Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

As the pale faces sweat to raise

Their scanty fields of corn,
While he, the monarch of the boundless wood,
By sport, or hairbrained rapine, wins his food.

A moment, and the pageant's gone;

The red men are no more;
The palefaced strangers stand alone

Upon the river's shore;
And the proud wood king, who their arts disdained,
Finds but a bloody grave, where once he reigned.

The forest reels beneath the stroke

Of sturdy woodman's axe;
The earth receives the white man's yoke,

And pays her willing tax
Of fruits, and flowers, and golden harvest fields,
And all that nature to blithe labour yields.

Then growing hamlets rear their heads,

And gathering crowds expand,
Far as my fancy's vision spreads,

O’er many a boundless land,
Till what was once a world of savage strife,
Teems with the richest gifts of social life.

Empire to empire swift succeeds,

Each happy, great, and free;

ODE

TO

JAMESTOWN.

265

One empire still another breeds,

A giant progeny,
To war upon the pigmy gods of earth,
The tyrants, to whom ignorance gave birth.

Then, as I turn my thoughts to trace

The fount whence these rich waters sprung
I glance toward this lonely place,

And find it, these rude stones among.
Here rest the sires of millions, sleeping sound
The Argonauts, the golden fleece that found.

Their names have been forgotten long;

The stone, but not a word, remains ;
They cannot live in deathless song,

Nor breathe in pious strains.
Yet this sublime obscurity, to me
More touching is, than poet's rhapsody.

They live in millions that now breathe ;

They live in millions yet unborn,
And pious gratitude shall wreathe

As bright a crown as e'er was worn,
And hang it on the green-leaved bough,
That whispers to the nameless dead below.

No one that inspiration drinks ;

No one that loves his native land;

No one that reasons, feels, or thinks,

Can 'mid these lonely ruins stand, Without a moistened eye, a grateful tear, Of reverent gratitude to those that moulder here.

The mighty shade now hovers round

Of Him whose strange, yet bright career, Is written on this sacred ground,

In letters that no time shall sere; Who in the old world smote the turbaned crew, And founded Christian empires in the new.

And she! the glorious Indian maid,

The tutelary of this land,
The angel of the woodland shade,

The miracle of God's own hand,
Who joined man's heart, to woman's softest grace,
And thrice redeemed the scourgers of her race.

Sister of charity and love,

Whose life blood was soft Pity's tide,
Dear Goddess of the sylvan grove.

Flower of the Forest, nature's pride,
He is no man who does not bend the knee,
And she no woman who is not like thee!

Jamestown, and Plymouth's hallowed rock,

To me shall ever sacred be

ODE TO JAMESTOWN.

267

I care not who my themes may mock,

Or sneer at them and me.
I envy not the brute who here can stand,
Without a prayer for his own native land.

And if the recreant crawl her earth,

Or breathe Virginia's air,
Or, in New England claim his birth,

From the old Pilgrims there,
He is a bastard, if he dare to mock,
Old Jamestown's shrine, or Plymouth's famous rock.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Thou who art hid for ever from these eyes, Thou who hast lain so long in that dark sleep, Unconscious that thy mother still doth weep

Beside thy early tomb with heavy sighs, –

My own fair child, thy voice no more replies
To the accustomed call of her whose tone
Dies on the chilly wind unheard, unknown.

My child, thy spirit bending from the skies,

Can view the wretched in the hour of prayer. Look on me now—and though it may not be

That I shall trace thy heavenly form in airShadow immortal that I cannot see,

0! wander round, and I shall deem I hear Thy low voice whisper-“Weep no more for me.”

« AnteriorContinuar »