|MOST of the popular histories of England, as well as of the American War, give an authentic account of the desolation of Wyoming, in Pennsylania, which took place in 1778, by an incursion of the Indians. The Scenery and Incidents of the following Poem are connected with that event. The testimonies of historians and travellers concur in describing the infant colony as one of the happiest spots of human existence, for the hospitable and innocent manners of the inhabitants, the beauty of the country, and the luxuriant fertility of the soil and climate. In an evil hour, the junction of European with Indian arms converted this terrestrial paradise into a frighful waste. MR. ISAAC WELD informs us, that the ruins of many of the villages, perforated with balls, and bearing marks of conflagration, were still preserved by the recent inhabitants, when he travelled through America in 1796.|
I.ON Susquehana’s side, fair Wyoming,
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin’d wall
And roofless homes a sad remembrance bring
Of what thy gentle people did befall,
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pensylvania’s shore!
II.It was beneath thy skies that, but to prune
His Autumn fruits, or skim the light canoe,
Perchance, along thy river calm at noon
The happy shepherd swain had nought to do
From morn till evening’s sweeter pastime grew,
Their timbrel, in the dance of forests brown
When lovely maidens prankt in flowret new;
And aye, those sunny mountains half way down
Would echo flagelet from some romantic town.
III.Then, where of Indian hills the daylight takes
His leave, how might you the flamingo see
Disporting like a meteor on the lakes—
And playful squirrel on his nut-grown tree:
And ev’ry sound of life was full of glee,
From merry mock-bird’s song, or hum of men,
While heark’ning, fearing nought their revelry,
The wild deer arch’d his neck from glades, and then
Unhunted, sought his woods and wilderness again.
IV.And scarce had Wyoming of war or crime
Heard but in transatlantic story rung,
For here the exile met from ev’ry clime,
And spoke in friendship ev’ry distant tongue:
Men from the blood of warring Europe sprung,
Were but divided by the running brook;
And happy where no Rhenish trumpet sung,
On plains no sieging mine’s volcano shook,
The blue-ey’d German chang’d his sword to pruning-hook.
V.Nor far some Andalusian saraband
Would sound to many a native rondelay.
But who is he that yet a dearer land
Remembers, over hills and far away?
Green Albyn!1 what though he no more survey
Thy ships at anchor on the quiet shore,
Thy pellochs rolling from the mountain bay;
Thy lone sepulchral cairn upon the moor,
And distant isles that hear the loud Corbrechtan roar!2”
VI.Alas! poor Caledonia’s mountaineer,
That want’s stern edict e’er, and feudal grief,
Had forced him from a home he loved so dear!
Yet found he here a home, and glad relief,
And plied the beverage from his own fair sheaf,
That fir’d his Highland blood with mickle glee;
And England sent her men, of men the chief,
Who taught those sires of Empire yet to be,
To plant the tree of life; to plant fair freedom’s tree!
VII.Here was not mingled in the city’s pomp
Of life’s extremes the grandeur and the gloom;
Judgment awoke not here her dismal tromp,
Nor seal’d in blood a fellow creature’s doom,
Nor mourn’d the captive in a living tomb.
One venerable man, beloved of all,
Sufficed where innocence was yet in bloom,
To sway the strife, that seldom might befall,
And Albert was their judge in patriarchal hall.
VIII.How rev’rend was the look, serenely aged,
He bore, this gentle Pensylvanian sire,
Where all but kindly fervors were assuag’d,
Undimm’d by weakness’ shade, or turbid ire;
And though amidst the calm of thought entire,
Some high and haughty features might betray
A soul impetuous once, ’twas earthly fire
That fled composure’s intellectual ray,
As Ætna’s fires grow dim before the rising day.
IX.I boast no song in magic wonders rife,
But yet familiar, is there nought to prize,
Oh Nature! in thy bosom-scenes of life?
And dwells in daylight truth’s salubrious skies
No form with which the soul may sympathise?
Young, innocent, on whose sweet forehead mild
The parted ringlet shone in simplest guise,
An inmate in the home of Albert smil’d,
Or blest his noonday walk—she was his only child.
X.The rose of England bloom’d on Gertrude’s cheek—
What though these shades had seen her birth, her sire
A Briton’s independence taught to seek
Far western worlds; and there his household fire
The light of social love did long inspire,
And many a halcyon day he liv’d to see
Unbroken, but by one misfortune dire,
When fate had reft his mutual heart—but she
Was gone—and Gertrude climb’d a widow’d father’s knee.
XI.A lov’d bequest and I may half impart—
To them that feel the strong paternal tie,
How like a new existence to his heart
Uprose that living flow’r beneath his eye,
Dear as she was, from cherub infancy,
From hours when she would round his garden play,
To time when as the rip’ning years went by,
Her lovely mind could culture well repay,
And more engaging grew from pleasing day to day.
XII.I may not paint those thousand infant charms;
(Unconscious fascination, undesign’d!)
The orison repeated in his arms,
For God to bless her sire and all mankind;
The book, the bosom on his knee reclin’d,
Or how sweet fairy-lore he heard her con,
(The playmate ere the teacher of her mind):
All uncompanion’d else her years had gone
Till now in Gertrude’s eyes their ninth blue summer shone.
XIII.And summer was the tide, and sweet the hour,
When sire and daughter saw, with fleet descent,
An Indian from his bark approach their bow’r,
Of buskin’d limb, and swarthy lineament;
The red wild feathers on his brow were blent,
And bracelets bound the arm that help’d to light
A boy, who seem’d, as he beside him went,
Of Christian vesture, and complexion bright,
Led by his dusky guide like morning brought by night.
XIV.Yet pensive seem’d the boy for one so young,
The dimple from his polish’d cheek had fled;
When, leaning on his forest-bow unstrung,
Th’ Oneyda warrior to the planter said,
And laid his hand upon the stripling’s head,
‘Peace be to thee! my words this belt approve;
‘The paths of peace my steps have hither led
‘This little nursling, take him to thy love,
‘And shield the bird unfledg’d, since gone the parent dove.
‘Christian! I am the foeman of thy foe;
‘Our wampum league thy brethren did embrace:
‘Upon the Michagan, three moons ago,
‘We launch’d our quivers for the bison chace;
‘And with the Hurons planted for a space,
‘With true and faithful hands, the olive-stalk;
‘But snakes are in the bosoms of their race,.
‘And though they held with us a friendly talk,
‘The hollow peace-tree fell beneath their tomohawk!
XVI.‘It was encamping on the lake’s far port,
‘A cry of Areouski3 broke our sleep,
‘Where storm’d an ambush’d foe thy nation’s fort,
‘And rapid rapid whoops came o’er the deep;
‘But long thy country’s war-sign on the steep
‘Appear’d through ghastly intervals of light,
‘And deathfully their thunders seem’d to sweep,
‘Till utter darkness swallow’d up the sight,
‘As if a show’r of blood had quench’d the fiery fight!
XVII.‘It slept—it rose again—on high their tow’r
‘Sprung upwards like a torch to light the skies,
‘Then down again it rain’d an ember show’r,
‘And louder lamentations heard we rise:
‘As when the evil Manitou4 that dries
‘Th’ Ohio woods, consumes them in his ire,
‘In vain the desolated panther flies,
‘And howls, amidst his wilderness of fire:
‘Alas! too late, we reach’d and smote those Hurons dire!
XVIII.‘But as the fox beneath the nobler hound,
‘So died their warriors by our battle-brand;
‘And from the tree we with her child unbound
‘A lonely mother of the Christian land—
‘Her lord—the captain of the British band—
‘Amidst the slaughter of his soldiers lay;
‘Scarce knew the widow our deliv’ring hand;
‘Upon her child she sobb’d, and swoon’d away;
‘Or shriek’d unto the God to whom the Christians pray.—
XIX.‘Our virgins fed her with their kindly bowls
‘Of fever-balm, and sweet sagamite;
‘But she was journeying to the land of souls,
‘And lifted up her dying head to pray
‘That we should bid an ancient friend convey
‘Her orphan to his home of England’s shore;
‘And take, she said, this token far away
‘To one that will remember us of yore,
‘When he beholds the ring that Waldegrave’s Julia wore.—
XX.‘And I, the eagle of my tribe5 have rush’d
‘With this lorn dove.’—A sage’s self-command
Had quell’d the tears from Albert’s heart that gush’d;
But yet his cheek—his agitated hand—
That shower’d upon the stranger of the land
No common boon, in grief but ill beguil’d
A soul that was not wont to be unmann’d;
‘And stay,’ he cried, ‘dear pilgrim of the wild!
‘Preserver of my old, my boon companion’s child!—
XXI.‘Child of a race whose name my bosom warms,
‘On earth’s remotest bounds how welcome here!
‘Whose mother oft, a child, has fill’d these arms,
‘Young as thyself, and innocently dear:
‘Whose grandsire was my early life’s compeer:
‘Ah happiest home of England’s happy clime!
‘How beautiful ev’n now thy scenes appear,
‘As in the noon and sunshine of my prime!
‘How gone like yesterday these thrice ten years of time!
XXII.‘And, Julia! when thou wert like Gertrude now,
Can I forget thee, fav’rite child of yore?
Or thought I, in thy father’s house when thou
Wert lightest hearted on his festive floor,
And first of all his hospitable door,
To meet and kiss me at my journey’s end?
But where was I when Waldegrave was no more?
And thou didst pale thy gentle head extend,
In woes, that ev’n the tribe of desarts was thy friend!’
XXIII.He said—and strain’d unto his heart the boy:
Far differently the mute Oneyda took
His calumet of peace, and cup of joy;6
As monumental bronze unchanged his look:
A soul that pity touch’d, but never shook:
Train’d, from his tree-rock’d cradle7 to his bier,
The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook
Impassive—fearing but the shame of fear—
A stoic of the woods—a man without a tear.—
XXIV.Yet deem not goodness on the savage stock
Of Outalissi’s heart disdain’d to grow;
As lives the oak unwither’d on the rock
By storms above, and barrenness below:
He scorn’d his own, who felt another’s woe:
And ere the wolf-skin on his back he flung,
Or laced his mocasins, in act to go,
A song of parting to the boy he sung,
Who slept on Albert’s couch, nor heard his friendly tongue.
XXV.‘Sleep, wearied one! and in the dreaming land
‘Shouldst thou the spirit of thy mother greet,
‘Oh! say, to-morrow, that the white man’s hand
‘Hath pluck’d the thorns of sorrow from thy feet;
‘While I in lonely wilderness shall meet
‘Thy little foot prints—or by traces know
‘The fountain, where at noon I thought it sweet
‘To feed thee with the quarry of my bow,
‘And pour’d the lotus-horn,8 or slew the mountain roe.
XXVI.‘Adieu! sweet scion of the rising sun!
‘But should affliction’s storms thy blossom mock,
‘Then come again—my own adopted one!
‘And I will graft thee on a noble stock:
‘The crocodile, the condor of the rock—
‘Shall be the pastime of thy sylvan wars;
‘And I will teach thee, in the battle’s-shock,
‘To pay with Huron blood thy father’s scars,
‘And gratulate his soul rejoicing in the stars!’—
XXVII.So finish’d he the rhyme (howe’er uncouth)
That true to nature’s fervid feelings ran;
(And song is but the eloquence of truth:)
Then forth uprose that lone way-faring man;
But dauntless he, nor chart, nor journey’s plan
In woods required, whose trained eye was keen
As eagle of the wilderness, to scan
His path, by mountain, swamp, or deep ravine,
Or ken far friendly huts on good savannas green.
Old Albert saw him from the valley’s side—
His pirogue launch’d—his pilgrimage begun—
Far, like the red-bird’s wing, he seem’d to glide;—
Then div’d, and vanish’d in the woodlands dun.
Oft, to that spot by tender memory won,
Would Albert climb the promontory’s height,
If but a dim sail glimmer’d in the sun;
But never more, to bless his longing sight,
Was Outalissi hail’d, his bark and plumage bright.
I.A VALLEY from the river shore withdrawn
Was Albert’s home two quiet woods between.
Whose lofty verdure overlook’d his lawn;
And waters to their resting place serene
Came fresh’ning, and reflecting all the scene;
(A mirror in the depth of flowery shelves;)
So sweet a spot of earth, you might, (I ween)
Have guess’d some congregation of the elves
To sport by summer moons, had shaped it for themselves.
II.Yet wanted not the eye far scope to muse,
Nor vistas open’d by the wand’ring stream;
Both where at evening Allegany views,
Through ridges burning in her western beam,
Lake after lake interminably gleam:
And past those settlers’ haunts the eye might roam,
Where earth’s unliving silence all would seem;
Save where on rocks the beaver built his dome,
Or buffalo remote low’d far from human home.
III.But silent not that adverse eastern path
Which saw Aurora’s hills th’ horizon crown;
There was the river heard, in bed of wrath,
(A precipice of foam from mountains brown,)
Like tumults heard from some far distant town;
But soft’ning in approach he left his gloom,
And murmur’d pleasantly, and laid him down-r
To kiss those easy curving banks of bloom,
That lent the windward air an exquisite perfume.—
IV.It seem’d as if those scenes sweet influence had
On Gertrude’s soul, and kindness like their own
Inspir’d those eyes affectionate and glad,
That seem’d to love whate’er they look’d upon;
Whether with Hebe’s mirth her features shone,
Or if a shade more pleasing them o’ercast,
(As if for heav’nly musing meant alone;)
Yet so becomingly th’ expression past,
That each succeeding look was lovelier than the last—
V.Nor, guess I, was that Pensylvanian home,
With all its picturesque and balmy grace,
And fields that were a luxury to roam,
Lost on the soul that look’d from such a face!
Enthusiast of the woods! when years apace
Had bound thy lovely waist with woman’s zone,
The sunrise path, at morn, I see thee trace
To hills with high magnolia overgrown;
And joy to breathe the groves, romantic and alone.—
VI.The sunrise drew her thoughts to Europe forth,
That thus apostrophized its viewless scene:
‘Land of my father’s love, my mother’s birth!
‘The home of kindred I have never seen!
‘We know not other—oceans are between;—
‘Yet say! far friendly hearts from whence we came,
‘Of us does oft remembrance intervene?
‘My mother sure—my sire a thought may claim;—
‘But Gertrude is to you an unregarded name.
VII.‘And yet, lov’d England! when thy name I trace
‘In many a pilgrim’s tale and poet’s song,
‘How can I choose but wish for one embrace
‘Of them, the dear unknown, to whom belong
‘My mother’s looks,—perhaps her likeness strong?
‘Oh parent! with what reverential awe,
‘From features of thine own related throng,
‘An image of thy face my soul could draw!
‘And see thee once again whom I too shortly saw!’
VIII.Yet deem not Gertrude sigh’d for foreign joy;
To sooth a father’s couch her only care,
And keep his rev’rend head from all annoy:
For this, methinks, her homeward steps repair,
Soon as the morning wreath had bound her hair;
While yet the wild deer trod in spangling dew,
While boatman caroll’d to the fresh-blown air,
And woods a horizontal shadow threw,
And early fox appear’d in momentary view.—
IX.At times there was a deep untrodden grot,
Where oft the reading hours sweet Gertrude wore;
Tradition had not nam’d its lonely spot;
But here (methinks) might India’s sons explore
Their father’s dust,9 or lift, perchance of yore,
Their voice to the great Spirit:—rocks sublime
To human art a sportive semblance wore;
And yellow lichens colour’d all the clime,
Like moonlight battlements, and towers decay’d by time.
X.But high, in amphitheatre above,
His arms the everlasting aloes threw:
Breath’d but an air of heav’n, and all the grove
As if with instinct living spirit grew,
Rolling its verdant gulphs of every hue;
And now suspended was the pleasing din,
Now from a murmur faint it swell’d anew,
Like the first note of organ heard within
Cathedral aisles,—ere yet its symphony begin.
XI.It was in this lone valley she would charm
The ling’ring noon, where flow’rs a couch had strewn;
Her cheek reclining, and her snowy arm
On hillock by the palm-tree half o’ergrown:
And aye that volume on her lap is thrown,
Which every heart of human mould endears;
With Shakespeare’s self she speaks and smiles alone,
And no intruding visitation fears,
To shame th’ unconscious laugh, or stop her sweetest tears.—
XII.For, save her presence, scarce an ear had heard
The stock-dove plaining through its gloom profound,
Or winglet of the fairy humming bird,
Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round;
Till chance had usher’d to its inmost ground
The stranger guest of many a distant clime;
He was, to weet, for eastern mountains bound;
But late th’ equator suns his cheek had tann’d,
And California’s gales his roving bosom fann’d.—
XIII.A steed, whose rein hung loosely o’er his arm,
He led dismounted; ere his leisure pace,
Amid the brown leaves, could her ear alarm,
Close he had come, and worshipp’d for a space
Those downcast features:—she her lovely face
Uplift on one whose lineaments and frame
Were youth and manhood’s intermingled grace:
Iberian seem’d his boot—his robe the same,
And well the Spanish plume his lofty looks became.
XIV.For Albert s home he sought—her finger fair
Has pointed where the father’s mansion stood.
Returning from the copse he soon was there;
And soon has Gertrude hied from dark green wood;
Nor joyless, by the converse, understood,
Between the man of age and pilgrim young,
That gay congeniality of mood,
And early liking from acquaintance sprung:
Full fluently convers’d their guest in England’s tongue.
XV.And well could he his pilgrimage of taste
Unfold,—and much they lov’d his fervid strain,—
While he each fair variety re-trac’d
Of climes, and manners, o’er the eastern main:—
Now happy Switzer’s hills,—romantic Spain,—
Gay lilied fields of France,—or, more refin’d,
The soft Ausonia’s monumental reign;
Nor less each rural image he design’d,
Than all the city’s pomp and home of human kind.
XVI.Anon some wilder portraiture he draws;
Of Nature’s savage glories he would speak,—
The loneliness of earth that overawes,—
Where, resting by some tomb of old Cacique,
The lama-driver on Peruvia’s peak,
Nor voice nor living motion marks around;
But storks that to the boundless forest shriek;
Or wild-cane arch high flung o’er gulph profound,10
That fluctuates when the storms of El Dorado sound.—
XVII.Pleas’d with his guest, the good man still would ply
Each earnest question, and his converse court;
But Gertrude, as she ey’d him, knew not why
A strange and troubling wonder stopt her short.
‘In England thou hast been,—and, by report,
‘An orphan’s name (quoth Albert) may’st have known:
‘Sad tale!—when latest fell our frontier fort,—
‘One innocent—one soldier’s child—alone
‘Was spar’d, and brought to me, who lov’d him as my own.—
XVIII.‘Young Henry Waldegrave! three delightful years
‘These very walls his infant sports did see;
‘But most I lov’d him when his parting tears
‘Alternately bedew’d my child and me:
‘His sorest parting, Gertrude, was from thee;
‘Nor half its grief his little heart could hold:
‘By kindred he was sent for o’er the sea,
‘They tore him from us when but twelve years old,
‘And scarcely for his loss have I been yet consol’d.’—
XIX.His face the wand’rer hid;—but could not hide
A tear, a smile, upon his cheek that dwell;—
‘And speak, mysterious stranger!’ (Gertrude cried)
‘It is!—it is!—I knew—I knew him well!
‘’Tis Waldegrave’s self, of Waldegrave come to tell!’
A burst of joy the father’s lips declare;
But Gertrude speechless on his bosom fell:
At once his open arms embrac’d the pair,
Was never group more blest, in this wide world of care,—
XX.‘And will ye pardon then (replied the youth)
‘Your Waldegrave’s feigned name, and false attire?
‘I durst not in the neighbourhood, in truth,
‘The very fortunes of your house inquire;
‘Lest one that knew me might some tidings dire
‘Impart, and I my weakness all betray,
‘For had I lost my Gertrude, and my sire,
‘I meant but o’er your tombs to weep a day;
‘Unknown I meant to weep, unknown to pass away.
XXI.‘But here ye live,—ye bloom,—in each dear face
‘The changing hand of time I may not blame;
‘For there, it hath but shed more reverend grace,
‘And here, of beauty perfected the frame;
‘And well I know your hearts are still the same,
‘They could not change—ye look the very way,
‘As when an orphan first to you I came.
‘And have ye heard of my poor guide, I pray?
‘Nay wherefore weep we, friends, on such a joyous day?—
XXII.‘And art thou here? or is it but a dream?
‘And wilt thou, Waldegrave, wilt thou leave us more?
‘No, never! thou that yet dost lovelier seem
‘Than aught on earth—than ev’n thyself of yore—
‘I will not part thee from thy father’s shore;
‘But we shall cherish him with mutual arms;
‘And hand in hand again the path explore,
‘Which every ray of young remembrance warms;
‘While thou shalt be my own with all thy truth and charms.’
XXIII.At morn, as if beneath a galaxy
Of over-arching groves in blossoms white,
Where all was od’rous scent and harmony,
And gladness to the heart, nerve, ear, and sight:
There if, oh gentle love! I read aright,
The utterance that seal’d thy sacred bond,
’Twas list’ning to these accents of delight,
She hid upon his breast those eyes, beyond
Expression’s pow’r to paint, all languishingly fond.
XXIV.‘Flow’r of my life, so lovely, and so lone!
‘Whom I would rather in this desart meet,
‘Scorning, and scorn’d by fortune’s pow’r, than own
‘Her pomp and splendors lavish’d at my feet!
‘Turn not from me thy breath, more exquisite
‘Than odours cast on heav’n’s own shrine—to please—
‘Give me thy love, than luxury more sweet,
‘And more than all the wealth that loads the breeze,
‘When Coromandel’s ships return from Indian seas.’
XXV.Then would that home admit them—happier far
Than grandeur’s most magnificent saloon—
While, here and there, a solitary star
Flush’d in the darkening firmament of June;
And silence brought the soul-felt hour, full soon,
Ineffable, which I may not pourtray;
For never did the Hymenean moon
A paradise of hearts more sacred sway,
In all that slept beneath her soft voluptuous ray.
I.O LOVE! in such a wilderness as this,
Where transport and security entwine,
Here is the empire of thy perfect bliss,
And here thou art a god indeed divine.
Here shall no forms abridge, no hours confine
The views, the walks, that boundless joy inspire!
Roll on, ye days of raptur’d influence, shine!
Nor blind with ecstasy’s celestial fire,
Shall love behold the spark of earth-born time expire.
II.Three little moons, how short, amidst the grove,
And pastoral savannas they consume!
While she, beside her buskin’d youth to rove,
Delights, in fancifully wild costume,
Her lovely brow to shade with Indian plume;
And forth in hunter-seeming vest they fare;
But not to chase the deer in forest gloom;
’Tis but the breath of heav’n—the blessed air—
And interchange of hearts unknown, unseen to share.
II.What though the sportive dog oft round them note,
Or fawn, or wild bird bursting on the wing;
Yet who, in love’s own presence, would devote
To death those gentle throats that wake the spring;
Or writhing from the brook its victim bring?
No!—nor let fear one little warbler rouse;
But, fed by Gertrude’s hand, still let them sing,
Acquaintance of her path, amidst the boughs,
That shade ev’n now her love, and witness’d first her vows.
IV.Now labyrinths, which but themselves can pierce,
Methinks, conduct them to some pleasant ground,
Where welcome hills shut out the universe,
And pines their lawny walk encompass round;
There, if a pause delicious converse found,
’Twas but when o’er each heart th’ idea stole.
(Perchance awhile in joy’s oblivion drown’d,)
That come what may, while life’s glad pulses roll,.
Indissolubly thus should soul be knit to soul.
V.And in the visions of romantic youth,
What years of endless bliss are yet to flow!
But mortal pleasure, what art thou in truth!
The torrent’s smoothness ere it dash below!
And must I change my song? and must I shew,
Sweet Wyoming! the day, when thou wert doom’d,
Guiltless, to mourn thy loveliest bow’rs laid low!
When where of yesterday a garden bloom’d,
Death overspread his pall, and black’ning ashes gloom’d.—
VI.Sad was the year, by proud oppression driv’n,
When Transatlantic Liberty arose,
Not in the sunshine, and the smile of heav’n,
But wrapt in whirlwinds, and begirt with woes:
Amidst the strife of fratricidal foes,
Her birth star was the light of burning plains;11
Her baptism is the weight of blood that flows
From kindred hearts—the blood of British veins—
And famine tracks her steps, and pestilential pains.
VII.Yet, ere the storm of death had rag’d remote,
Or siege unseen in heav’n reflects its beams,
Who now each dreadful circumstance shall note?
That fills pale Gertrude’s thoughts, and nightly dreams:
Dismal to her the forge of battle gleams
Portentous light! and music’s voice is dumb;
Save where the fife its shrill reveille screams,
Or midnight streets re-echo to the drum,
That speaks of mad’ning strife, and bloodstain’d fields to come.
VIII.It was in truth a momentary pang;
Yet how comprising myriad shapes of woe!
First when in Gertrude’s ear the summons rang,
A husband to the battle doom’d to go!
‘Nay meet not thou,’ (she cries), ‘thy kindred foe!
‘But peaceful let us seek fair England’s strand!’
‘Ah, Gertrude! thy beloved heart, I know,
‘Would feel, like mine, the stigmatizing brand,
‘Could I forsake the cause of freedom’s holy band!
IX.‘But shame—but flight—a recreant’s name to prove,
‘To hide in exile ignominious fears;
‘Say, ev’n if this I brook’d, the public love
‘Thy father’s bosom to his home endears:
‘And how could I his few remaining years
‘My Gertrude sever from so dear a child?’
So, day by day, her boding heart he cheers;
At last that heart to hope is half beguil’d,—
And pale through tears suppress’d the mournful beauty smil’d.—
X.Night came,—and in their lighted bow’r, full late,
The joy of converse had endur’d,—when hark!
Abrupt and loud, a summons shook their gate;
And, heedless of the dog’s obstrep’rous bark,
A form has rush’d amidst them from the dark,
And spread his arms,—and fell upon the floor-
Of aged strength his limbs retain’d the mark;
But desolate he look’d, and famish’d poor,
As ever shipwreck’d wretch lone left on desart shore.
XI.Upris’n, each wond’ring brow is knit, and arch’d:
A spirit from the dead they deem him first:
To speak he tries; but quivering, pale, and parch’d
From lips, as by some pow’rless dream accurs’d,
Emotions unintelligible burst;
And long his filmed eye is red and dim;
At length the pity-proffer ’d cup his thirst
Had half assuag’d, and nerv’d his shuddering limb,
When Albert’s hand he grasp’d;—but Albert knew not him
XII.‘And hast thou then forgot,’ (he cried forlorn,
And ey’d the group with half indignant air),
‘Oh! hast thou, Christian chief, forgot the morn
‘When I with thee the cup of peace did share?
‘Then stately was this head, and dark this hair,
‘That now is white as Appalachia’s snow;
‘But, if the weight of fifteen years’ despair,
‘And age hath bow’d me, and the tort’ring foe,
‘Bring me my boy—and he will his deliverer know!’—
XIII.It was not long, with eyes and heart of flame,
Ere Henry to his lov’d Oneyda flew:
‘Bless thee, my guide!’—but, backward, as he came,
The chief his old bewilder’d head withdrew,
And grasp’d his arm, and look’d and look’d him through.
’Twas strange—nor could the group a smile controul—
The long, the doubtful scrutiny to view:—
At last delight o’er all his features stole,
‘It is—my own,’ he cried, and clasp’d him to his soul.—
XIV.‘Yes! thou recall’st my pride of years, for then
‘The bowstring of my spirit was not slack,
‘When, spite of woods, and floods, and ambush’d men,
‘I bore thee like the quiver on my back,
‘Fleet as the whirlwind hurries on the rack;
‘Nor foeman then, nor cougars crouch I fear’d,12
‘For I was strong as mountain cataract:
‘And dost thou not remember how we cheer’d
‘Upon the last hill-top, when white men’s huts appear’d?
XV.‘Then welcome be my death-song, and my death!
‘Since I have seen thee, and again embrac’d.’
And longer had he spent his toil-worn breath;
But, with affectionate and eager haste,
Was every arm outstretch’d around their guest,
To welcome, and to bless his aged head.
Soon was the hospitable banquet plac’d;
And Gertrude’s lovely hands a balsam shed
On wounds with fever’d joy that more profusely bled.
XVI.‘But this is not a time,’—he started up,
And smote his breast with woe-denouncing hand—
‘This is no time to fill the joyous cup,
‘The Mammoth comes;—the foe,—the Monster Brandt,13—
‘With all his howling desolating band;—
‘These eyes have seen their blade, and burning pine
‘Awake at once, and silence half your land.
‘Red is the cup they drink; but not with wine:
‘Awake, and watch to-night! or see no morning shine!’
XVII.‘Scorning to wield the hatchet for his bribe.
‘With Brandt himself I went to battle forth:
‘Accursed Brandt! he left of all my tribe
‘Nor man, nor child, nor thing of living birth:
‘No! not the dog, that watch’d my household hearth,
‘Escap’d, that night of blood, upon our plains!
‘All perish’d!—I alone am left on earth!
‘To whom nor relative nor blood remains,
‘No!—not a kindred drop that runs in human veins!
XVIII.‘But go!—and rouse your warriors;—for, if right
‘These old bewilder’d eyes could guess, by signs
‘Of strip’d and starred banners, on yon height
‘Of eastern cedars, o’er the creek of pines—
‘Some fort embattled by your country shines:
‘Deep roars th’ innavigable gulph below
‘Its squared rocks, and palisaded lines.
‘Go! seek the light its warlike beacons show;
‘Whilst I in ambush wait, for vengeance, and the foe!’
XIX.Scarce had he utter’d,—when Heav’n’s verge extreme
Reverberates the bomb’s descending star,—
And sounds that mingled laugh,—and shout,—and scream,
To freeze the blood, in one discordant jar,
Rung to the pealing thunderbolts of war.
Whoop after whoop with rack the ear assail’d;
As if unearthly fiends had burst their bar;
While rapidly the marksman’s shot prevail’d;—
And aye, as if for death, some lonely trumpet wail’d.—
XX.Then look’d they to the hills, where fire o’erhung
The bandit groupes, in one Vesuvian glare;
Or swept, far seen, the tow’r, whose clock unrung,
Told legible that midnight of despair.
She faints,—she falters not,—th’ heroic fair,—
As he the sword and plume in haste array’d.
One short embrace—he clasp’d his dearest care—
But hark! what nearer war-drum shakes the glade?
Joy, joy! Columbia’s friends are trampling through the shade!
XXI.Then came of every race the mingled swarm,
Far rung the groves, and gleam’d the midnight grass
With flambeau, javelin, and naked arm;
As warriors wheel’d their culverins of brass,
Sprung from the woods, a bold athletic mass,
Whom virtue fires, and liberty combines:
And first the wild Moravian yagers pass;
His plumed host the dark Iberian joins—
And Scotia’s sword beneath the Highland thistle shines.
XXII.And in—the buskin’d hunters of the deer,
To Albert’s home, with shout and cymbal throng:—
Rous’d by their warlike pomp, and mirth, and cheer,
Old Outalissi woke his battle song,
And, beating with his war-club cadence strong,
Tells how his deep-stung indignation smarts,
Of them that wrapt his house in flames, ere long,
To whet a dagger on their stony hearts,
And smile aveng’d ere yet his eagle spirit parts.—
XXIII.Calm, opposite the Christian father rose,
Pale on his venerable brow its rays
Of martyr light the conflagration throws;
One hand upon his lovely child he lays,
And one th’ uncover’d crowd to silence sways;
While, though the battle flash is faster driv’n,—
Unaw’d, with eye unstartled by the blaze,
He for his bleeding country prays to Heav’n,—
Prays that the men of blood themselves may be forgiven.
XXIV.Short time is now for gratulating speech;
And yet, beloved Gertrude, ere began
Thy country’s flight, yon distant tow’rs to reach,
Look’d not on thee the rudest partizan
With brow relax’d to love? And murmurs ran,
As round and round their willing ranks they drew,
From beauty’s sight to shield the hostile van.
Grateful, on them a placid look she threw,
Nor wept, but as she bade her mothers grave adieu!
XXV.Past was the flight, and welcome seem’d the tow’r,
That like a giant standard-bearer, frown’d
Defiance on the roving Indian pow’r.
Beneath, each bold and promontory mound
With embrasure emboss’d, and armour crown’d,
And arrowy frize, and wedged ravelin,
Wove like a diadem its tracery round
The lofty summit of that mountain green;
Here stood secure the group, and ey’d a distant scene.
XXVI.A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun,
And blended arms, and white pavilions glow;
And for the business of destruction done,
Its requiem the war-horn seem’d to blow.
There, sad spectatress of her country’s woe!
The lovely Gertrude, safe from present harm,
Had laid her cheek, and clasp’d her hands of snow
On Waldegrave’s shoulder, half within his arm
Enclos’d, that felt her heart, and hush’d its wild alarm!
XXVII.But short that contemplation—sad and short
The pause to bid each much-lov’d scene adieu!
Beneath the very shadow of the fort,
Where friendly swords were drawn, and banners flew.
Ah! who could deem that foot of Indian crew
Was near?—yet there, with lust of murd’rous deeds,
Gleam’d like a basilisk, from woods in view,
The ambush’d foeman’s eye—his volley speeds,
And Albert—Albert—falls! the dear old father bleeds!
XXVIII.And tranc’d in giddy horror Gertrude swoon’d;
Yet, while she clasps him lifeless to her zone,
Say, burst they, borrow’d from her father’s wound,
These drops?—Oh God! the life-blood is her own;
And fait’ring, on her Waldegrave’s bosom thrown—
‘Weep not, O Love!’—she cries, ‘to see me bleed—
‘Thee, Gertrude’s sad survivor, thee alone—
‘Heaven’s peace commiserate; for scarce I heed
‘These wounds;—yet thee to leave is death, is death indeed.
XXIX.Clasp me a little longer, on the brink
Of fate! while I can feel thy drear caress;
And, when this heart hath ceas’d to beat—oh! think.
And let it mitigate thy woe’s excess,
That thou hast been to me all tenderness,
And friend to more than human friendship just.
Oh! by that retrospect of happiness,
And by the hopes of an immortal trust,
God shall assuage thy pangs—when I am laid in dust!
XXX.‘Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart,
‘The scene thy bursting tears too deep will move,
‘Where my dear father took thee to his heart,
‘And Gertrude thought it ecstasy to rove
‘With thee, as with an angel, through the grove
‘Of peace,—imagining her lot was cast
‘In heav’n; for ours was not like earthly love.
‘And must this parting be our very last?
‘No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past.—
XXXI.‘Half could I bear, methinks, to leave this earth,—
‘And thee, more lov’d, than aught beneath the sun,
‘If I had liv’d to smile but on the birth
‘Of one dear pledge;—but shall there then be none,
‘In future times—no gentle little one,
‘To clasp thy neck, and look, resembling me!
‘Yet seems it, ev’n while life’s last pulses run,
‘A sweetness in the cup of death to be,
‘Lord of my bosom’s love! to die beholding thee!’
XXXII.Hush’d were his Gertrude’s lips! but still their bland
And beautiful expression seem’d to melt
With love that could not die! and still his hand
She presses to the heart no more that felt.
Ah heart! where once each fond affection dwelt,
And features yet that spoke a soul more fair.
Mute, gazing, agonizing as he knelt,—
Of them that stood encircling his despair,
He heard some friendly words;—but knew not what they were.
XXXIII.For now, to mourn their judge and child, arrives
A faithful band. With solemn rites between,
’Twas sung, how they were lovely in their lives,
And in their deaths had not divided been.
Touch’d by the music, and the melting scene.
Was scarce one tearless eye amidst the crowd:—
Stern warriors, resting on their swords, were seen
To veil their eyes, as pass’d each much-lov’d shroud—
While woman’s softer soul in woe dissolv’d aloud.
XXXIV.Then mournfully the parting bugle bid
Its farewell o’er the grave of worth and truth;
Prone to the dust, afflicted Waldegrave hid
His face on earth;—him watch’d in gloomy ruth,
His woodland guide; but words had none to sooth
The grief that knew not consolation’s name:
Casting his Indian mantle o’er the youth,
He watch’d, beneath its folds, each burst that came
Convulsive, ague-like, across his shuddering frame!
XXXV.‘And I could weep;’—th’ Oneyda chief
His descant wildly thus began:
‘But that I may not stain with grief
‘The death-song of my father’s son!
‘Or bow this head in woe;
‘For by my wrongs, and by my wrath!
‘To-morrow Areouski’s breath,
‘(That fires yon heav’n with storms of death),
‘Shall light us to the foe:
‘And we shall share, my Christian boy!
‘The foeman’s blood, the avengers joy!—
XXXVI.‘But thee, my flow’r, whose breath was giv’n
‘By milder genii o’er the deep,
‘The spirits of the white man’s heav’n
‘Forbid not thee to weep:—
‘Nor will the Christian host,
‘Nor will thy father’s spirit grieve
‘To see thee, on the battle’s eve,
‘Lamenting take a mournful leave
‘Of her who lov’d thee most:
‘She was the rainbow to thy sight!
‘Thy sun—thy heav’n—of lost delight!—
XXXVII.‘To-morrow let us do or die!
‘But when the bolt of death is hurl’d,
‘Ah! whither then with thee to fly,
‘Shall Outalissi roam the world?
‘Seek we thy once-lov’d home?—
‘The hand is gone that cropt its flowers!
Unheard their clock repeats its hours!—
Cold is the hearth within their bow’rs!—
And should we thither roam,
Its echoes, and its empty tread,
Would sound like voices from the dead!
XXXVIII.‘Or shall we cross yon mountains blue,
‘Whose streams my kindred nation quaff’d;
‘And by my side, in battle true,
‘A thousand warriors drew the shaft?
‘Ah! there in desolation cold,
‘The desert serpent dwells alone,
‘Where grass o’ergrows each mould’ring bone,
‘And stones themselves to ruin grown,
‘Like me, are death-like old.
‘Then seek we not their camp—for there—
‘The silence dwells of my despair!’
XXXIX.‘But hark, the trump!—tomorrow thou
‘In glory’s fires shalt dry thy tears:
‘Ev’n from the land of shadows now
‘My father’s awful ghost appears;
‘Amidst the clouds that round us roll,
‘He bids my soul or battle thirst—
‘He bids me dry the last—the first—
‘The only tears that ever burst—
‘From Outalissi’s soul;—
‘Because I may not stain with grief
‘The death-song of an Indian chief.’
Stanza 3. 1. 6. From merry mock-bird’s song. The mocking bird is of the form, but larger, than the thrush; and the colours are a mixture of black, white, and grey. What is said of the nightingale, by its greatest admirers, is, what may with more propriety apply to this bird, who, in a natural state, sings with very superior taste. Towards evening I have heard one begin softly, reserving its breath to swell certain notes, which, by this means, had a most astonishing effect. A gentleman in London had one of these birds for six years. During the space of a minute he was heard to imitate the wood-lark, chaffinch, blackbird, thrush, and sparrow. In this country (America) I have frequently known the mocking birds so engaged in this mimicry, that it was with much difficulty I could ever obtain an opportunity of hearing their own natural note. Some go so far as to say, that they have neither peculiar notes, nor favourite imitations. This may be denied. Their few natural notes resemble those of the (European) nightingale. Their song, however, has a greater compass and volume than the nightingale, and they have the faculty of varying all intermediate notes in a manner which is truly delightful.—Ashe’s Travels in America, Vol. II. p.73
Stanza 5. 1. 9. Or distant isles that hear the loud Corbrechtan roar. The Corybrechtan, or Corbrechtan, is a whirlpool on the western coast of Scotland, near the island of Jura, which is heard at a prodigious distance. Its name signifies the whirlpool of the Prince of Denmark; and there is a tradition that a Danish Prince once undertook, for a wager, to cast anchor in it. He is said to have used woollen instead of hempen ropes, for greater strength, but perished in the attempt. On the shores of Argyleshire I have often listened with great delight to the sound of this vortex, at the distance of many leagues. When the weather is calm, and the adjacent sea scarcely heard on these picturesque shores, its sound, which is like the sound of innumerable chariots, creates a magnificent and fine effect.
Stanza 14. 1. 6. Peace be to thee—my words this belt approve. The Indians of North America accompany every formal address to strangers, with whom they form or recognize a treaty of amity, with a present of a string, or belt, of wampum. Wampum (says Cadwallader Colden) is made of the large whelk shell, Briccinum, and shaped like long beads: it is the current money of the Indians.—History of the five Indian Nations, page 34. New York Edition.
Stanza 14. 1. 7. The paths of peace my steps have hither led. In relating an interview of Mohawk Indians with the Governor of New York, Colden quotes the following passage as a specimen of their metaphorical manner: “Where shall I seek the chair of peace? Where shall I find it but upon our path? and whither doth our path lead us but unto this house?”
Stanza 17. 1. 5. As when the evil Manitou . Every thing which they cannot comprehend the cause of is called by them Spirit There are two orders of spirits, the good and the bad. The good is the spirit of dreams, and of all things innocent and inconceivable. The bad is the thunder, the hail, the tempest, and conflagration. The superior good spirit they call, by way of distinction, Kitchi Manitou; and one superior bad spirit is called Matchi Manitou.
Stanza 19. 1. 2. Fever balm and sweet sagamite. The fever balm is a medicine used by these tribes; it is a decoction of a bush called the Fever Tree. Sagamite is a kind of soup administered to their sick.
Stanza 20. 1. 1. And I, the eagle of my tribe, have rush’d with this lorn dove. The testimony of all travellers among the American Indians who mention their hieroglyphics authorises me in putting this figurative language in the mouth of Outalissi. The dove is among them, as elsewhere, an emblem of meekness; and the eagle, that of a bold, noble, and liberal mind. When the Indians speak of a warrior who soars above the multitude in person and endowments, they say, “he is like the eagle who destroys his enemies, and gives protection and abundance to the weak of his own tribe.”
Stanza 23. 1. 3. His calumet of peace, &c. To smoke the calumet, or pipe of peace, with any person, is a sacred token, of amity among the Indians. The lighted calumet is also used among them for a purpose still more interesting than the expression of social friendship. The austere manners of the Indians forbid any appearance of gallantry between the sexes in day time; but at night the young lover goes a calumetting, as his courtship is called. As these people live in a state of equality, and without fear of internal violence or theft in their own tribes, they leave their doors open by night as well as by day. The lover takes advantage of this liberty, lights his calumet, enters the cabin of his mistress, and gently presents it to her. If she extinguishes it she admits his addresses, but if she suffer it to burn unnoticed, he retires with a disappointed and throbbing heart.
Stanza 23. 1. 6. Trained from his tree-rock’d cradle to his bier. An Indian child, as soon as he is born, is swathed with clothes, or skins, and being laid on its back, is bound down on a piece of thick board, spread over with soft moss. The board is somewhat larger and broader than the child, and bent pieces of wood, like pieces of hoops, are placed over its face to protect it, so that if the machine were suffered to fall, the child probably would not be injured. When the women have any business to transact at home they hang the board on a tree, if there be one at hand, and set them a swinging from side to side, like a pendulum, in order to exercise the children.—Wild, Vol. II. p. 246.
Stanza 23. 1. 7- Mocazins is a sort of Indian buskins.
Stanza 28. 1. 4. Then forth uprose that lone way-faring man. The North American Indians are extremely sagacious and observant, and by dint of minute attention, acquire many qualifications to which we are wholly strangers. They will traverse a trackless forest, hundreds of miles in extent, without deviating from the straight course, and will reach to a certainty, the spot whither they intended to go on setting out; with equal skill they will cross one of the large lakes, and though out of the sight of the shores for days, will, to a certainty, make the land at once at the very place they desired. Some of the French missionaries have supposed that the Indians are guided by instinct, and have pretended that Indian children can find their way through a forest as easily as a person of maturer years; but this is a most absurd notion. It is unquestionably by a close attention to the growth of the trees, and position of the sun, that they find their way. On the northern side of a tree there is generally the most moss; and the bark on that side, in general, differs from that on the opposite one. The branches towards the south are, for the most part, more luxuriant than those on the other sides of trees, and several other distinctions also subsist between the northern and southern sides, conspicuous to Indians, being taught from their infancy to attend to them, which a common observer would, perhaps, never notice. Being accustomed from their infancy likewise to pay great attention to the position of the sun, they learn to make the most accurate allowance for its apparent motion from one part of the heavens to another; and, in every part of the day, they will point to the part of the heavens where it is, although the sky be obscured by clouds or mists.
An instance of their dexterity in finding their way through an unknown country came under my observation when I was at Staunton, situated behind the Blue Mountains, Virginia. A number of the Creek nation had arrived at that town on their way to Philadelphia, whither they were going upon some affairs of importance, and had stopped there for the night. In the morning, some circumstance or another, which could not be learned, induced one half of the Indians to set off without their companions, who did not follow until some hours afterwards. When these last were ready to pursue their journey, several of the towns-people mounted their horses to escort them part of the way. They proceeded along the high road for some miles, but, all at once, hastily turning aside into the woods, though there was no path, the Indians advanced confidently forward. The people who accompanied them, surprised at this movement, informed them that they were quitting the road to Philadelphia, and expressed their fear lest they should miss their companions who had gone on before. They answered, that they knew better, that the way through the woods was the shortest to Philadelphia, and that they knew very well that their companions had entered the wood at the very place where they did. Curiosity led some of the horsemen to go on, and, to their astonishment, for there was apparently no track, they overtook the other Indians in the thickest part of the wood. But what appeared most singular was, that the route which they took was found, on examining a map, to be as direct for Philadelphia as if they had taken the bearings by a mariner’s compass. From others of their nation, who had been at Philadelphia at a former period, they had probably learned the exact direction of that city from their villages, and had never lost sight of it, although they had already travelled three hundred miles through the woods, and had upwards of four hundred miles more to go before they could reach the place of their destination. Of the exactness with which they can find out a strange place to which they have been once directed by their own people, a striking example is furnished, I think, by Mr. Jefferson, in his account of the Indian graves in Virginia. These graves are nothing more than large mounds of earth in the woods, which, on being opened, are found to contain skeletons in an erect posture: the Indian mode of sepulture has been too often described to remain unknown to you. But to come to my story. A party of Indians that were passing on to some of the sea-ports on the Atlantic, just as the Creeks, above mentioned, were going to Philadelphia, were observed, all on a sudden, to quit the straight road by which they were proceeding, and without asking any questions, to strike through the woods, in a direct line, to one of these graves, which lay at the distance of some miles from the road. Now very near a century must have passed over since the part of Virginia, in which this grave was situated, had been inhabited by Indians, and these Indian travellers, who were to visit it by themselves, had unquestionably never been in that part of the country before: they must have found their way to it simply from the description of its situation, that had been handed down to them by tradition. Wild’s Travels in North America. Vol. II.
Stanza 16, 1. 4. The Mammoth comes. That I am justified in making the Indian chief allude to the mammoth as an emblem of terror and destruction, will be seen by the authority quoted below. Speaking of the mammoth, or big buffalo, Mr. Jefferson states, that a tradition is preserved among the Indians of that animal still existing in the northern parts of America.
“A delegation of warriors from the Delaware tribe having visited the governor of Virginia during the revolution, on matters of business, the governor asked them some questions relative to their country, and, among others, what they knew, or had heard of the animal whose bones were found at the Salt-licks, on the Ohio. Their chief speaker immediately put himself into an attitude of oratory, and with a pomp suited to what he conceived the elevation of his subject, informed him, that it was a tradition handed down from their fathers, that in ancient times a herd of these tremendous animals came to the Bick-bone-licks, and began an universal destruction of the bear, deer, elk, buffalo, and other animals which had been created for the use of the Indians. That the great Man above looking down and seeing this, was so enraged, that he seized his lightning, descended on the earth, seated himself on a neighbouring mountain on a rock, of which his seat, and the prints of his feet, are still to be seen, and hurled his bolts among them, till the whole were slaughtered except the big bull, who presenting his forehead to the shafts, shook them off as they fell, but, missing one, at length it wounded him in the side, whereon, springing round, he bounded over the Ohio, over the Wabash, the Illinois, and finally over the great lakes, where he is living at this day.” JEFFERSON’S Notes on Virginia.
Stanza 17- 1. 1.
|Scorning to wield the hatchet for his bribe,|
With Brandt himself I went to battle forth.
St. 17.1. 8 & 9.
To whom, nor relative nor blood remains,|
No, not a kindred drop that runs in human veins.
Every one who recollects the specimen of Indian eloquence given in the speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to the Governor of Virginia, will perceive that I have attempted to paraphrase its concluding and most striking expression—There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. The similar salutations of the fictitious personage in my story, and the real Indian orator, makes it surely allowable to borrow such an expression; and if it appears, as it cannot but appear, to less advantage than in the original, I beg the reader to reflect how difficult it is to transpose such exquisitely simple words, without sacrificing a portion of their effect.
In the spring of 1774, a robbery and murder were committed on an inhabitant of the frontiers of Virginia, by two Indians of the Shawanee tribe. The neighbouring whites, according to their custom, undertook to punish this outrage in a summary manner. Colonel Cresap, a man infamous for the many murders he had committed on those much injured people, collected a party and proceeded down the Kanaway in quest of vengeance; unfortunately, a canoe with women and children, with one man only, was seen coming from the opposite shore unarmed, and unsuspecting an attack from the whites. Cresap and his party concealed themselves on the bank of the river, and the moment the canoe reached the shore, singled out their objects, and at one fire killed every person in it. This happened to be the family of Logan, who had long been distinguished as a friend of the whites. This unworthy return provoked his vengeance; he accordingly signalised himself in the war which ensued. In the autumn of the same year a decisive battle was fought at the mouth of the great Kanaway, in which the collected force of the Shawanees, Mingoes, and Delawares, were defeated by a detachment of the Virginian militia. The Indians sued for peace. Logan, however, disdained to be seen among the suppliants; but lest the sincerity of a treaty should be disturbed from which so distinguished a chief abstracted himself, he sent, by a messenger, the following speech to be delivered to Lord Dunmore.
“I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him not to eat; if ever he came cold and hungry, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, Logan is the friend of white men. I had even thought to have lived with you but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap the last spring, in cold blood, murdered all the relations of Logan, even my women and children.
There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature.—This called on me for revenge.—I have fought for it,—I have killed many.—I have fully glutted my vengeance.—For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace—but do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear.—Logan never felt fear.—He will not turn on his heel to save his life.—Who is there to mourn for Logan? not one!” Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia.
5. The Indians are distinguished both personally and by tribes by the name of particular animals whose qualities they affect to resemble either for cunning, strength, swiftness, or other qualities.—As the eagle, the serpent, the fox, or bear. [back]
8. From a flower shaped like a horn, which Chateaubriant presumes to be of the lotus kind, the Indians in their travels through the desart often find a draught of dew purer than any other water. [back]
10. The bridges over narrow streams in many parts of Spanish America are said to be built of cane, which, however strong to support the passenger, are yet waved in the agitation of the storm, and frequently add to the effect of a mountainous and picturesque scenery. [back]