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Sanchekantacket's isle of sand
Was once his father's hunting land,
Where zealous Hiacoomes1 stood,—
The wild apostle of the wood,
Shook from his soul the fear of harm,
And trampled on the Powwaw's charm;
Until the wizard's curses hung
Suspended on his palsying tongue,
And the fierce warrior, grim and tall,
Trembled before the forest Paul I
A cottage hidden in the wood,—
Red through its seams a light is glowing,
On rock and bough and tree-trunk rude,
A narrow lustre throwing.
‘Who's there?’ a clear, firm voice demands;
‘Hold, Ruth,—tis I, the Sagamore I’
Quick, at the summons, hasty hands
Unclose the bolted door;
And on the outlaw's daughter shine
The flashes of the kindled pine.
Tall and erect the maiden stands,
Like some young priestess of the wood,
The freeborn child of Solitude,
And bearing still the wild and rude,
Yet noble trace of Nature's hands.
Her dark brown cheek has caught its stain
More from the sunshine than the rain;
Yet, where her long fair hair is parting,
A pure white brow into light is starting;
And, where the folds of her blanket sever,
Are neck and a bosom as white as ever
The foam-wreaths rise on the leaping river.
But in the convulsive quiver and grip
Of the muscles around her bloodless lip,
There is something painful and sad to see;
And her eye has a glance more sternly wild
Than even that of a forest child
In its fearless and untamed freedom should be.
Yet, seldom in hall or court are seen
So queenly a form and so noble a mien,
As freely and smiling she welcomes them there,—
Her outlawed sire and Mogg Megone:
“Pray, father, how does thy hunting fare?
And, Sachem, say,—does Scamman wear,
In spite of thy promise, a scalp of his own?”
Hurried and light is the maiden's tone;
But a fearful meaning lurks within
Her glance, as it questions the eye of Megone,—
An awful meaning of guilt and sin—
The Indian hath opened his blanket, and there
Hangs a human scalp by its long damp hair!
1 Hiacoomes, the first Christian preacher on Martha's Vineyard; for a biography of whom the reader is referred to Increase Mayhew's account of the Praying Indians, 1726. The following is related of him: ‘One Lord's day, after meeting, where Hiacoomes had been preaching, there came in a Powwaw very angry, and said, “I know all the meeting Indians are liars. You say you don't care for the Powwaws; ” then calling two or three of them by name, he railed at them, and told them they were deceived, for the Powwaws could kill all the meeting Indians, if they set about it. But Hiacoomes told him that he would be in the midst of all the Powwaws in the island, and they should do the utmost they could against him; and when they should do their worst by their witchcraft to kill him, he would without fear set himself against them, by remembering Jehovah. He told them also, he did put all the Powwaws under his heel. Such was the faith of this good man. Nor were these Powwaws ever able to do these Christian Indians any hurt, though others were frequently hurt and killed by them.’ — Mayhew, pp. 6, 7, c. I.
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