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"He read of the bold lives they led,
"And how the Indians, quaintly gay,
Came down in wampum-belt and feather, To welcome them with courteous grace; How they and the free forest race
Hunted and dwelt together.
"And how they and their chosen mates
Led lives so sweet and primitive: Oh! in such land, with one dear heart, What joy it were to live!
"So thought he, and such life it were
As suited well his turn of mind;
"Four needy brothers, coarse and dull;
The forest-life to share.
"She left an old white-headed sire;
A mother loving, thoughtful, good;
Out of their need, for many a want Else unforeseen; their daughter's dower In gifts of love, not scant.
"His father with cold scorn received
So dowered a daughter, without name; Nor could his purposed exile win Either assent or blame.
"All was a chill of indifference;
And from his father's gate he went,
"And in the western world they dwelt;
"All that his youth had dreamed he found In that life's freshness; peril strange; Adventure; freedom; sylvan wealth;
And ceaseless, blameless change. "And there he, and his heart's true mate, Essay'd and found how sweet to live, 'Mid Nature's store, with health and love, That life so primitive!
"But that sweet life came to an end.
As falls the golden-eared corn Before the sickle, earthly bliss
In human hearts is shorn.
"Sickness - bereavement
widowhood. Oh, these three awful words embrace A weight of mortal woe that fell
Upon our sylvan dwelling-place! "It matters not to tell of pangs, Of the heart-broken, the bereft;
I will pass over death and tears,
"I and a sister; long had passed
Though in a stranger's family.
"Still in the wilderness we dwelt,
And were grown up towards womanhood;
"By rumours of approaching war,
"We heard it first with disbelief;
And long time after, when had spread
"For they with whom our lot was cast,
"The forest round was like a camp,
And men were armed day and night; And every morning brought fresh news To heighten their affright.
"Through the green forest rose the smoke Of places burn'd the night before; And from their victims, the red scalp
The excited Indian tore.
"This was around us, yet we dwelt
The Indian camp'd all round.
"For these of Onas are the sons,'
Said they, the upright peaceful men!' Nor was harm done to those who held
The faith of William Penn.
"But I this while thought less of peace,
"Near us, within the forest-fort,
Of fierce young spirits, sworn to sweep
"The native Indian from his woods-
"But he, to whom I pled, preferr'd
Sweet pleading of another sort;
"The Indian passed us in the wood,
"At length the crisis of the war
Approach'd, and he, my soul's beloved, With his hot band, impatient grown, Yet further west removed. "There he was taken by the foe,
Ambush'd like tigers 'mid the trees: You know what death severe and dread The Indian to his foe decrees.
"A death of torture and of fireProtracted death; I knew too well, Outraged and anger'd, as of late
Had been the Indian spirit, fell Would be their vengeance, and, to him, Their hate implacable.
"When first to me his fate was told,
I stood amazed, confounded, dumb; Then wildly wept and wrung my hands, By anguish overcome.
"Wait, wait!' the peaceful people said; 'Be still and wait, the Lord is good!' But when they bade me trust and wait, I went forth in my anguish great, To hide me in the wood.
"I had no fear; the Indian race
To me were as my early kin: And then the thought came to my brain, To go forth, and from death and pain, My best-beloved to win.
"With me my fair, young sister went,
Long journeying on through wood and swamp: Three long days' travel, ere we came
To the great Indian camp. "We saw the Indians as we went,
Hid 'mong the grass with tiger ken; But we were safe, they would not harm
The daughters of the peaceful men.
"I turned me from that scene of war,
Long looked she on the pictured face,
And the great chief is in his grave! "Yet for the father Onas' sake
For their sakes who no blood have shed; We will not by his sons be blamed For taking life which they have claimed ;The red man can avenge his dead!'
"So saying, with her broken heart —
She went forth to the council-stone; And when the captive was brought out, 'Mid savage war-cry, taunt and shout, She stepp'd into the fierce array,
As the bereaved Indian may,
And claim'd the victim for her own.
"He was restored. What need of more
With our good, peaceful friends abode. "But we, two plighted hearts, were wed; A merry marriage ye may wis; — And guess ye me a happy life— In England here, an honoured wife,Sweet friends, ye have not guess'd amiss!
"But never more let it be said,
The red man is of nature base; Nor let the crimes that have been taught, Be by the crafty teachers brought
As blame against the Indian race!"
"Back through the past my soul is urged;
Back through each guilty stain ;
"For, as a leaf before the storm
Is bowed and borne away,
Though every word condemn my soul,
"I see a white, low village-home;
And a little child kneels at her knee,
"It is the first-born of her love-
Ah, no! thou canst not plead for me!
Hath parted us, and death hath oped
"I made thy nights a weary watch;
And a dark word by which men are cursed, I made my father's name!
"I was the eldest of our house;
Had it not been for me!
Doth cleave like leprosy!
"I stood as in a father's place,
As the sun before their sight, Beloved of all; and in their eyes Whate'er I did was right.
"Alas! my heart was a cursed thing! I lured them on to sin,
I lured them to a dark abyss,
And plunged them headlong in!
Bodies and souls I ruined them;
Yet in men's sight I kept
My name unstained-on their's alone
"They were my tools, and subtly
"No, no! for me thou canst not plead !
"And, in my after misery,
When evil days came down,
The bitter wrongs I heaped on you,
"The third, a spirit like to mine;
"He sate with me at the board last night,
'Ah, no! the guilt is mine—is mine! I drew the three from Heaven;
I sold them to work wickedness,
"Talents and time- the noblest gifts
Were mine; a soft and winning speech,
And beauty like a god!
"All, all were passion's vilest slaves ; · All ministered to crime;
And now a dark eternity
Doth make account with time.
"I had a power, an awful power Over men's minds; I wove, Base as I was, around all hearts A chain, half fear, half love. "They were as clay; I moulded them
With the light words of my tongue; Old men and wise alike obeyed: And thence ambition sprung. "The sin of angels was my sin;
And, bold as was my thought, Men, weak and willing instruments, They gave me what I sought!
On weak humanity.
"Rapine and outrage, and despair,
Over the land spread wide; And what was wrung from poverty My luxury supplied.
"The little that the poor man had,
In vain he guarded well; Mine eye was as the basilisk's, That withered where it fell. "My sceptre was an iron rod!
The suffering people's groan, Like sullen thunders heard afar, Was echoed to the throne:
"To me it was a mockery!
I scoffed at wise men's lore; And to the madness of my power I gave myself still more.
"Of seven dark and deadly sins,
Like plague-spots on the past — Of seven dark and deadly sins,
I must recount the last :
"There was a maid — a fair young thingHigh-born, and undefiled
By thought of sin; so meek, so wise;
"In the beauty of her innocence,
"With subtle mockery of good,
"I brought destruction on her house-
"This was the triumph of my art;
"Vain was her passionate despair,
My callous heart to wring;
I left her to her misery —
A lorn, heart-broken thing!
"I took of her no further thought —
My life was in its prime;
And in a wild carouse I lived
Of luxury and crime.
""T was, staggering from a long debauch, From some impure retreat,
At midnight, in a dark disguise,
Along the city street,
"And I and my companions saw,
Amid our shameless mirth,
Rushed through my drunken brain;
"The dead! yes, on the dead I looked! Oh! sight of woe to me!
The one I drew as down from heaven, And cast to infamy!
"Not in her beauty was she laid, As for the high-born meet; The coarsest garb of poverty Was her poor winding-sheet! "The drunken frenzy of my brain Was gone-and through my soul A wild, remorseful agony,
Like a fierce weapon stole!
"From that night, life became a pang:
"The gnawing sense of evil done,
"I plunged into yet madder guilt,
I matched my strength against remorse,
"Vain, vain! through war, through civil strife;
I loathed the sight of human eye,
"It grew a cruel moodiness;
"Thus I was hated, feared, and shunned;
For all my race; and long I lived
In warfare with mankind.