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Methinks it were a nobler sight
To see these vales in woods arrayed, Their summits in the golden light,
Their trunks in grateful shade, And herds of deer, that bounding go O’er rills and prostrate trees below.
And then to mark the lord of all,
The forest hero, trained to wars, Quivered and plumed, and lithe and tall,
And seamed with glorious scars, Walk forth, amid his reign, to dare The wolf, and grapple with the bear.
This bank, in which the dead were laid,
Was sacred when its soil was ours ; Hither the artless Indian maid
Brought wreaths of beads and flowers, And the gray chief and gifted seer Worshipped the God of thunders here.
But now the wheat is green and high
On clods that hid the warrior's breast, And scattered in the furrows lie
The weapons of his rest,
And there, in the loose sand, is thrown
Of his large arm the mouldering bone.
Ah little thought the strong and brave,
Who bore their lifeless chieftain forth ; Or the young wife, that weeping gave
Her first-born to the earth, That the pale race, who waste us now, Among their bones should guide the plough.
They waste us-aye-like April snow
In the warm noon, we shrink away ;
And fast they follow, as we go
Towards the setting day,—
Till they shall fill the land, and we
Are driven into the western sea.
But I behold a fearful sign,
To which the white men's eyes are blind; Their race may vanish hence, like mine,
And leave no trace behind,
Save ruins o'er the region spread,
And the white stones above the dead.
Before these fields were shorn and tilled,
Full to the brim our rivers flowed;
The melody of waters filled
The fresh and boundless wood;
And torrents dashed, and rivulets played,
And fountains spouted in the shade.
Those grateful sounds are heard no more,
The springs are silent in the sun,
The rivers, by the blackening shore,
With lessening current run;
The realm our tribes are crushed to get
May be a barren desert yet.
THE GRAVES OF THE PATRIOTS.
Here rest the great and good-here they repose
After their generous toil. A sacred band,
They take their sleep together, while the year
Comes with its early flowers to deck their graves,
And gathers them again, as Winter frowns.
Theirs is no vulgar sepulchre-green sods
Are all their monument, and yet it tells
A nobler history, than pillared piles,
Or the eternal pyramids. They need
No statue nor inscription to reveal
Their greatness. It is round them, and the joy
With which their children tread the hallowed ground
That holds their venerated bones, the peace
That smiles on all they fought for, and the wealth
That clothes the land they rescued,—these, though
As feeling ever is when deepest,—these
Are monuments more lasting, than the fanes
Reared to the kings and demigods of old.
Touch not the ancient elms, that bend their shade Over their lowly graves; beneath their boughs There is a solemn darkness, even at noon, Suited to such as visit at the shrine Of serious liberty. No factious voice Called them unto the field of generous fame, But the pure consecrated love of home.
No deeper feeling sways us, when it wakes
In all its greatness. It has told itself
To the astonished gaze of awe-struck kings,
At Marathon, at Bannockburn, and here,
Where first our patriots sent the invader back
Broken and cowed. Let these green elms be all
To tell us where they fought, and where they lie.
Their feelings were all nature, and they need
No art to make them known. They live in us,
While we are like them, simple, hardy, bold,
Worshipping nothing but our own pure hearts,
And the one universal Lord. They need
No column pointing to the heaven they sought,
To tell us of their home. The heart itself,
Left to its own free purpose, hastens there,
And there alone reposes. Let these elms
Bend their protecting shadow o'er their graves,
And build with their green roof the only fane,
Where we may gather on the hallowed day,
That rose to them in blood, and set in glory.
Here let us meet, and while our motionless lips
Give not a sound, and all around is mute
In the deep sabbath of a heart too full
For words or tears-here let us strew the sod
With the first flowers of spring, and make to them
An offering of the plenty, Nature gives,
And they have rendered ours--perpetually.
Thou who would'st see the lovely and the wild
Mingled in harmony on Nature's face,
Ascend our rocky mountains. Let thy foot
Fail not with weariness, for on their tops
The beauty and the majesty of earth
Spread wide beneath, shall make thee to forget
The steep and toilsome way. There, as thou stand'st
The haunts of men below thee, and above
The mountain summits, thy expanding heart
Shall feel a kindred with that loftier world
To which thou art translated, and partake
The enlargement of thy vision. Thou shalt look
Upon the green and rolling forest tops,
And down into the secrets of the glens,
And streams, that with their bordering thickets strive
To hide their windings. Thou shalt gaze, at once,
Here on white villages and tilth and herds
And swarming roads, and there on solitudes
That only hear the torrent and the wind
And eagle's shriek. There is a precipice
That seems a fragment of some mighty wall
Built by the hand that fashioned the old world
To separate its nations, and thrown down
When the flood drowned them. To the north a path
Conducts you up the narrow battlement.
Steep is the western side, shaggy and wild
With mossy trees, and pinnacles of flint,