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Right weleome to the red man's lodge shall be
His pale-faced brother, safe from Sachems pale; Waban's nausamp and venison shall be free
When hunger craves, and, when his store shall fail, His dart is true, and swift and far will he
Pursue the bounding deer o'er hill and dale ;
Williams replied, “My brother sure is kind,
But his red friends are doubtless with him here; And they may teach my kindred, left behind,
To track my footsteps through the forest drear ; -
My course is with the sun to wilds less near,
" Alone is Waban," was the sad reply;
“ His wife and child have to that country gone Where go our spirits when our bodies die,
And left thy brother in his lodge alone : He goes by day to catch the beavers shy,
And sits by night in his still house to moan, And much 'twould please him should the wanderer come, And tell him where the loved ones' spirits roam.”
“ Brother, I thank thee — thou art kind indeed,"
Our Founder said — “and with thee I will go ; Would that my brethren of the Christian creed
Did half thy charity and goodness know!
Waban, thou wilt thy brother's purpose speed,
And all the boundaries of those countries show Which lie adjoining Narraganset's bay, And name the chiefs, and count the tribes they sway."
“ Waban can do it was the quick reply,
And Williams followed him, as fast he led Through bush and brake with blazing brand held high;
The wolves around them gathered as they sped ;
Of the fierce panther, and as oft they fled ;
Then Williams noted, through the deepest night,
The sparkles rising from the roof unseen, And, by the glancing of the firebrand's light,
Above him marked the thickening branches' screen ; For denser here, and of a loftier height,
The pines and cedars arched their sombre green,
An undressed deerskin closed the entrance rude
Of the frail mansion of our Founder's friend ; “ Brother," he said, “this is my poor abode,
But thou art welcome - - it will well defend Thee from the bitter tempest," and he showed The open pass.
Beneath its arch they bend : From mid the room the blazing fagots sent The smoke and sparkles through the vault's low vent,
And, shining round, did for the ceiling show
The braided mat of many colors made, Veiled here and there, where, hanging in a row,
The beavers' hides their silvery coats displayed ; And here and there were antlers, from the brow
Of bounding buck, around the room arrayed ;
Hard-by the blazing hearth, raised from the ground
Three braided pallets stood, with furs bespread, Where once red Waban, wife and child had found
The humble settle, and still humbler bed; But now, alas ! beneath the grassy mound,
Two of the three sate with the silent dead; The wampum girdle, that his spouse once wore, Gleamed on her garb of furs the settle o’er.
The room was warm, and plenteous the cheer
Which Waban then did to our Founder bring ; In trays the nocake, and the joints of deer,
And in the gourd-shell water from the spring ; And, all the while, kept pouring in his ear
How he had pierced the wild duck on the wing ; And westward lately had the moose pursued Afar, and struck him in Mooshausick's wood.
Slightly our Founder tasted of the fare,
For toil and chill much more than hunger prest ; This Waban noted, and with tender care,
The vacant pallet showed, and urged him rest; * The Indians bury their dead in a sitting posture. † A corruption of the Indian Nokehick-parched meal.
Waban he said, would still the fire repair,
And still in comfort keep his pale-faced guest, “ And may the Manittoo of dreams,” he said, “ The happiest visions on thy slumbers shed.
Upon this pallet she was wont to lay
Herself to sleep whose spirit now is gone; And may that spirit to thy visions say
Where now she dwells, and where my little son ; Whether on that blest island far away,
O’er the blue hills beyond the setting sun, They with their kindred joy, or nearer home, Still lingering, wait until the father come.”
Williams replied, that he would speak at morn
Of that far journey which the spirit takes ; And name the Guide, who never soul forlorn,
Whilst passing through death's gloomy night, forsakes. His brother, then, on fitting day in turn,
Would name the bounds, by rivers, bays, and lakes, Of neighboring chiefs, and say what Sachems might His mission threaten, or its hopes invite.
Our Founder slept; and on that night, I ween,
Deep was the slumber of that pallet low, Calm were its dreams as was his breast serene
Such sleep can persecutors never know;
Down through the dome to shine upon his brow;
* The word samp is a corruption of the Indian nausamp, and has the same meaning.
(SCENES. The Wigwam – The Wilderness - Pawtucket Falls - Seekonk's
Meads – The Wigwam.
It was the morning of a Sabbath day,
When Williams rose to Waban's simple cheer, But knew not where, save that vast forests lay
Betwixt his home and the lone wigwam here; Yet 'twas a place of peace; no thing of clay,
'Twixt God and conscience in communion near, Came, with profane and impious control, To check the heavenward wanderings of his soul.
God loves the wilderness; in deserts lone,
Where all is silent, where no living thing Mars the hushed solitudes, where Heaven looks down,
And Earth looks up, each as if marvelling That aught should be ; and, through the vast unknown,
Thought-breathing silence seems as uttering The present God, — there does He rear his throne, And, tranced in boundless thoughts, the soul doth own
And feel his strength within.--This day once more,
In place thus sacred, did our Founder keep; None, save the Deity he bent before,
Marked the devotions of his feelings deep. None, do I say? yet there was Waban poor ;
Alas! his mind in utter night did sleep; He saw our Founder at his earnest prayer, But knew not what his supplications were.