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CANTO EIGHTH.

[SCENE. The New Home in Seekonk's Mead.]

THROUGH Seekonk's groves the morning sun once more

Flames in his glory. Waving verdant gold,
The boundless forest stands. Wild songsters pour,

From every dewy glade and tufted wold,
The melody of joy. From shore to shore

The tranquil waters dream, and soul-like hold
A mirrored world below of softest hue,
With underhanging vault of cloudless blue.

II.

And Williams issued from his humble cot,

Not as of late in solitary mood,
With cheerless heart and ill-foreboding thought,

But with light step and breast of quietude ;
And by him came the partner of his lot,

And their young children, with blithe interlude
Of prattling speech, softening the graver talk
Of the fond parents in their morning walk.

III.

In sooth his buoyant spirits seemed to spread

O'er all about him their enlivening flush ; Ne'er was the grass so verdant on the glade,

Ne’er did the fountain sparkle with such gush ;
Ne'er had the stream such lovely music made,

Ne'er sang so blithe the robin on the bush ;
The woodland flowers far brighter hues displayed,
More sunny was the lawn, more dark the shade.

IV.

They walked and talked; he told his trials o'er ;

And often Mary brushed aside the tear, And oft they joined to thank kind Heaven once more,

That thus his sufferings were rewarded here;
Then they would sit beneath the fountain's bower,

And woo the breeze, or smiling bend the ear
To childly mirth, which, in its silver tone,
Soothed the rude wilds with music erst unknown.

V.

And all was happiness, - security

In blest seclusion. The rude storm seemed past, The bow of promise spanned their life's new sky;

No threatening cloud their prospects overcast, – No shadow lowered ; but Heaven with gracious eye

Looked smiling down and blest their toils at last.
Their Salem friends to join them soon will try,
That they're not here is all that brings a sigh.

VI.

Thus for a time did they anticipate

The bliss which Heaven for pilgrims has in store, When their freed souls review their former state,

And bygone pains enhance their joys the more ; But yet one lingering fear of frowning fate,

Our Founder's bosom lightly brooded o’er No Indian throng, as promised by the seer, Had bid them welcome with Whatcheer! Whatcheer !

VII.

But let it pass ;

perchance it was a dream ; His thoughts seemed wandering or disturbed at best, When stood or seemed to stand, in doubtful gleam,

That form scarce earthly, and his ears addrest ;

Ay, let it pass

- for ill would it beseem So staid a man to be at all deprest By visionary fears or superstitious dread, Whilst Heaven is showering mercies on his head.

VIII.

“Waban," he said, “a generous feast prepare,

We can be cheerful, and yet not be mad;
The good man's smiles may be a praise or prayer ;

The wicked only should be very sad.
God feeds the birds, my Mary, in the air, —

Hear how they thank Him with their voices glad.
The heart of man should nearer kindred own,
Joy in his smiles and sorrow in his frown.”

IX.

Then forth fared Waban to the winding shore,

And quickly laid its shelly treasure bare, Nor failed the woody dingles to explore,

And trap the partridge or the nimble hare ; And soon beneath a beech, beside the door,

On marshalled stones the blazing fagots are ; And when with heat the pristine oven glows, Waban his tribute gives, and covers close.

X.

Meanwhile our Founder went from place to place,

And did each plan of village grandeur name; This rising mound the future church should grace,

Yon little dell the village school should claim ; That sloping lawn the council hall should base,

Where freemen's voices should the law proclaim, And ne'er to bigot yield the civil rod, But save the Church by leaving her to God.

XI.

So pass the hours, till westward through the skies

The sun begins to turn, and, savory grown, From Waban's ready seast the vapors rise ;

The group beneath the beech then sit them down ; “ Thou kind and generous man,” our Founder cries,

“Our brave defender ! thy complexion brown Bars not thy presence ;

sit thou at the board, Of these bright lands God made thy kind the lord.

XII.

My valliant warrior like a Keenomp fought,

And Chepian's priest before his valor fell ! But his white Sachem in the battle wrought

Too little for a chief he loves so well.” “ The dog - the dog ! that had the children caught, ”

Exclaimed the red man, “ does his valor tell ;
A manit-dog he was, for well he knew
Whate'er the priest of Chepian bade him do.

XIII.

“The priest of Chepian and his comrade came

To fight the white man and his warrior brave ; The fox-eared demon sought for other game,

And went to filch it from the rocky cave; My Sachem white a manittoo o'ercame,

To demon dark a fatal wound he gave; Brave is my Sachem, for he nobly slew What Waban dreaded most, that fearful manittoo !”

XIV.

"Brother," said Williams, "under Power Divine,

That shields the just man in dark peril's hour, Thine was the victory, and the glory thine

To quell Apollyon's priest — a demon's power !

Henceforth the demon must his lands resign,

And thou must be Mooshausick's Sagamore,
The right of conquest will do very well,
When Hell assails us, and we conquer Hell.

xv.

“But might the choice of either blameless go,

Mary! these fruits of suffering and of toils,
And racking cares through fourteen weeks of woe,

I'd prize far higher than the reeking spoils
Of all the nations laid by Cæsar low,

When he, the victor in Rome's civil broils, Sate, like the Jove he worshipped, o'er a world Whose crowns were offered, and whose incense curled.

XVI.

“ And there is cause, I trow.-Who cannot see

That a dark cloud o'er our New England lowers ? The tender conscience struggles to be free;

The tyrant struggles, and retains his powers.
O, whither shall the hapless victions flee,

Where be their shelter when the tempest roars?
May it be here — may it be Heaven's decree,
To make its builder of a worm like me,"

XVII.

While thus he spake, the neighboring thickets shook,

And from them issued one of mien austere; And Williams knew a Plymouth elder's look,

In doctrines stern in practice most severe ; His gait was slow, and loath he seemed to brook

Such signs of comfort and of earthly cheer; And

up

he came, they scarce could reason why, Like a dark cloud along a cheerful sky.

JO

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