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And tears that fell like fiery rain,
I passed a fearful time.
There came a voice—it checked the tear,
In heart and soul it wrought a change;
My father's voice was in my ear;
It whispered of revenge!
A new and fiercer feeling swept
All lingering tenderness away;
And tiger passions, which had slept
In childhood's better day,
Unknown, unfelt, arose at length
In all their own demoniac strength.
A youthful warrior of the wild,
By words deceived, by smiles beguiled,
Of crime the cheated instrument,
Upon our fatal errands went.
Through camp and town and wilderness
He tracked his victim; and, at last,
Just when the tide of hate had passed,
And milder thoughts came warm and fast,
Exulting, at my feet he cast
The bloody token of success.
O God! with what an awful power
I saw the buried past uprise,
And gather, in a single hour,
Its ghost-like memories!
And then I felt, alas! too late,
That underneath the mask of hate,
That shame and guilt and wrong had thrown
O'er feelings which they might not own,
The heart's wild love had known no change;
And still that deep and hidden love,
With its first fondness, wept above
The victim of its own revenge!
There lay the fearful scalp, and there
The blood was on its pale brown hair!
I thought not of the victim's scorn,
I thought not of his baleful guile,
My deadly wrong, my outcast name,
The characters of sin and shame
On heart and forehead drawn;
I only saw that victim's smile,
The still, green places where we met,—
The moonlit branches, dewy wet;
I only felt, I only heard
The greeting and the parting word,—
The smile, the embrace, the tone, which made
An Eden of the forest shade.
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