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We may together sit, secure from harms,
And smoke the calumet from day to day ; And our descendants, all the years to come, Have but one fire - one undivided home.”
“ Brother,” said Williams, “these thou seëst are
Hands that the blood of man ne'er crimsoned yet ; Ost do I lift them to the God of prayer
Ah ! how unseemly if with slaughter wet ! But to the hostile Sacheins I could bear
The pipe of peace, thy snow-white calumet, And quench the flame of strife — how better far Than win thy lands by all-devouring war!
" With Waban for my guide, in friendly guise,
Sachem, I would the arduous task essay To heal those ancient feuds by counsel wise,
And quell the wrath begotten long away ;
Of armies slain in many a bloody fray?
“Ha! Yengee," said the Sachem, “wouldst thou go
To soothe the hungry panther scenting blood ? Say, canst thou bid Pawtucket's downward flow
Turn and run backward to Woonsocket's wood ? The path to peace is shut; the eager foe
Sharpens his darts, and treads his dances rude, And through the trembling groves the war-whoop trills From bleak Manisses* to the Nipnet hills. * Manisses-Block Island.
Yengee ! thou seest these Wampanoags brave
They are my Keenomps in the battle fray; Would it become Haup's sagamore to crave
Inglorious rest for warriors strong as they ? They shrink from nothing but a dastard's grave:
Bound to the stake, upon their lips would play The smile of scorn. How can they crouch and cry For peace ?” — he said; and Williams made reply:
“The Great Spirit, almighty o'er the whole,
Wields earth at will and moulds the hearts of men ; At his command torrents may backward roll,
The hare may gambol in the panther's den ;
brother then Ask for himself, if not for thee or thine, That on these lands the sky of peace may shine.
“How could your brother plant, where all around
War's tempest raging pours its showers of blood ? Where from each thicket bursts the war-whoop's sound,
And death in ambush lurks in every wood ?
To pass along the blood-stained solitude,
Upon our Father's words to meditate,
That wise old chief kept silence for a space ; Thus far he had prolonged the shrewd debate,
And inly striven his bounties to retrace
Not, as it seemed at first, from growing hate,
But so to magnify his purposed grace, That what he gave should be right worthy thought Of the much needed succor that he sought.
"Keenomps! at length thus spake the Sagamore,
“ Shall our white brother, not for me or mine, But for himself, seek Narraganset's shore,
Disperse the clouds, and let the sunlight shine From the blue sky of peace?
Our wounds are sore But hatchets none to keen ; and our design May profit by delay, if he will light His council fire and gathering friends invite.
“ His bow's now broken, and his knife now dull,
But when his warriors shall around him throng Its sharpened edge will thirst to peel the skull
Of Narraganset foe;- and he, more strong, Will wield a mightier weapon, and, more full
Of valor, help us guard ourselves from wrong ;
round Sowaniu's coasts.
« On Seekonk's marge
our battle-stained frontier His town will rise, and warlike will he feel ; The foe must pass him if he strike us here;
Our brother then will hang upon his heel,
With the big thunders and the muskets' peal ;
As ceased the chief, a fierce smile lit the eyes
And curled the muscles of those men of blood ; They feared the number of their enemies;
This hope was cheering, and all answered - good! All save stern Corbitant, whose visage is
Dark and portentous as a slumbering flood, Whose silent bosom holds the imaged storm, And seems the tempest that the skies deform.
Then rose each Keenomp, in his turn, and spake :
Each said his knife was sharp, his hands were strong; But still such counsel as his chief might take
He should deem wise, and so advise his throng.
But first unloosened from its leathern thong
“ So move the hunters,” the grim sachem said,
Then near the centre made of scores a few; “ Here do the moose and deer the thickets thread
To certain death from them whose feet pursue ; Do not the Yengees thus around us spread ?
Are we not hunted thus our forests through? Will Haup's brave Sachem yield Awanux aid, While weep the spirits of his kindred dead ?”
“Go! thou dark Corbitant !” the old chief cried,
* Unarmed, the stranger seeks our vacant land, Far from his friends would plant by Seekonk's tide,
His blood within the hollow of our hand.
When to the stranger has a chief denied
Food, fire, and space his blanket to expand ? Hunted by him ! — when come his friends he may, If timid deer we are, turn off the beasts of prey.
but for himself alone,
He bring to Haup, 'twill be received by me. Now do I charge you, Keenomps, all as one,
That on his path no lurking wolves ye be. Who dares with purpose fell his way to haunt, Dies by this hand — e’en were he Corbitant.
“Do thou, swift Waban, with the Yengee go,
And point the way to Narraganset's clan; If thou dar'st walk before the bended bow,
Bring back the talks, that we the words may scan; In all things else to him obedience show
He is thy sachem be thou Winiams'* man. But it were safe that thou the pipe should'st bear Without that painted face and pluméd hair.”
Then Williams brought his strings of wampum bright,
And to the Keenomps each a present made, Which each received, and, mimicking the white,
His thanks returned, and uncouth bow essayed ; And Corbitant's grim visage seemed to light
With something like a smile that o'er it strayed, To see the wampum wreath our Founder flung, Where glittering on his breast the bauble hung.
* The Wampanoags could not say I, but used n in place of it.