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Charmed with the scene, our sire explored the place,
And penetrated deep the thickets round; At length his vision opened on a space
Level and broad, and stretching without bound Southward afar; nor rose o'er all its face
A tree, or shrub, or rock, or swelling mound; Yet, in large herds dotting the snows, appear, With antic gambols, the far bounding deer ;
And, further down, the Narraganset flood,
Unfurrowed yet by keel its fretted blue With isles begemmed, and skirted by the wood Of far Coweset,
opens on his view ; So long he had beneath the forest trod,
That, when the prospect on his vision grew,
Raptured he paused. Here then was Waban's mead;
In yonder little glen, the fountain by,
Cropping the grass beneath the summer sky;
And round his garden raise a paling high ; And there at twilight, should his herds be seen, Following the tinkling bell from pastures green.
Ay, here, in fancy, did he almost see
A lovely hamlet in the future blest, Where Christians all might mutually agree
To leave their God to judge the human breast;
A place of refuge whitherto might flee
The hapless exile for his faith opprest,
He thought he saw the various spires ascending
Of many churches, all of different kind, And heard the Sabbath bells harmonious blending
Their calls to worshippers of various mind;
To several worships, as their faith inclined ;
But still across his mind a shadow came
A doubt that seemed a superstitious fear; For yet no Indian throng, with loud acclaim,
Had bid the welcome of Whatcheer! Whatcheer ! Till when he should be tossed ; as did proclaim
That nameless stranger — that mysterious seer; — But from Haup's Sachem he a grant will gain ; Such were best welcome from that Sachem's train.
Full of this thought, he turned at close of day,
And gained the humble lodge as night came down ; And he could scarcely brook the short delay,
Till Waban, coming from the white man's town, Should from Namasket, where the Sachem lay,
The cheering welcome bring, or blasting frown; For thou, Soul-Liberty, couldst then no more Than build thy hopes on that rude sagamore.
[Scenes. The Wigwam-Massasoit and other Chiefs—The Wilderness-A
Night in the Wilderness-The Narraganset or Coweset Country-Coweset Height.]
No pain is keener to the ardent mind,
Filled with sublime and glorious intents,
And bids to watch the pace of slow events
The ethereal soul upon a fire intense,
Two nights had passed, and, Waban lingering still,
Williams began to doubt his steadfast faith ; Quick was his foot o'er forest, vale and hill,
His swerveless eyes aye keeping true his path. Why does he tarry ? and the doubts instil
Suspicions in our Sire of waking wrath Against his purpose in the barbarous clan, Whose fears e'en then on future dangers ran.
But on the morrow's morn, while Williams mused,
Anxious and wondering at the long delay, The wigwam's entrance, by the deer-skin closed,
Abruptly opened, and a warrior gay Glided within it. To the sight unused
Of Keenomp trimmed as for the battle fray, Williams, recoiling, gazed with fixed surprise On the fierce savage and his fearful guise.
The eagle's plumes waved round his hair of jet,
Whose crest-like lock played lightly o'er his head ; On breast and face the war-paints harshly met,
Down from his shoulders hung his blanket red, With seeming blood his hatchet haft was wet,
Its edge of death was by his girdle stayed ; Bright flashed his eyes, and, ready for the strife, Gleamed in his hand the dreadful scalping-knife.
He placed a packet, bound, in Williams' hands,
And fired his pipe, and sitting, curled its smoke, The while our Founder broke the hempen bands,
And gave the contents an exploring look.
To Waban, ere the wigwam he forsook ;
How came the messengers with arméd men
To search her mansion for “the heretic;
How they condemned him for his feigning sick ;
That he had perished in the tempest thick ;
But, as he reads, the warrior starting cries,
" War! war! my brother." — Willliams drops his hand, And at the voice perceives, in altered guise
Till now unknown, the generous Waban stand
Erect and tall, with fiercely flashing eyes,
The while he pressed the hatchet in its band ; “Brother, there's war!” “ With whom?”our Founder said ; “ Have I not friends among my brothers red ?”
· Haup's valiant Sachem is my brother's friend,”
Red Waban answered; “and I come before Him, and the train of Keenomps who attend
Him, coming here — our mightiest Sagamore — To ask my brother that his aid he lend
'Gainst Narraganset's hatchet stained with gore ; Miantonomi lifts it o'er his head, Gives the loud whoop, and names our valiant dead."
No time there was for Williams to reply
Ere near the lodge there rose a trampling sound, And warriors entered, stained with every dye,
Crested and plumed, with -- to their girdles bound The knife and hatchet ; whilst the battle cry
Burst from the crowds that flocked the lodge around, And lighted up, in every Keenomp's eye That stared within, a dreadful sympathy.
Amid the train came Massasoit old,
But not too old for direst battle fray ; Strong was his arm as was his spirit bold;
His judgment, bettered by experience gray, The wildest passions of his tribe controlled,
And checked their fury in its headlong way; Still with the whites his peace he had maintained, The terror of whose aid his foes restrained.