blest.

      And now, around my cottage fire
    Due care the festive rites require,
    For oft had bold Clewalla sued
    Alliance with my ancient blood,
    And with meet gifts and parlance bland,
    Implored my Ednee’s timid hand;
    But ne’er before—that gentle claim
    Enforced in fame and valour’s name,
    For now in the same person blend,
    The swain, deliverer and friend.
    But still, a cruel fate in this,
    Pervades, and mars the cup of bliss!
    And while the gallant warrior stands
    Expectant—at my willing hands,
    A sudden tumult wild and high,
    Rings fearfully along the sky—
    “A foe—a foe!” the runners shout,
    And all is hurry, whoop, and rout!

      Short space there is for look or word—
    The warriors, with one spirit stirr’d,
    Seize club and bow, and fusil light,
    And fly towards the gathering fight;
    Clewalla leads—along the wood
    Deep shouts resound, and cries of blood,
    And soon the distant crack and roar
    Proclaim another scene of gore.
    And rumor rife, along the plain,
    Repeats a tale of lost and slain.
    From out a wood two hosts advance,
    With glittering sword and pointed lance,
    Rank upon rank—our light clad men,
    Unbooted all, re-sought the glen,
    There, tree to tree, to ward the blow,
    And best their forest breeding show;
    But while they rally, shout and form,
    Behold athwart—another storm!
    Fierce, heavy horsemen, sword on high,
    Gleam through the woods and fill the sky.
    Environed thus, no hope remains
    But that a brave man’s hand sustains;
    Nor this availed, though plied with skill
    O’er mead and valley, wood and hill,
    And sixty brave hearts, slain that day,
    Attest the fury of the fray;
    Clewalla, known for daring cry,
    Where bayonets cross and bullets fly,
    With rampant arm is seen maintain
    The strife, till sinking with the slain;
    But whether wounded, or if low,
    The pulse of life still kept its flow,
    Spake rumor not; we searched in vain
    Along the wood, amid the slain;
    We traced each secret glen and shore,
    But never saw Clewalla more.
    Murmur there was of varying sound
    That he to distant fort was bound,
    A captive held; yet ever prone
    To swell and shift, and change her tone,
    We found it like an evening’s tale,
    And all our search was doomed to fail:
    Or if he e’er returned, his tread
    Was light as ghost of warrior dead.

      Betrayed, encompassed, beaten, prest!
    Stem desperation fired each breast;
    They burn with wild revenge and ire,
    Re-light again the battle fire;
    Re-poise the lance—re-plume the dart,
    And rousing each bold warrior art,
    Poured on the reckless battle tide,
    Nor asked the boon which they denied.

      And long they fought and freely bled,
    And heaped their valleys with the dead;
    For plain, defile, or wild retreat,
    Still brought disaster and defeat,
    And every hallowed wood and shore,
    Was soiled with war-hoof, axe, or gore.
    I mixed again amid the strife,
    Light estimating limb or life,
    And for a season strove to guide
    And stem the furious battle tide.
    But why repeat the bitter tale?
    I saw each manly effort fail;
    We fought, as if against a spell,
    And, foiled, with Tuscaloosa fell.[6]
    The poor Muscogee race may say,
    They yet shall see a happier day;
    That happier day I ne’er shall see,
    I deem none happy if not free:
    And with that war—so fates conspire—
    Went out the brave Muscogee fire.
    I, scorning on that soil to be
    No longer honor’d, lov’d, or free!
    Resolved to leave those sunny strands,
    For distant woods and stranger’s lands,
    And bending far, still onward hied,
    By vale and torrent, rock and tide,
    With purpose high, and aim severe,
    To close a life of suff’ring here.
    Here in my house, which nature made
    Without the white man’s skill or aid,
    A few short years shall close my eyes,
    And leave my bones in northern skies,
    And not a trace be left to show
    Alhalla’s fate—Alhalla’s woe.

[6] The fall of Tuscaloosa, or the Black Warrior, is here symbolically
fixed on as the fall of the nation. This noted chief was not, however,
killed in battle; he came voluntarily to Gen. Jackson’s camp and
surrendered himself. He had disguised himself in mean clothes to
prevent his being shot down by the soldiers, as a price had been set
on his head. Hence the nobility of his declaration, on entering the
General’s tent—“I am Tuscaloosa.”



CANTO VI.

THE RE-UNION.


  [_Scene._ The Cave; Alhalla, Ethwald, Oscar, Mongazid, Ednee,
     Clewalla, De la Joie; with their separate retinues and attendants.
     Time, Evening.]

      As spoke the chief of waning fate,
    And foeman’s ire, and spirit’s hate,
    And hurried on through martial feats,
    And routs, and battles, and defeats,
    No tremor weak, or muscle’s throe,
    Betoken’d mark of inward woe,
    Or, aught the scanning eye could see,
    That stoic warrior should not be.

      But when he told of sacred seats,
    And winding shores, and still retreats,
    By trampling hoof, and rampart soil’d,
    And sepulchre of gifts despoil’d
    To light the torch, that spread amain
    One smoking ruin o’er the plain,—
    And that, though loved and cherish’d yet,
    The land his soul could ne’er forget,
    He sicken’d on that soil to be,
    When now no longer blest or free—
    An altered brow, a look of fire,
    Betray a burst of scorn and ire,
    And that high spirit, air, and gait,
    Which rises still above its fate,
    And though hem’d in by want or pain,
    Stoops not to parley or complain.
    And when he ceas’d—in conscious pride,
    He drew his ample robe aside,
    Revealing gorget, crest, and ring,
    Th’ insignia of an Indian King,
    And cowry shell, and wampum wreath,
    That ill-conceal’d the scars beneath,
    And all might know, and all might see,
    His double honors and degree.
    Then folding back, with lofty air,
    His wrapper-robe—erect and fair,
    With martial pomp, and thoughtful mood,
    In silent majesty he stood;—
    An object, more ennobled far,
    By high-born soul, and honored scar,
    Than all the baubles, gaud, and show,
    That mortal monarch can bestow.

      While yet the chieftain’s accents rung
    Upon the mind, and chain’d each tongue,
    With looks that spoke some latent care,
    Though ill concealed by studied air,
    Advanced, with ever sober speed,
    That spare and silver’d Jossakeed,[7]
    Grave Mongazid, and in his hand
    He bore a pipe, and held a wand,
    And from his belt, securely drawn,
    Impends the furr’d Metá-wyaun—
    A sacred care—while eagle’s crest
    And amulet protect his breast
    From ill by unseen spirit sent,
    Or fiend’s transforming punishment;
    (Such as once fell, to his deep ken,
    When gods assumed the shapes of men,)
    And over all, the quiver light,
    And javelin-club, for mortal fight
    Contingent: Bold and free his tone,
    Bow or obeisance makes he none;
    But, pois’d erect as plummet’s line,
    Thus speaks of evil thought—design:
    The while on Oscar casts his eyes,
    Or Ethwald, bent in mute surprise.

[7] An Indian who invokes spirits, and professes to foretell events—a
seer; a prophet.

MONGAZID.

      Not far the golden orb of light
    Had sped, on his aerial flight,
    Nor gained he yet the central sky,
    Ere—bent on mystic rite and high—
    I sought a lone, embower’d place,
    And just within the wood’s embrace,
    But not excluding partial sight
    Of winding shore, and waters bright,
    There had I rais’d my humble stone
    Of sacrifice;—that duty done,
    Would have return’d, when object new,
    Half veiled in mist, arrests my view;—
    In human form it seem’d bedight,
    Of giant limb and giant might—
    Onward it came, along the strand,
    With thoughtful pace and outstretch’d hand,
    As if in act to speak, or press,
    But changing, still grew less and less,
    Till burst of sunbeam, quick and bright,
    Displayed a stature human quite,
    And as he came more near to me,
    Behold, a noble Hillabee!
    A youth of pensive mien, and tall,
    Whom in thy thoughts thou may’st recall.

      He stopt;—and drawing from his breast
    A knife-sheath, oft its surface prest
    With fervent lip—and it seem’d fair,
    With inwrought quill, and stained hair—
    Then look’d he up to heaven, with eyes
    That sought the pity of the skies,
    And once again that pledge he prest,
    Then drew the blade—and in his breast
    Had plung’d it deep, but from my stand
    I sprang, and foil’d his lifted hand.
    Pale and aghast awhile he stood,
    Then flung that weapon in the flood,
    And, with embraces warm and rife,
    Thank’d and re-thank’d me for his life.

EDNEE.

      Didst thou not ask, what fate severe
    Had driv’n the hapless wand’rer here?
    What cruel ills his life had prest,
    Or woes were rankling in his breast?

MONGAZID.

      Speech had we some; but ever shy
    And cautious, seemed he, in reply:
    He spoke of wandering and of loss,
    In war and peace, by wile and cross;
    Of hopes still false, and objects e’er
    Upon the grasp, yet never near;
    With much of wild and frantic lore,
    That spoke a bosom pain’d and sore,
    But ever indistinct, and still
    He thank’d me for my friendly will.

EDNEE. [aside]

      Strange! tale most strange! ah, could it be!
    But he is dead!—a Hillabee!

ALHALLA.

      Saw’st thou no mark upon his breast,
    To note the chieftainship? or crest?

MONGAZID.

      Mark saw I none, and ill could test
    What neither word nor sign exprest;
    More if ye would of purpose ask,
    Himself shall spare my tongue the task.

[_Enter an Indian, clad in the Southern costume._]

      Ceas’d Azid’s voice; when there appears
    A form, in stature, looks, and years,
    Such as the fondest wish might trace
    When dreaming on the human race;
    Bold, tall, upright of frame and tone,
    The image of proud nature’s son;
    Thought mark’d his brow, and inward care
    Had flung o’er all a pensive air;
    The scars he bore, the eagle plume,
    Bespoke a warrior, not a groom
    Decked for the dance, with gay metasse,[8]
    And figured band, and bell of brass.
    A collar of the sacred shell
    He wore, that graced his figure well.
    Loose was his robe of banded blue,
    And ample fold, and gather true.
    Light was his tread, as zephyr’s sigh,
    And youth beam’d brightly from his eye.
    Cautious he passed the cavern bound,
    Then paus’d, and gazed intently round.
    It is Clewalla!—deftly o’er
    He sped, across that cavern floor,
    And at one rush, with joy confest,
    He clasps his Ednee to his breast.

[8] A leggin.

      No word is said—the sudden gush
    Of feeling warm, and memory’s flush—
    Of cares, and doubts, and hopes, and pains,
    Th’ o’ermaster’d tongue awhile enchains,
    While heart to throbbing heart careers,
    And vents its joy, at first, in tears!
    And then with quick response is heard,
    Soft interchange of fitting word,
    And all the fervid greeting kind,
    That rivets constant mind to mind.
    Oh love, there is no word, no sign,
    No token half so sweet as thine,
    When sighing hours, when ling’ring years,
    When hopes deferred, when pallid fears,
    Are banish’d all, and, at a start,
    Kind heart is riveted to heart.
    Whether the face be white or red,
    Within a cot or palace bred,
    Beneath the line, or at the pole,
    An unwont rapture fires the soul.
    We cannot say that sigh or vow
    Were brought to mind, or uttered now;
    We cannot say, that months or years
    Were counted o’er amid their tears;
    But this we can, and this we know,
    That past and gone was every woe;
    That former crosses—former tears,
    Were cast behind, with other years,
    And every thought that could annoy
    Deep buried in the present joy.

      And now had gratulation past,
    And warrior-lover broken fast,
    And dainty haunch, and wild-fruit shar’d,
    By Ednee’s gentle hand prepar’d,
    And all in high expectance wait
    The annals of his wayward fate.

CLEWALLA.

      Little suits it tide or time
    I should here descant on crime,
    War or loss, mischance or boast,
    That befell on southern coast,
    Where, by cruel fate impelled,
    As a captive I was held.
    Little boots it, that I here
    Once again should drop the tear,
    Not by red man often shed,
    Save above the honored dead;
    Or, by sad recitals, throw
    O’er this scene a garb of woe.
    Let it, once for all, suffice,
    That my path was hemmed by vice,
    Power, misfortune, cross and ill,
    Such as stoutest bosoms kill;
    But I had a warrior’s heart,
    That not light with life could part.

      Oft I fought with club and knife,
    Strewing death’s dark path with life,
    But not often felt the blight
    Fate prepared _that_ fearful night,
    When by river, rock, and dell,
    There Alhalla’s household fell:
    As I lifted high my brand,
    O’er the wide retreating strand,
    Hot the fight and loud the yell,
    This I only know, I fell:
    Consciousness, as with a thought,
    Left me, as the fight I fought,
    Sudden, as, if in a dream,
    What we do may only seem.
    When, from this unguarded stroke,
    First to life and sense I woke,
    Darkness spread around the plain,
    Shielding dying, dead, and slain;
    Slowly rising from my gore,
    Faint, I sought the river’s shore;
    Fatal act! to drink or die,
    Purchased by captivity.
    Yet my fate was not to fall
    By the broadsword or the ball;
    Taught by kindly hands to know
    War doth mingle balms with woe,
    And ’tis only on the field
    Saxon men will never yield.
    Soft they made my prison bed,
    Kindly nurtured, kindly fed,
    Till my wounds and fevered brain
    Health and soundness felt again.

      Seasons now had passed their round
    When I sought my native ground;
    But I found no kindred tone,
    Fire had swept it, friends were gone;
    Men were ploughing, where, in cheer,
    Once I chased the noble deer;
    Piles of brick, and wood, and stone,
    Rose to heaven—the engine’s groan,
    The big wheel’s dash, the rattling train,
    Announced the white man’s iron reign.

      I sought thy cot—it was a plain
    Where reapers reapt the yellow grain;
    I sought the grove, whose solemn shade
    Our council fire so oft displayed:
    It was with angled piles beset,
    Dome, dwelling, garnished minaret,
    Or steeple called;—with pensive tread
    I wound me, where repose the dead,
    And long affection’s pious hand
    With evening fires illumed the land;
    It was a shorn and mangled glade,
    Where not a staddle cast a shade.

      Still _thee_ I sought, the wide west round,
    But need I say, I never found,
    Or where thou hadst in solace flown,
    To what strange people, not thine own.
    At length I came where I could hear
    That thou wert living, but not near;
    But still so balked by wayward fate,
    My footsteps they were e’er too late;
    Last, chanced I, with a random aim,
    For still I heard thy father’s fame,
    Ethwald’s rapid bark to spy
    Bound to this magnific sky;
    Him I followed—but no wail,
    Word or gesture, told my tale,
    Trusting some kind chance would ope
    Fortune, which I scarce could hope;
    And so led, by heaven’s decree,
    Ventured in this sylvan sea.
    Ask me not of other woes,
    Why I chose not—why I chose?
    Why I did not—why I did?
    Time will tell what now is hid;
    For my joy that thus we meet,
    Changing bitter scenes to sweet,
    Is as flowing, fair, and free,
    As kind heaven could make it be.

ALHALLA.

      Warrior, rest thee. Take the seat
    Due thy rank and presence meet,
    By ancient custom, right and power,
    Deemed sacred in the forest bower.
    It is our wont, that groom and bride,
    As heart in heart, so side by side
    Be-seat them: act and sight
    Thus simple, seals our forest rite.
    To-morrow, ere the dawning east
    The sun illumes, prepare the feast,
    Where joy and plenty shall preside,
    To crown the warrior and his bride.



MISCELLANIES.


Most of the ensuing pieces, having been written at an early period
of life, and at widely distant geographical points, and many of them
having been published in newspapers, magazines, or other forms, and
not before reclaimed, it is conceived that there is a propriety in
retaining the local dates.



PONTIAC’S APPEAL.


  [After the taking of Quebec, in 1759, the North Western
     Indians adhered to their Gallic allies, and formed an
     extensive combination for retaking all the posts west of
     the Alleghanies. Pontiac was the leader and master-spirit
     of this confederacy, the seat of which was Detroit. In
     1763 he besieged the garrison at that place, with a large
     confederated force of Indians, and defeated the besieged
     at the battle of Bloody Bridge, killing their commander.
     The next year Gen. Bradstreet advanced from Niagara to
     break up this confederacy, with an army of 3000 men. The
     appeal may be supposed to be uttered on this occasion.]


      Now, the war-cloud gathers fast,
    See it rising on the blast—
    Soon our peace-fire shall be quench’d,
    Soon our blades in gore be drench’d.
    See the red-robed legions pour
    From Wyánock’s[9] gulfy shore,
    Threatening woe to me and mine,
    Means and power, name and line;
    None may ’scape whose souls are free,
    None—who doat on liberty,
    Who is true, or who is brave,
    Or who scorns to be a slave.
    Warriors, up, and hurl them back!
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

[9] The Algic name for Niagara.

      Hang the peace-pipe on the wall,
    Rouse the nations, one and all,
    Bid them for the fight prepare,
    War—red, raging, ruthless war.
    Now begin the sacred dance,
    Raise the club, and shake the lance;
    Now prepare the bow and dart,
    ’Tis our fathers’ ancient art.
    Other weapons need we none,
    All by Indian arms be won;
    Let each heart be strong and bold,
    As our fathers were of old;
    Valiant they, in wood or storm,
    Panthers’ doublets kept them warm;
    Warriors, rise, and drive them back!
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

      Take the wampum, warrior, fly—
    Say, a foreign foe is nigh;
    On he comes, with furious breath
    Speaking peace, but dealing death;
    Spreading o’er our native plains
    Forts and banners, fire and chains.
    Death comes marching in his train—
    Death with never-ending pain—
    Not the pain that warriors fear;
    Not the faggot, ball, or spear;
    Not fierce danger—that is sweet;
    Not the red pine’s burning heat;
    But the bane from which we shrink,
    Fiery, fell, destroying drink.
    New found art to feed the grave,
    And sink a freeman to a slave.
    Warriors, hear: if deep below,
    Where evil dwells, there be a woe
    More deadly, bitter, foul, and black,
    Than aught that haunts the Red Man’s track,
    It is to sit, and tamely see
    A dog glut up our liberty,
    Our life, our soil—each dear-loved place,
    And bind our hands with shackles base.
    Up—up, and arm for the attack!
    It is the voice of Pontiac.

      Is there sachem who is wise?
    Him, his country bids arise.
    Is there warrior who is brave?
    Let him rise, his land to save.
    Trust not time shall come again
    E’er to break the iron chain.
    Or if now ye waive the blow,
    Once again to strike the foe;
    Fate forbids it—_now_—’tis _now_!
    Honor calls to seal the vow.
    Let the legions clothed with red,
    Howl their pathway to the dead,
    Sink, or perish in the sea,
    But never trample on the free.
    Tribe that lags or lingers now
    Breaks the spirit-witnessed vow;
    Nor shall ever rise again,
    Lord or master of the plain.
    Thus, in types of cloud and breeze,
    Mighty Manito decrees.
    I have seen his shining throne;
    I have heard him—I alone.
    List—the paths of truth I track;
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

      Ye who skim the big lake floods,
    Ye who roam the western woods,
    Tribes and kindreds, large and small,
    Hear the mandatory call;
    All who feel with high control
    Throbbings of the Indian’s soul,
    Come, to save a threatened land
    From the rampart and the brand;
    From the arts and from the crimes
    Bred in transatlantic climes;
    From the thirst of pinching gains,
    That foredooms our sunny plains,
    And the cold unpitying rush,
    Name and rule that aims to crush,
    Till blow on blow, and stroke on stroke
    Bind on the hateful Saxon yoke.
    Firmness now is all that saves;
    To submit is to be slaves.
    Better die as warriors bold,
    Than be hunted, tracked and sold;
    Living days in misery rife,
    For the coward’s bounty—life!
    Warriors, rally to the field;
    Teach the lordly foe to yield;
    Spurn his counsels—spurn his laws;
    Strike alone for freedom’s cause;
    Let confusion cross his track;
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

      Let your sufferings—let your wrongs
    Swell your rising battle songs;
    Strike your drums a noble peal,
    Boding deeds of strife and steel.
    Let your piercing battle yells
    Shake the wildest woodland dells,
    Reaching nations far and nigh,
    While our scouts prolong the cry,
    Till it reaches every ear
    Who the Indian’s wrongs can hear;
    Gathering force as on it sweeps
    Over mountains, lakes and steeps;
    Louder—louder every hour,
    Till it wakes our utmost power,
    Rousing all our warlike bands,
    Waking all our pillaged lands;
    Till one deep, appalling cry,      }
    Rings throughout the western sky,  }
    Echoing _vengeance_—_liberty_!     }
    Back! thou bold invader, back!
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

      Former woes provoke your ire,
    _Think_, but hate; and _feel_, but fire;
    Every peaceful hue be fled;
    Every hue but warlike red.
    Strangers occupy our soil;
    Sons of dull mechanic toil;
    They pollute our ancient seats,
    Altars, groves and fond retreats.
    Ever claiming deeper grants,
    _Nothing_ can allay their wants,
    Or evade their arts or will;
    But they drive, and drive us still;
    Pouring onward, as they go,
    Livid streams of liquid woe,
    That subdues the soul when quaffed—
    Bitter—bitter—bitter draught;
    Of all ills the last and worst,
    Spirit-brewed, and spirit-cursed.
    Fear not horseman’s heavy knife;
    We can give them life for life,
    Blow for blow, and dart for dart—
    Arrows are the woodman’s art;
    Sharp and true, as bow to string,
    Let your arrows swiftly sing.
    Warriors, on to the attack!
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

      Now, my fav’ring dreams portend
    Their ill-gotten power shall end.
    Now the goal is reached and won;
    Fate decrees—_it must be done_!
    Crush the serpent, ere his length
    Tell superior skill or strength.
    Strike the panther, ere he springs,
    And the mortal fang he flings.
    Take the monster grizzle-bear,
    Young and feeble, in his lair.
    Mar his talons—blear his sight,
    Ere he waxes strong in might;
    Else the day shall hasten by,
    Else we quickly droop and die;
    Or shall linger on our lands,
    Frail, dependent, feeble bands;
    Weak in numbers, low in fame;
    Sad, impov’rished, sunk and tame,
    Asking alms from door to door,
    Where our chieftains _ruled_ before,
    While the stranger lords it high
    ’Neath our once joy-kindled sky;
    And his children, as they turn
    From the furrow, blade or urn,
    Axe or pestle, pipe or bone,
    Once our fathers’ or our own,
    Shall with pride indignant spurn,
    Name and nation, bone and urn,
    And exclaim—_contemptuous grave!_
    Indian dog, or Indian slave.

      Heavens! and can ye live and burn,
    And not on th’ insulter turn?
    Have ye hearts, and have ye ears,
    And not shake your vengeful spears?
    Are ye men by God’s decrees,
    And can suffer taunts like these?
    Rend, oh rend the big blue sky,
    With your thrilling battle cry:
    _Vengeance—Valor—Liberty!_
    On, bold hearts, to the attack!
    ’Tis the voice of Pontiac.

SAULT STE. MARIE, November 7th, 1825.



GEEHALE.

AN INDIAN LAMENT.


      The blackbird is singing on Michigan’s shore,
    As sweetly and gaily as ever before,
    For he knows to his mate he at pleasure can hie,
    And the dear little brood she is teaching to fly.
    The sun looks as ruddy, and rises as bright,
    And reflects o’er our mountains as beamy a light,
    As it ever reflected, or ever express’d,
    When my skies were the bluest—my dreams were the best.
    The fox and the panther, both beasts of the night,
    Retire to their dens on the gleaming of light,
    And they spring with a free and a sorrowless track,
    For they know that their mates are expecting them back,
    Each bird and each beast, it is blest in degree,
    All nature is cheerful—all happy but me.

      I will go to my tent, and lie down in despair,
    I will paint me with black and will sever my hair:—
    I will sit on the shore where the hurricane blows,
    And reveal to the god of the tempest my woes:—
    I will weep for a season, on bitterness fed,
    For my kindred are gone to the hills of the dead;
    But they died not by hunger, or ling’ring decay,
    The steel of the white man hath swept them away.

      This snake skin, that once I so sacredly wore,
    I will toss with disdain on the storm-beaten shore;
    Its charms I no longer obey or invoke,
    Its spirit hath left me, its spell is now broke.
    I will raise up my voice to the source of the light,
    I will dream on the wings of the blue-bird at night,
    I will speak to the spirits that whisper in leaves,
    And that minister balm to the bosom that grieves,
    And will take a new manito—such as shall seem
    To be kind and propitious in every dream.
    Oh, then, I shall banish these cankering sighs,
    And tears shall no longer gush salt from my eyes.
    I shall wash from my face every peace-color’d stain,
    Red, red! shall alone on my visage remain.
    I will dig up my hatchet and bend my oak bow,
    By night and by day, I will follow the foe;
    No lake shall repress me—no mountain oppose,
    His blood can alone give my spirit repose.

      They came to my cabin when heaven was black,
    I heard not their coming—I knew not their track,
    But I saw by the light of their blazing fusees,
    They were people engender’d beyond the big seas.
    My wife and my children—oh spare me the tale,—
    But who is there left, that is kin to Geehale?

ALBANY, 1820.



THE CHOICE.

ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.


            A sweet, retiring, simple, modest mien,
            Not shunning, and not seeking to be seen;
            A taste in dress and each domestic care,
            Neat but not gaudy, pleasing without glare;
    Such have I often wished “heaven’s last best gift” should be,
    Such have I oft, with joy, remarked in thee.

            An even temper, mild, endearing, kind,
            A sound, discreet, and regulated mind,
            Improved by reading, by reflection formed,
            By reason guided, by religion warmed.
    This have I often prayed “heaven’s last best gift” to be,
    This have I oft, with joy, remarked in thee.

            Benevolent to all, to soothe or cure,
            But a firm friend to all the neighb’ring poor;
            The poor in worldly goods, or _bon ton_ merit,
            The sunk in sickness, and the bow’d in spirit.
    This have I often hoped “heaven’s last best gift” to be,
    This have I oft, with joy, remarked in thee.

            Possessing spirit, yet a gentle creature,
            Lover of quiet and the charms of nature,
            With no vain rage to simper, glare or roam,
            Pleased if abroad, but mostly pleased at home.
    This have I fondly hoped “heaven’s last best gift” to be,
    This have I oft admired, sweet maid, in thee.

            In person comely, rather than renowned,
            In books conversant, rather than profound,
            With too much sense to slight domestic duty,
            Or sigh to shine a wit, or flaunt a beauty.
    This have I fondly wished “heaven’s last best gift” to be,
    Such have I seen thee oft, and often hope to see.

            In virtue principled, in love sincere,
            In manners guarded, in expression clear,
            Kind to all others in a just decree,
            But fixed, devoted, loving only me.
    This have I ever hoped “heaven’s last best gift” would be,
    This have I sought, and heaven-blest, found in thee.

            Thee, in whose gentle manners, polished mind,
            Grace, sweetness, taste, benevolence are joined,
            Sense to engage, a _naivete_ to admire,
            Candor to please, and love itself to fire.
    Thee have I fondly hoped “heaven’s last best gift” to me,
    And all my hopes of bliss are hopes of thee.

  [1823.]



THE BIRCHEN CANOE.


    In the region of lakes, where the blue waters sleep,
        My beautiful fabric was built;
    Light cedars supported its weight on the deep,
        And its sides with the sunbeams were gilt.

    The bright leafy bark of the betula[10] tree
        A flexible sheathing provides;
    And the fir’s thready roots drew the parts to agree,
        And bound down its high swelling sides.

    No compass or gavel was used on the bark,
        No art but the simplest degree;
    But the structure was finished, and trim to remark,
        And as light as a sylph’s could be.

    Its rim was with tender young roots woven round,
        Like a pattern of wicker-work rare;
    And it prest on the waves with as lightsome a bound
        As a basket suspended in air.

    The builder knew well, in his wild merry mood,
        A smile from his sweet-love to win,
    And he sung as he sewed the green bark to the wood,
        Keen ata nee saugein.[11]

    The heavens in their brightness and glory below,
        Were reflected quite plain to the view,
    And it moved like a swan—with as graceful a show,
        My beautiful birchen canoe.

    The trees on the shore, as I glided along,
        Seemed rushing a contrary way;
    And my voyagers lightened their toil with a song,
        That caused every heart to be gay.

    And still as I floated by rock and by shell,
        My bark raised a murmur aloud,
    And it danced on the waves as they rose and they fell,
        Like a fay on a bright summer cloud.

    I thought as I passed o’er the liquid expanse,
        With the landscape in smiling array;
    How blest I should be, if my life should advance,
        Thus tranquil and sweetly away.

    The skies were serene, not a cloud was in sight,
        Not an angry surge beat on the shore,
    And I gazed on the waters, and then on the light,
        Till my vision could bear it no more.

    Oh! long shall I think of those silver-bright lakes,
        And the scenes they exposed to my view;
    My friends—and the wishes I formed for their sakes,
        And my bright yellow birchen canoe.

SAULT STE. MARIE, November 12th, 1825.

[10] Betula papyracæ.

[11] You only I love.



ON LEAVING THE VILLAGE OF GENEVA IN 1812.


    When acts of affection have soften’d the heart,
      And taught two fond bosoms in union to glow,
    Oh! how sweet is the joy that their meetings impart,
      The pleasures how lively from converse that flow.

    But oh! when the warm hand of friendship sincere,
      Is shook—and those pleasures are soon to be past,
    How painful the thought, and how galling the fear,
      That friends are assembled—perhaps for the last.

    Yes! such were the pangs I was destined to know,
      When from thy dear circle I lately withdrew;
    And I said, as we parted, wherever I go,
      Oh! think of me often, and I’ll think of you.

    ’Tis thus we may still, although seas intervene,
      In fond recollection past pleasures recall,
    And forget in our dreams of the days that have been,
      The woes that await us—the ills that befall.

    And oft, as ye rove o’er the frequented green,
      Or pause at high noon, to regale in the shade,
    Remember how oft with you there I have been,
      When summer with roses enamelled the glade.

    The flowers of your fields, they were lovely and fair,
      And charmed with their fragrance the hours that are gone,
    Yet, it had been a desert if you’d not been there,
      Ye tender and beautiful nymphs of the lawn.

    Adieu, smiling circle; wherever I go,
      In memory still shall I turn to this spot,
    And cherish thy noble and generous glow,
      Till virtue, and friendship, and love be forgot.



ON THOSE WHO FELL IN THE WAR OF 1812.


    On Niagara’s banks they sleep,
    And in Erie’s stormy deep,
    Where the rapid Wabash glides,
    On Ontario’s warlike sides;
    By the deep, where Lawrence fell,
    Or in lone Moravian dell,
    On the field where Pike was slain,
    At Sandusky—at Champlain.
    There the bones of heroes rest;
    Honor’d, loved, lamented, blest.

KEENE, N. H. 1815.



ON THE MARRIAGE OF MR. SAVAGE TO MISS WILD.

[1811.]


    Long had a Savage roved the lonely bower,
      Braved the cold storm and trod the dangerous glen,
    Till touched by love’s all humanizing power,
      He sought that happiest state of peaceful men.

    No more wan care, his tardy hours beguiled,
      But fixed in thought, in hymen’s fetters tied,
    Deep in the tempting bosom of a Wild,
      His every wish, hope, peace and joy abide.



LIKES AND DISLIKES.


      Whate’er is false, impertinent or dull,
    A fop, a meddler, formalist or fool,
    O’erbearing consequence, o’ervaunting sense,
    The lounger’s visit, and the rake’s pretence,
    The idle man’s excuse, the babbler’s prate,
    These ask for censure, and all these I hate.

      I hate the cit, whose tread diurnal brings,
    Wit’s cast-off robes, and learning’s worn-out things.
    At home, abroad, in place, or out of place,
    With fearful longitude of knowing face,
    Repeats the jest, half hitting and half hit,
    The vapid ribaldry, which is not _wit_;
    Or where misfortune bows a noble heart,
    Wounds the sear’d bosom with satiric dart.

      I hate the sea-fop, whose obtrusive lore,
    Repeated oft, can please the ear no more,
    Whose vast credulity and only care,
    Is to raise wonder, and produce a _stare_;
    Yet if they pall, or if the jaded tales
    A doubt creates—he with his “_log-book_” nails.

      I hate the tattler, whose bold thirst of fame
    Is based on publishing his neighbor’s shame,
    Whose task it is to catch the latent tale,
    The rumored doubt or inuendo stale,
    To fan the darling falsehoods as they rise,
    To pander scandal, and to retail lies.

      I hate that ever-busy, bustling man,
    Whose wink or nod directs the village clan,
    Intent, not on the public weal or good,
    Or e’en his own—a point not understood—
    But urged by little talent, much pretence,
    Ten grains of impudence, and one of sense:
    A strange compound of villain, fop, and clown,
    He struts the busy-body of the town.

      I hate the sly, insidious, smirking _friend_,
    Who, ever driving at some secret end,
    Bespeaks your interest for a vote or place,
    With smiling sweet sincerity of face,
    Yet, all the while with bitter malice fed,
    Is working to deprive you of your bread.

      I hate the gourmand, whose eternal wish
    Is centred in a bottle or a dish:
    Law without justice, physic without skill,
    Priests without reason, laymen without will;
    Misguided charity, delusive zeal,
    Or for religion, or the common weal:
    Power without mercy, humor void of sense,
    Affected greatness, beggarly pretence:
    A splendor based upon a neighbor’s cash,
    Rogues escaped halter, prison, stocks or lash,
    All these, howe’er allied to fortune or to fate,
    Demand my censure, and all these I hate.

      My hatreds into love now let me turn:
    I love the breast where truth and nature burn,
    The virtuous poor man, struggling to be free,
    The rich, not dazzled with his high degree;
    The sage’s wish, the patriot’s calm desire,
    The painter’s fancy, and the poet’s fire,
    The modest step, the frank, unvarnish’d air,
    The fame unsullied, and the virtue fair.

      I love the faith, that, principled and clear,
    Trusts not alone to frail enjoyments here,
    But casting up the firm, imploring eye,
    Scans the bright mansions of the starry sky.

      I love the hope, that, bound by honor’s ties,
    With modest diligence essays to rise;
    Trusts to no sudden shower, no falling star,
    No wit precocious, no chance-medley care;
    But, bent to use aright the talent given,
    Performs its part, and leaves the rest to heaven.

      I love the charity, that for itself,
    And nought beside, conveys the silent pelf.
    I love the zeal, that honest, firm, and clear,
    Contemns the placeman’s frown, the skeptic’s jeer.
    I love the rays that winter nights beguile,
    I love compassion’s tear, and woman’s smile;
    I love the spirit noble in its aims,
    The sacred ardor love and friendship claims,
    Bland nature’s solitude, the lore of men;
    I love my home, my study, and my pen.

[1816.]



WASHINGTON.


  [On a visit to the tomb of Washington at Mount Vernon,
     April 28th, 1822, the writer picked out and selected
     from the rude earthen mound which covers it, some plain
     mineralogical fragments, which he deposited in a neat
     paper box in his cabinet, with the following lines:]

      These little relics, if they show
    No ruby’s tint, no diamond’s glow,
    Yet shall they shed upon my heart,
    A joy that gems can ne’er impart,
    And exercise upon my mind,
    A power of talismanic kind;
    A power to think, to act, to feel—
    In youth and manhood, wo and weal;
    Like him, the lov’d, the great, the blest,
    Whose hallowed tomb they lately prest—
    To emulate his noble fires,
    His measured aims, his chaste desires,
    His firmness in the trying hour,
    His mod’rate use of fame and power;
    In social round, his skill to please,
    His stately manners, mix’d with ease,
    And all those virtues great and bland,
    Which erst aroused an injur’d land,
    And raised its strength, and winged its ires,
    And fann’d its hopes, and curb’d its fires,
    And spoke by act, by sword and pen,
    Him first of heroes, first of men.

      When prest by thought, or danger tried,
    By slander stung, or rage defied;
    These relics shall afford a clue,
    The bold to awe, the strong subdue.
    And if, in some propitious hour,
    One deed of fame, one ray of power,
    A wayward fortune should decree
    To one so poor and lone as me,
    Still should my thoughts to Vernon turn,
    To ponder on the hero’s urn,
    And, in whispering accents, breathe
    My reverence for the dust beneath—
    The sacred dust, which, living, won,
    And, dead—still! still! is Washington:
    And each proud hope, and each lone sigh,
    Shall be, like him to live, to die.

      And when I see the scholar pore
    On deeds of glorious fame of yore;
    Trimming his lamp, at midnight hour,
    To trace the wrecks of bygone power;
    Or stealing through sequestered groves,
    To sip the tale of Grecian loves;
    Or pond’ring on the double doom,
    Where fame and valor fell with Rome;
    And when I hear th’ enthusiast tell
    How Fabius foil’d, Marcellus fell,
    With triumph shall I quick reply,
    At Vernon doth a greater lie;
    More firm in war, more just in peace,
    And loved with love that ne’er can cease;
    But time shall seal, and rolling years
    Augment his fame, and swell our tears.
    Go! shall I say, to yon scrutoire
    Of shells and fossils, gems and ore,
    Cull’d from each clime, and marshall’d there
    With home-bred skill and pleasing care;
    Amid the glitter, thou shalt find
    An humble group of plainest kind,
    But priz’d most truly, not for dyes,
    But for the scene it typifies:
    The airy banks, the cooling groves,
    That mark the spot Columbia loves—
    A spot, which few vain marbles may,
    Entombs a virtuous hero’s clay.
    Go! and peruse!—no chemic fame,
    No foreign, harsh, pedantic name,
    With slavish, trite, empiric air,
    Inscribes the group enchased there.
    With pious hand I cull’d these stones
    Upon the tomb that wraps his bones:
    He who, while living, ever shin’d,
    And, dying, left no peer behind;
    Let no rude hand, or unadvis’d,
    Molest the boon so lov’d, so priz’d.



THE WHITE FISH.


      Of ven’son let Goldsmith so wittily sing,
    A very fine haunch is a very fine thing;
    And Burns, in his tuneful and exquisite way,
    The charms of a smoking Scot’s haggis display,
    But ’tis often much harder to eat than descant,
    And a poet may praise what a poet may want;
    Less doubt there shall be ’twixt my muse and my dish,
    Whilst her power I invoke, in the praise of white fish.
    All friends to good living by tureen or dish,
    Concur in extolling this prince of a fish,
    So fine on a platter, so tempting a fry,
    So rich in a broil, and so sweet in a pie,
    That even before it the red trout must fail,
    And that mighty _bonne bouche_ of the land, beaver’s tail.

      This fish is a subject, so dainty and white,
    To show in a lecture, to eat or to write,
    That equal ’s my joy, I declare on my life,
    To raise up my voice, or to raise up my knife;
    ’Tis a morsel alike for the gourmand or faster,
    White—white as a tablet of pure alabaster;
    Its beauty and flavor no person can doubt,
    If seen in the water, or tasted without;
    And all the dispute that opinion e’er makes,
    Of this king of lake fishes—this deer of the lakes,[12]
    Regards not its choiceness, to ponder or sup,
    But the best mode of dressing and serving it up.

[12] A literal translation of the Chippewa name for this fish—Ad dik
Kum maig.

      Now this is a point where good livers may differ,
    As tastes become fixed, or opinions are stiffer;
    Some men prefer roasted—some doat on a fry,
    Or extol the sweet savor of _poisson blanc_ pie;
    The nice _petit patè_, this palate excites,
    While that on a boiled dish and _bouillon_ delights;
    Some smoked and some salted, some fresh and some dried,
    Prefer to all fish in our waters beside;
    And ’tis thought the main question of epicures’ look,
    Respects not the method so much as the cook;
    For, like some moral dishes that furnish a zest,
    Whate’er is best served up, is still thought the best.

      There are, in gastronomy, sages who think
    ’Tis not only the prime of good victuals, but drink,
    That all sauces spoil it, the richer the quicker,
    And make it insipid, except its own liquor;
    These move in a wild epigastric mirage,
    Preferring the dish _a la mode de sauvage_,
    By which it quells hunger and thirstiness both,
    First eating the fish, and then drinking the broth:
    We leave this unsettled for palates or pens
    Who glean out of hundreds their critical tens,
    While drawn to the board where full many a dish
    Is slighted to taste this American fish.

      The planter, who whirls through the region by steam,
    The Creole, who sings as he lashes his team;
    The merchant, the lawyer, the cit, and the beau,
    The proud and gustative, the poor and the low;
    The gay _habitant_—the inquisitive tourist,
    The chemic physician, the dinner-crost jurist,
    And even the ladies, the pride of the grove,
    Unite to extol it, and eat to approve.
    Full oft the sweet morsel, while poised on the knife,
    Excites a bland smile in the blooming young wife,
    Nor deems she a sea-fish one moment compares,
    But is thinking the while not of fish, but of heirs.

      To these it is often a casual sweet,
    To dine by appointment, or taste as a treat;
    Not so, or in mental or physical joy,
    Comes the sight of this fish to the _courier de bois_;
    That wild troubadour and his joy-loving crew,
    Who sings as he paddles his birchen canoe,
    And thinks all the hardships that falls to his lot,
    Are richly made up at the platter and pot.
    To him there’s a charm neither feeble nor vague
    In the mighty repast of the _grande Ticameg_;[13]
    And oft as he starves amid Canada snows,
    On dry leather lichens and _bouton de rose_,
    He cheers up his spirits to think he shall still
    Of _poisson blanc bouillon_ once more have his fill.
    “Oh, choice of all fishes,” he sings as he goes,
    “Thou art sweeter to me than the Normandy rose;
    And the ven’son that’s stol’n from the parks of the king,
    Is never, by half, so delicious a thing.”

      The muse might appeal to the science of books
    To picture its ichthyological looks,
    Show what is its family likeness or odds,
    Compared to its cousins, the salmons and cods;
    Tell where it approximates, point where it fails,
    By counting its fins, or dissecting its scales;
    Or prove by plain reasons—such proofs can be had—
    ’Tis not “toothless salmon,” but rather lake shad;
    Here, too, might a fancy, to descant inclined,
    Contemplate the lore that pertains to its kind,
    And bring up tradition in fanciful strains,
    To prove its creation from feminine brains;[14]
    Or point out its habits, migrations, and changes—
    The mode of its capture, its cycles and ranges.
    But let me forbear—’tis the fault of a song,
    A tale, or a book, if too learned or long.

      Thus ends my discussion. More would you, I pray,
    Ask Mitchell, or Harlan, Lesieur, or De Kay.

[July 21, 1824.]

[13] French orthography for the Indian name of this fish.

[14] A tale of such transformation may be seen, by reference to ALGIC
RESEARCHES.



A TALE OF THE NORTH, [1830.]


  [In 1785, Mr. Alexander Kay, a fur-trader from Montreal,
     was stabbed by an Indian at Sandy Lake, on the source of
     the Mississippi. By the kindness and medical skill of a
     friendly chief, who accompanied him to Michilimackinac,
     the wound was healed, but suppurated soon after, on his
     arrival at the Lake of Two Mountains, where he died.]

    I cannot tell of monarch wise,
      Or fame’s loud trumpet swell;
    But I can tell a simple tale,
      Which on a time befell.

    For long ago, for money’s sake,
      As well as with us now,
    Bold men would venture wood and lake,
      To fill the golden vow.

    And forth the voyager he went,
      With goods of richest dye;
    And bark that was a sight to see,
      Far through the northern sky.

    And lakes he past, and snows he trod,
      Where wolves and panthers cry,
    And nature’s poor, forsaken sons,
      The Indians, live and die.

    He trafficked for a few brief months,
      For skin of beaver black;
    And aye he thought with wealth supreme
      To hie him quickly back.

    But still the red man liked him not,
      For he had wilful ways;
    And ever, when the night returned,
      Would burn with passion’s blaze.

    The voyager was a drinking man,
      And a man of swelling pride,
    Whom fury stirr’d, and lust of rule,
      And high impatience tried.

    And when he had their wealth amassed,
      He loathed the Indian boor;
    And as with noise they vex’d his peace,
      He spurned him from his door.

    The Indian is a passive man,
      To all observant eyes;
    But he has pride, and entertains
      Revenge, that never dies.

    He has a soul that scorns to live
      Where slave or coward be;
    And all his goods are free to share,
      And wish—is to be free.

    Free was he born, and free will die,
      And time, however long,
    Can ne’er erase an injury
      While he has pipe or song.

    He may be kicked like any dog,
      But ah, beware the day,
    When he awakes from brawl, or draws
      The insult to repay.

    This found the lordly voyager,
      Upon that fatal day,
    When deep in northern woods remote
      Arose the bloody fray.

    And first, in peaceful words began
      The deep dissembled plot,
    And “give me drink!” the hunter cried—
      “Off, villain! from my cot.”

    He pointed to the door, with air
      And gesture of a lord;
    Then turned him back within his tent,
      With haughty look and word.

    Instant the Indian drew his knife,
      And in that twinkling frame
    He dealt a blow upon his neck,
      But dealt with erring aim.

    The voyager he had a friend
      Among the Indian band,
    Who lay and slept, while Christian blood
      Thus dyed the yellow sand.

    He started up, and drew a knife,
      With vengeance in his eye,
    And seiz’d the murd’rer by his hair,
      And, “Dog!” he utter’d, “die!”

    And with these words, he smote with might,
      And pierced the Indian dread,
    Who prayed for life, and gasped for breath,
      Then sank to earth and bled.

    On, on they rushed, a furious throng,
      For wild disorder reigned;
    And drinking, yelling, noise, and song,
      The live-long day had stained.

    Out furious in the wild melée,
      The voyager he ran,
    With streaming wound, and upraised knife,
      Averse to counsel’s plan.

    At once a cry of death arose,
      “I’m killed,” he said, and fell:
    A deep, low wound, and gushing blood,
      Attest the truth I tell.

    O ye who hear this living tale,
      Your hearts with care berate,
    Nor give the red man cause to feel
      The bitter pangs of hate.

    Learn that strict justice is alike,
      Nor favors red, nor white;
    That kindness wins—that patience charms,
      E’en more than beauty bright;

    That friendship’s glow, whate’er the name,
      Clime, country, shade or line,
    Is e’er the same, if touch’d with truth
      And constancy benign.

    Last—saddest, truest of my song—
      Provoke nor sot, nor king;
    Shun passion’s sway, and liquor’s ire,
      Nor trust its poison sting.

SAULT STE. MARIE, 1832.



THERE IS A TIME TO DIE.


  Bury me in the autumn time, when the leaves begin to fall,
  And nature o’er her forest grounds extends her leafy pall;
  It is a season which I loved when life was young and new,
  And often o’er the landscape then I cast a tranquil view.

  ’Tis then the winds, with airy whirl, begin their autumn play,
  And merrily over hill and dale, career their buoyant way;
  The whispering trees bend down their boughs, as soft they sweep along,
  And every leaf that joins the gale contributes to the song.

  It is a time when ripened fruits their nut-brown stores display,
  And the squirrel nimbly trips it then, his winter’s stock to lay;
  The partridge, too, with feathers spread, steps on the hollow tree,
  And flaps his wings, with doubling sound, to tell his mate ’tis he.

  The waters murmur softly then, and, as the trees grow bare,
  Display their channels through the woods, and glitter doubly fair.
  All nature is mature of mood, and woodland scenes unite,
  And man, and herds and flocks all join, to gratify the sight.

  The harvest’s in, the fruit is ripe, the flowers are fall’n and sere,
  And joy and peace and plenty crown the labors of the year:
  Then put me in the ground while thus all nature’s in her fill,
  I loved the season when I lived, and, dead, shall love it still.

N. Y. 1843.



LINES,

ON THE DEATH OF CAPT. M. M. DOX, LATE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY.


      Friend of my youth! whom thoughts of other years,
    When life was young, and hope was new, endears—
    Thy solemn change, where all that live must go,
    Strikes on my heart a salutary woe.
    Oft have I known thee in the social hour,
    When mirth and conversation owned thy power,
    Or, with one heart, we lingered to explore
    Geneva’s woodlands, or Ontario’s shore;
    Oft books or men employed the leisure thought,
    Who wrote most happy, who most gallant fought,
    Or cogitating plans, left all undone,
    How fame is earned, or fortune may be won
    To read, to muse, to meditate, to sigh,
    We thought of all, but how with faith to die.

      Long severed by the varied course of time
    By lands remote, by fortune, care, and clime,
    What once, in youth, no terrors could impart,
    Fate brings with sad sensations to my heart;
    Hope’s brittle thread is severed at a breath,
    And all that meets the gazing eye is death.

      Arms drew thee forth, when late thy country saw
    Right raised on arrogance, power stampt as law;
    But me, erewhile, a wayward fortune drew,
    Long streams to traverse—boundless plains to view;
    While now on arts, and now on letters cast,
    Hope bore me lightsome on the western blast,
    I but return to honor, with the brave,
    A friend’s—a patriot’s—and a soldier’s grave.

MICHILIMACKINAC.



THE CHIPPEWA GIRL.


      They tell me, the men with a white-white face
    Belong to a purer, nobler race;
    But why, if they do, and it may be so,
    Do their tongues cry, “yes”—and their actions, “no?”

    They tell me, that white is a heavenly hue,
    And it may be so, but the sky is blue;
    And the first of men—as our old men say,
    Had earth-brown skins, and were made of clay.

    But throughout my life, I’ve heard it said,
    There’s nothing surpasses a tint of red;
    Oh, the white man’s cheeks look pale and sad,
    Compared to my beautiful Indian lad.

    Then let them talk of their race divine,
    Their glittering domes, and sparkling wine;
    Give me a lodge, like my fathers had,
    And my tall, straight, beautiful Indian lad.



SHINGABAWOSSIN.


  [A ruling chief of the Chippewa nation, of noble mien and
     respected character, who died and was buried on the banks
     of lake Superior in 1828, aged about 76.]


    Blest be the spot that marks the chieftain’s tomb—
    There let the bright red flowers of summer bloom,
    And, as the winds sweep heavily along,
    Be they the warrior’s chant and funeral song;
    And yearly there, his native woods shall fling
    Their leafy honors o’er their sylvan king,
    While far around, the big and stormy wave
    Casts foamy incense o’er his rustic grave.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

  Old or antiquated spellings have been preserved.

  Typographical errors have been silently corrected but other variations
   in spelling and punctuation remain unaltered.

  Where double quotes have been repeated at the beginnings of
   consecutive lines in stanzas, they have been omitted for clarity.





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