Where are our Chiefs of old? Where our Heroes of mighty name?
The fields of their battles are silent—scarce their mossy tombs remain!
















               ADAM KIDD.

      MONTREAL, January 25, 1830.




At a time when Poetry has received the highest polish, from the master hands of a BYRON and a MOORE, it seems almost rashness in a youthful bard to attempt to cull, from the banks of Helicon, even one leaf of the immortal baccalia, to adorn his aspiring brow — while the consequences may prove as serious before the ordeal of Criticism as the efforts of Pliny, who perished in the fire of Vesuvius, while searching into the cause of the beauteous, but destructive element.

     The little birch canoe, in which I have safely glided through the tranquil lakes of the Canadas, could not securely venture on the boiling surge, and foaming breakers, over which Childe Harold and Lalla Rookh triumphantly rode in their magnificent Gondolas.

     It is not, however, my intention to trouble the readers of the “HURON CHIEF” with useless apologies for the defects that it may possess, knowing that a poem of such length can scarcely be free from errors; and, particularly, when written, without much opportunity for correction, on the inner rind of birch bark, during my travels through the immense forests of America, and under many difficulties and privations, arising from causes that I must, for the present, avoid mentioning. The innocent, and unassuming, friendly treatment that I experienced among the Indians, together with the melancholy recital of the deep wrongs which they received from those calling themselves “Christians,” induced me to undertake this dramatic poem.

     From the days of the American Revolution until this very hour, the poor Indians have been so cruelly treated, and driven from their homes and hunting-grounds, by the boasted freemen of the United States, that the MOHICANS, the NARAGANSETTS, the DELAWARES, and others, once powerful Tribes, have now become totally extinct — while the remaining Nations are daily dwindling away, and in a few years hence will scarcely leave a memorial to perpetuate their names, as the once mighty rulers of the vast American regions. I am fully aware, that the “HURON CHIEF” will draw on me the censure of many — but this is no consideration, since I can fairly and honestly plead the correctness of my observations. Many of the Indian Tribes have emigrated into Canada — and are now prospering, and happily enjoying the manly protection of the British Government.

     The miscellaneous poems, which follow the “HURON CHIEF,” with the exception of the one to Polyphemus, were written for amusement, during the leisure hours necessarily abstracted from a long round of professional studies, the benefits of which I have never yet reaped, owing to an accidental fall from the cloud-capped brows of a dangerous Mountain, over which I had heedlessly wandered, with all that open carelessness which is so peculiarly the characteristic of poetic feeling.

     In the lines addressed to the Rev. Polyphemeus, perhaps I have been too severe, having written them at a moment when my every feeling was deeply touched by a sad and a serious disappointment. Let such be my apology!

     The liberal and friendly encouragement with which my first attempt has been so highly favoured, and particularly in the Canadas — fifteen hundred copies being already called for — will induce me to follow up, in a more extensive volume, the Tales and Traditions of the Indians, which I have personally collected among them, together with local descriptions of the numerous cascades, stupendous cataracts, and majestic scenery of the country, which for beauty and grandeur remain unrivalled in the universe.

     The poem of the HURON CHIEF has made such an impression on the Indian warriors to whom it has been communicated, that it will shortly be translated into their respective tongues, by SAWENNOWANE, and other Chiefs, equally celebrated and intelligent, who speak and write several languages.

The Huron Chief

On Huron’s banks, one summer-day,
When all things bloomed with beauty gay,
I wandered undisturbed and free,
       Nor heard a sound, save wood-doves cooing,
Or birds that tapped the hollow tree,
       Where owlets sat, their play-mates wooing,
And harmony had filled the throng
Of pleasure, as I moved along.

’Twas thus, in rapture, I was bound,
Where ev’ry beauty smiled around,

That could delight the poet’s heart,
       To gaze on groves, or plants, or waters,
Or even to the soul impart
       Such bliss — once felt by Eden’s daughters,
When from their homes, in pleasure’s hour,
They strayed to cull each fragrant flow’r.

Here every scene that struck the view,
Seemed wrought in nature’s richest hue,
As if to tell me, where I stood,
       No foot, before, had ever bended,

Save the great Spirit’s of the wood,
       When all the Nation’s Tribes * ascended,
That hill of green — where oft at night,
The Council-Fire displayed its light.

And as I felt my soul give way,

In purest dreams of ecstacy,
I wished that in this spot alone,
      With one kind heart to dwell forever,
With one that I could call my own,
      Enjoying scenes of bliss together,
As onward here, from bower to grove,
No tyrant hand to check our love.

Here, when my heart had fancied all,
And brought, as if by magic call,
A splendid world of fairy bliss,

      For me to make my happy dwelling,
With all the charms that hallow this —
      I heard soft words of sorrow swelling,
Like these — sent from a grove of pine,
As from a minstrel-voice, divine.


Happy and blest were the days of my childhood,
       And smooth rolled the current of pleasure along,
When first I delighted to stray through this wild wood,
       Breathing to echo each feeling in song.

And oft when the fire-flies sported around me,

       Shedding their clear rays like spirits of light,
I felt as if witchery’s charms had bound me,
       In all the soft ties of the purest delight.

The roe of the forest — nor beaver when playing,
       Through groves of green Sumach that bend o’er the steep,

Or through vales of luxuriance lightly straying,
       Or laying their sides in the clear liquid deep —

Enjoy not such transport, or pleasure as fired me,
       When first the bright glance of MORANKA’S black eye,
With love’s purest essence had deeply inspired me,

       And drew all my thoughts from the Spirit on high.

I loved with the fervour of Indian feeling —
       Was loved by the Chief — who as gently carest
As the breath of the morn, o’er summer-buds stealing,
       Ere Sol drinks the dew-drop that hallows their breast.


Undisturbed as the wild deer that strays o’er the mountain,
       Or lily that sleeps in its calm liquid bed,
In that arbour of green, by the gush of the fountain,
       Oft, oft has my Huron there pillowed his head.

But the hand of the white man has brought desolation —*

       Our wigwams are plundered, our homes are no more, —
And MORANKA, the glory and pride of the Nation,
       Died bravely defending the Indian’s shore.

His battle-axe hangs on that branch now before me —
       His spirit is with me wherever I go —

The broad plate that covered his breast is now o’er me,
       His arrows are shivered — but here lies the bow.


Thus from her wild, impressive song,
I caught each note that flowed along,
Till over-swayed with fond desire,
      To steal one happy glance in quiet,
I stepped behind a little pyre —
      Nor shall my heart here now deny it —
I saw, I loved the lonely one,
Because she loved her Hero gone!

There is a feeling still that flings,
Its softness o’er the young heart-strings,
And almost plays the lover’s part,
      When one like this, its pulse awaken,
With all the thrillings of the heart,
      In solitude — alone — forsaken,
To hear — to see — and not be seen —
The sorrows of an Indian Queen.

Now, all around is hushed and still,
Save the notes of Whip-poor-will —

And now deep in the tranquil lake,
      I see a sky of blue reflected —
Without one curl its orb to shake,
      As if Ĉolus had neglected,
To rouse it into life again,
But left it bound in summer’s chain.

So calm, so still, no living thing,
Was heard, but wild bees on the wing,
Flitting around from leaf to flower,
      In all the luxury of roving,
Drinking up the honey-shower —
      Just like the tender youth when loving —
Yet never satisfied to stay,
With the rose, even one short day.

Here, now I said, this silent hour,

Invites me to her lonely bower,
I will advance — she cannot fear —
      And thus I reasoned, one short minute —
My very look, must soon appear,
      And show her there’s no danger in it;
But ere the words had left my tongue,
My feet by impulse moved along.

And as I now had stepped unseen,
Before the arbour of the Queen,
Again I paused, and looked again,

      As if to sue for invitation,
But the load of sorrow’s chain,
      Still bound her in the same fixed station,
Like a statue, formed of grief —
She moumed — she wept her Huron Chief.

Then can it be that I should dare,
Her pangs of sorrow here to share,
Or even venture to obtrude,
On pure affection’s burst of sadness,
Poured forth in deepest solitude;
The act would be far more than madness —
I will not — cannot now destroy,
The bliss of tears — oft felt like joy.

I now resolved my steps to take,
Along the windings of the lake,

And glad to think I could evade
      The eyes, I long had wished to gaze on,
When from a close, dark tangled shade,
      A hoary Chief, whom age delays on,
Addressed me thus, in accents clear,
As if an angel whispered near.
Stranger! whither wouldst thou stray,
      I wish to guide thy wand’ring feet,
This is not the white man’s way,
      Another path we soon shall meet.

I’m the Chieftain of this mountain —
      Times, and seasons,* found me here —
My drink has been the crystal fountain —
     My food the wild moose or the deer.

And though much sorrow I have found,

      Since first the white man touched our shore —
Nought here but miseries abound,
      And pleasures we can taste no more.

But though I’ve shared the worst of ills,
      The Christian foe-man could devise —

Yet, on those wild, untravelled hills,
      Of him I’d make no sacrifice.

My soul disdains a coward’s deed —
      My heart and hand shall freely give,
Relief to all who stand in need,

      While on Lake Huron’s banks I live.
Thus spoke the noble Indian Sage,
      As from a grove of infant pine,
He stepped, in all the grace of age,
      And looked as if a saint divine.

His language o’er my feelings stole,
      Like notes of pleasure on the ear,
Or joys flung o’er the drooping soul,
      When hope itself had ceased to cheer.

I felt each throb of fear give way,

      While tracing every line of grief,
That on his withered visage lay,
      And thus addressed the aged Chief:

Sire — I’m not the Indian’s foe —
     No hostile hand I bear to thee:

My bosom feels for others’ woe,
      And my affections run as free,

As yon clear stream that winds along,
      The velvet borders of the wood,
To mingle with the mighty throng,

      Of waters in their destined flood.

I am a stranger — here before
      My feet have never dared to tread,
Nor touch the verdure of the shore,
      Where Huron laves his pebbled bed.


But now, since mutual converse brings,
      The heart’s best feelings purely out,
And o’er the soul such candour flings,
      That we can neither fear nor doubt —

Permit me here, to ask the name,

      Of one who proves so much a friend —
Unpurchased by the hope of fame,
      Or aught that could such worth extend.

My name, replied the gentle sage,
      Is SKENANDOW — once known afar,

When first the white man felt the rage,
      Of Indians, in defensive war.

But here, in converse, while we stood,
      Shaded from the sunny ray —
A youth, emerging from the wood,

Thus sung his plaintive melody.


There is a grief,
Beyond relief,
      Now pressing on my soul,
With all the pain,
That can remain,
In sorrow’s tainted bowl.

And I must sup,
The baneful cup —
      Misfortune stamps my lot —

Nor will bestow,
On me below,
      One peaceful — little spot!

There was a time,
When joys sublime,

      Beat proudly in my heart —
And I could share,
Such pleasures, rare,
      As love, and bliss, impart.

But here I stray,

From day to day,
      And pass my hours alone —
The maid, revered —
To me endeared —
      Is dead! — forever gone!


Now, when the youth had ceased to sing,
       And echo brought the ling’nng tone,
Upon the Zephyr’s mellowed wing,
       — “Is dead! — forever gone!”

The aged Chief resumed again,

       The freedom of his gentle speech,
As slow we moved across the plain,
       That winds along the sloping beach.

That youth, he said, whose plaintive song,
       Has just now melted on the ear,

As through the woods he strayed along —
       Nor thought that we were standing near —

Is one of SIOUX’ noble race,
       Who well the battle-axe could wield —
Nor would the Indian name disgrace,

       When honour called him to the field.

Pure, gen’rous love, his soul inspired,
       For TA-POO-KA,* of raven hair —
He sought — he gained what he desired —
       And love the fondest joined the pair.


But Fate, that ever loves to throw
       An evil shade o’er joys like this,
Was sure to bring a drop of woe,
       To mingle with their cup of bliss!

And soon he found, that heart and hand,

       He fancied his — and his forever —
Were, by a father’s fixed command,
       Now destined from him here to sever!

Yet, TA-POO-KA, full well he knew,
       Possessed a heart, too pure to dread,

That aught on earth could it subdue,
       Till death had wrapped it with the dead!

But ere the coming of that time,
       Which mutual love had marked to be
The witness of such joys sublime,


       As crown the marriage jubilee —

A father’s mandate had declared,
       That she must be another’s bride —
The day was fixed — all things prepared,
       To adorn the wedding fireside.


And now the marriage feast was laid,
       Midst guests assembled from afar,
Who, having to MANITTO* prayed,
       Salute the beauteous bridal-star.

The eve was fine — no breath to shake

       The verdant leaves that o’er them hung —
And far across the glassy lake,
       The moon a path of light had flung —

And all around, the twinkling glow
       Of fire-flies, that sported near,

Illum’d the scene, above, below,
       As if the evening’s joys to cheer.

Eye beamed on eye, while every Chief,
       Midst laughing looks, soft pleasures trace —
But in one heart there lay a grief,

       Which soon must find a resting place.

Yes — TA-POO-KA, the trembling bride,
       Felt pangs too sadly keen to last —
Deep pangs, that with life’s flowing tide,
       Were to the inmost feeling cast.


She had resolved — the vow once made,
       And sanctioned by a stainless heart,
Could never, never he betrayed,
       Till from her bosom life depart; —

An aged Chief she could not wed,

       And break the pledge already given —
Ah no! she’d rather seek the dead,
       And risk the mercy sent by heaven.

With thoughts like these upon her mind,
       She from her father’s cabin stole —

When festive pleasures, unconfined,
       Filled high with rapture every soul.

And to a cliff, that far extends
       Its frowning horrors o’er the lake,
Her trembling step she onward bends,

       Nor seemed one minute’s pause to make.

Then, from the gloomy brink above —
       Where nought a female foot could urge,
Save the keen power of maddening love —
       She plunged within the foaming surge!


There, ever since, the spirit-bride,
       When night-shades round are closing dim,
In her canoe, is seen to glide,
       Across the curling water’s brim.



The Huron paused — and I could trace 305
In every line that marked his face,
Feelings he wished not to impart —
       Yet, now and then, saddest throbs would spring,
From the pained recess of the heart,
       The herald of his deep sorrowing —
Like the tear that brings relief,
The mute interpreter of grief.

Long, long upon the holy man,
My eyes with admiration ran,
Till every feeling stronger grew,

       That to his forest-home had bound me,
And even at the moment drew,
       Such scenes of bliss enchanting round me,
That Europe’s pomp I’d quick resign,
To dwell within his groves of pine.



With such a man, poor GOLDSMITH might have stood,
To see “the luxury of doing good” —
And here, where nature’s child delights to stray,
Might gladly pass the lengthen’d summer day,
Where, undisturbed, the Indian finds repose,
Midst arbours scented by the blushing rose.
       Oh! what a spot, to make one minute’s pause,
And feel the transport contemplation draws,
While every prospect rising to the view,
Half tells the joys our happier fathers knew,
Before the plans of art had come between,
And made of beauty’s shades a barren scene.
       Oh, happy home! where nought but nature’s plan
Is felt, and practised, by contented man;
No shifting system here we ever trace,
But all things have their own, their proper place.
No half-taught Noble, from the Charter-school,
Whose wealth, and vanity, are sure to rule,
Can here disturb that peace, that tranquil good,
Which cheers the freeman of the bount’ous wood.



Here, from the silence sorrow brought,
Deep wrapped in melancholy thought,
Like the gloom of saddening pain —
       The Huron Chief, with deepest feeling,
Thus touched the pliant chords again,
       Of conversation — gently stealing
O’er a heart, long unknown to ease —
In words which much resemble these.



Friend — since we’ve past this summer day
       In mutual converse here alone,
Till now the sun’s last parting ray
       Is faintly o’er the waters thrown —

I fondly ask, that you would share
       The Indian wigwam for the night —
Nor think that danger lodges there,

       Or aught that could the heart affright.

Ah no! — the Huron has a soul
       Untainted by the coward’s deed —
And bravery beyond control,
       When summoned forth in time of need.


Then come — we’ll now our path pursue
       By yon dark grove of lofty pine,
Where oft the wild deer rambles through,
       Or loves in silence to recline.

The moon now gleaming o’er the trees,

       Will be the evening’s modest guide —
And still the rustling of the leaves
       Will cheer us to the cabin side.



Such nobleness of word and thought,
So highly every feeling wrought,
That here I could not once refuse,*
       The friendship of his invitation —
Or even shyness seem to use,
       When thus, the hero of a nation,
Had kindly asked that I might share
The bounties of his cabin, rare.

Then, on our winding path we bend,
Where elm, and oak, their shades extend —
And all the beauties of the way,
       Like fairy visions placed around us,

Almost allured the heart to stay,
       Where nature’s lovely charms half bound us,
In scented groves of sweet delight,
Now hallowed by the moon’s pale light.

Oh! here, I said, where heaven bestows,

On every plant and shrub that grows,
The fragrance of a spicy clime —
       How blest to share the raptures in it,
Until the fleeting glass of time
       Had number’d up life’s closing minute,
And I might tum, to take one view
Of earth’s last joys — then breathe adieu!

While thus my fancy loved to trace,
The charms of this romantic place,
A sudden light burst on the view,

       The sweetest joys of home unfolding,
As near, and nearer, still we drew,
       Heaven’s purest transports there beholding,
Where all around the bright fire gay,
The children of the forest play.

All, all the Huron Chief address,
With smiles and words of tendemess,
And in each heart there seem ’d to run,
       The generous glow of kindred feeling,
Mingled with soft mirth and fun,
       When thus, a melody came stealing,
So soft, so sweet, so purely clear,
An angel might have paused to hear.



Hail, hail to the Chieftain that stands now before us,
      The greatest, the bravest the Huron can boast —
Yet mild as the moon-beam now gently thrown o’er us,
      And pure as the spirits that brighten our coast.

Our hearts beat with rapture, when here we behold him,
      And love’s fondest impulse tells how he’s caress’d,
While the youths from our wigwams rush out to enfold him,

      And clasp, with affection, the Chief to their breast.

’Tis SKENANDOW’s name we still love to awaken,
      And give to the light air that fans our wild groves,
When by it each young leaf is tenderly shaken,
      As onward, through shades of green elm, it roves.


But now, round the fire that brilliantly sparkles,
      We’ll join the light dance with hearts happy and gay,
Where the young eye of love still occasion’ly darkles,
      Beneath the long lashes that shadow its ray.

Then here, in this bower kind heaven has granted,

      Where rose-buds, and violets, perfume the blest night,
And the Chief of the Hurons the Peace-tree* has planted,
      We’ll spend this sweet hour of happy delight.



Oh! what a beauteous, charming scene,
On that pure, downy, tufted green,
To see the children of the grove,
       With hearts that felt no touch but pleasure,
Thus linked in social, tender love,
       Where flowing joys seemed without measure,
Beneath a verdant maple shade,
Which Nature’s God alone had made.

And never did the orb of night,
Fling forth her modest beams of light,
On such a prospect of sweet bliss,
       As laughing here she might discover,

In one short hour, so dear as this —
       Much like the time some youthful lover
Steals out to meet his wished-for bride,
Close by some shady garden side.

E’en here Ulysses might have strayed,

When first he wooed his mountain-maid,
And half his native home forgot,
       Seduced by love’s enchanting power —
To fancy this delightful spot,
       As charming as Calypso’s bower,
Where two kind hearts might rapture share,
As happy as an Eden pair.

And I would tell the polished man,
Brought up in Europe’s fashioned plan,
That never could his formal art,

       Or all that school-taught lore has given,
Such graceful happiness impart,
       As cheers the Indian’s forest heaven —
Who gives, or asks, with greatest ease,
Whate’er his heart or soul can please.

The Huron Chief now gently takes
The Horn, which thrilling rapture wakes,
And gives the signal for the dance —
       When youth, with youth, feeling joy’s excess,
Moves in some eye’s bewitching glance,
       With all the sweet charms of playfullness,
Light as the musk-roe, when it treads
Upon the violet-sprinkled beds.

Here, as I gazed upon the throng,
And caught each mingling breath of song,

My heart almost began to feel
       A glow — like love’s too sure emotion —
Directly to its center steal,
       And wake a thrill of soft devotion —
Yet, who will blame me when I tell,
I loved KEMANA over well!

Nor could I view such eyes of jet,
And easily their power forget —
Such power, as into sweetest love,
       Can warm the heart’s intensest feeling,

While breathings, soft as from a dove,
       Come o’er the ear enraptured stealing,
Giving life its happiest tone,
While worshipping her eyes alone.*

Now, on this velvet-cushioned spot,

Where all my woes seem quite forgot —
And God has given an ample share —
       With KEMANA I’d dwell forever,
Nor backward tum one thought of care,
       Till death itself the tie should sever —
The tie that bound me to this bower,
Where life has passed its happiest hour.

Oh! never since my boy-hood’s days,
When o’er SLIEVEGALLIN’s mantled braes,
Ere thought, or reason, took command,

       I strayed with heart as light as feather,
Or raised my rude, unguarded hand,
       To slay the bee lodged in the heather —
Have joys so stainless touched my heart,
As those which now their bliss impart.

Yet, be our transports e ’er so sweet,
Another hour we’re apt to meet,
Which disapproves the one gone by,
       And stands the Sage to show its errors —
Thus man moves on through destiny,
       With wiser acts — all free from terrors —
Till every moment of the past,
Seems fool, or madman, to the last.

For me, I hate all whining cant,
And, doubly so, the Churchman’s rant,

If even sent from sides of iron,
       By hill, by dale, by grot, or fountain,
Against the great, immortal BYRON!
       In all the poising of a M***T**N,
Who nothing loves, but what’s his own,
Or some thing else that wears a gown.

But I have wandered here too far —
Yet, who the Muse’s flight can mar,
Or even stop her in her way?
       When once her wing is full extended,

No human art her power can stay,
       Till she her destined course has ended,
Then lights again, all fair and mild,
MNEMOSYNE’s* enchanting child.

From this last theme I find relief,

To turn and view the Huron Chief,
Where, like some noble lord of man,
       In all the dignity of feeling,
He stands, surrounded by his clan;
       In every look and act revealing,
The fondness of parental care,
Which all around him freely share.

Here now the fire’s flaming light,
Seemed mingling with the stars of night,
Till every leaf, and plant, and flower,

       In burnished beauty smiled around us,
Illumining the happy bower,
       Where love enchanting fondly bound us,
Midst a glow of heavenly bliss,
Which few on earth have shared, like this.

Oh! what a circle now appears,
Where smiling joy each moment cheers,
Giving to love so sweet a tone,
       As makes the heart forget its sorrows,
To gaze on jetty eyes alone,
       With every thrill that pleasure borrows,
From looks that wear so chaste a hue,
When half the soul seems shining through.

And how the mind delights to trace
The beauties of a lovely face,*

Where only nature’s hand had wrought,
       The softest charms — by art unaided —
And into pure perfection brought
       Each tint — which glossy locks had shaded,
On a brow of pleasing dye,
As smiled beneath a sunny sky.

Yes — on KEMANA I could gaze,
And ever love to sing her praise,
Till life’s warm stream should cease to flow,
       Or my loved harp’s last chord be broken,

And ruin o’er its frame should throw
       The shade, which brings a silent token,
That harp, and bard, and all had fled,
To moulder with the lonely dead.

Thus, thus my fancy led me o’er

New joys, unfelt — unseen before —
Till every bliss that seemed unfurled,
       Proclaimed the Indian’s richest treasure —
Pure emblems of another world —
       And I had paused, to hear with pleasure,
The Huron Chief thus speak again,
In friendship’s softest, kindest strain.



There is to me a transport given,
       While here I view my children all,
Beneath a starry sprinkled heaven,
       Enjoying pleasure’s festival.

And still I hope my days shall run,
       Thus marked with friendship’s softest hue,
Until my life’s last setting sun
       Shall throw its parting beams on you.


And when beside yon cedar grove,
       I’m left in silence calm to sleep,
The Indian there at times may rove,
       Or make a pause, perchance to weep.

Yes — he may weep, and backward throw

       One thought upon this brilliant night;
And breathe the name of SKENANDOW
       Who loved the Huron with delight.

Now, as the oak upon the hill,
       Whose aged branches feel decay,


The steams of life begin to chill,
       And all my vigour wastes away.

The season’s gone, when I could trace
       The foot-steps of the bounding roe,
Till, in the long directed chase,


       I raised the never-erring bow; —

But my worn heart no more can bear
       The toils that once were rendered sweet;
Ah no! — Time’s hand lies heavy there,
       And ruin seems almost complete.


Oft, in my boy-hood’s cheerful hour,
       Through these green woods I’ve loved to stray,
And chase the bee from leaf to flower,
       Or with the little Chipmunk* play.

Yes — I have felt my days glide by,

       Without one touch of earthly care,
To damp the glow of ecstasy,
       Which youthful hearts alone can share.

But all such joys have passed away,
       Just like soft music’s thrilling tone,


When every look, and heart, was gay,
       And soul, with soul, seemed linked in one.

Yet, with this remnant* of my tribe,
       My life shall gladly meet its close —
And on that spot — which I prescribe —

       There let my sorrows find repose!



Thus spoke the very aged Sire,
To all assembled round the fire —
Which threw its flame across the heaven,
       In all the brilliancy of beauty,

Like a burnished cloud at even,
       Illumining man’s path to duty,
When he hears upon the air,
The vesper-bell invite to prayer.

Oh! what a hallowed, charming hour,

In nature’s sweet, romantic bower,
To see the Indian lift his eyes,
       With purest feelings of devotion,
To his own unclouded skies,
       Until the heart’s deep felt emotion,

From his lips, in strains of love,
Is to the Spirit sent above.

And I have thought this spot to be
A type of that pure sanctu’ry,
Where, first repenting, man had trod,

       When by some holy angel guided,
To talk in prayer alone with God —
       And, having in his love confided,
Felt the balm of sweet relief,
When rescued from his load of grief.

It was a pure, a holy sight,
In the lone silence of the night,
To see devotion’s fervent soul,*
       By Nature’s God alone directed,
Beyond the pressure of control,

       Pursue a path not once neglected,
To a sunny sphere of bliss,
Possessing joys unknown in this.

Here, as I pictured every good,
That seemed to cheer the bount’ous wood,

The happy Tribe retired to rest,
       On cedar boughs, and skins of beaver,
Soft as the down that clothes the breast
       Of infant swan, or snow-bird ever —
And thus, my life’s first happy day,
’Midst scenes the purest, moved away.



Soon as the morning’s cheerful light
Had thrown aside the veil of night —
And having breathed my parting prayer,
       To Chief — to youth — and all around me —

But most to one that lingered there —
       To one, that by love’s magic bound me —
Along the Lake’s smooth, shelving side,
I wandered with my chosen guide.

And as I marked each brilliant scene

That bloomed in summer’s youthful green,
ALKWANWAUGH gently told the tale
       Of days, that live but in tradition —
And all the joys that cheered the vale,
       Where dwells the remnant of the Nation —

That remnant loving still to trace
The glories of the Huron race,

From ATSISTARI,* known afar,
By all his noble deeds of war —
He well recounted every name

       On mem’ry’s page — stamped in succession,
Bright as the beams of lasting fame —
       Nor seemed to make one short digression —
Through every scene of varied strife,
Until this very date of life.

From Tribe to Tribe — from Chief to Chief —
In all the pride of manly grief,
His soul of feeling led him on,
       To tell the Indian’s wrongs and sorrows —
But most of LOGAN, lately gone —
       With throbs as deep as sadness borrows,
When first the sympathising heart
Its burst of anguish would impart.

And never has attention hung,
Upon the accents of a tongue,

With truer, fonder, purer zeal,
       Than when I heard the Mingo’s story,
Which ALKWANWAUGH loved to reveal —
       Recorder of the Hero’s glory —
In words, as perfect as before,
Like these, addressed to Lord Dunmore.



Let any white man now declare,
       Whom fate impelled to wander here,
If LOGAN e’er refused to share
       His cabin and its humble cheer.

Or when the chilling blasts of wind,
       And hunger forcibly assailed,
His wearied heart — did he not find
       That LOGAN’s care o’er all prevailed?

And when destructive war’s fell rage —


       In many battles, lost and gained,
Regardless still of youth or age,
       Its bloody conflict still maintained.

Such was the love I bore the whites,
       I stood the advocate of peace,


And yielded more than half my rights,
       While striving others to release:

Till every Indian, as he pass’d,
       His home and country to defend,
On me his eyes indignant cast —


       Said, “LOGAN is the white man’s friend!”

But still, regardless of the blame
       My Country’s heroes threw on me,
I ever hoped to check the flame,
       And with my counsels set them free.


But Perfidy, that foulest stain —
       Which to the whites its gifts impart — *
For every good inflicted pain,
       And roused the fury of my heart.

Then, then, the battle-axe I drew,


       And with an arm long skilled in war,
On Kanhaway’s proud banks I slew,
       Each white that sought its force to mar.

And still, my wives and children all,
       Whose murdered bodies clothe the ground,

To me for vengeance loudly call,
       Nor can I look in silence round; —

For now, beneath yon glowing sun,
       There neither lives, nor breathes, one creature —
Where e’en one drop of blood can run,


       To stamp the last — the Mingo’s* feature!

But, since my vengeance is complete,
       And I’ve appeased the mighty dead —
I stand life’s darkest ills to meet,
       Nor any power does LOGAN dread.


Yet, for the happy beams of peace,
       And for my country’s good alone,
I now rejoice at this release
       From evils — though untimely gone.

But do not harbour one foul thought,


       That mine can be the ‘JOY OF FEAR’—
Ah, no — this heart was never brought
       To yield to mortal, sword, or spear.

Nor would I, in the field of strife,
       One second on my heel there turn,

If certain then to save my life —
       Where none for LOGAN stops to mourn!



Such was the tale — and such the man,
Designed to show that noble plan,
Which Nature formed for one and all,
       When Freedom — first her gifts bestowing —
Had summoned at her magic call
       Proud hearts, with noble ardour glowing,
To worship at her holy shrine,
And share the cup of bliss divine.

When thus imagination strays
To gather joy from other days,
The real sorrows of our own
       Seem mantled with some bright illusion,
Until the spell aside is thrown,
       And we can view the dark confusion
Of gloomy images, that pass
Before life’s party coloured glass.

Still, if one pleasure earth bestows,
To make the heart forget its woes,

And steal it from itself away —
       This lovely wood must be the dwelling,
Of all that pleasure can pourtray,
       Where beauty — beauty seems excelling,
In summer’s sweet enchanting smile,

Around the spirit-guarded Isle.*

Here, while the captive eye surveyed
The mingled grandeur, far displayed
On every side — like Eastern bowers,
       Where some young Hinda oft reposes —


Or strays alone, in sunny hours,
       ’Mong arbours blushing with sweet roses —
A hunter, in his birch canoe,
Sailed o’er the dimpling wave of blue.

And, as a swallow cleaves the air,

His bark ran swiffly through Saint Clair,
Nor seemed to feel the current’s force,
       In which the pliant paddle bended,
But onward kept its steady course,
       To where the Lake’s wide wave extended —

Yet, now so tranquilly at rest,
Life’s bark might slumber on its breast.

All looked so like the scenes and groves,
Through which the dreaming spirit roves,
That my wrecked heart forgot the pain

       A Mountain Demon flung before it —
While thus, the hunter’s mellowed strain,
       With soft’ning influence came o’er it,
Like breathings of some magic song,
As slow he steered his boat along.



Far o’er the lake’s extended brim,
       I see the light that guides me home —
And now my bark doth lightly skim
       The waters, onward to my dome.

And oh! ’tis sweet at day’s decline,

       When wearied with the lengthened chase,
To see yon distant lights now shine,
       And guide me to that favourite place —

Where COOSEA, mild as the dove,
       Oft cheered my heart at close of day,


And sung unmeasured strains of love —
       Such strains as stole my heart away.

Bright as our Council-fire there gleamed,
       Diffusing joy through shades of night,
Her sparkling eyes with lustre beamed,

       And cheered the heart with soft delight.

For COOSEA, had charms alone,
       That could subdue the warrior Chief,
And with each sweet, untutored tone,
       Bring to the wearied heart relief.


Yes, lovely as ALKWANWAUGH’s bride*
       More soft than down of infant beaver —
Thy touch could raise a thrilling tide,
       Of love, the purest — sweetest ever.

The swan that skims our native lakes,


       Is not so graceful in its air —
The bird* that haunts our silent brakes,
       Is not so jetty as that hair.

That hair which falls in artless grace,
       Concealing half those smiles of thine,


In which each wond’ring youth may trace,
       A soul that purely is divine.

Oh, COOSEA! I hail the shore,
       And shady bank, where oft I’ve stood,
My love-song in thine ear to pour,


       Thou sweetest daughter of the wood.

Thanks to the Indian’s God who brings
       KEKAPOO to his home again,
Where undisturbed he freely sings,
       With COOSEA to join the strain.


Then, Spirit of the great and free,
       Protect us from the white man’s laws —
We only bow, and bend to thee,
       Of Good, the Author and the Cause.



Day after day with rapture flew, 845
Unfolding ever something new —
Where’er we looked — where’er we strayed —
       By rugged cliffs — by groves, or waters —
Such varied grandeur seemed displayed
       As Nature with profusion scatters —
And every tint, and every dye,
Smiled ’neath a lovely, glowing sky.

When we had viewed the winding Lake,
To Erie* then our course we take,
Well fitted with a birch canoe,

       So neat, so light, you’d scarce discover
The motion, as it onward flew,
       The shooting rapids swiftly over —
While the trees, on either shore,
The other way seemed hurried more.

Now, o’er a clear — a placid stream —
Half burnished by the sun’s last beam,
Which through the lofty pines was thrown —
        Our little bark went proudly gliding,
As mistress of the wave alone,
       Where we in safety now were riding,
’Midst scenes majestic, and as grand
As e ’er were shaped by Nature’s hand.

We next approached a lovely bay,
Which in the woods half folded lay,

Without one motion on its breast —
       And seemed most cheerfully inviting,
As if to lull our bark to rest,
       And make each prospect more delighting —
While on its brim we cast an eye,
To trace each figure of the sky.*

Here, as we gained the velvet shore,
Where scene on scene attracted more,
A voice as soft — divinely sweet*
       As summer winds o’er rose-buds playing,


With potent magic seemed to meet
       The list’ning ear — and onward straying,
Note by note — you’d think when nigher,
Some fairy hand had touched the lyre.

In such a place — in such an hour —

It looked as if enchanting power,
With Syren spells to lure away
       The heart to some unthought of danger,
And make but an ignoble prey
       Of one, to evils not a stranger —

Of one, who seldom tasted bliss —
Then, if deceit — none sweet as this!

But soon we found the pleasing tone
Was breathed by one that sat alone,
Upon a little hillock’s side,

       With cedar branches spreading o’er her,
As if her slender form to hide,
       Where shrubs and flowers bloomed before her —
Forming a most delightful spot,
For one, whom all but one forgot.

So lightly did our birch canoe*
Steal o’er the bay of liquid blue,
That easily was heard the song,
       That touched the very soul of feeling,
As on the breeze it sighed along,
       And softly to the heart appealing,
In words I never can forget,
So sweet, their tones seem breathing yet.



Here now, beneath this lonely shade,
       Far, far from home, I sit reposing,

And listen to the wild cascade,
       While evening’s curtain round is closing,
And every bird, with spirit gay,
Sings, sweetly sings its vesper lay.

Yet, oh! how happy here to dwell,

       With my young Chief — my Indian lover —
And all this bosom’s feeling tell,
       Of sorrows past, and dangers over,
Until the heart again would feel
New dreams of rapture o’er it steal.

While now the sporting fire-flies play,
       Where from yon rock the streamlet gushes,
Or frolic o’er the azure bay,
       Or pause among the bending rushes —
To me their joys awake again

All that of pleasure can remain.

The little frog* perched on the tree,
       As if to tell of pleasant weather,
Sings its wild song in ecstacy,
       Till, meeting in concert together,


The bull-toad, from the swamp remote,
Sends forth a louder — harsher note.

But here upon the evening air —
       The verdure of the forest shaking —
I’ll breathe affection’s fervent prayer,

       The soul’s best sympathies awaking,
With hopes that my young hero Chief
May never feel the pain of grief.



Soon as we heard the closing sound,
And gently gained the rising ground,
We slow advanced, to steal a view
       Of one, whose voice had rapture in it,
And then, the waving branches through,
       We cast a look each anxious minute —
And oh! what joy does heaven confer —
’Twas TA-POO-KA — the loved — sat there!

And he — the brave, the Chieftain guide,
Who stood confounded by my side —
Was that young Sioux who had strayed
       On Huron’s banks, his love-dirge singing,

When SKENANDOW and I delayed,
       To hear him from his bosom bringing
A mingled tide of woe and song,
Unheeding as he moved along.

A look — a pause — and then a start,

Quick as the impulse of the heart,
With all the frenzy of surprise,
       In her fond arms soon found him folded,
While from their dark, their flowing eyes,
       Their mutual tears in one seemed moulded,
And heaving throbs responsive move,
In all the luxury of love.

When joy’s first burst was partly o’er,
And former fears could spring no more,
Then, to a path — not distant far —

       Lapped round a lovely mountain’s border,
O’er which the beauteous evening star,
       As if by heaven’s special order,
Had just now thrown its modest ray,
To light our onward, shady way.

At length, we reached her cabin-home,
Close by a little river’s foam,
Whose banks were covered, here and there,
       With many wigwams, neatly lighted,
And every flame now flung in air,
       From blazing pine-knots, all delighted —
While fishing* torches distant gleam,
And move like meteors o’er the stream.

In every look, there seemed to be
The winning smile of pleasantry,

Until they heard the saddened tale,
       Which TA-POO-KA, with tears, related
There to the matron of the vale,
       And all who with her round were seated,
On skins of softest down, that grows,
Where some young seraph might repose.

Five summer suns had passed away,
Since that, almost destructive, day,
When, rather than the youth forsake,
       To whom her every feeling bound her,

She plunged in Huron’s swelling lake —
       Where three kind Chippawas first found her,
Whom chance alone had brought to save,
And snatch her from a liquid grave.

The story of her grief was such,

As ever must the heart-strings touch,
While sympathy can linger there —
       Or man can claim a noble feeling,
To dignify his soul, and share
       The woes which others seem revealing —
Such woes, as wrecked a heart as fine
As on the western sun could shine.

Like some lone flower upon a rock,
Which lately felt the light’ning’s shock,
And faintly lifts its head unseen,

       Or on the blast its leaves now throwing,
Conveyed where happier mates, in green,
       Are all in richest beauty glowing —
Her faded form so blighted seemed,
Where eyes of loveliest girls* beamed.

In this neat cabin of the Chief,
Whose wife and daughters gave relief,
She quietly remained till now —
       Nor seldom ever further taking
Her footsteps, than that mountain’s brow,
       Her evening visits lonely making,
Because it looked so like the same,
On Huron’s banks from whence she came.

Each circumstance — of time and place —
For one short month we loved to trace,

And from the SACHEMS* gather all
       Their deeds of war, and feats of glory,
Till we had heard their rise and fall —
       Which must unfold a saddened story,
To a wiser — happier age —
Traced on some future poet’s page.

Thus were we pleasingly detained,
While beauteous TA-POO-KA regained
Her wonted charms, till day, by day,
       She seemed a more engaging creature,

And one, that well might lure away
       The feeling heart — while every feature,
Tinged with a soft, a brownish hue,
The spirit pure shone lovely through.

The sculptor’s polished chisel yet

A finer model never set —
Nor has the connoisseur surveyed
       Correcter lines, on eastern beauties,
Than, unadorned, are here displayed,
       In all the light of native duties —
Where eyes beam forth — like evening’s star —
Than night’s dark essence darker far.

The scene — the place — the happy hour—
Reminded much of MILTON’s bower:
Where first the parent of mankind

       Conducted Eve — with beauty blushing,
And feelings pure, and unconfined,
       As yon pellucid stream, now gushing
From the lovely arbour’s side,
Clear as was then Euphrates’ tide.

And here is seen the caraboo,
The elk, and wild deer, roving through
The silent forest’s deep’ning shade —
       Nor distant is the swan — renewing
Pride, which for herself was made —
       Now, in the liquid mirror viewing
A graceful form — much whiter still
Than snow flakes on the Alpine hill.

While others feel the magic hand
Of love, their every thought command —

My ’raptured soul delights to trace,
       The charms which beauty round discloses,
Throughout this sweet, romantic place,
       To where the lily calm reposes,
Now on its half reclining stem,
Supporting Nature’s purest gem.

And how the eye delights to see,
The humming-bird,* from tree to tree,
So nimbly flit, till it can find
       Some blushing rose, with nectar in it,

Where, on a wing more fleet than wind,
       It banquets for a little minute,
Then quickly off it darting goes,
To seek elsewhere another rose.

And oh! how charming is the bliss —

So seldom felt — so pure as this,
Where in the forest’s bosom far,
       From Europe’s crimes, and Europe’s errors,
Beneath the glowing western star,
       The Indian dwells secure from terrors — *
And by his streams, or by his lakes,
His path of independence takes.

Such were the joys here now displayed,
Where’er I turned, where’er I strayed,
Until imagination took

       A full repast — and backward turning
To TA-POO-KA, one cheering look,
       Where two dark eyes, in beauty burning,
Reminded — in my airy flight —
I’d been a stranger to their light.

To OU-KA-KEE, the good, the kind —
A noble Chief of noble mind —
ALKWANWAUGH now his story told,
       And of his bride, long since intended —
And how five seasons past had rolled,
       Since she that frowning cliff ascended,
At whose dark base she sought a grave,
Deep in the bosom of the wave.

Keen sorrow touched the brave man’s heart,
To hear ALKWANWAUGH thus impart

The tale of woe — which raises still,
       In manly hearts a fount of feeling,
And, like some pure — some holy thrill,
       Comes o’er the soul, divinely stealing,
Until the very joy of grief,
Brings forth its own — its sweet relief.

ALKWANWAUGH was a Sioux famed —
In many battles honours claimed —
And closely by his mother’s side,
       To ATSISTARI was related —

That hero, long the hero’s pride,
       Than whom was never yet created,
A nobler Chieftain for the field —
A lion heart, unknown to yield.

When OU-KA-KEE — who shared this place,

And all the richness of the chase,
With TA-POO-KA — the well-beloved —
       And ever valued as his daughter —
Had heard the tale — and deeply moved —
       For to this spot himself had brought her —
He said, such hearts deserved his care,
And should his home and cabin share.

From hut to hut the tidings flew —
The marriage of the happy two —
The wished-for day — the very hour

       By every tongue was soon repeated —
And e ’en the lovely maple bower,
       Close by the hill — where last defeated,
The white man breathed his life away —
Would be the spot of pleasure gay.

From woods — from streams, they gathered all
The dainties for the festival,
Till gifts on gifts, brought from the chase,
       Had fully stored the Chieftain’s dwelling —
And in each look you well might trace
       The tide of joy, so gayly swelling,
Where every youth had longed to see
Of spousal love the jubilee.

The day arrived — midst scenes as sweet
As e’er the heart or eye could meet —

And every rose that purely threw
       Its richest fragrance on the morning,
There bore a lovelier — brighter hue,
       Where violets seemed no less adorning
The blushing beauty of the grove,
Now made the peaceful home of love.

Such soft attraction seemed to run
In every blossom — where the sun
Had mildly thrown his gentle beam —
       We to the mountain’s summit wandered,

Close by a little dimpling stream,
       That slowly to the vale meandered,
Where we a distant view might take
Of Erie’s wide, extended lake.

Then down the sloping brow we strayed,

To where the bay close by displayed
A gentle rippling on its breast,
       And seemed to yield a double pleasure,
To that, which on our hearts was pressed,
       When we had heard, in fairy measure,
The sweetest tones, like magic glide,
From her, the loved — the chosen bride.

While winding round the silent shore,
To that lone spot, where once before
We fondly went, to catch one view

       Of her, who, then unknown, was singing,
And with her incantation drew
       The pliant heart — and nearer bringing —
We saw, far o’er the water’s brim,
Another bark, as lightly skim.

It being now almost the hour,
When we must to the wedding bower
Direct our steps — where sure to meet
       Great Chieftains, who had been invited,
With lovely girls — so lovely, sweet —
       As showed each heart was well delighted —
That longer here we could not stay —
But enter on our homeward way.

Yet, still we paused — to watch the sail,
So steady in the gentle gale,

Pursue its path, along the line,
       That seemed the sky and water bounding,
Then near, and nearer still incline,
       Where other prospects were surrounding —
And we could take a clearer view
Of those who steered the swift canoe.

A minute — and one minute more,
It touched the margin of the shore,
Close by the spot where we remained,
       So fondly on its movements gazing —

And when the beach three heroes gained,
       We heard them all its beauties praising,
Till, in an open space below,
We saw the noble SKENANDOW!

So unexpected was the sight,

Our bosoms filling with delight,
We hurried to the happy green,
       And, with the heart’s most fervent feeling,
Repeated joys, now felt* — now seen —
       Until a tear came gently stealing,
From TA-POO-KA’s dark, flowing eye,
Precursor of a broken sigh.

It was the tear of pleasing grief,
That flowed to bring the heart relief —
And like the dewy mist that plays —

       As if a liquid mantle throwing —
Before the sun’s sweet cheering rays
       Yet leaves the beam more lovely glowing —
So, when the darkling tear was o’er,
Her beauty shone redoubled more.

Of all the charms that pleasure throws
One moment o’er the gloom of woes,
There never yet came one so sweet
       As that which now appears so splendid,
And brings the heart again to meet
      What heaven alone for man intended,
Unfolding, in one day like this,
A happy age of purest bliss.

The worthy Chiefs, with noble pride,
Conducted by the lovely bride,

Now onward take their forest way,
       To join the cheerful wedding party,
Where smiling Indian girls play,
       And echo tells the laugh as hearty —
As if to please the happy throng,
Where merry pleasure sports along.

Had joined in conversation free —
For they to each were proudly known,
       Long having stood in war together —

And having many whites o’erthrown,
       By lakes, by woods — no matter whether —
Around the noble warriors two,
Each youthful heart attentive drew.*

Though I have witnessed fancied joys,

And etiquette, which pleasure cloys —
Before this real blissful hour,
      None ever had such transport in it
As that which sanctifies this bower,
       Where I can see, in one short minute,
A world of peace — a world of love —
A type of all that dwells above.

The wedding over — and unseen
The holy rites* — and all between —
Because inferior is the name —

       And I believe a just recorder —
Of Christian — honoured by his fame!
       Who first for peace brought foul disorder,
And in Religion’s pathway threw
Sectarian seeds, which rankly grew.

Ye jarring Creeds-men, why thus strive
To keep the impious flame alive —
That flame which discontent has brought,
       And even now its crusade making,
In crimes like those yourselves have taught —
       The social tie of friendship breaking —*
Because to you, you think is given
A nigher way to march to heaven!*

But here, what joyous rapture seems
In every eye that brightly beams,

Where melody as freely strays
       From youthfiul tongues,* now breathing pleasure,
As from the scarlet-bird, that plays
       From branch to branch — while music’s treasure,
Comes, like the fabled harp, that sings
To every breeze that sweeps its strings.

Now, on a fallen trunk of pine
One peaceful moment to recline,
And view such joys — beyond control—
       Wakes in the heart some sweet emotion,

Like that which cheers the Persian’s soul,
       In tranquil hours of pure devotion —
Who only asks to love and see,
The image of his Deity.

The dance* — the laugh — the pleasing flush

Of joy, which through their bosoms rush,
Proclaim the bliss of one and all —
       Nor ever yet was seen so splendid,
Nor such a wedding festival —
       Nor joys, with joys so purely blended—
As crowns the lovely — loving pair,
With all the soul could wish or share.

But, hush! — that watch-dog seems to say
Some stranger comes, unknown, this way —
Yes — yes — I see — I plainly hear

         Each oar now in the current plying —
And there, five other boats appear,
       With men, to gain the shore fast trying —
It is an enemy! — to arms —
The war-whoop, at one breath, alarms.

Now, Chiefs and heroes firmly stand,
Prepared to meet the first command,
And teach the Christian soon to know
       The danger of his foul intrusion —
Till, from the tomahawk, one blow
       Shall pay him for the dire confusion
He to the Indian oft has given,
And all to claim the love of heaven!

Man stands ’gainst man, in dreadful strife,
Till ebbs the flowing tide of life —

And long, and doubtful seemed the day,
       On either side so well contended —
Nor gained, nor gave an inch away,
       Till dead, and dying, lay extended,
In mangled ruin on the shore,
With human blood empurpled o’er!

Close by the border of the stream
I see a battle-axe quick gleam,
And throw its flashes o’er the wave —
       ’Tis SKENANDOW’s — its death-blows giving—

And he who meets it, meets his grave,
       Nor longer shall disturb the living —
It is the light’ning of his course —
No human arm can stop its force.

Thus, while the contest is maintained,

By neither won, by neither gained —
The great TECUMSEH* hurries o’er,
       Just in the fury of the action —
Directly from the other shore,
       With heroes roused to keen distraction —
Whose vengeance, bursting on each white,
Decide the horrors of the fight.

And now, the crackling flames are seen,
In columns, rolling far between
The pond’rous branches of the pine,

       Till onward through the forest rushing,
Where beasts no longer can recline —
       And heaven’s distant arch seems blushing,
As if illum’d by Etna’s flame,
Far o’er the crater whence it came.

While here the foaming torrent roars,
And dashes round the rugged shores,
The timid deer starts from his lair,
       And o’er the mountain’s summit bounding,
Avoids the rage of horror there,
       And scenes now dismally surrounding
That spot, where he so late could roam,
And find a peaceful forest home.

The sullen murmur of the breeze,
That eddies through the falling trees,

Comes like the pensive dirge of woe,
       Or death-notes deepest anguish waking,
When doomed the soul’s last struggling throe
       To hear, or see from nature breaking,
Leaving a gloomy wreck behind,
No more to pain or earth confined.

And now, the dying white man’s groan,
Unpitied, and unwept — alone —
Breaks on the ear — and now his prayer
       To heaven he seems for mercy raising,

With lips that scarcely breathe the air,
       And eyes but faintly upwards gazing,
Till the unerring* feathered dart
Drains the last life-drop from the heart.

Before the sable skirt of night

Had closed upon the dismal sight —
Of all the Christian foe-men, three
       Alone remain to weep their errors,*
And ruin’s dark reality,
       Which stalked with unexampled terrors,
While in each look of deadly hate,
They read their own impending fate.

It is a foul — unholy crime,
Stamped on the open page of time —
To plunder Nature’s humble child

       Of all the gifts for him intended,
And scattered through his forest wild,
       Till Christian charity extended
Her bounteous hand, and made him know,
For bliss exchanged — a real woe!*

The Missionary evils brought,*
By those who first Religion taught —
Forgive the phrase — had more of hell —
       And all the crimes with it connected —
Than ever yet were known to dwell
       With those oft called the lost — neglected —
The barb’rous Indian — Savage race —
The outcasts of the human race!

Yet, while the independent soul
Can fairly here survey the whole,

And take a broad — but candid view,
       Of times gone by — and darkest sorrows,
Which now the Indian’s days pursue,
       The very pain that sadness borrows,
Awakes a feeling deadlier far,
Than ever roused the breast of war.

Now in the twilight’s thick’ning gloom,
Three whites remain to know their doom,
While by the fragments of the dead,
       Each hero Chieftain sadly pauses,

Or with a slow and solemn tread,
       Surveys the evils, and their causes,
Until the throb, and bursting swell,
The heart’s dark ruin here can tell.

What! — do I see a female there,

Amid the horror of despair? —
’Tis faithful TA-POO-KA, alone,
       Now seeking her SIOUX lover —
And ah! I hear his dying moan,
       And see her bending sadly over
The noble youth — till, clasped in death,
She joins with his, her parting breath!

Oh! hapless pair! — dark fate has cast
The death-shade o’er your brows at last —
And all the throbbings of the heart,

       Are hushed in gloomy peace forever —
No more with rapture’s thrill to start —
       Ah no! — life’s spark again shall never
Awake, ’mong clouds so foul as those,
Which on this day’s sad ruins close.

How dismally among the leaves,
       Is heard the murmuring breath* of night,
Like the last sigh the bosom heaves,
       Caught by some angel in its flight,
Who, leaving its own happy sphere,
       In pity to man’s great distress,
Comes on a holy mission here,
       To those who sleep in wretchedness.

The moon is up, and through the clouds
       Collected round her paley form,

Like mist which some dark fiend enshrouds,
       Before the bursting of the storm —
Now takes her dull and cheerless rout,
       Along the gloomy arch of heaven,
Where not a single star looks out,
       To cheer the dismal frowns of even.

And from the cloud-capped mountain high,
       Where now the fearless eagle sleeps,
The stream sends forth a broken sigh,
       While tumbling down the rugged steeps —

And from the hollow, blasted pine,
       Where heaven’s light’ning played along,
And wild grapes close their tendrels twine,
       Comes forth the screech-owl’s boding song.

There’s scarce a sound, or motion here,

       But wandering breezes now and then,
That slowly steal upon the ear,
       In broken murmurs from the glen —
The Lake enjoys a dreamy rest,
       And all upon its waters — save
The pelican’s soft bosom, pressed
       By gentle throbbings of the wave.

Yet, ah! how changed the sunny hour,
       When TA-POO-KA, the trembling bride,
Stood by the Water-God’s deep bower,*

       With her young SIOUX at her side —
Where, dancing onward as it goes,
       They viewed the liquid Curtain’s* foam,
Just where the tinted rainbow throws
       An archway o’er his fairy home.

But, sleep! — no war-whoop e’er shall break
       The silence of this last repose,
Nor cause that noble heart to wake,
       Which fell the victim of its foes!
Ah, no! — then let ALKWANWAUGH’s shade,
       And TAPOO-KA’s undying name,
Still have such tributes to them paid
       As souls, like theirs, unsullied claim.



Now let the Christian white men, three,
Fast pinioned to that bas-wood tree,
To wait the tomahawk’s aimed blow,
       For crimes that should not be forgiven —
Declare, ere forced to undergo
       The mandate of avenging heaven,
If now, they do not deeply feel

Their conscience-horrors o’er them steal.

A ghastly gloom encircles all
Who sleep beneath night’s dark’ning pall
Their last, long sleep — and not a sound
       Disturbs this tranquil hour of sorrow,


Save the cascade’s echoing round
       The hollow cliffs — as if to borrow,
From the bleak caverns as they go,
Responses for their dirge of woe.

But now, close by that maple grove,

I see a flame ascend above
The wide spread branches — and the light
       Gleam on warriors round it standing —
’Tis the great Council-fire of night,
       And, by its signal, now commanding
All the brave Chieftains quickly there,
To tell the whites their doom, and where.

Among the youthful heroes all,
It was agreed the whites should fall,
And that the tomahawk alone,

       Directed by a hand unerring,
Should make them for their wrongs atone —
       Deep wrongs, which now demand repairing —
And that ALKWANWAUGH’s noble shade,
Must have the offering to it paid.

The foul invaders of our rights —
These cold — unfeeling — Christian whites —
Who seek the Indian to destroy,
       And blot away his name and nation —
Shall never more our peace annoy,
       Which long has been their occupation —*
No — no — each now must lose his head,
T’appease our brother heroes dead.

Our hunting grounds — our streams — our lakes,
The white usurper freely takes,

And all the Indian’s God* has given —
       Nor does he, in his rapid plunder,
Think of our wives, and children, driven
       Far, far from home — and torn asunder,*
Or seeking food we cannot give,
To bid their little spirits live.

The captives now, with downcast eyes,
As reading their own obsequies,
Look downward still — while by the flame,
       Whose glaring light sometimes fell o’er them,

Was seen the heavy brow of shame,
       Once never raised — and, just before them,
War’s last deciding Council stood,
Embosomed in the darkling wood.

Come, said a youth, of noble look,

As he his sheaf of arrows shook,
Come, give the word — this pointed dart,
       Sent from my bow-string,* faithful ever,
Shall quickly reach the foe-man’s heart,
       And all life’s chords unerring sever—
My country’s wrongs I must redress,
Nor longer feel her wretchedness.

Fierce were the burning words that came,
Like lava floods of living flame,
From feeling’s strong, but injured fount,

       When thus, each youth’s keen eloquence,
His Nation’s evils would recount —
       Whose soul would be her bold defence,
Or, perish in that Nation’s fall,
When ruin had encircled all.

The rage that fired each youthful breast
Subsided to a partial rest,
As now the aged SACHEMS rise,
       In manly pride, to speak their feeling,
And, to the Spirits of their skies,
       In most affecting words, appealing,
Said — Hurons, spare!* give, give consent —
Pardon these whites — they may repent.

________ “they may repent,”
Was soon by listening echoes sent

Around LA CLOCHE* — from flood to flood,
       O’er winding hills — to that great mountain,
Where long the Indian’s God hath stood,
       To list the murmurings of the fountain,
While gushing forth beneath his feet,
In haste some kindred stream to meet.

TECUMSEH spoke the words of peace
With full persuasion,* to release
The captive foe. — He would not shed
       A tyrant’s blood, when conquered — standing

In chains, like those who bend the head
       In sadness here — with grief commanding
The finer feelings of the heart,
To let them now unhurt depart.

He paused — then cast his eyes of jet

On SKENANDOW — who quickly met,
With mutual glance, their magic power —
       And on TECUMSEH’s right hand turning,
Now in this last — this tragic hour,
       Close by the flame’s extensive burning,
To take a view of friends and foes,
And thus, his heart’s pure thoughts disclose.

White men! — here, oftentimes have we
Exchanged the WAMPUM* — set the tree —
The tree of peace — and tied the chain*

       Of friendship, which yourselves have broken
Disgracefully — still to remain —
       And the hatchet* — the purest token
Of Indian faith — by us long buried —
You’ve foully raised, and to war carried.

Through this long hair of raven dye*
The winds oft wandered — and the sigh
Of grief has echoed far and near,
       Long since the Christian came, deceiving
With kind words* — and many a tear
       Our children wept, for thus believing
His artful smiles — nor dreamed that he
Would be our cause of misery.

But we forgive. — You may return — *
Perhaps your wives and children mourn,

Like the poor squaw — when struck in death
       The hunter of the deer is lying —
Or doomed to catch his parting breath
       While on the field of battle dying —
Who, till his spirit mounts above,

Still casts on her his looks of love!

Go — go — myself shall now unbind
The Wattap, which has here confined
Your blood-stained hands* — nor ever more
       Return, to bring the Huron sorrow,

Or scatter round his woody shore
       The anguish of some future morrow —
This, this we ask — nor further roam,
To rob the Indian of his home.*



Thus far the Chief. — And from the tree — 1595
Once more set to their liberty —
The whites retire — with steps as slow
       As steals the guilty heart from danger —
And through the woods in silence go,
       Midst swamps and gloom — or like some ranger,

When destined on his midnight prey,
Too impious for the blaze of day.

The clouds retiring seek the west,
Like giant spirits to their rest —
And now, the pale moon’s* trembling beam,

       From out the walking elements,
Comes faintly shining o’er the stream,*
       On whose smooth verge some soul repents,
And with each tear that sadly falls,
The errors of this life recalls.

TECUMSEH and his heroes, brave,
Now enter on the pulseless wave,
And in their barks that lightly press
       The bosom of the tranquil waters —
Much like some sea-god’s soft caress,

       When round him pleasing smiles he scatters —
Are, in one moment’s airy flight,
Beyond the distant reach of sight.

And now,the remnant seek their home,
Close by the cascade’s noisy foam —

Where, in some welcomed, calm repose,
       The wearied heart might cease its mourning,
And half forget its latest woes,*
       Midst peaceful joys, in dreams returning,
Until it felt that soothing bliss,

Which makes life’s days all happiness.

But, as they took their onward way,
A direful band that darkly lay
In silent ambush, rushed upon
       The scattered Chiefs — nor ever making


One minute’s pause, till life was gone,
       But o’er the dead and dying breaking,
Till SKENANDOW’s brave arm had stayed
The fury of the white man’s blade.

Alone the noble Huron stands,

Amidst the crash of warring hands
That round him throng — and e’en the three,
       The captive three, of Christian feeling!
So lately rescued from the tree,
       Surround the Chief — their death-blows dealing —

But ere his life’s blood they could shed,
Two fell among the mangled dead.

Some now behind, and some before,
Around the warrior hero pour,
Like demons of the raging storm —

       Yet, still majestic midst the foe,
Was seen his bold, his manly form,
       There dealing death in every blow,
Till — from the man he saved — a dart
Had pierced the recess of his heart!

SKENANDOW fell! — and calmly sleeps
       By ERIE’s darkling groves of pine,
Where gently now the wild grape creeps,
       As if to guard the holy shrine —
Nor shall his name be e’er forgot —
       But future bards, in songs of grief,
Will sadly tell of that lone spot,
       Where rests the noble HURON CHIEF!