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[306]
Prayer, fasting, dread of blame, and pitiless eyes
To watch his halting,—had he lost for these
The freedom of the woodss;—the hunting-grounds
Of happy spirits for a walled — in heaven
Of everlasting psalms? One healed the sick
Very far off thousands of moons ago:
Had he not prayed him night and day to come
And cure his bed-bound wife? Was there a hell?
Were all his fathers' people writhing there—
Like the poor shell-fish set to boil alive—
Forever, dying never? If he kept
This gold, so needed, would the dreadful God
Torment him like a Mohawk's captive stuck
With slow-consuming splinters? Would the saints
And the white angels dance and laugh to see him
Burn like a pitch-pine torch? His Christian garb
Seemed falling from him; with the fear and shame
Of Adam naked at the cool of day,
He gazed around. A black snake lay in coil
On the hot sand, a crow with sidelong eye
Watched from a dead bough. All his Indian lore
Of evil blending with a convert's faith
In the supernal terrors of the Book,
He saw the Tempter in the coiling snake
And ominous, black-winged bird; and all the while
The low rebuking of the distant waves
Stole in upon him like the voice of God
Among the trees of Eden. Girding up
His soul's loins with a resolute hand, he thrust
The base thought from him: “Nauhaught, be a man!

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