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 In the wood and in the sky,
Shriller than the scream of bird,
Than the trumpet's clang more high!
Every wolf-cave of the hills,
Forest arch and mountain gorge,
Rock and dell, and river verge,
With an answering echo thrills.
Well does the Jesuit know that cry,
Which summons the Norridgewock to die,
And tells that the foe of his flock is nigh.
He listens, and hears the rangers come,
With loud hurrah, and jar of drum,
And hurrying feet (for the chase is hot),
And the short, sharp sound of rifle shot,
And taunt and menace,—answered well
By the Indians' mocking cry and yell,—
The bark of dogs,—the squaw's mad scream,
The dash of paddles along the stream,
The whistle of shot as it cuts the leaves
Of the maples around the church's eaves,
And the gride of hatchets fiercely thrown,
On wigwam-log and tree and stone.
Black with the grime of paint and dust,
Spotted and streaked with human gore,
A grim and naked head is thrust
Within the chapel-door.
“Ha—Bomazeen! In God's name say,
What mean these sounds of bloody fray?”
Silent, the Indian points his hand
To where across the echoing glen
Sweep Harmon's dreaded ranger-band,
And Moulton with his men.
“Where are thy warriors, Bomazeen?
Where are De Rouville1and Castine,
And where the braves of Sawga's queen?”
“Let my father find the winter snow
Which the sun drank up long moons ago!
Under the falls of Tacconock,
The wolves are eating the Norridgewock;
Castine with his wives lies closely hid
Like a fox in the woods of Pemaquid!
On Sawga's banks the man of war
Sits in his wigwam like a squaw;
Squando has fled, and Mogg Megone,
Struck by the knife of Sagamore John,
Lies stiff and stark and cold as a stone.”
Fearfully over the Jesuit's face,
Of a thousand thoughts, trace after trace,
Like swift cloud-shadows, each other chase.
One instant, his fingers grasp his knife,
For a last vain struggle for cherished life,—
1 Hertel de Rouville was an active and unsparing enemy of the English. He was the leader of the combined French and Indian forces which destroyed Deerfield and massacred its inhabitants, in 1703. He was afterwards killed in the attack upon Haverhill. Tradition says that, on examining his dead body, his head and face were found to be perfectly smooth, without the slightest appearance of hair or beard.
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