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[369]
     The wrinkled squaw, whose toil is done,
Sits on her bear-skin in the sun,
     Watching the huskers, with a smile
For each full ear which swells the pile;
     And the old chief, who nevermore
May bend the bow or pull the oax,
     Smokes gravely in his wigwam door,
Or slowly shapes, with axe of stone,
     The arrow-head from flint and bone.

Beneath the westward turning eye
     A thousand wooded islands lie,
Gems of the waters! with each hue
     Of brightness set in ocean's blue.
Each bears aloft its tuft of trees
     Touched by the pencil of the frost,
And, with the motion of each breeze,
     A moment seen, a moment lost,
Changing and blent, confused and tossed,
     The brighter with the darker crossed,
Their thousand tints of beauty glow
     Down in the restless waves below,
And tremble in the sunny skies,
     As if, from waving bough to bough,
Flitted the birds of paradise.
     There sleep Placentia's group, and there
Pere Breteaux marks the hour of prayer;
     And there, beneath the sea-worn cliff,
On which the Father's hut is seen,
     The Indian stays his rocking skiff,
And peers the hemlock-boughs between,
     Half trembling, as he seeks to look
Upon the Jesuit's Cross and Book.1
     There, gloomily against the sky
The Dark Isles rear their summits high;
     And Desert Rock, abrupt and bare,
Lifts its gray turrets in the air,
     Seen from afar, like some stronghold
Built by the ocean kings of old;
     And, faint as smoke-wreath white and thin,
Swells in the north vast Katahdin:
     And, wandering from its marshy feet,
The broad Penobscot comes to meet
     And mingle with his own bright bay.
Slow sweep his dark and gathering floods,
     Arched over by the ancient woods,
Which Time, in those dim solitudes,
     Wielding the dull axe of Decay,
Alone hath ever shorn away.

Not thus, within the woods which hide
     The beauty of thy azure tide,

1 Father Hennepin, a missionary among the Iroquois, mentions that the Indians believed him to be a conjurer, and that they were particularly afraid of a bright silver chalice which he had in his possession. ‘The Indians,’ says Pere Jerome Lallamant, ‘fear us as the greatest sorcerers on earth.’

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