« PreviousContinue »
Grim and silent stood the captains ; and when again he cried, “Speak out, my worthy seamen !” — no voice, no sign replied ; But I felt a bard hand press my own, and kind words met my
“ God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl and dear !”
A weight seemed lifted from my heart, — a pitying friend was
nigh, I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his eye ; And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so kind to me, Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring of the sea :. “ Pile my ship with bars of silver — pack with coins of Spanish
gold, From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of her hold, By the living God who made me !- I would sooner in your
bay Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child away !” “Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their cruel laws !” Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people's just
applause. “ Like the herdsman of Tekoa, in Israel of old, Shall we see the poor and righteous again for silver sold ?”
I looked on haughty Endicott; with weapon half way drawn, Swept round the throng his lion glare of bitter hate and scorn ; Fiercely he drew his bridle rein, and turned in silence back, And sneering priest and baffled clerk rode murmuring in his
track. Hard after them the sheriff looked, in bitterness of soul ; Thrice smote his staff upon the ground, and crushed his parch
ment roll. “ Good friends," he said, “since both have fled, the ruler and
the priest, Judge ye, if from their further work I be not well released.”
Loud was the cheer which, full and clear, swept round the silent
bay, As, with kind words and kinder looks, he bade me go my way ; For He who turns the courses of the streamlet of the glen, And the river of great waters, had turned the hearts of men.
Oh, at that hour the very earth seemed changed beneath my
eye, A holier wonder round me rose the blue walls of the sky, A lovelier light on rock and hill, and stream and woodland lay, And softer lapsed on sunnier sands the waters of the bay.
Thanksgiving to the Lord of life !- to Him all praises be, Who from the hands of evil men hath set His handmaid free ; All praise to Him before whose power the mighty are afraid, Who takes the crafty in the snare, which for the poor is laid !
Sing, oh, my soul, rejoicingly, on evening's twilight calm
And weep and howl, ye evil priests and mighty men of wrong, The Lord shall smite the proud and lay His hand upon the
strong. Wo to the wicked rulers in His avenging hour! Wo to the wolves who seek the flocks to raven and devour :
But let the humble ones arise, — the poor in heart be glad,
+FUNERAL TREE OF
AROUND Sebago's lonely lake
The solemn pines along its shore,
The sun looks o’er, with hazy eye,
Dazzling and white ! save where the bleak,
Yet green are Saco's banks below,
The earth hath felt the breath of spring,
* Polan, a chief of the Sokokis Indians, the original inhabitants of the country lying between Agamenticus and Casco bay, was killed in a skirmish as Windham, on the Sebago lake, in the spring of 1756. He claimed all the lands on both sides of the Presumpscot river to its mouth at Casco, as his own. Ho was shrewd, subtle, and brave. After the white men had retired, the surviving Indians “swayed” or bent down a young tree until its roots were turned up, placed the body of their chief bencath them, and then released the tree to spring back to its former position
Fresh grasses fringe the meadow-brooks,
And odors from the springing grass,
Her tokens of renewing care
But in their hour of bitterness,
The turf's red stain is yet undried -
And silent now the hunters stand, Grouped darkly, where a swell of land Slopes upward from the lake's white sand.
Fire and the axe have swept it bare,
With grave, cold looks, all sternly mute, They break the damp turf at its foot, And bare its coiled and twisted root.
They heave the stubborn trunk aside, The firm roots from the earth divide — The rent beneath yawns dark and wide.
And there the fallen chief is laid,
The silver cross he loved is pressed
'T is done : the roots are backward sent, The beechen tree stands up unbent The Indian's fitting monument !
When of that sleeper's broken race
0! long may sunset's light be shed
There shall his fitting requiem be,
To their wild wail the waves which break
And who shall deem the spot unblest, Where Nature's younger children rest, Lulled on their sorrowing mother's breast ?
Deem ye that mother loveth less
As sweet o'er them her wild flowers blow,
* The Sokokis were early converts to the Catholic faith. Most of them, prior to the year 1756, had removed to the French settlements on the St. François.