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Old mossy hemlock reared on high,
The forest eagle's lofty throne
When tired of circling in the sky.
The mock-bird, perched on bending spray,
Woke his sweet, imitative lay;
With arching neck and air of pride,
The white swan floated on the tide;
And gabbling in sequestered cove,
The black duck oiled her breast, and dove.
East of Irondequoit the scene
Was rich in robes of living green,
But ruder charm romantic gaze
Found on the Western shore to praise;
For the huge monarchs of the wood
In straggling groups disparted stood,
As if they did not wish to break
The broad blue prospect of the Lake,
Their playmate when the rugged earth
Gave stem and leaf a hardy birth;
Whose bath of cool, refreshing spray
Had wet them many a summer day ;
Whose surge kept time upon the shore
When night-blast woke their branches hoar,
In concert with the hollow roar.
On naked point of table-land
That, beetling o'er the polished strand,
Commanded view of wave and wood
Two natives of the region stood ;
And crouching fondly at their feet
Gaunt wolf dogs panted with the heat.
Knives in their braided girdles hung,
To which the purple stain yet clung,
And pouches grim with dangling claws,
Bead-broidered tail and grinning jaws.
Rude jewels in the shape of globes,
And rings depended from their ears,
Slit lengthwise to the pliant lobes ;
And twinkled like resplendent tears
That morning finds upon the leaf,
Drops from the urn of joy, not grief.
Thongs to the graceful limbs made fast,
The scarlet leggin laced with quills,
By bird and bristling hedge-hog cast,
And edged with long and gaudy frills. Adorned with feathers brightly dyed,
And ornaments of bone and shell; Trim hunting frock of smoke-tann'd hide
Their manly forms befitted well. Light hoofs of deer on sinew strung
Were closely to the ancle bound, And when the foot was lifted, rung With a low, strange and rattling sound;
Their rounded heads were shorn and bare,
Save cherished tufts of streaming hair,
Left for the grasp of mortal foe,
If destiny should aid his blow
When meet wild warriors of the wood
To quench Hate's ghastly torch in blood.
Bard would have said with kindling brain,
Could he have gazed upon the twain,
“Behold, reposing from the chase,
The guardian spirits of the place,
And study for inspired hour
When bosom thrills with sense of power;"
Would sculptor in their forms have found,
Full of wild energy and grace,
And the marked features of their race
By Nature's brush embrowned.
Tone, dignity of step and mien,
Apart from flaunting pomp of dress,
In courtly hall and forest green,
Denote high birth and kingliness :
Brow, lip and haughty glance betray
A personage of kingly sway,
Though no dread symbol of command
Is flashing in the jewelled hand;
And persons of monarchal mould
Were those dark hunters of the wold ;
And likeness to each other bore
Observable to careless eye, Not only in the garb they wore,
But bearing resolute and high.
The senior of the two was tall,
But in his frame symmetrical,
And chronicled were former wars
On brow and breast in "glorious scars."
Though seventy vanished years to white
Had scalp lock changed once black as night,
Still could his eye direct the shaft,
His hand the whirling hatchet guide,
Or knife-blade redden to the haft,
When close encounter prowess tried. Hours lapsed away, and neither broke The silence of the place, or spoke, But stood in attitude to hear Sounds only caught by tutored ear, While looked they forth with searching glance On Cadaracqui's calm expanse, For floating on his bosom blue Large objects slowly loomed to view.
At last the younger woodman cried,
For weapon feeling at his side,
“Look, Father !-gleaming in the sun,
Are pointed spear, long knife and gun,
While hither, on the swelling waves,
Float Yonnondio's hostile braves!”
“Yes, boy!-those war-canoes are mann'd
By foemen to our native land;
They hope to wrap our huts in flame,
And blot from memory our name;
My people unprepared assail,
Change the light laugh to dying wail,
And flowers tread down that fragrance shed
On grave-mounds of our honored dead.
I fear them not !-three moons ago
My warriors laid their bravest low,
And gory scalps, on homeward track,
To shrivel in the smoke bore back.
Look, look! a viler race is near-
The coward Hurons guide them here,
And fondly hope, in lucky hour,
To crush the Aganuschion power:
But will they find a dreaming foe!
No, thanks to Ou-we-nee-you,* no!
When hunters for the panther search
They never find their game asleep,
But watchful on his lofty perch,
And crouching for the deadly leap.