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“Does the Sachem doubt? Let him go with me,
And the eyes of the Sachem his bride shall see.”
Cautious and slow, with pauses oft,
And watchful eyes and whispers soft,
The twain are stealing through the wood,
Leaving the downward-rushing flood,
Whose deep and solemn roar behind
Grows fainter on the evening wind.
Hark!—is that the angry howl
Of the wolf, the hills among?—
Or the hooting of the owl,
On his leafy cradle swung?—
Quickly glancing, to and fro,
Listening to each sound they go
Round the columns of the pine,
Indistinct, in shadow, seeming
Like some old and pillared shrine;
With the soft and white moonshine,
Round the foliage-tracery shed
Of each column's branching head,
For its lamps of worship gleaming!
And the sounds awakened there,
In the pine-leaves fine and small,
Soft and sweetly musical,
By the fingers of the air,
For the anthem's dying fall
Lingering round some temple's wall!
Niche and cornice round and round
Wailing like the ghost of sound!
Is not Nature's worship thus,
Ceaseless ever, going on?
Hath it not a voice for us
In the thunder, or the tone
Of the leaf-harp faint and small,
Speaking to the unsealed ear
Words of blended love and fear,
Of the mighty Soul of all?
Naught had the twain of thoughts like these
As they wound along through the crowded tree,
Where never had rung the axeman's stroke
On the gnarled trunk of the rough-barked oak;—
Climbing the dead tree's mossy log,
Breaking the mesh of the bramble fine,
Turning aside the wild grapevine,
And lightly crossing the quaking bog
Whose surface shakes at the leap of the frog,
And out of whose pools the ghostly fog
Creeps into the chill moonshine!
Yet, even that Indian's ear had heard
The preaching of the Holy Word:
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