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No signs of weary age are there.
His step is firm, his eye is keen.
Nor years in broil and battle spent,
Nor toil, nor wounds, nor pain have bent
The lordly frame of old Castine.
No purpose now of strife and blood
Urges the hoary veteran on:
The fire of conquest and the mood
Of chivalry have gone.
A mournful task is his,—to lay
Within the earth the bones of those
Who perished in that fearful day,
When Norridgewock became the prey
Of all unsparing foes.
Sadly and still, dark thoughts between,
Of coming vengeance mused Castine,
Of the fallen chieftain Bomazeen,
Who bade for him the Norridgewocks
Dig up their buried tomahawks
For firm defence or swift attack;
And him whose friendship formed the tie
Which held the stern self-exile back
From lapsing into savagery;
Whose garb and tone and kindly glance
Recalled a younger, happier day,
And prompted memory's fond essay,
To bridge the mighty waste which lay
Between his wild home and that gray,
Tall chateau of his native France,
Whose chapel bell, with far-heard din,
Ushered his birth-hour gayly in,
And counted with its solemn toll
The masses for his father's soul.
Hark! from the foremost of the band
Suddenly bursts the Indian yell;
For now on the very spot they stand
Where the Norridgewocks fighting fell.
No wigwam smoke is curling there;
The very earth is scorched and bare:
And they pause and listen to catch a sound
Of breathing life,—but there comes not one,
Save the fox's bark and the rabbit's bound;
But here and there, on the blackened ground,
White bones are glistening in the sun.
And where the house of prayer arose,
And the holy hymn, at daylight's close,
And the aged priest stood up to bless
The children of the wilderness,
There is naught save ashes sodden and dank;
And the birchen boats of the Norridgewock,
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