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And with their falling timbers block
Thy broken currents, Kennebec!
Gazes the white man on the wreck
Of the down-trodden Norridgewock;
In one lone village hemmed at length,
In battle shorn of half their strength,
Turned, like the panther in his lair,
With his fast-flowing life-blood wet,
For one last struggle of despair,
Wounded and faint, but tameless yet!
Unreaped, upon the planting lands,
The scant, neglected harvest stands:
No shout is there, no dance, no song:
The aspect of the very child
Scowls with a meaning sad and wild
Of bitterness and wrong.
The almost infant Norridgewock
Essays to lift the tomahawk;
And plucks his father's knife away,
To mimic, in his frightful play,
The scalping of an English foe:
Wreathes on his lip a horrid smile,
Burns, like a snake's, his small eye, while
Some bough or sapling meets his blow.
The fisher, as he drops his line,
Starts, when he sees the hazels quiver
Alorg the margin of the river,
Looks up and down the rippling tide,
And grasps the firelock at his side.
For Bomazeen1from Tacconock
Has sent his runners to Norridgewock,
With tidings that Moulton and Harmon of York
Far up the river have come:
They have left their boats, they have entered the wood,
And filled the depths of the solitude
With the sound of the ranger's drum.
On the brow of a hill, which slopes to meet
The flowing river, and bathe its feet;
The bare-washed rock, and the drooping grass,
And the creeping vine, as the waters pass,
A rude and unshapely chapel stands,
Built up in that wild by unskilled hands,
Yet the traveller knows it a place of prayer,
For the holy sign of the cross is there:
And should he chance at that place to be,
Of a Sabbath morn, or some hallowed day,
When prayers are made and masses are said,
Some for the living and some for the dead,
Well might that traveller start to see
The tall dark forms, that take their way
From the birch canoe, on the river-shore,
And the forest paths, to that chapel door;
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