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With a serpent eye, which kindles and burns,
Like a fiery star in the upper air;
On sire and daughter his fierce glance turns:—
“Has my old white father a scalp to spare?
For his young one loves the pale brown hair
Of the scalp of an English dog far more
Than Mogg Megone, or his wigwam floor;
Go,—Mogg is wise: he will keep his land,—
And Sagamore John, when he feels with his hand,
Shall miss his scalp where it grew before.”
The moment's gust of grief is gone,—
The lip is clenched,—the tears are still,—
God pity thee, Ruth Boniton!
With what a strength of will
Are nature's feelings in thy breast,
As with an iron hand, repressed!
And how, upon that nameless woe,
Quick as the pulse can come and go,
While shakes the unsteadfast knee, and yet
The bosom heaves,—the eye is wet,—
Has thy dark spirit power to stay
The heart's wild current on its way?
And whence that baleful strength of guile,
Which over that still working brow
And tearful eye and cheek can throw
The mockery of a smile?
Warned by her father's blackening frown,
With one strong effort crushing down
Grief, hate, remorse, she meets again
The savage murderer's sullen gaze,
And scarcely look or tone betrays
How the heart strives beneath its chain.
“Is the Sachem angry,—angry with Ruth,
Because she cries with an ache in her tooth,1
Which would make a Sagamore jump and cry,
And look about with a woman's eye?
No,—Ruth will sit in the Sachem's door
And braid the mats for his wigwam floor,
And broil his fish and tender fawn,
And weave his wampum, and grind his corn,—
For she loves the brave and the wise, and none
Are braver and wiser than Mogg Megone!”
The Indian's brow is clear once more:
With grave, calm face, and half-shut eye,
He sits upon the wigwam floor,
And watches Ruth go by,
Intent upon her household care;
And ever and anon, the while,
Or on the maiden, or her fare,
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