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Who worship the dead corpse of old king Custom,
“ Deem me not fond ; but in my warmer youth, Ere my
heart's bloom was soiled and brushed away, I had great dreams of mighty things to come; Of conquest, whether by the sword or pen I knew not; but some conquest I would have, Or else swift death :, now wiser grown in years, I find youth's dreams are but the flutterings Of those strong wings whereon the soul shall soar In aftertime to win a starry throne ; And so I cherish them, for they were lots, Which I, a boy, cast in the helm of Fate. Now will I draw them, since a man's right hand, A right hand guided by an earnest soul, With a true instinct, takes the golden prize From out a thousand blanks. What men call luck Is the prerogative of valiant souls, The fealty life pays its rightful kings. The helm is shaking now, and I will stay To pluck my lot forth; it were sin to flee !"
So they two turned together; one to die, Fighting for freedom on the bloody field; The other, far more happy, to become A name earth wears forever next her heart; One of the few that have a right to rank With the true Makers: for his spirit wrought Order from Chaos; proved that right divine Dwelt only in the excellence of truth ; And far within old Darkness' hostile lines Advanced and pitched the shining tents of Light. Nor shall the grateful Muse forget to tell, That-not the least
O, MOONLIGHT deep and tender,
A year and more agone,
Round my betrothal shone!
0, elm-leaves dark and dewy,
very same ye seem,
Ye murmur in my dream !
O, river, dim with distance,
Flow thus forever by,
Within your heart doth lie!
O, stars, ye saw our meeting,
Two beings and one soul,
To mingle and be whole !
Her kisses back to me,
A blissful dream of me! 1842.
A CHIPPEWA LEGEND.*
αλγεινά μέν μοι και λέγειν εστίν τάδε
Æschylus, Prom. Vinct. 197.
The old Chief, feeling now well-nigh his end, Called his two eldest children to his side, And gave them, in few words, his parting charge !
My son and daughter, me ye see no more; The happy hunting-grounds await me, green With change of spring and summer through the
year : But, for remembrance, after I am gone, Be kind to little Sheemah for my sake : Weakling he is and young, and knows not yet To set the trap, or draw the seasoned bow; Therefore of both your loves he hath more need, And he, who needeth love, to love hath right; It is not like our furs and stores of corn, Whereto we claim sole title by our toil, But the Great Spirit plants it in our hearts, And waters it, and gives it sun, to be The common stock and heritage of all: Therefore be kind to Sheemah, that yourselves May not be left deserted in your need.”
Alone, beside a lake, their wigwam stood, Far from the other dwellings of their tribe ; And, after many moons, the loneliness Wearied the elder brother, and he said,
* For the leading incidents in this tale, I am indebted to the very valuable “Algic Researches " of Henry R. Schoolcraft, Esq.
Why should I dwell here all alone, shut out From the free, natural joys that fit my age ? Lo, I am tall and strong, well skilled to hunt, Patient of toil and hunger, and not yet Have seen the danger which I dared not look Full in the face; what hinders me to be A mighty Brave and Chief among my kin ?” So, taking up his arrows and his bow, As if to hunt, he journeyed swiftly on, Until he gained the wigwams of his tribe, Where, choosing out a bride, he soon forgot, In all the fret and bustle of new life, The little Sheemah and his father's charge.
Now when the sister found her brother
gone, And that, for many days, he came not back, She wept for Sheemah more than for herself; For Love bides longest in a woman's heart, And flutters many times before he flies, And then doth perch so nearly, that a word May lure him back, as swift and glad as light; And Duty lingers even when Love is gone Oft looking out in hope of his return; And, after Duty hath been driven forth, Then Selfishness creeps in the last of all, Warming her lean hands at the lonely hearth, And crouching o'er the embers, to shut out Whatever paltry warmth and light are left, With avaricious greed, from all beside. So, for long months, the sister hunted wide, And cared for little Sheemah tenderly; But, daily more and more, the loneliness Grew wearisome, and to herself she sighed, “Am I not fair ? 'at least the glassy pool, That hath no cause to flatter, tells me so; But, O, how flat and meaningless the tale, Unless it tremble on a lover's tongue !