« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
His human shape they scantly too might brook,
For it their enemy had ever been;
Oft he recruited now the sinking blaze
His stock of fuel seemed too scant to last ; Yet, in the terror of the glittering rays,
Was now the anchor of his safety cast ; With utmost reach the boscage did he raze,
Or clipt the branches overhead that past; And still the burning pyre at times would raise, Or hurl the firebrand at the monster's gaze.
At length the groups a panic seemed to seize,
And soon he knew the terrifying cause; For swelling slow beneath the arching trees,
Trilled the long whine the dreadful panther draws ; A sound that might the boldest bosom freeze ;
'Twas followed by a drear and awful pause ; Naught marred the silence save the murmuring breeze, And the far storm, like roar of distant seas.
Of all the dangerous monsters of the wood,
None did the hunter dread like panther dire, For man and beast he fearlessly pursued ;
Whilst others shunned, he was allured by fire ;
And braced his nerves to battle with his ire;
In God he trusted for deliverance,
He thought of Daniel in the lion's den ; He waited silent for the fierce advance,
He heard the fagots break along the glen;
Of two bright burning eye-balls, looking then
But at this moment from the darkness broke
A human voice, in Narraganset's tongue ; “Neemat !” (my brother) in kind tone it spoke,
6. How comes Awanux these drear wilds among? And at the accents the dark thickets shook,
And from them lightly the red hunter sprung,
Then to our Founder passed the simple cheer,
In sign of friendship to a wandering man, “Let not,” he said, “my brother quake with fear,
'Twas Waban's cry at which the monsters ran.” Williams received the pledge of faith sincere;
Yet warily his guest began to scan.
The bear's dark fur loose o’er his shoulders cast,
His hand did only at the breast confine, The wampum wreath, which round his forehead past,
Did with the flame's reflected brightness shine ;
The beaver's girdle closely swathed his waist;
It's skirts hung low, all trimm'd with 'broidery fine; The well-formed ankles the close gaiters bound, With furs besringed, and starred with tinsel round.
Nature's kind feelings did his visage grace;
His gently arching brow was shorn all bare, And the slight smile now fading from his face,
The aspect left of serious goodness there ; 'Though bright his eyes beneath his forehead's base,
They rather seemed to smile than fiercely glare ; And the free dignity of Waban's race Seemed moving in his limbs and breathing from his face.
Williams the pledge of friendship now returned,
And thanks o'erflowing to the hunter gave : “ From the Great Spirit sure my brother learned
His brother's danger, when he came to save.” ** Waban,” he answered, “from his lodge discerned
A stranger's fire, and heard the monsters rave. Waban has long within these wilds sojourned ; But ne'er before has pale Awanux burned
“ His fire within this unfrequented glade.
Wanders my brother from his homeward way? The storm is thick, he surely may have strayed ;
Or has he hunted through the weary day The rapid moose; or in this lonely shade
Seeks he to trap the deer, or make essay To catch the wily beavers, who have made Their cunning wigwams in the river's bed?”
“ 'Twere hard to tell my brother of the woods
What cause has forced his pale-faced brother here, The red and white men have their different moods,
And Narraganset's tongue lacks terms, I fear, To tell the strifes among white multitudes
Strifes yet unknown within these forests drear, Where undisturbed ye worship various gods, And persecution leave to white abodes.
“Let it suffice, (for weary is the night)
That late across the mighty lake I came, Seeking protection here of brethren white, [flame,
From those pale chiess who had, with scourge and Driven them as me o'er sea in dangerous flight;
Our wrongs, as our offenses, were the same: God we had worshipped as to us seemed right, And roused the vengeance of our men of might.
“My brethren then had persecution fled,
And much I hoped with them a home to find; But to our common God whene'er we prayed,
My honest worship did not suit their mind ;
Their anger kindled, and, with speech unkind,
“And now, my brother, through the wilds I go,
To seek some far-some lone sequestered glen-Where burning fagot nevermore shall glow,
Fired by the wrath of persecuting men ;
Where all may worship, as their gods they know,
Or conscience lights and leads their varying ken; Where ages after ages still may bow, And from free hearts free orisons may flow.”
Waban a while mused on our Founder's tale,
And silent sate in meditative mood;
For differing worship sought their kindred's blood. At last he thought that they must surely fail
To know the Great Spirit as a father good, Or Chepian* was their god, and had inclined Them to indulge a fell and cruel mind.
Then pity blended with his wonder grew ;
Here was a victim of that Evil One,
To seek a shelter in the forest lone.
(Hearing thy tales,) that thou art forced to shun Thy well-framed wigwam -- thy familiar fire, And sleep so far amid this tempest dire.
“ Now, brother, hear, what Waban has to say:
The night is cold, and fast the snows descend; Still round thy sleep will howl the beasts of prey ;
Will not my brother to my wigwam wend? It smokes well-sheltered and not far away;
There may my brother this drear season spend, And shun the wrath of Chepian's angry men, Until Sowaniu's breezes scatter flowers again.
* The name of the Indian devil.