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Heard only in the thunder's crash,
Seen only in the lightning's flash,
When crumbled rock and riven branch
Went down before the avalanche!
No more that spirit moveth there;
The dwellers of the vale are dead;
No hunter's arrow cleaves the air;
No dry leaf rustles to his tread.
The pale-face climbs thy tallest rock,
His hands thy crystal gates unlock;
From steep to steep his maidens call,
Light laughing, like the streams that fall
In music down thy rocky wall,
And only when their careless tread
Lays bare an Indian arrow-head,
Spent and forgetful of the deer,
Think of the race that perished here.
Oh, sacred to the Indian seer,
Gray altar of the men of old!
Not vainly to the listening ear
The legends of thy past are told,—
Tales of the downward sweeping flood,
When bowed like reeds thy ancient wood;
Of armed hands, and spectral forms;
Of giants in their leafy shroud,
And voices calling long and loud
In the dread pauses of thy storms.
For still within their caverned home
Dwell the strange gods of heathendom!
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