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He'll give my brother's town a cloudy sky,
And to his councils under-sachems draw; E'en now he whets the Narraganset knife, Points at our clan, and thirsts for human life.
“ Safer on Seekonk's hither border may
My brother build, and wake his council blaze; Clear are the meads - the trees are swept away
By mighty burnings in our fathers' days. There early verdure spring and flow'rets gay,
Long grows the grass, and thrifty is the maize ; And good old Massasoit's sheltering wing Will shield thy weakness from each harmful thing.”
“Brother, I thank thee," said our Founder here,
“Oft have I seen thy chief on Plymouth's shore ; I will to-morrow seek those meadows clear,
And thy fair Seekonk's hither banks explore. But will not Waban pass Namasket near,
Where oft that wise and good old Sagamore, Brave Massasoit, spends the season drear ?” “He will, my brother” 66 Then let Waban hear :
“Tell thou that Sachem, generous and wise,
That Williams lingers in thy cabin low,
To shun the anger of a Christian foe;
And asks protection. — Tell him that his woe Springs from this thought, and from this thought alone, God can be worshipped but as God is known.”
A pause ensued, and Waban silent sate ;
Yet to himself his lips repeating were ;
“Waban remembers, and the talk will bear." Then he in silence fired his calumet,
And gave its vapors to the wigwam's air, Whilst Williams wrote, with stationery rude, His first epistle from the lonely wood.
'Twas on the inner bark stript from the pine,
Our Father penciled this epistle rare ;
Two braided pallets formed his desk and chair ; He wrote his wife the brief familiar line,
How he had journeyed, and his roof now where; And that poor Waban was his host benign, And bade her cheer and gave him blankets fine.
Then bade her send the Indian presents, bought
When first they suffered persecution's thrall, – The strings of wampum, and the scarlet coat,
The tinseled belt and jeweled coronal; The pocket Bible, which his haste forgot,
For he had cheering hopes of Waban's soul ; Then gave her solace to the bad unknown, That God o'errules and still protects his own.
And to the hunter Williams now presents
The secret charge, with all directions meet; For Waban means to take his journey hence
Ere dawns the day upon his lone retreat;
And then once more did sleep our Founder's sense
And knowledge steal away till morn complete ; When he awoke and found his host was gone, The lodge all silent, and himself alone.
His fast he broke with the accustomed prayer,
And trimmed him for his walk to Seekonk's side; Calm was the morn, and pure the winter air,
As from the wigwam forth our Founder hied ; So tall the pines
so thick the branches were, [espied; That, through their screens, the heavens were scarce But melting snows and dripping foliage prove The South blows warmer in the fields above.
Now from the swamp to upland woods he past,
Where leafless boughs branched thinner overhead, And saw the welkin by no cloud o'ercast,
And felt the settled snows give firmer tread. Now all was calm, no wild and thundering blast [sped;
Mixed earth with heaven, as through the boughs it And far as eye the boundless forest traced, Glimmered the snow and stretched the lonely waste.
Onward he went, the magnet still his guide,
And through the wood his course due westward took ; Across his path, with antlers branching wide,
The red deer often from the thicket broke;
On whirring wings the sheltering bush forsook,
At last a sound like murmurs from the shore
Of far-off ocean, when the storm is bound, Grows on his ear, increasing more and more
As he advances, till the woods resound And seem to tremble with the constant roar
Of many waters Ay, the very ground Beneath him quivers, — and, through arching trees Bright glimmering and gliding on, he sees
The river flowing to its dizzy steep
'Twixt fringing forests, from so far as sight Can track its course, and, rushing, oversweep
The rocky precipice all frothy white,
And springing sun-bows o'er its showery flight,
Thence, hurrying onward through the narrow bound
Of banks precipitous, its torrents go,
They pass from sight among the hills below. There paused our Father, ravished with the sound
Of the wild waters, and their rapid flow, And there, alone, rejoiced that he had found Thy Falls, Pawtucket, and where Seekonk wound.
And as he dallied on its margin still,
His restless thought did on the future pause : Here might his children drive the busy mill,
Here whirl the stones, here clash the riving saws ;
But little did he think the torrent's will
Would ever yield so far to human laws,
Reluctantly he left the scene, and fast
Down Seekonk's eastern bank pursued his way, Seeking for Waban's meads; yet often cast
His glances o'er the river, where the gray
Stood, towering and distinct, in proud array;
Still onward, by the eastern bank he sped;
Here stretched the thicket deep, there swampy fen, Here sunk the vale, there rose the hillock's head ;
Oaks crowned the mound, and cedars gloomed the glen, Where'er he moved ; - at length his footsteps led
Where a bright fountain, sparkling like a gem, Burst from the caverned cliff, and, glittering, wound Its copious streamlet, with a murmuring sound,
Far down the glade ; and groves of cedars green,
With woven branches on the winter side,
Crisped by its pebbly bed, the glancing tide
Of boughs o'erhung its music-murmuring glide; — It laughed along ; --- and its broad Southern glade Was bordered deep by woods of massy shade.