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He listens; each sound from afar is caught,
The faintest shiver of leaf and limb:
But he sees not the waters, which foam and fret,
Whose moonlit spray has his moccasin wet,—
And the roar of their rushing, he hears it not.
The moonlight, through the open bough
Of the gnarl'd beech, whose naked root
Coils like a serpent at his foot,
Falls, checkered, on the Indian's brow.
His head is bare, save only where
Waves in the wind one lock of hair,
Reserved for him, whoever he be,
More mighty than Megone in strife,
When breast to breast and knee to knee,
Above the fallen warrior's life
Gleams, quick and keen, the scalping-knife.
Megone hath his knife and hatchet and gun,
And his gaudy and tasselled blanket on:
His knife hath a handle with gold inlaid,
And magic words on its polished blade,—
Twas the gift of Castine1 to Mogg Megone,
For a scalp or twain from the Yengees torn:
His gun was the gift of the Tarrantine,
And Modocawando's wives had strung
The brass and the beads, which tinkle and shine
On the polished breach, and broad bright line
Of beaded wampum around it hung.
What seeks Megone? His foes are near,—
Grey Jocelyn's 2 eye is never sleeping,
And the garrison lights are burning clear,
Where Phillips'3men their watch are keeping.
Let him hie him away through the dank river fog,
Never rustling the boughs nor displacing the rocks,
For the eyes and the ears which are watching for Mogg
Are keener than those of the wolf or the fox.
He starts,—there's a rustle among the leaves:
Another,—the click of his gun is heard!
A footstep,—is it the step of Cleaves,
With Indian blood on his English sword?
Steals Harmon 4 down from the sands of York,
With hand of iron and foot of cork?
Has Scamman, versed in Indian wile,
For vengeance left his vine-hung isle?5
Hark! at that whistle, soft and low,
How lights the eye of Mogg Megone!
A smile gleams o'er his dusky brow,—
‘Boon welcome, Johnny Boniton!’
1 Baron de St. Castine came to Canada in 1644. Leaving his civilized companions, he plunged into the great wilderness, and settled among the Penobscot Indians, near the mouth of their noble river. He here took for his wives the daughters of the great Modocawando,—the most powerful sachem of the East. His castle was plundered by Governor Andros, during his reckless administration; and the enraged Baron is supposed to have excited the Indians into open hostility to the English.
3 Major Phillips, one of the principal men of the Colony. His garrison sustained a long and terrible siege by the savages. As a magistrate and a gentleman, he exacted of his plebeian neighbors a remarkable degree of deference. The Court Records of the settlement inform us that an individual was fined for the heinous offence of saying that ‘Major Phillips's mare was as lean as an Indian dog.’
4 Captain Harman, of Georgeana, now of York, was for many years the terror of the Eastern Indians. In one of his expeditions up the Kennebec River, at the head of a party of rangers, he discovered twenty of the savages asleep by a large fire. Cautiously creeping towards them until he was certain of his aim, he ordered his men to single out their objects. The first discharge killed or mortally wounded the whole number of the unconscious sleepers.
5 Wood Island, near the mouth of the Saco. It was visited by the Sieur de Monts and Champlain, in 1603. The following extract, from the journal of the latter, relates to it: ‘Having left the Kennebec, we ran along the coast to the westward, and cast anchor under a small island, near the mainland, where we saw twenty or more natives. I here visited an island, beautifully clothed with a fine growth of forest trees, particularly of the oak and walnut; and overspread with vines, that, in their season, produce excellent grapes. We named it the island of Bacchus.’ —Les Voyages de Sieur Champlain, LIV. 2, c. 8.
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