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Then gave he man the swiftness of the deer,
And armed his hands with arrows and the bow,
“ Then did he send Yotaanit on high,
(For Gods he fashioned as he formed the land,) And bade him star with fires the azure sky,
And kindle the round blaze of Keesuckquand;
Bright Nanapaushat sprung from Wamponand;
“ All things thus were formed from what was good,
And the foul refuse every evil had; But it had felt the influence of the God,
(How should it not ?) and a black demon, sad And stern and cruel, loving strife and blood,
Filled with all malice, and with fury mad, Sprang into life :-- such was fell Chepian's birth, The hate of gods, and terror of the earth.
“ Then to the south-west the Great Spirit flew,
Whence the soft breezes of the summer come, And from the depths Sowaniu's † island drew,
And bade its fields with lasting verdure bloom.
Which never night nor clouds nor tempests gloom,
* See note | Sowaniu – here of three syllables – was written by Williams, “ Sowwainiu.”
6. When thus Cawtantowit had finished all,
No more did he on eagle's pinions roam , There did he limits to his works install,
And centre there his everlasting home;
His pristine shape, and manit-man become ;
-yea, of creation's whole.
“All that is good does from Cawtantowit flow;
All that is evil Chepian doth supply ; Praying for good we to Cawtantowit bow,
And shunning evil we to Chepian cry;
Dwell they in mountain, flood, or lofty sky;
“ And manittoos, that never death shall fear,
Do likewise in this mortal form abide ; What else, my brother, is there beating here?
What heaves this breast what rolls its crimson tide? Whilst, like Cawtantowit, doth the soul appear
To live through all and over all preside ; And when her mortal mansion here decays, She to Sowaniu's blessed island strays,
“ There aye to joy; if, whilst she dwelt with men,
She wisely counseled and did bravely fight, Or watchful caught the beavers in the glen,
Or nimbly followed far the moose's flight ;
But if a sluggard and a coward, then
To rove all wretched in the glooms of night, Misled by Chepian, a poor wandering ghost, — In swamps and sens and bogs and brambles lost.
And now, my brother, rightly worship we,
When to Cawtantowit we make our prayer ? Or when for help to Chepian we flee,
And pray that us from every harm he spare ?
harm is all his own, we see,
Williams made answer, “When red warriors brave
The fight's dark tempest and for glory die, Does Waban tremble whilst the battles rave,
And at the hurtling arrows wink his eye ? Or, basely cowering, does he mercy crave
Of the red hatchet o'er him lifted high? Who prays to Chepian is a cringing slave, And, dying, fills at last a coward's grave.”
Strongly these words to Waban's pride appealed ;
Yet back upon him did the memory rush Of by-gone ages, and of many a field
Where fought his fathers, who with victory flush, Not to Cawtantowit, but to Chepian kneeled,
And thanked his aid.—They cowards ! and the blush, That in their worship fear should seem revealed, Was scantly by his táwny hue concealed.
At last he said, "My brother doubtless knows
He has a book which his Great Spirit wrote: Brave were my fathers, yet did they repose
With hope in Chepian, and his aid besought When forth they marched to shed the blood of foes;
But maybe they, like Waban, never thought That they were cowards, when they fiercely prayed That Evil One to give their vengeance aid.
“Waban will think, and should it seem like fear
Waban ne'er shrunk when round him battle roared, And at the stake when bound, his torturers near,
Among the clouds thy brother's spirit soared And scorned her foes but should it seem like fear
To worship Chepian, whom his sires adored, He will no more be that dread demon's slave; For ne'er will Waban fill a coward's grave.”
Thus in grave converse did they pass the day,
Till night returning brought them slumbers sweet; And, with the morrow, shone the sun's broad ray
Serenely down on Waban's lone retreat.
But doubt and darkness still restrained his feet;
Hence may he secretly to Salem write,
And friends approving, still his plans arrange ; For Waban soon will bear his peltry light
To Salem's mart, and there may interchange
The mute epistles, meant for friendly sight,
Unseen of eyes inimical or strange, Lest rumor of them reach the bigot's ear, And persecution find him even here.
Among the several tribes around to go,
And sound the feelings of each different clan, Seemed not unmeet ; but little did he know
How they might treat a pale-faced outlawed man, Friendless and homeless, wandering to and fro,
And flying from his own white brethren's ban;
Better it were, so deemed our Father well,
To seek and win the savage by degrees, Since to his lot the dangerous duty fell,
(For such did seem high Heaven's all-wise decrees), To found unarmed a State where rung the yell
Of barbarous nations on the midnight breeze;
With only this, his buckler and his brand
This, yet unproved and doubted by the best, — In cheerless wilds, mid many a savage band,
Spurned from his home, by Christian men opprest, Must he the warrior's weapon turn, his hand
Unnerve, and gently o’er his rugged breast Gain mastery. The panther by the hare Must be approached and softened in his lair.