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Title: Tecumseh: A Drama and Canadian Poems

Date of first publication: 1901

Author: Charles Mair (1838-1927)

Date first posted: Apr. 8, 2019

Date last updated: Apr. 8, 2019

Faded Page eBook #20190437

This eBook was produced by: Barbara Watson, Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

Entered according to Act of the

Parliament of Canada, in the year

one thousand nine hundred and

one, by Charles Mair, at the

Department of Agriculture.





"Canada First" Association






The first edition of "Tecumseh," published in Toronto in 1886, had a quick sale, but, not being stereotyped, ran out of print, and a re-issue is now called for. The author has often been asked to republish his youthful venture, entitled "Dreamland, and other Poems," only a limited number of copies of which saw the light. Whilst the edition was passing through the binder's hands in Ottawa, and the author himself in the then wilderness of Prince Rupert's Land, the greater part of it was burnt in the Desbarats fire in 1869. In the following pages (Part II.) the major portion of that unfortunate volume is included, with such revision as seemed desirable.

For the shortcomings of his work, of which the author is but too conscious, his only excuse is that he has done his best. Our romantic Canadian story is a mine of character and incident for the poet and novelist, framed, too, in a matchless environment; and the Canadian author who seeks inspiration there is helping to create for a young people that decisive test of its intellectual faculties, an original and distinctive literature—a literature liberal in its range, but, in its highest forms, springing in a large measure from the soil, and "tasting of the wood." Any work of this kind, therefore, is on the right path, and, though of slender pretensions otherwise, may possess the merits of suggestiveness and sincerity. For his own part, the writer may say, with regard to the book now in hand, that its colouring, at any rate, is due to a lifetime's observation of those primitive inter-racial and formative influences which, together with a time-honoured polity, are the source of the Canadian tradition.

In "Tecumseh" the author attempts to depict dramatically the time and scenes in which the great Indian so nobly played his part—at first independently, and in his own country, and afterwards in alliance and leadership with General Brock in the War of 1812. That war was the turning point of Canada's destiny. It was maintained mainly within her borders—a community of some 70,000 souls in Upper Canada, with about thrice that number in the Lower Province, being pitted against a nation of 8,000,000. Upper Canada was then a wilderness almost unbroken, save by the clearings of the United Empire Loyalists and their sons. There were only 1,500 Imperial troops in the Province, scattered along an immense frontier; and England, when the United States declared war, was in the throes of her deadly struggle with Napoleon. In the face of such emergencies, the courage and vigor of the Canadian people of both races can be truly appreciated. Enrolling during the war over 500,000 men, and repeatedly entering Canada at many points, the invaders were at last everywhere discomfited, and at its close had been driven to a man from Canadian soil. The bitter feelings engendered by the long struggle have died down, and racial sympathies, wantonly alienated on the one hand by despotic statecraft in the previous century, and, on the other, by a criminal and unprovoked attack upon Canada, have revived, and are rightly taking their place. The tradition lives, but the feelings begot of it, like the ancient memories of Flodden and Bannockburn in the mother-land, are now academic. In this altered spirit Americans, in their fiction and histories, restore the body and pressure, even the rancours of the time, without offence; whilst Canadians, in like manner, call to mind the decisive victories which preserved their liberties.

Both preface and notes to the drama are, no doubt, superfluous to many home readers; but, as the book is to be published in the Old Country, and as the persons of the drama move in an atmosphere—a domain of Nature's things—unfamiliar to people there, the notes may be read with advantage perhaps before turning to the text, especially as the study in England of Canadian history subsequent to the Conquest is said to be confined to experts—the general reader being familiar only with the captivating pages of Parkman. Certainly knowledge of such a momentous event to Canada as the War of 1812 must be far from common, since its greatest names seem to be unknown. Lieut.-Colonel G. T. Denison, in his recent book, "Soldiering in Canada," states that "few even of the well-educated people of England have ever heard of Brock, and, if his name is mentioned, the question is generally asked, Who was General Brock?" If such be the case, no doubt Tecumseh is also unknown, yet these are names familiar as household words in the mouths of Canadians. Both were men of transcendent ability, to whose genius and self-sacrifice at the most critical period in her history is due the preservation of Canada to the Empire. At the outbreak of the war numbers of aliens domiciled in the Upper Province had contrived to spread dismay amongst a timid and wavering section of the community. It was at this juncture that the bold stroke of Brock and Tecumseh at Detroit electrified the people. Both heroes subsequently fell, but not until all Canada, inspired by their example, had resolved to fight it out to the end. It seems strange that well-read Englishmen should be ignorant of this vital record, whose stirring chapters exhibit in the clearest light the spirit and the springs of action which have made Canada what she is. If the prophetic soul of a wide empire, "dreaming on things to come," is already prefiguring an imperial adjustment in which the larger, if not the greater, Britain shall be the outworks, and the mother-country the citadel, it is surely important that she should know something of the history and idiosyncrasies of her offspring. The habitudes of each colony are largely the products of distinct environments which can never be transfused, and must be reckoned with hereafter as constant factors in the interaction of imperial politics. Certain it is that, even if the characteristic features and incidents of Canadian history were unrecorded, they would still survive in tradition, and influence for generations, perhaps for ages to come, the feelings and sympathies of both sections of her people. Not that thereby they are less true to their institutions; on the contrary, loyalty has crystallized in Canada. Nowhere has judgment been less warped or a people's insight been more clear and penetrating regarding the great question of a United Empire. Nowhere has public opinion been more instinctively opposed to disintegration. With all her faults, Canada has ever been true to the high ideal. Even when the mother-country seemed ignobly to falter and fall away, she saw in it the indispensable safe-guard of our common interests, and with enlarged confidence in her own future, looks forward to its fulfilment still with abiding faith. For then Canada shall cease to be a dependency, and become a nation. Then shall a whole family of young giants stand

"Erect, unbound, at Britain's side—"

her imperial offspring oversea, the upholders in the far future of her glorious tradition, or, should exhaustion ever come, the props and support of her declining years.



Tecumseh: a Drama11In Memory of Wm. A. Foster171
The Legend of Chileeli131Absence174
A Ballad for Brave Women144The River of Pain176
The Last Bison148Cabot178
Missipowistic154Demos Tyrannus179
The Iroquois at the Stake160The Recompense180
Vain Regrets167The Chain182
Open the Bay!169Fulfilment183


The Pines193The Morning Land233
Address to a Maid196My Love: a Rhapsody234
To Mount St. Patrick199To the Spirit of Memory237
Innocence200In Memory of Thomas D'Arcy McGee238
To a Morning Cloud203Ideals242
The North Wind's Tale206To a Humming-bird243
To a Captured Firefly211Bardolph Redivivus244
Night and Morn213Germs245
Ponemah216Love's Land246
Winter218To an Infant247
To My Photograph227 


Notes to Tecumseh251Notes to Poems271



"When the white men first set foot on our shores, they were hungry; they had no places on which to spread their blankets or to kindle their fires. They were feeble; they could do nothing for themselves. Our fathers commiserated their distress, and shared freely with them whatever the Great Spirit had given to his red children."

From Tecumseh's speech to the Osages.







Tecumseh (Chief of the Shawanoes).
The Prophet (Brother of Tecumseh).
Tarhay (a Chief in love with Iena).
Stayeta (Chief of the Wyandots).
Miami, Delaware, Kickapoo and Dahcota Chiefs.
        Warriors, Braves, Josakeeds and Runners.
Mamatee (Wife of Tecumseh).
Iena (Niece of Tecumseh).
Weetamore, Winona, and other Indian Maidens.


General Harrison (Governor of Indiana Territory).
General Hull.
Colonel Cass.
Barron (an Indian Agent).
Twang, Slaugh, Gerkin and Bloat (Rough Citizens of Vincennes).
        Five Councillors of Indiana Territory, Officers, Soldiers,
                Volunteers, Orderlies and Scouts.


General Brock (Administrator of the Government of Upper Canada).
Colonel (afterwards General) Proctor.
Macdonell,(Aides-de-camp to General Brock).
Baby,(Colonels of Canadian Volunteers).
McKee,(Captains of Canadian Volunteers).
Lefroy (a poet-artist, enamoured of Indian life, and in love with Iena).
Two Old Men of York, U. E. Loyalists, and other Citizens, Alien Settlers, Officers, Soldiers, Volunteers, Orderlies and Messengers.



SCENE FIRST.—The Forest near the Prophet's Town on the Tippecanoe.

Enter the Prophet.

Prophet. Twelve moons have wasted, and no tidings still!

Tecumseh must have perished! Joy has tears

As well as grief, and mine will freely flow—

Sembling our women's piteous privilege—

Whilst dry ambition ambles to its ends.

My schemes have swelled to greatness, and my name

Has flown so far upon the wings of fear

That nations tremble at its utterance.

Our braves abhor, yet stand in awe of me,

Who ferret witchcraft out, commune with Heaven,

And ope or shut the gloomy doors of death.

All feelings and all seasons suit ambition!

Yet my vindictive nature hath a craft,

In action slow, which matches mother-earth's:

First seed-time—then the harvest of revenge.

Who works for power, and not the good of men,

Would rather win by fear than lose by love.

Not so Tecumseh—rushing to his ends,

And followed by men's love—whose very foes

Trust him the most. Rash fool! Him do I dread,

And his imperious spirit. Twelve infant moons

Have swung in silver cradles o'er these woods,

And still no tidings of his enterprise,

Which—all too deep and wide—has swallowed him,

And left me here unrivalled and alone.

Enter an Indian Runner.

      There is a message in your eyes—what now?

Runner. Your brother, great Tecumseh, has returned,

And rests himself a moment ere he comes

To counsel with you here.

[Exit Runner.

Prophet.                  He has returned!

So then the growing current of my power

Must fall again into the stately stream

Of his great purpose. But a moment past

I stood upon ambition's height, and now

My brother comes to break my greatness up,

And merge it in his own. I know his thoughts—

That I am but a helper to his ends;

And, were there not a whirlpool in my soul

Of hatred which would fain ingulf our foes,

I would engage my cunning and my craft

'Gainst his simplicity, and win the lead.

But, hist, he comes! I must assume the rôle

By which I pander to his purposes.

Enter Tecumseh.

Tecumseh. Who is this standing in the darkened robes?

Prophet. The Prophet! Olliwayshilla, who probes

The spirit-world, and holds within his ken

Life's secrets and the fateful deeds of men.

The "One-Eyed!" Brother to the Shooting Star—

Tecumseh. With heart of wax, and hands not made for war.

Prophet. Would that my hands were equal to my hate!

Then would strange vengeance traffic on the earth;

For I should treat our foes to what they crave—

Our fruitful soil—yea, ram it down their throats,

And choke them with the very dirt they love.

'Tis you, Tecumseh! You are here at last,

And welcome as the strong heat-bearing Spring

Which opens up the pathways of revenge.

What tidings from afar?

Tecumseh.               Good tidings thence!

I have not seen the Wyandots, but all

The distant nations will unite with us

To spurn the fraudful treaties of Fort Wayne.

From Talapoosa to the Harricanaw

I have aroused them from their lethargy.

From the hot gulf up to those confines rude,

Where Summer's sides are pierced with icicles,

They stand upon my call. What tidings here?

Prophet. No brand has struck to bark our enterprise

Which grows on every side. The Prophet's robe,

That I assumed when old Pengasega died—

With full accord and countenance from you—

Fits a strong shoulder ampler far than his;

And all our people follow me in fear.

Tecumseh. Would that they followed you in love! Proceed!

My ears are open to my brother's tongue.

Prophet. I have myself, and by swift messengers,

Proclaimed to all the nations far and near,

I am the Open-Door, and have the power

To lead them back to life. The sacred fire

Must burn forever in the red-man's lodge,

Else will that life go out. All earthly goods

By the Great Spirit meant for common use

Must so be held. Red shall not marry white,

To lop our parent stems; and never more

Must vile, habitual cups of deadliness

Distort their noble natures, and unseat

The purpose of their souls. They must return

To ancient customs; live on game and maize;

Clothe them with skins, and love both wife and child,

Nor lift a hand in wrath against their race.

Tecumseh. These are wise counsels which are noised afar,

And many nations have adopted them

And made them law.

Prophet.           These counsels were your own!

Good in themselves, they are too weak to sway

Our fickle race. I've much improved on them

Since the Great Spirit took me by the hand.

Tecumseh. Improved! and how? Your mission was to lead

Our erring people back to ancient ways—

Too long o'ergrown—not bloody sacrifice.

They tell me that the prisoners you have ta'en—

Not captives in fair fight, but wanderers

Bewildered in our woods, or such as till

Outlying fields, caught from the peaceful plough—

You cruelly have tortured at the stake.

Nor this the worst! In order to augment

Your gloomy sway you craftily have played

Upon the zeal and frenzy of our tribes,

And, in my absence, hatched a monstrous charge

Of sorcery amongst them, which hath spared

Nor feeble age nor sex. Such horrid deeds

Recoil on us! Old Shataronra's grave

Sends up its ghost, and Tetaboxti's hairs—

White with sad years and counsel—singed by you!

In dreams and nightmares, float on every breeze.

Ambition's madness might stop short of this,

And shall if I have life.

Prophet.              The Spirit Great

Hath urged me, and still urges me to all.

He puts his hand to mine and leads me on.

Do you not hear him whisper even now—

"Thou art the Prophet?" All our followers

Behold in me a greater than yourself,

And worship me, and venture where I lead.

Tecumseh. Your fancy is the common slip of fools,

Who count the lesser greater being near.

Dupe of your own imposture and designs,

I cannot bind your thoughts! but what you do

Henceforth must be my subject; so take heed,

And stand within my sanction lest you fall.

Prophet. You are Tecumseh—else you should choke for this!

[Crosses the stage and pauses.

Stay! Let me think! I must not break with him—

'Tis premature. I know his tender part,

And I shall touch it.


                      Brother, let me ask,

Do you remember how our father fell?

Tecumseh. Who can forget Kanawha's bloody fray?

He died for home in battle with the whites.

Prophet. And you remember, too, that boyish morn

When all our braves were absent on the chase—

That morn when you and I half-dreaming lay

In summer grass, but woke to deadly pain

Of loud-blown bugles ringing through the air.

They came!—a rush of chargers from the woods,

With tramplings, cursings, shoutings manifold,

And headlong onset, fierce with brandished swords,

Of frontier troopers eager for the fight.

Scarce could a lynx have screened itself from sight,

So sudden the attack—yet, trembling there,

We crouched unseen, and saw our little town

Stormed, with vile slaughter of small babe and crone,

And palsied grandsire—you remember it?

Tecumseh. Remember it! Alas, the echoing

Of that wild havoc lingers in my brain!

O wretched age, and injured motherhood,

And hapless maiden-wreck!

Prophet.                  Yet this has been

Our endless history, and it is this

Which crams my very veins with cruelty.

My pulses bound to see those devils fall

Brained to the temples, and their women cast

As offal to the wolf.

Tecumseh.             Their crimes are great—

Our wrongs unspeakable. But spare our own!

These gloomy sacrifices sap our strength;

And henceforth from your wizard scrutinies

I charge you to forbear. But who's the white

You hold as captive?

Prophet.             He is called Lefroy

A captive, but too free to come and go.

Our warriors struck his trail by chance, and found

His tent close by the Wabash, where he lay

With sprainèd ankle, foodless and alone.

He had a book of pictures with him there

Of Long-Knife forts, encampments and their chiefs—

Most recognizable; so, reasoning thence,

Our warriors took him for a daring spy,

And brought him here, and tied him to the stake.

Then he declared he was a Saganash—

No Long-Knife he! but one who loved our race,

And would adopt our ways—with honeyed words,

Couched in sweet voice, and such appealing eyes,

That Iena, our niece—who listened near—

Believing, rushed, and cut him from the tree.

I hate his smiles, soft ways, and smooth-paced tread,

And would, ere now, have killed him but for her;

For ever since, unmindful of her race,

She has upheld him, and our women think

That he has won her heart.

Tecumseh.                  But not her hand!

This cannot be, and I must see to it:

Red shall not marry white—such is our law.

But graver matters are upon the wing,

Which I must open to you. Know you, then,

The nation that has doomed our Council-Fires—

Splashed with our blood—will on its Father turn,

Once more, whose lion-paws, stretched o'er the sea,

Will sheathe their nails in its unnatural sides,

Till blood will flow, as free as pitch in spring,

To gum the chafed seams of our sinking bark.

This opportunity, well nursed, will give

A respite to our wrongs, and heal our wounds;

And all our nations, knit by me and ranged

In headship with our Saganash allies,

Will turn the mortal issue 'gainst our foes,

And wall our threatened frontiers with their slain.

But till that ripened moment, not a sheaf

Of arrows should be wasted, not a brave

Should perish aimlessly, nor discord reign

Amongst our tribes, nor jealousy distrain

The large effects of valour. We must now

Pack all our energies. Our eyes and ears

No more must idle with the hour, but work

As carriers to the brain, where we shall store,

As in an arsenal, deep schemes of war!

[A noise and shouting without.

But who is this?

[Enter Barron accompanied and half dragged by warriors. The Prophet goes forward to meet him.

Barron. I crave protection as a messenger

And agent sent by General Harrison.

Your rude, unruly braves, against my wish,

Have dragged me here as if I were a spy.

Prophet. What else! Why come you here if not a spy?

Brouillette came, and Dubois, who were spies—

Now you are here. Look on it! There's your grave!

[Pointing to the ground at Barron's feet.

Tecumseh. (Joining them.) Nay, let him be! This man is not a spy.

(To Barron.) Give me your message!

Barron. The Governor of Indiana sends

This letter to you, in the which he says (Reading letter)

"You are an enemy to the Seventeen Fires.

I have been told that you intend to lift

The hatchet 'gainst your father, the great Chief,

Whose goodness, being greater than his fear

Or anger at your folly, still would stretch

His bounty to his children who repent,

And ask of him forgiveness for the past.

Small harm is done which may not be repaired,

And friendship's broken chain may be renewed;

But this is in your doing, and depends

Upon the choice you make. Two roads

Are lying now before you: one is large,

Open and pleasant, leading unto peace,

Your own security and happiness;

The other—narrow, crooked and constrained—

Most surely leads to misery and death.

Be not deceived! All your united force

Is but as chaff before the Seventeen Fires.

Your warriors are brave, but so are ours;

Whilst ours are countless as the forest leaves,

Or grains of sand upon the Wabash shores.

Rely not on the English to protect you!

They are not able to protect themselves.

They will not war with us, for, if they do,

Ere many moons have passed our battle flag

Shall wave o'er all the forts of Canada.

What reason have you to complain of us?

What have we taken? or what treaties maimed?

You tell us we have robbed you of your lands—

Bought them from nameless braves and village chiefs

Who had no right to sell. Prove that to us,

And they will be restored. I have full power

To treat with you. Bring your complaint to me,

And I, in honour, pledge your safe return."

Tecumseh. Is this it all?

Barron.                   Yes, all. I have commands

To bear your answer back without delay.

Prophet. This is our answer, then, to Harrison:

Go tell that bearded liar we shall go

With forces which will pledge our own return!

Tecumseh. What shall my answer be?

Prophet.                           Why, like my own—

There is no answer save that we shall go.

Tecumseh. (To Barron.) I fear that our complaint lies all too deep

For your Chief's curing. The Great Spirit gave

The red men this wide continent as theirs,

And in the east another to the white;

But, not content at home, these crossed the sea,

And drove our fathers from their ancient seats.

Their sons in turn are driven to the Lakes,

And cannot farther go unless they drown.

Yet now you take upon yourselves to say

This tract is Kickapoo, this Delaware,

And this Miami; but your Chief should know

That all our lands are common to our race!

How can one nation sell the rights of all

Without consent of all? No! For my part

I am a Red Man, not a Shawanoe,

And here I mean to stay. Go to your chief,

And tell him I shall meet him at Vincennes.

[Exeunt all but Tecumseh.

What is there in my nature so supine

That I must ever quarrel with revenge?

From vales and rivers which were once our own

The pale hounds who uproot our ancient graves

Come whining for our lands, with fawning tongues,

And schemes and subterfuge and subtleties.

O for a Pontiac to drive them back

And whoop them to their shuddering villages!

O for an age of valour like to his,

When freedom clothed herself with solitude,

And one in heart the scattered nations stood,

And one in hand. It comes! and mine shall be

The lofty task to teach them to be free—

To knit the nations, bind them into one,

And end the task great Pontiac begun!

SCENE SECOND.—Another Part of the Forest.

Enter Lefroy, carrying his rifle, and examining a knot of wild flowers.

Lefroy. This region is as lavish of its flowers

As Heaven of its primrose blooms by night.

This is the Arum which within its root

Folds life and death; and this the Prince's Pine,

Fadeless as love and truth—the fairest form

That ever sun-shower washed with sudden rain.

This golden cradle is the Moccasin Flower,

Wherein the Indian hunter sees his hound;

And this dark chalice is the Pitcher-Plant,

Stored with the water of forgetfulness.

Whoever drinks of it, whose heart is pure,

Will sleep for aye 'neath foodful asphodel,

And dream of endless love. I need it not!

I am awake, and yet I dream of love.

It is the hour of meeting, when the sun

Takes level glances at these mighty woods,

And Iena has never failed till now

To meet me here! What keeps her? Can it be

The Prophet? Ah, that villain has a thought,

Undreamt of by his simple followers,

Dark in his soul as midnight! If—but no—

He fears her though he hates!

                              What shall I do?

Rehearse to listening woods, or ask these oaks

What thoughts they have, what knowledge of the past?

They dwarf me with their greatness, but shall come

A meaner and a mightier than they,

And cut them down. Yet rather would I dwell

With them, with wildness and its stealthy forms—

Yea, rather with wild men, wild beasts and birds,

Than in the sordid town that here may rise.

For here I am a part of Nature's self,

And not divorced from her like men who plod

The weary streets of care in search of gain.

And here I feel the friendship of the earth:

Not the soft cloying tenderness of hand

Which fain would satiate the hungry soul

With household honey-combs and parloured sweets,

But the strong friendship of primeval things—

The rugged kindness of a giant heart,

And love that lasts.

                                I have a poem made

Which doth concern Earth's injured majesty—

Be audience, ye still untroubled stems!


  There was a time on this fair continent

When all things throve in spacious peacefulness.

The prosperous forests unmolested stood,

For where the stalwart oak grew there it lived

Long ages, and then died among its kind.

The hoary pines—those ancients of the earth—

Brimful of legends of the early world,

Stood thick on their own mountains unsubdued.

And all things else illumined by the sun,

Inland or by the lifted wave, had rest.

The passionate or calm pageants of the skies

No artist drew; but in the auburn west

Innumerable faces of fair cloud

Vanished in silent darkness with the day.

The prairie realm—vast ocean's paraphrase—

Rich in wild grasses numberless, and flowers

Unnamed save in mute Nature's inventory.

No civilized barbarian trenched for gain.

And all that flowed was sweet and uncorrupt.

The rivers and their tributary streams,

Undammed, wound on forever, and gave up

Their lonely torrents to weird gulfs of sea,

And ocean wastes unshadowed by a sail.

And all the wild life of this western world

Knew not the fear of man; yet in those woods,

And by those plenteous streams and mighty lakes,

And on stupendous steppes of peerless plain,

And in the rocky gloom of canyons deep,

Screened by the stony ribs of mountains hoar

Which steeped their snowy peaks in purging cloud,

And down the continent where tropic suns

Warmed to her very heart the mother earth,

And in the congeal'd north where silence self

Ached with intensity of stubborn frost,

There lived a soul more wild than barbarous;

A tameless soul, the sunburnt savage free—

Free, and untainted by the greed of gain:

Great Nature's man content with Nature's food.

But hark! I hear her footsteps in the leaves—

And so my poem ends.

Enter Iena, downcast.

                            My love! my love!

What! Iena in tears! Your looks, like clouds,

O'erspread my joy which, but a moment past,

Rose like the sun to high meridian.

Ah, how is this? She trembles, and she starts,

And looks with wavering eyes through oozing tears,

As she would fly from me. Why do you weep?

Iena. I weep, for I have come to say—farewell.

Lefroy. Farewell! I have fared well in love till now;

For you are mine, and I am yours, so say

Farewell, farewell, a thousand times farewell.

Iena. How many meanings has the word? since yours

Is full of joy, but mine, alas, of pain.

The pale-face and the Shawanoe must part.

Lefroy. Must part? Yes, part—we parted yesterday—

And shall to day—some dream disturbs my love.

Iena. Oh, that realities were dreams! 'Tis not

A dream that parts us, but a stern command.

Tecumseh has proclaimed it as his law—

Red shall not marry white; so must you leave;

And therefore I have come to say farewell.

Lefroy. That word is barbed, and like an arrow aimed.

The maid who saved my life would mar it too!

Iena. Speak not of that! Your life's in danger now.

Tecumseh has returned, and—knowing all—

Has built a barrier betwixt our loves,

More rigid than a palisade of oak.

Lefroy. What means he? And what barrier is this?

Iena. The barrier is the welfare of our race—

Wherefore his law—"Red shall not marry white."

His noble nature halts at cruelty,

So fear him not! But in the Prophet's hand,

Dark, dangerous and bloody, there is death,

And, sheltered by Tecumseh's own decree,

He who misprizes you, and hates, will strike—

Then go at once! Alas for Iena,

Who loves her race too well to break its law.

Lefroy. I love you better than I love my race;

And could I mass my fondness for my friends,

Augment it with my love of noble brutes,

Tap every spring of reverence and respect,

And all affections bright and beautiful—

Still would my love for you outweigh them all.

Iena. Speak not of love! Speak of the Long-Knife's hate!

Oh, it is pitiful to creep in fear

O'er lands where once our fathers stept in pride!

The Long-Knife strengthens, whilst our race decays,

And falls before him as our forests fall.

First comes his pioneer, the bee, and soon

The mast which plumped the wild deer fats his swine.

His cattle pasture where the bison fed;

His flowers, his very weeds, displace our own—

Aggressive as himself. All, all thrust back!

Destruction follows us, and swift decay.

Oh, I have lain for hours upon the grass,

And gazed into the tenderest blue of heaven—

Cleansed as with dew, so limpid, pure and sweet—

All flecked with silver packs of standing cloud

Most beautiful! But watch them narrowly!

Those clouds will sheer small fleeces from their sides,

Which, melting in our sight as in a dream,

Will vanish all like phantoms in the sky.

So melts our heedless race! Some weaned away,

And wedded to rough-handed pioneers,

Who, fierce as wolves in hatred of our kind,

Yet from their shrill and acid women turn,

Prizing our maidens for their gentleness.

Some by outlandish fevers die, and some—

Caught in the white man's toils and vices mean—

Court death, and find it in the trader's cup.

And all are driven from their heritage,

Far from our fathers' seats and sepulchres,

And girdled with the growing glooms of war;

Resting a moment here, a moment there,

Whilst ever through our plains and forest realms

Bursts the pale spoiler, armed, with eager quest,

And ruinous lust of land. I think of all—

And own Tecumseh right. 'Tis he alone

Can stem this tide of sorrows dark and deep;

So must I bend my feeble will to his,

And, for my people's welfare, banish love.

Lefroy. Nay, for your people's welfare keep your love!

My heart is true: I know that braggart nation,

Whose sordid instincts, cold and pitiless,

Would cut you off, and drown your Council Fires.

I would defend you, therefore keep me here!

My love is yours alone, my hand I give,

With this good weapon in it, to your race.

Iena. Oh, heaven help a weak untutored maid,

Whose head is warring 'gainst a heart that tells,

With every throb, I love you. Leave me! Fly!

Lefroy. I kneel to you—it is my leave-taking,

So, bid me fly again, and break my heart!

(Iena sings.)

Fly far from me,

  Even as the daylight flies,

And leave me in the darkness of my pain!

Some earlier love will come to thee again,

  And sweet new moons will rise,

And smile on it and thee.


Fly far from me,

  Even whilst the daylight wastes—

Ere thy lips burn me in a last caress;

Ere fancy quickens, and my longings press.

  And my weak spirit hastes

For shelter unto thee!


Fly far from me,

  Even whilst the daylight pales—

So shall we never, never meet again!

Fly! for my senses swim—Oh, Love! Oh, Pain!—

  Help! for my spirit fails—

I cannot fly from thee!

[Iena sinks into Lefroy's arms.

Lefroy. No, Iena! You cannot fly from me—

My heart is in your breast, and yours in mine;

Therefore our love—

Enter Tecumseh, followed by Mamatee.

Tecumseh.            False girl! Is this your promise?

Would that I had a pale-face for a niece—

Not one so faithless to her pledge! You owe

All duty and affection to your race,

Whose interest—the sum of our desires—

Traversed by alien love, drops to the ground.

Iena. Tecumseh ne'er was cruel until now.

Call not love alien which includes our race—

Love for our people, pity for their wrongs!

He loves our race because his heart is here—

And mine is in his breast. Oh, ask him there,

And he will tell you—

Lefroy.                Iena, let me speak!

Tecumseh, we as strangers have become

Strangely familiar through sheer circumstance,

Which often breeds affection or disdain,

Yet, lighting but the surface of the man,

Shows not his heart. I know not what you think

And care not for your favour or your love,

Save as desert may crown me. Your decree,

"Red shall not marry white," is arbitrary,

And off the base of nature; for if they

Should marry not, then neither should they love.

Yet Iena loves me, and I love her.

Be merciful! I ask not Iena

To leave her race; I rather would engage

These willing arms in her defence and yours.

Heap obligation up, conditions stern—

But send not your cold "Nay" athwart our lives.

Iena. Be merciful! Oh, uncle, pity us!

Tecumseh. My pity, Iena, goes with reproach,

Blunting the edge of anger; yet my will

Is fixed, and the command to be obeyed—

This stranger must depart—you to your lodge!

Mamatee. Tecumseh, I am in the background here,

As ever I have been in your affection.

For I have ne'er known what good women prize—

Earth's greatest boon to them—a husband's love.

Tecumseh. My nation has my love, in which you share,

With special service rendered to yourself;

So that your cabin flows with mouffles sweet,

And hips of wapiti and bedded robes.

Teach me my duty further if you will!

My love is wide, and broods upon my race.

Mamatee. The back is clad—the heart, alas! goes bare.

Oh, I would rather shiver in the snow—

My heart downed softly with Tecumseh's love—

Than sleep unprized in warmest couch of fur.

I know your love is wide, and, for that I

Share but a millionth part of it, and feel

Its meagreness, I plead most eagerly

For this poor white, whose heart is full of love,

And gives it all to her.

Tecumseh.                It cannot be!

You know not what you ask, 'Tis 'gainst our law,

Which, breached, would let our untamed people through.

Lefroy. I care not for your cruel law! The heart

Has statutes of its own which make for love.

Tecumseh. You'd cross me too! This child's play of the heart,

Which sterner duty has repressed in me,

Makes even captives bold. (Aside.) I like his courage!

Mamatee. If duty makes Tecumseh's heart grow cold,

Then shame on it! and greater shame on him

Who ever yet showed mercy to his foes,

Yet, turning from his own, in pity's spite

Denies it to a girl. See, here I kneel!

Iena. And I! O uncle, frown not on our love!

Tecumseh. By the Great Spirit this is over much!

My heart is made for pity, not for war,

Since women's tears unman me. Have your will!

I shall respect your love, (To Lefroy.) your safety too.

I go at once to sound the Wyandots

Concerning some false treaties with the whites.

The Prophet hates you, therefore come with me.

[The Prophet rushes in with a band of Braves.

Prophet. She's here! Take hold of her and bear her off!

Tecumseh. Beware! Lay not a finger on the girl!

[The Braves fall back.

Prophet. There is no law Tecumseh will not break,

When women weep, and pale-face spies deceive.

Mamatee. Ah, wretch! not all our people's groans could wring

A single tear from out your murderous eye.

Prophet. (Lifting his axe.) This is my captive, and his life is mine!

Iena. (Rushing to Lefroy.) Save him! Save him!

[Tecumseh interferes.



SCENE FIRST.—Before the Prophet's Town.

Enter Tecumseh and Lefroy.

Tecumseh. No guard or outlook here! This is most strange.

Chance reigns where prudence sleeps.

Enter a Brave.

                                    Here comes a brave

With frenzy in his face. Where is the Prophet?

Brave. He fasts alone within the medicine-lodge,

And talks to our Great Spirit. All our braves,

Huddling in fear, stand motionless without,

Thrilled by strange sounds, and voices not of earth.

Tecumseh. How long has it been thus?

Brave.                      Four nights have passed

And none have seen his face; but all have heard

His dreadful tongue, in incantations deep,

Fetch horrors up—vile beings flashed from hell,

Who fought as devils fight, until the lodge

Shook to its base with struggling, and the earth

Quaked as, with magic strength, he flung them down.

These strove with him for mastery of our fate;

But, being foiled, Yohewa has appeared,

And, in the darkness of our sacred lodge,

Communes with him.

Tecumseh. Our Spirit great and good!

He comes not here for nought. What has he promised?

Brave. Much! for henceforth we are invulnerable.

The bullets of the Long-Knives will rebound,

Like petty hailstones, from our naked breasts;

And, in the misty morns of our attack,

Strange lights will shine on them to guide our aim,

Whilst clouds of gloom will screen us from their sight.

Tecumseh. The Prophet is a wise interpreter,

And all his words, by valour backed, will stand;

For valour is the weapon of the soul,

More dreaded by our vaunting enemies

Than the plumed arrow, or the screaming ball.

What wizardry and witchcraft has he found

Conspiring 'gainst our people's good?

Brave.                                Why, none!

Wizard and witch are weeded out, he says;

Not one is left to do us hurt.

Tecumseh. (Aside.)       'Tis well!

My brother has the eyeball of the horse,

And swerves from danger. (To Brave.) Bid our warriors come!

I wait them here.

[Exit Brave.

                 The Prophet soon will follow.

Lefroy. Now opportunity attend my heart.

Which waits for Iena! True love's behest,

Outrunning war's, will bring her to my arms

Ere cease the braves from gasping wonderment.

Tecumseh. First look on service ere you look on love;

You shall not see her here.

Lefroy.                     My promises

Are sureties of my service—

Tecumseh.                    But your deeds,

Accomplishments; our people count on deeds.

Be patient! Look upon our warriors

Roped round with scars and cicatrizèd wounds,

Inflicted in deep trial of their spirit.

Their skewered sides are proofs of manly souls,

Which, had one groan escaped from agony,

Would all have sunk beneath our women's heels,

Unfit for earth or heaven. So try your heart,

And let endurance swallow all love's sighs.

Yoke up your valour with our people's cause,

And I, who love your nation, which is just,

When deeds deserve it, will adopt you here,

By ancient custom of our race, and join

Iena's hand to yours.

Lefroy.               Your own hand first

In pledge of this!

Tecumseh.          It ever goes with truth!

Lefroy. Now come some wind of chance and show me her

But for one heavenly moment! as when leaves

Are blown aside in summer, and we see

The nested oriole.

[Enter Chiefs and warriors—The warriors cluster around Tecumseh, shouting and discharging their pieces.

Tecumseh.               My chiefs and braves!

Miami Chief. Fall back! Fall back! Ye press too close on him.

Tecumseh. My friends! our joy is like to meeting streams,

Which draw into a deep and prouder bed.

[Shouts from the warriors.

Delaware Chief. Silence, ye braves! let great Tecumseh speak!

[The warriors fall back.

Tecumseh. Comrades, and faithful warriors of our race!

Ye who defeated Harmar and St. Clair,

And made their hosts a winter's feast for wolves!

I call on you to follow me again,

Not now for war, but as forearmed for fight.

As ever in the past so is it still:

Our sacred treaties are infringed and torn;

Laughed out of sanctity, and spurned away;

Used by the Long-Knife's slave to light his fire,

Or turned to kites by thoughtless boys, whose wrists

Anchor their father's lies in front of heaven.

And now we're asked to Council at Vincennes:

To bend to lawless ravage of our lands,

To treacherous bargains, contracts false, wherein

One side is bound, the other loose as air!

Where are those villains of our race and blood

Who signed the treaties that unseat us here;

That rob us of rich plains and forests wide;

And which, consented to, will drive us hence

To stage our lodges in the Northern Lakes,

In penalties of hunger worse than death?

Where are they? that we may confront them now

With your wronged sires, your mothers, wives and babes,

And, wringing from their false and slavish lips

Confession of their baseness, brand with shame

The traitor hands which sign us to our graves.

Miami Chief. Some are age-bent and blind, and others sprawl,

And stagger in the Long-Knife's villages;

And some are dead, and some have fled away,

And some are lurking in the forest here,

Sneaking, like dogs, until resentment cools.

Kickapoo Chief. We all disclaim their treaties. Should they come,

Forced from their lairs by hunger, to our doors,

Swift punishment will light upon their heads.

Tecumseh. Put yokes upon them! let their mouths be bound!

For they are swine who root with champing jaws

Their fathers' fields, and swallow their own offspring.

Enter the Prophet in his robe—his face discoloured.

Welcome, my brother, from the lodge of dreams!

Hail to thee, sagest among men—great heir

Of all the wisdom of Pengasega!

Prophet. (Aside.) This pale-face here again! this hateful snake,

Who crawls between our people and their laws!

(To Tecumseh.) Your greeting, brother, takes the chill from mine,

When last we parted you were not so kind.

Tecumseh. The Prophet's wisdom covers all. He knows

Why Nature varies in her handiwork,

Moulding one man from snow, the next from fire—

Prophet. Which temper is your own, and blazes up,

In winds of passion like a burning pine.

Tecumseh. 'Twill blaze no more unless to scorch our foes.

My brother, there's my hand—for I am grieved

That aught befell to shake our proper love.

Our purpose is too high, and full of danger;

We have too vast a quarrel on our hands

To waste our breath on this.

[Steps forward and offers his hand.

Prophet.                     My hand to yours.

Several Chiefs. Tecumseh and the Prophet are rejoined!

Tecumseh. Now, but one petty cloud distains our sky.

My brother, this man loves our people well.

(Pointing to Lefroy.)

Lefroy. I know he hates me, yet I hope to win

My way into his heart.

Prophet.               There—take my hand!

(Aside.) I must dissemble. Would this palm were poison!

(To Tecumseh.) What of the Wyandots? And yet I know!

I have been up among the clouds, and down

Into the entrails of the earth, and seen

The dwelling-place of devils. All my dreams

Are from above, and therefore favour us.

Tecumseh. With one accord the Wyandots disclaim

The treaties of Fort Wayne, and burn with rage.

Their tryst is here, and some will go with me

To Council at Vincennes. Where's Winnemac?

Miami Chief. That recreant has joined our enemies,

And with the peace-pipe sits beside their fire,

And whiffs away our lives.

Kickapoo Chief.            The Deaf-Chief, too,

With head awry, who cannot hear us speak

Though thunder shouted for us from the skies,

Yet hears the Long-Knives whisper at Vincennes;

And, when they jest upon our miseries,

Grips his old leathern sides, and coughs with laughter.

Delaware Chief. And old Kanaukwa—famed when we were young—

Has hid his axe, and washed his honours off.

Tecumseh. 'Tis honour he has parted with, not honours;

Good deeds are ne'er forespent, nor wiped away.

I know these men; they've lost their followers,

And, grasping at the shadow of command,

Where sway and custom once had realty,

By times, and turn about, follow each other.

They count for nought—but Winnemac is true,

Though over-politic; he will not leave us.

Prophet. Those wizened snakes must be destroyed at once!

Tecumseh. Have mercy, brother—those poor men are old.

Prophet. Nay, I shall tease them till they sting themselves;

Their rusty fangs are doubly dangerous.

Tecumseh. What warriors are ready for Vincennes?

Warriors. All! All are ready.

Tecumseh leads us on—we follow him.

Tecumseh. Four hundred warriors will go with me,

All armed, yet only for security

Against the deep designs of Harrison.

For 'tis my purpose still to temporize,

Not lightly break with him till once again

I scour the far emplacements of our tribes.

Then shall we close at once on all our foes.

They claim our lands, but we shall take their lives:

Drive out their thievish souls, and spread their bones

To bleach upon the misty Alleghanies;

Or make death's treaty with them on the spot,

And sign our bloody marks upon their crowns

For lack of schooling—ceding but enough

Of all the lands they covet for their graves.

Miami Chief. Tecumseh's tongue is housed in wisdom's cheeks;

His valour and his prudence march together.

Delaware Chief. 'Tis wise to draw the distant nations on.

This scheme will so extend the Long-Knife force,

In lines defensive stretching to the sea,

Their bands will be but morsels for our braves.

Prophet. How long must this bold project take to ripen?

Time marches with the foe, and his surveyors

Already smudge our forests with their fires.

It frets my blood and makes my bowels turn

To see those devils blaze our ancient oaks,

Cry "Right!" and drive their rascal pickets down.

Why not make war on them at once?

Tecumseh.                         Not now!

Time will make room for weightier affairs.

Be this the disposition for the hour:

Our warriors from Vincennes will all return,

Save twenty—the companions of my journey—

And this brave white, who longs to share our toil,

And win his love by deeds in our defence.

You, brother, shall remain to guard our town,

Our wives, our children, all that's dear to us—

Receive each fresh accession to our strength;

And from the hidden world, which you inspect,

Draw a divine instruction for their souls.

Go, now, ye noble chiefs and warriors!

Make preparation—I'll be with you soon.

To-morrow we shall make the Wabash boil,

And beat its current, racing to Vincennes.

[Exeunt all but Tecumseh and the Prophet.

Prophet. I shall return unto our sacred lodge,

And there invoke the Spirit of the Wind

To follow you, and blow good tidings back.

Tecumseh. Our strait is such we need the help of heaven.

Use all your wisdom, brother, but—beware!

Pluck not our enterprise while it is green,

And breed no quarrel here till I return.

Avoid it as you would the rattling snake;

And, when you hear the sound of danger, shrink,

And face it not, unless with belts of peace.

White wampum, not the dark, till we can strike

With certain aim. Can I depend on you?

Prophet. Trust you in fire to burn, or cold to freeze?

So may you trust in me. The heavy charge

Which you have laid upon my shoulders now

Would weigh the very soul of rashness down.

[Exit the Prophet.

Tecumseh. I think I can depend on him—I must!

Yet do I know his crafty nature well—

His hatred of our foes, his love of self,

And wide ambition. What is mortal man?

Who can divine this creature that doth take

Some colour from all others? Nor shall I

Push cold conclusions 'gainst my brother's sum

Of what is good—so let dependence rest!


SCENE SECOND—VincennesA Street.

Enter Gerkin, Slaugh and Twang.

Gerkin. Ain't it about time Barron was back, Jedge?

Twang. I reckon so. Our Guvner takes a crazy sight more pains than I would to sweeten that ragin' devil Tecumseh's temper. I'd sweeten it with sugar o' lead if I had my way.

Slaugh. It's a reekin' shame—dang me if it ain't. And that two-faced one-eyed brother o' his, the Prophet—I'll be darned if folks don't say that the Shakers in them 'ere parts claims him for a disciple!

Twang. Them Shakers is a queer lot. They dance jest like wild Injuns, and thinks we orter be kind to the red rascals, and use them honestly.

Gerkin. Wall! That's what our Guvner ses too. But I reckon he's shammin' a bit. Twixt you and me, he's on the make like the rest o' us. Think o' bein' kind to a red devil that would lift your har ten minutes arter! And as for honesty—I say "set 'em up" every time, and then rob 'em. That's the way to clar them out o' the kentry. Whiskey's better 'n gunpowder, and costs less than fightin' 'em in the long run.

Enter Citizen Bloat.

Twang. That's so! Hello, Major, what's up? You look kind o' riled to-day.

Bloat. Wall, Jedge, I do feel right mad—have you heerd the news?

Twang. No! Has old Sledge bust you at the kyards again?

Bloat. Old Sledge be darned! I had jest clar'd him out o' continentals—fifty to the shillin'—at his own game, when in ript Roudi—the Eyetalian that knifed the Muskoe Injun for peekin' through his bar-room winder last spring—jest down from Fort Knox. You know the chap, General; you was on his jury.

Slaugh. I reckon I do! The Court was agin him, but we acquitted him afore the Chief-Justice finished his charge, and gave him a vote o' thanks to boot. There's a heap o' furriners creepin' inter these parts—poor downtrodden cusses from Europe—and, if they're all like Roudi, they'll do—a'most as hendy with the knife as our own people. But what's up?

Bloat. Roudi saw Barron at Fort Knox, restin' thar on his way back from the Prophet's Town, and he sez that red assassin Tecumseh's a-cumin' down with four hundred o' his painted devils to convarse with our Guvner. They're all armed, he sez, and will be here afore mid-day.

Slaugh. Wall! our Guvner notified him to come—he's only gettin' what he axed for. There'll be a deal o' loose har flitterin' about the streets afore night, I reckon. Harrison's a heap too soft with them red roosters; he hain't got cheek enough.

Gerkin. I've heerd say the Guvner, and the Chief Justice too, thinks a sight o' this tearin' red devil. They say he's a great man. They say, too, that our treaty Injuns air badly used—that they shouldn't be meddled with on their resarves, and should hev skoolin'.

Bloat. Skoolin'! That gits me! Dogoned if I wouldn't larn them jest one thing—what them regler officers up to the Fort larns their dogs—"to drap to shot," only in a different kind o' way like; and, as for their resarves, I say, give our farmers a chance—let them locate!

Twang. That's so, Major! What arthly use air they—plouterin' about their little bits o' fields, with their little bits o' cabins, and livin' half the time on mush-rats? I say, let them move out, and give reliable citizens a chance.

Slaugh. Wall, I reckon our Guvner's kind's about played out. They call themselves the old stock—the clean pea—the rale gentlemen o' the Revolooshun. But, gentlemen, ain't we the Revolooshun? Jest wait till the live citizens o' these United States and Territories gits a chance, and we'll show them gentry what a free people, with our institooshuns, kin do. There'll be no more talk o' skoolin for Injuns, you bet! I'd give them Kernel Crunch's billet.

Gerkin. What was that, General?

Slaugh. Why, they say he killed a hull family o' red-skins, and stuck 'em up as scar'-crows in his wheat-fields. Gentlemen, there's nothin' like original idees!

Twang. That war an original idee! The Kernel orter hev tuk out a patent. I think I've heerd o' Crunch. Warn't he with Kernel Crawford, o' the melish', at one time?

Slaugh. Whar?

Twang. Why over to the Muskingum. You've heerd o' them Delaware Moravians over to the Muskingum, surely?

Slaugh. Oh, them convarted chaps! but I a'most forgit the carcumstance.

Twang. Wall, them red devils had a nice resarve thar—as yieldin' a bit o' sile as one could strike this side o' the Alleghanies. They was all convarted by the Moravians, and pertended to be as quiet and peaceable as the Shakers hereabout. But Kernel Crawford—who knew good sile when he sot his eyes on it—diskivered that them prayin' chaps had helped a war-party from the North with provisions—or thort they did, which was the same thing. So—one fine Sunday—he surrounds their church with his melish'—when the Injuns was all a-prayin'—and walks in himself, jest for a minute or two, and prays a bit so as not to skeer them too soon, end then walks out, and locks the door. The Kernel then cutely—my heart kind o' warms to that man—put a squad o' melish' at each winder with their bayonets pinted, and sot fire to the Church, and charred up the hull kit, preacher and all! The heft o' them was burnt; but some that warn't thar skinned out o' the kentry, and got lands from the British up to the Thames River in Canady, and founded what they call the Moravian Town thar; and thar they is still—fur them Britishers kind o' pampers the Injuns, so they may git at our scalps.

Slaugh. I reckon we'll hev a tussle with them gentry afore long. But for Noo England we'd a hed it afore now; but them Noo Englanders kind o' curries to the Britishers. A war would spile their shippin', and so they're agin it. But we hain't got no ships to spile in this western kentry, and so I reckon we'll pitch in.

Gerkin. We'd better get out of this Injun fry-pan fust, old hoss! I could lick my own weight in wild-cats, but this ruck o' Injuns is jest a little too hefty.

Bloat. Maybe they want to come to skool, and start store and sich!

Gerkin. Gentlemen, I mean to send my lady down stream, and I reckon you'd better do the same with your 'uns—jest for safety like. My time's limited—will you liquor?

All. You bet!

Bloat. (Meditatively.) Skoolin'! Wall, I'll be darned!


SCENE THIRD. The Same. A room in General Harrison's house.

Enter General Harrison, and some Officers of the American Army.

Harrison. What savage handiwork keeps Barron back?

Enter Barron.

Ah, here he comes, his looks interpreting

Mischief and failure! It is as I feared.

What answer do you bring?

Barron.                   Tecumseh comes

To council, with four hundred men at back,

To which, with all persuasion, I objected—

As that it would alarm our citizens,

Whose hasty temper, by suspicion edged,

Might break in broils of quarrel with his braves;

But, sir, it was in vain—so be prepared!

Your Council records may be writ in blood.

Harrison. Will he attack us, think you?

Barron.                                 No, not now.

His present thought is to intimidate.

But, lest some rash and foul-mouthed citizen

Should spur his passion to the run, fore-arm!

Harrison. Tut! Arms are scarce as soldiers in our town,

And I am sick of requisitioning.

Nay, we must trust to something else than arms.

Tecumseh is a savage but in name—

Let's trust to him! What says he of our treaties?

Barron. Oh, he discharges them as heavy loads,

Which, borne by red men only, break their backs.

All lands, he says, are common to his race;

Not to be sold but by consent of all.

Harrison. Absurd! This proposition would prevent

All purchase and all progress. No, indeed;

We cannot tie our hands with such conditions.

What of the Prophet? Comes he with the rest?

Barron. The Prophet stays behind.

Harrison.                         He is a foil

Used by Tecumseh to augment his greatness;

And, by good husbandry of incantation,

And gloomy charms by night, this Prophet works

So shrewdly on their braves that every man,

Inflamed by auguries of victory,

Would rush on death.

1st Officer.         Why, General, I heard

He over trumpt you once and won the trick.

Harrison. How so?

1st Officer.Well, once, before his braves, 'tis said,

You dared him to a trial of his spells,

Which challenge he accepted, having heard

From white men of a coming sun-eclipse.

Then, shrewdly noting day and hour, he called

Boldly his followers round him, and declared

That he would hide the sun. They stood and gazed,

And, when the moon's colossal shadow fell,

They crouched upon the ground, and worshipped him.

Harrison. He caught me there, and mischief came of it.

Oh, he is deep. How different those brothers!

One dipt in craft, the dye of cruelty,

The other frank and open as the day.

Enter an Orderly.

Orderly. Tecumseh and his braves have reached the landing!

[Excitement. All rise hastily.

Harrison. This room is smaller than our audience:

Take seats and benches to the portico—

There we shall treat with him.

[Exeunt all but General Harrison.

                               Could I but strain

My charge this chief might be my trusty friend.

Yet I am but my nation's servitor;

Gold is the king who overrides the right,

And turns our people from the simple ways

And fair ideal of their fathers' lives.


SCENE FOURTH—The Same. The portico of General Harrison's house. An open grove at a little distance in front.

[Curtain rises and discovers General Harrison, army officers and citizens, of various quality, including Twang, Slaugh, Gerkin and Bloat, seated in the portico. A sergeant and guard of soldiers near by.

Enter Tecumseh and his followers with Lefroy in Indian dress. They all stop at the grove.

Harrison. Why halts he there?

Go tell him he is welcome to our house.

[An Orderly goes down with message.

1st Officer.How grave and decorous they look—"the mien

Of pensive people born in ancient woods."

But look at him! Look at Tecumseh there—

How simple in attire! that eagle plume

Sole ornament, and emblem of his spirit.

And yet, far scanned, there's something in his face

That likes us not. Would we were out of this!

Harrison. Yes; even at a distance I can see

His eyes distilling anger. 'Tis no sign

Of treachery, which ever drapes with smiles

The most perfidious purpose. Our poor strength

Would fail at once should he break out on us;

But let us hope 'tis yet a war of wits

Where firmness may enact the part of force.

[Orderly returns.

What answer do you bring?

Orderly.                  Tecumseh says:

"Houses are built for whites—the red man's house,

Leaf-roofed, and walled with living oak, is there—

[Pointing to the grove.

Let our white brother meet us in it!"

2nd Officer. Oh!

White brother! So he levels to your height,

And strips your office of its dignity.

3rd Officer.'Tis plain he cares not for your dignity,

And touchingly reminds us of our tenets.

Our nation spurns the outward shows of state,

And ceremony dies for lack of service.

Pomp is discrowned, and throned regality

Dissolved away in our new land and laws.

Man is the Presence here!

1st Officer.              Well, for my part,

I like not that one in particular.

[Pointing toward Tecumseh.

3rd Officer.No more do I! I wish I were a crab,

And had its courtly fashion of advancing.

Harrison. Best yield to him, the rather that he now

Invites our confidence. His heavy force

Scants good opinion somewhat, yet I know

There's honour, aye, and kindness in this Chief.


3rd Officer.Yes, faith, he loves us all, and means to keep

Locks of our hair for memory. Here goes!

[All rise.

Servants and soldiers carry chairs and benches to the grove, followed by General Harrison and others, who seat themselvesTecumseh and his followers still standing in the lower part of the grove.

Harrison. We have not met to bury our respect,

Or mar our plea with lack of courtesy.

The Great Chief knows it is his father's wish

That he should sit by him.

Tecumseh.                  My father's wish!

My father is the sun; the earth my mother,

[Pointing to each in turn.

And on her mighty bosom I shall rest.

[Tecumseh and his followers seat themselves on the grass.

Harrison. (Rising.) I asked Tecumseh to confer with me,

Not in war's hue, but for the ends of peace.

Our own intent—witness our presence here,

Unarmed save those few muskets and our swords.

How comes it, then, that he descends on us

With this o'erbearing and untimely strength?

Tecumseh's virtues are the theme of all;

Wisdom and courage, frankness and good faith—

To speak of these things is to think of him!

Yet, as one theft makes men suspect the thief—

Be all his life else spent in honesty—

So does one breach of faithfulness in man

Wound all his after deeds. There is a pause

In some men's goodness like the barren time

Of those sweet trees which yield each second year,

Wherein what seems a niggardness in nature

Is but good husbandry for future gifts.

But this tree bears, and bears most treacherous fruit!

Here is a gross infringement of all laws

That shelter men in council, where should sit

No disproportioned force save that of reason—

Our strong dependence still, and argument,

Of better consequence than that of arms,

If great Tecumseh should give ear to it.

Tecumseh. (Rising.) You called upon Tecumseh and he came!

You sent your messenger, asked us to bring

Our wide complaint to you—and it is here!

[Pointing to his followers.

Why is our brother angry at our force,

Since every man but represents a wrong?

Nay! rather should our force be multiplied!

Fill up your streets and overflow your fields,

And crowd upon the earth for standing room;

Still would our wrongs outweigh our witnesses,

And scant recital for the lack of tongues.

I know your reason, and its bitter heart,

Its form of justice, clad with promises—

The cloaks of death! That reason was the snare

Which tripped our ancestors in days of yore—

Who knew not falsehood and so feared it not:

Men who mistook your fathers' vows for truth,

And took them, cold and hungry, to their hearts,

Filled them with food, and shared with them their homes,

With such return as might make baseness blush.

What tree e'er bore such treacherous fruit as this?

But let it pass! let wrongs die with the wronged!

The red man's memory is full of graves.

But wrongs live with the living, who are here—

Inheritors of all our fathers' sighs,

And tears, and garments wringing wet with blood.

The injuries which you have done to us

Cry out for remedy, or wide revenge.

Restore the forests you have robbed us of—

Our stolen homes and vales of plenteous corn!

Give back the boundaries, which are our lives,

Ere the axe rise! aught else is reasonless.

Harrison. Tecumseh's passion is a dangerous flood

Which sweeps away his judgment. Let him lift

His threatened axe to hit defenceless heads!

It cannot mar the body of our right,

Nor graze the even justice of our claim:

These still would live, uncancelled by our death.

Let reason rule us, in whose sober light

We read those treaties which offend him thus:

What nation was the first established here,

Settled for centuries, with title sound?

You know that people, the Miami, well.

Long ere the white man tripped his anchors cold,

To cast them by the glowing western isles,

They lived upon these lands in peace, and none

Dared cavil at their claim. We bought from them,

For such equivalent to largess joined,

That every man was hampered with our goods,

And stumbled on profusion. But give ear!

Jealous lest aught might fail of honesty—

Lest one lean interest or poor shade of right

Should point at us—we made the Kickapoo

And Delaware the sharer of our gifts,

And stretched the arms of bounty over heads

Which held but by Miami sufferance.

But, you! whence came you? and what rights have you?

The Shawanoes are interlopers here—

Witness their name! mere wanderers from the South!

Spurned thence by angry Creek and Yamasee—

Now here to stir up strife, and tempt the tribes

To break the seals of faith. I am surprised

That they should be so led, and more than grieved

Tecumseh has such ingrates at his back.

Tecumseh. Call you those ingrates who but claim their own,

And owe you nothing but revenge? Those men

Are here to answer and confront your lies.

[Turning to his followers.

Miami, Delaware and Kickapoo!

Ye are alleged as signers of those deeds—

Those dark and treble treacheries of Fort Wayne.

Ye chiefs, whose cheeks are tanned with battle-smoke,

Stand forward, then, and answer if you did it!

Kickapoo Chief. (Rising.) Not I! I disavow them!

They were made

By village chiefs whose vanity o'ercame

Their judgment, and their duty to our race.

Delaware Chief. (Rising.) And I reject the treaties in the name

Of all our noted braves and warriors.

They have no weight save with the palsied heads

Which dote on friendly compacts in the past.

Miami Chief. (Rising.) And I renounce them also.

They were signed

By sottish braves—the Long-Knife's tavern chiefs—

Who sell their honour like a pack of fur,

Make favour with the pale-face for his fee,

And caper with the hatchet for his sport.

I am a chief by right of blood, and fling

Your false and flimsy treaties in your face.

I am my nation's head, and own but one

As greater than myself, and he is here!

[Pointing to Tecumseh.

Tecumseh. You have your answer, and from those whose rights

Stand in your own admission. But from me—

The Shawanoe—the interloper here—

Take the full draught of meaning, and wash down

Their dry and bitter truths. Yes! from the South

My people came—fall'n from their wide estate

Where Altamaha's uncongealing springs

Kept a perpetual summer in their sight,

Sweet with magnolia blooms, and dropping balm,

And scented breath of orange and of pine.

And from the East the hunted Delawares came,

Flushed from their coverts and their native streams;

Your old allies, men ever true to you,

Who, resting after long and weary flight,

Are by your bands shot sitting on the ground.

Harrison. Those men got ample payment for their land,

Full recompense, and just equivalent.

Tecumseh. They flew from death to light upon it here!

And many a tribe comes pouring from the East,

Smitten with fire—their outraged women, maimed,

Screaming in horror o'er their murdered babes,

Whose sinless souls, slashed out by white men's swords,

Whimper in Heaven for revenge. O God!

'Tis thus the pale-face prays, then cries "Amen";—

He clamours, and his Maker answers him,

Whilst our Great Spirit sleeps! Oh, no, no, no—

He does not sleep! He will avenge our wrongs!

That Christ the white men murdered, and thought dead—

Who, if He died for mankind, died for us—

He is alive, and looks from heaven on this!

Oh, we have seen your baseness and your guile;

Our eyes are opened and we know your ways!

No longer shall you hoax us with your pleas,

Or with the serpent's cunning wake distrust,

Range tribe 'gainst tribe—then shoot the remnant down,

And in the red man's empty cabin grin,

And shake with laughter o'er his desolate hearth.

No, we are one! the red men all are one

In colour as in love, in lands and fate!

Harrison. Still, with the voice of wrath Tecumseh speaks,

And not with reason's tongue.

Tecumseh.                     Oh, keep your reason!

It is a thief which steals away our lands.

Your reason is our deadly foe, and writes

The jeering epitaphs for our poor graves.

It is the lying maker of your books,

Wherein our people's vengeance is set down,

But not a word of crimes which led to it.

These are hushed up and hid, whilst all our deeds,

Even in self-defence, are marked as wrongs

Heaped on your blameless heads.

                                But to the point!

Just as our brother's Seventeen Council Fires

Unite for self-protection, so do we.

How can you blame us, since your own example

Is but our model and fair precedent?

The Long-Knife's craft has kept our tribes apart.

Nourished dissensions, raised distinctions up,

Forced us to injuries which, soon as done,

Are made your vile pretexts for bloody war.

But this is past. Our nations now are one—

Ready to rise in their imbanded strength.

You promised to restore our ravaged lands

On proof that they are ours—that proof is here,

And by the tongues of truth has answered you.

Redeem your sacred pledges, and no more

Our "leaden birds" will sing amongst your corn;

But love will shine on you, and startled peace

Will come again, and build by every hearth.

Refuse—and we shall strike you to the ground!

Pour flame and slaughter on your confines wide,

Till the charred earth, up to the cope of Heaven,

Reeks with the smoke of smouldering villages,

And steam of awful fires half quenched with blood.

Twang. Did you ever hear the like? If I hed my shootin'-iron, darn me if I wouldn't draw a bead on that barkin' savage. The hungry devil gits under-holts on our Guvner every time.

Slaugh. You bet! I reckon he'd better put a lump o' bacon in his mouth to keep his bilin' sap o' passion down.

Bloat. That's mor'n I'd do. This is jest what we git for allowin' the skulkin' devils to live. I'd vittle 'em on lead pills if I was Guvner.

Twang. That's so! Our civilizashun is jest this—we know what's what. If I hed my way—

Harrison. Silence, you fools! If you provoke him here your blood be on your heads.

Gerkin. Right you air, Guvner! We'll close our dampers.

Tecumseh. My brother's ears have heard. Where is his tongue?

Harrison. My honest ears ache in default of reason.

Tecumseh is reputed wise, yet now

His fuming passions from his judgment fly,

Like roving steeds which gallop from the catch,

And kick the air, wasting in wantonness

More strength than in submission. His threats fall

On fearless ears. Knows he not of our force,

Which in the East swarms like mosquitoes here?

Our great Kentucky and Virginia fires?

Our mounted men and soldier-citizens?

These all have stings—let him beware of them!

Tecumseh. Who does not know your vaunting citizens!

Well drilled in fraud and disciplined in crime;

But in aught else—as honour, justice, truth—

A rabble, and a base disordered herd.

We know them; and our nations, knit in one,

Will challenge them, should this, our last appeal,

Fall on unheeding ears. My brother, hearken!

East of Ohio you possess our lands,

Thrice greater than your needs, but west of it

We claim them all; then, let us make its flood

A common frontier, and a sacred stream

Of which our nations both may drink in peace.

Harrison. Absurd! The treaties of Fort Wayne must stand.

Your village chiefs are heads of civil rule,

Whose powers you seek to centre in yourself,

Or vest in warriors whose trade is blood.

We bought from those, and from your peaceful men—

Your wiser brothers—who had faith in us.

Tecumseh. Poor, ruined brothers, weaned from honest lives!

Harrison. They knew our wisdom, and preferred to sell

Their cabins, fields, and wilds of unused lands

For rich reserves and ripe annuities.

As for your nations being one like ours—

'Tis false—else would they speak one common tongue.

Nay, more! your own traditions trace you here—

Widespread in lapse of ages through the land—

From o'er the mighty ocean of the West.

What better title have you than ourselves,

Who came from o'er the ocean of the East,

And meet with you on free and common ground?

Be reasonable, and let wisdom's words

Displace your passion, and give judgment vent.

Think more of bounty, and talk less of rights—

Our hands are full of gifts, our hearts of love.

Tecumseh. My brother's love is like the trader's warmth—

O'er with the purchase. Oh, unhappy lives—

Our gifts which go for yours! Once we were strong.

Once all this mighty continent was ours,

And the Great Spirit made it for our use.

He knew no boundaries, so had we peace

In the vast shelter of His handiwork,

And, happy here, we cared not whence we came.

We brought no evils thence—no treasured hate,

No greed of gold, no quarrels over God;

And so our broils, to narrow issues joined,

Were soon composed, and touched the ground of peace.

Our very ailments, rising from the earth,

And not from any foul abuse in us,

Drew back, and let age ripen to death's hand.

Thus flowed our lives until your people came,

Till from the East our matchless misery came!

Since then our tale is crowded with your crimes,

With broken faith, with plunder of reserves—

The sacred remnants of our wide domain—

With tamp'rings, and delirious feasts of fire,

The fruit of your thrice-cursèd stills of death,

Which make our good men bad, our bad men worse,

Ay! blind them till they grope in open day,

And stumble into miserable graves.

Oh, it is piteous, for none will hear!

There is no hand to help, no heart to feel,

No tongue to plead for us in all your land.

But every hand aims death, and every heart,

Ulcered with hate, resents our presence here;

And every tongue cries for our children's land

To expiate their crime of being born.

Oh, we have ever yielded in the past,

But we shall yield no more! Those plains are ours!

Those forests are our birth-right and our home!

Let not the Long-Knife build one cabin there—

Or fire from it will spread to every roof,

To compass you, and light your souls to death!

Harrison. Dreams he of closing up our empty plains?

Our mighty forests waiting for the axe?

Our mountain steeps engrailed with iron and gold?

There's no asylumed madness like to this!

Mankind shall have its wide possession here;

And these rough assets of a virgin world

Stand for its coming, and await its hand.

The poor of every land shall come to this,

Heart-full of sorrows, and shall lay them down.

Lefroy. (Springing to his feet.) The poor! What care your rich thieves for the poor?

Those graspers hate the poor, from whom they spring,

More deeply than they hate this injured race.

Much have they taken from it—let them now

Take this prediction, with the red man's curse!

The time will come when that dread power—the Poor—

Whom, in their greed and pride of wealth, they spurn—

Will rise on them, and tear them from their seats;

Drag all their vulgar splendours down, and pluck

Their shallow women from their lawless beds,

Yea, seize their puling and unhealthy babes,

And fling them as foul pavement to the streets.

In all the dreaming of the Universe

There is no darker vision of despairs!

1st Officer.What man is this? 'Tis not an Indian.

Harrison. Madman, you rave!—you know not what you say.

Tecumseh. Master of guile, this axe should speak for him!

[Drawing his hatchet as if to hurl it at Harrison.

2nd Officer.This man means mischief! Quick! Bring up the guard!

[General Harrison and officers draw their swords. The warriors spring to their feet and cluster about Tecumseh, their eyes fixed intently upon Harrison, who stands unmoved. Twang and his friends disappear. The soldiers rush forward and take aim, but are ordered not to fire.



SCENE FIRST.—Vincennes.A Council Chamber in General Harrison's House.

Enter Harrison and five Councillors.

Harrison. Here are despatches from the President,

As well as letters from my trusted friends,

Whose tenor made me summon you to Council.

[Placing papers on table.

1st Councillor.Why break good news so gently? Is it true

War is declared 'gainst England?

Harrison.                        Would it were!

That war is still deferred. Our news is draff,

And void of spirit, since New England turns

A fresh cheek to the slap of Britain's palm.

Great God! I am amazed at such supineness.

Our trade prohibited, our men impressed,

Our flag insulted—still her people bend,

Amidst the ticking of their wooden clocks,

Bemused o'er small inventions. Out upon't!

Such tame submission yokes not with my spirit,

And sends my southern blood into my cheeks,

As proxy for New England's sense of shame.

2nd Councillor.We all see, save New England, what to do;

But she has eyes for her one interest—

A war might sink it. So the way to war

Puzzles imagining.

Harrison.          There is a way

Which lies athwart the President's command.

The reinforcements asked for from Monroe

Are here at last, but with this strict injunction,

They must not be employed save in defence,

Or in a forced attack.

[Taking up a letter.

                        Now, here is news,

Fresh from the South, of bold Tecumseh's work:

The Creeks and Seminolés have conjoined,

Which means a general union of the tribes,

And ravage of our Southern settlements.

Tecumseh's master hand is seen in this,

And these fresh tidings tally with his threats

Before he left Vincennes.

3rd Councillor.           You had a close

Encounter with him here.

Harrison.                Not over close,

Nor dangerous—I saw he would not strike.

His thoughts outran his threats, and looked beyond

To wider fields and trials of our strength.

4th Councillor.Our tree is now too bulky for his axe.

Harrison. Don't underrate his power! But for our States

This man would found an empire to surpass

Old Mexico's renown, or rich Peru.

Allied with England, he is to be feared

More than all other men.

1st Councillor.          You had some talk

In private, ere he vanished to the South?

Harrison. Mere words, yet ominous. Could we restore

Our purchases, and make a treaty line,

All might be well; but who would stand to it?

2nd Councillor.It is not to be thought of.

Other Councillors.                          No, no, no.

Harrison. In further parley at the river's edge,

Scenting a coming war, he clapped his hands,

And said the English whooped his people on,

As if his braves were hounds to spring at us;

Compared our nation to a whelming flood,

And called his scheme a dam to keep it back—

Then proffered the old terms; whereat I urged

A peaceful mission to the President.

But, by apt questions, gleaning my opinion,

Ere I was ware, of such a bootless trip,

He drew his manly figure up, then smiled,

And said our President might drink his wine

In safety in his distant town, whilst we—

Over the mountains here—should fight it out;

Then entering his bark, well manned with braves,

Bade me let matters rest till he returned

From his far mission to the distant tribes,

Waved an adieu, and in a trice was gone.

2nd Councillor.Your news is but an earnest of his work.

4th Councillor.This Chief's despatch should be our own example.

Let matters rest, forsooth, till he can set

Our frontier in a blaze! Such cheap advice

Pulls with the President's, not mine.

Harrison.                             Nor mine!

The sum of my advice is to attack

The Prophet ere Tecumseh can return.

5th Councillor.But what about the breach of your instructions?

Harrison. If we succeed we need not fear the breach—

In the same space we give and heal the wound.

Enter a Messenger, who hands letters to Harrison.

Thank you, Missouri and good Illinois—

Your governors are built of western clay.

Howard and Edwards both incline with me,

And urge attack upon the Prophet's force.

This is the nucleus of Tecumseh's strength—

His bold scheme's very heart. Let's cut it out!

1st Councillor.Yes! yes! and every other part will fail.

2nd Councillor.Let us prepare to go at once!

3rd Councillor.                               Agreed.

4th Councillor.I vote for it.

5th Councillor.                But should the Prophet win?

4th Councillor.Why, then, the Prophet, not Tecumseh, kills us—

Which has the keener axe?

1st Councillor.            Breech-clouted dogs!

Let us attack them, and, with thongs of fire,

Whip their red bodies to a deeper red.

Harrison. This feeling bodes success, and with success

Comes war with England; for a well-won fight

Will rouse a martial spirit in the land

To emulate our deeds on higher ground.

Now hasten to your duties and prepare!

Bronzed autumn comes, when copper-coloured oaks

Drop miserly their stiff leaves to the earth;

And ere the winter's snow doth silver them,

Our triumph must be wrought.


SCENE SECOND.—Tecumseh's Cabin in the Prophet's Town.

Enter Iena and Mamatee, agitated.

Iena. My heart is sad, and I am faint with fear.

My friend, my more than mother, go again—

Plead with the Prophet for a single day!

Perchance within his gloomy heart will stir

Some sudden pulse of pity for a girl.

Mamatee. Alas, my Iena, it is in vain!

He swore by Manitou this very morn,

That thou shouldst wed the chief, Tarhay, to-night.

Iena. Nay, try once more, oh, Mamatee, once more!

I had a dream, and heard the gusty breeze

Hurtle from out a sea of hissing pines,

Then dwindle into voices, faint and sweet,

Which cried—we come! It was my love and yours!

They spoke to me—I know that they are near,

And waft their love to us upon the wind.

Mamatee. Some dreams are merely fancies in our sleep;

I'll make another trial, but I feel

Your only safety is in instant flight.

Iena. Flight! Where and how—beset by enemies?

My fear sits like the partridge in the tree,

And cannot fly whilst these dogs bark at me.

SCENE THIRD.—An elevated Plateau, dotted with heavy oaks, west of the Prophet's Town.

Enter three of Harrison's staff Officers.

1st Officer.Well, here's the end of all our northward marching!

2nd Officer.A peaceful end, if we can trust those chiefs

Who parleyed with us lately.

3rd Officer.                 Yes, for if

They mean to fight, why point us to a spot

At once so strong and pleasant for our camp?

1st Officer.Report it so unto our General.

[Exit 3rd Officer.

'Tis worth our long march through the forest wild

To view these silent plains! The Prophet's Town,

Sequestered yonder like a hermitage,

Disturbs not either's vast of solitude,

But rather gives, like graveyard visitors,

To deepest loneliness a deeper awe.

Re-enter 3rd Officer.

3rd Officer.I need not go, for Harrison is here.

Enter General Harrison, his force following.

1st Officer.Methinks you like the place; some thanks we owe

Unto the Prophet's chiefs for good advice.

Harrison. (Looking around keenly.) These noble oaks, the streamlet to our rear,

This rank wild grass—wood, water and soft beds!

The soldier's luxuries are here together.

1st Officer.Note, too, the place o'erlooks the springy plain

Which lies betwixt us and the Prophet's Town.

I think, sir, 'tis a very fitting place.

Harrison. A fitting place if white men were our foes;

But to the red it gives a clear advantage.

Sleep like the weasel here, if you are wise!

1st Officer.Why, sir, their chiefs, so menacing at first,

Became quite friendly at the last. They fear

A battle, and will treat on any terms.

The Prophet's tide of strength will ebb away,

And leave his stranded bark upon the mire.

Harrison. 'Tis the mixed craft of old dissembling Nature!

If I could look upon her smallest web,

And see in it but crossed and harmless hairs,

Then might I trust the Prophet's knotted seine.

I did not like the manner of those chiefs

Who spoke so fairly. What but highest greatness

Plucks hatred from its seat, and in its stead

Plants friendship in an instant? This our camp

Is badly placed; each coulee and ravine

Is dangerous cover for approach by night;

And all the circuit of the spongy plain

A treacherous bog to mire our cavalry.

They who directed us so warmly here

Had other than our comfort in their eye.

2nd Officer.Fear you a night-attack, sir?

Harrison.                                  Fear it! No!

I but anticipate, and shall prepare.

'Tis sunset, and too late for better choice,

Else were the Prophet welcome to his ground.

Pitch tents and draw our baggage to the centre:

Girdle the camp with lynx-eyed sentinels;

Detail strong guards of choice and wakeful men

As pickets in advance of all our lines;

Place mounted riflemen on both our flanks;

Our cavalry take post in front and rear.

But still within the lines of infantry,

Which, struck at any point, must hold the ground

Until relieved. Cover your rifle pans—

The thick clouds threaten rain. I look to you

To fill these simple orders to the letter.

But stay! Let all our camp-fires burn

Till, if attacked, we form—then drown them out.

The darkness falls—make disposition straight:

Then, all who can, to sleep upon their arms.

I fear me, ere night yields to morning pale,

The warriors' yell will sound our wild reveille.

SCENE FOURTH.—Tecumseh's Cabin.

Enter Iena.

Iena. 'Tis night, and Mamatee is absent still!

Why should this sorrow weigh upon my heart,

And other lonely things on earth have rest?

Oh, could I be with them! The lily shone

All day upon the stream, and now it sleeps

Under the wave in peace—in cradle soft

Which sorrow soon may fashion for my grave.

Ye shadows which do creep into my thoughts—

Ye curtains of despair! what is my fault,

That ye should hide the happy earth from me?

Once I had joy of it, when tender Spring,

Mother of beauty, hid me in her leaves;

When Summer led me by the shores of song.

And forests and far-sounding cataracts

Melted my soul with music. I have heard

The rough chill harpings of dismantled woods,

When Fall had stripped them, and have felt a joy

Deeper than ear could lend unto the heart;

And when the Winter from his mountains wild

Looked down on death, and, in the frosty sky,

The very stars seemed hung with icicles,

Then came a sense of beauty calm and cold,

That weaned me from myself, yet knit me still

With kindred bonds to Nature. All is past,

And he who won from me such love for him,

And he, my valiant uncle and my friend,

Come not to lift the cloud that drapes my soul,

And shield me from the fiendish Prophet's power.

Enter Mamatee.

Give me his answer in his very words!

Mamatee. There is a black storm raging in his mind—

His eye darts lightning like the angry cloud

Which hangs in woven darkness o'er the earth.

Brief is his answer—you must go to him.

The Long-Knife's camp-fires gleam among the oaks

Which dot yon western hill. A thousand men

Are sleeping there cajoled to fatal dreams

By promises the Prophet breaks to night.

Hark! 'tis the war-song!

Iena.                    Dares the Prophet now

Betray Tecumseh's trust, and break his faith?

Mamatee. He dares do anything will feed ambition.

His dancing braves are frenzied by his tongue,

Which prophesies revenge and victory.

Before the break of day he will surprise

The Long-Knife's camp, and hang our people's fate

Upon a single onset.

Iena.                Should he fail?

Mamatee. Then all will fail;—Tecumseh's scheme will fail.

Iena. It shall not! Let us go to him at once!

Mamatee. And risk your life?

Iena.                        Risk hovers everywhere

When night and man combine for darksome deeds.

I'll go to him, and argue on my knees—

Yea, yield my hand—would I could give my heart!

To stay his purpose and this act of ruin.

Mamatee. He is not in the mood for argument.

Rash girl! they die who would oppose him now.

Iena. Such death were sweet as life—I go! But, first—

Great Spirit! I commit my soul to Thee.


SCENE FIFTH—An open space in the forest near the Prophet's Town. A fire of billets burning. War-cries are heard from the town.

Enter the Prophet.

Prophet. My spells do work apace! Shout yourselves hoarse,

Ye howling ministers by whom I climb!

For this I've wrought until my weary tongue,

Blistered with incantation, flags in speech,

And half declines its office. Every brave,

Inflamed by charms and oracles, is now

A vengeful serpent, who will glide ere morn

To sting the Long-Knife's sleeping camp to death.

Why should I hesitate? My promises!

My duty to Tecumseh! What are these

Compared with duty here? Where I perceive

A near advantage, there my duty lies;

Consideration strong which overweighs

All other reason. Here is Harrison—

Trapanned to dangerous lodgment for the night—

Each deep ravine which grooves the prairie's breast

A channel of approach; each winding creek

A screen for creeping death. Revenge is sick

To think of such advantage flung aside.

For what? To let Tecumseh's greatness grow,

Who gathers his rich harvest of renown

Out of the very fields that I have sown!

By Manitou, I will endure no more!

Nor, in the rising flood of our affairs,

Fish like an osprey for this eagle longer.

                                            But, soft!

It is the midnight hour when comes

Tarhay to claim his bride, (calls) Tarhay! Tarhay!

Enter Tarhay with several braves.

Tarhay. Tarhay is here!

Prophet.                The Long-Knives die to-night.

The spirits which do minister to me

Have breathed this utterance within my ear.

You know my sacred office cuts me off

From the immediate leadership in fight.

My nobler work is in the spirit-world,

And thence come promises which make us strong.

Near to the foe I'll keep the Magic Bowl,

Whilst you, Tarhay, shall lead our warriors on.

Tarhay. I'll lead them; they are wild with eagerness.

But fill my cold and empty cabin first

With light and heat! You know I love your niece,

And have the promise of her hand to-night.

Prophet. She shall be yours! (To the braves.)

                             Go bring her here at once—

But, look! Fulfilment of my promise comes

In her own person.

Enter Iena and Mamatee.

                   Welcome, my sweet niece!

You have forestalled my message by these braves,

And come unbidden to your wedding place.

Iena. Uncle! you know my heart is far away—

Prophet. But still your hand is here! this little hand!

(Pulling her forward.)

Iena. Dare you enforce a weak and helpless girl,

Who thought to move you by her misery?

Stand back! I have a message for you too.

What means the war-like song, the dance of braves,

And bustle in our town?

Prophet.                It means that we

Attack the foe to-night.

Iena.                    And risk our all?

O that Tecumseh knew! his soul would rush

In arms to intercept you. What! break faith,

And on the hazard of a doubtful strife

Stake his great enterprise and all our lives!

The dying curses of a ruined race

Will wither up your wicked heart for this!

Prophet. False girl! your heart is with our foes;

Your hand I mean to turn to better use.

Iena. Oh, could it turn you from your mad intent

How freely would I give it! Drop this scheme,

Dismiss your frenzied warriors to their beds;

And, if contented with my hand, Tarhay

Can have it here.

Tarhay.           I love you, Iena!

Iena. Then must you love what I do! Love our race!

'Tis this love nerves Tecumseh to unite

Its scattered tribes—his fruit of noble toil,

Which you would snatch unripened from his hand

And feed to sour ambition. Touch it not—

Oh, touch it not, Tarhay! and though my heart

Breaks for it, I am yours.

Prophet.                   His anyway,

Or I am not the Prophet!

Tarhay.                  For my part

I have no leaning to this rash attempt,

Since Iena consents to be my wife.

Prophet. Shall I be thwarted by a yearning fool!


This soft, sleek girl, to outward seeming good,

I know to be a very fiend beneath—

Whose sly affections centre on herself,

And feed the gliding snake within her heart.

Tarhay. I cannot think her so—

Mamatee.                        She is not so!

There is the snake that creeps among our race,

Whose venomed fangs would bite into our lives,

And poison all our hopes.

Prophet.                  She is the head—

The very neck of danger to me here,

Which I must break at once! (Aside.) Tarhay—attend!

I can see dreadful visions in the air;

I can dream awful dreams of life and fate;

I can bring darkness on the heavy earth;

I can fetch shadows from our fathers' graves,

And spectres from the sepulchres of hell.

Who dares dispute with me disputes with death!

Dost hear, Tarhay?

[Tarhay and braves cower before the Prophet.

Tarhay.            I hear, and will obey.

Spare me! Spare me!

Prophet.            As for this foolish girl,

The hand she offers you on one condition,

I give to you upon a better one;

And, since she has no mind to give her heart—

Which, rest assured, is in her body still—

There,—take it at my hands!

(Flings Iena violently toward Tarhay, into whose arms she falls fainting, and is then borne away by Mamatee.)

(To Tarhay.) Go bring the braves to view the Mystic Torch

And belt of Sacred Beans grown from my flesh—

One touch of it makes them invulnerable—

Then creep, like stealthy panthers, on the foe!

SCENE SIXTH—Morning. The field of Tippecanoe after the Battle. The ground strewn with dead soldiers and warriors.

Enter Harrison, Officers and Soldiers and Barron.

Harrison. A costly triumph, reckoned by our slain!

Look how some lie still clenched with savages

In all-embracing death, their bloody hands

Glued in each other's hair! Make burial straight

Of all alike in deep and common graves:

Their quarrel now is ended.

1st Officer.                I have heard

The red man fears our steel—'twas not so here!

From the first shots, which drove our pickets in,

Till daylight dawned, they rushed upon our lines,

And flung themselves upon our bayonet points

In frenzied recklessness of bravery.

Barron. They trusted in the Prophet's rites and spells,

Which promised them immunity from death.

All night he sat on yon safe eminence,

Howling his songs of war and mystery,

Then fled, at dawn, in fear of his own braves.

Enter an Aide.

Harrison. What tidings bring you from the Prophet's Town?

Aide. The wretched women with their children flee

To distant forests for concealment. In

Their village is no living thing save mice

Which scampered as we oped each cabin door.

Their pots still simmered on the vacant hearths,

Standing in dusty silence and desertion.

Naught else we saw, save that their granaries

Were crammed with needful corn.

Harrison.                       Go bring it all—

Then burn their village down!

[Exit Aide.

2nd Officer.                  This victory

Will shake Tecumseh's project to the base.

Were I the Prophet I should drown myself

Rather than meet him.

Barron.               We have news of him—

Our scouts report him near in heavy force.

Harrison. 'Twill melt, or draw across the British line,

And wait for war. But double the night watch,

Lest he should strike, and give an instant care

To all our wounded men: to-morrow's sun

Must light us on our backward march for home.

Thence Rumor's tongue will spread so proud a story

New England will grow envious of our glory;

And, greedy for renown so long abhorred,

Will on old England draw the tardy sword!

SCENE SEVENTH.—The Ruins of the Prophet's Town.

Enter the Prophet, who gloomily surveys the place.

Prophet. Our people scattered, and our town in ashes!

To think these hands could work such madness here—

This envious head devise this misery!

Tecumseh, had not my ambition drawn

Such sharp and fell destruction on our race,

You might have smiled at me! for I have matched

My cunning 'gainst your wisdom, and have dragged

Myself and all into a sea of ruin.

Enter Tecumseh.

Tecumseh. Devil! I have discovered you at last!

You sum of treacheries, whose wolfish fangs

Have torn our people's flesh—you shall not live!

(The Prophet retreats, facing and followed by Tecumseh.)

Prophet. Nay—strike me not! I can explain it all!

It was a woman touched the Magic Bowl,

And broke the brooding spell.

Tecumseh.                     Impostor! Slave!

Why should I spare you?

[Lifts his hand as if to strike.

Prophet.                Stay, stay, touch me not!

One mother bore us in the self-same hour.

Tecumseh. Then good and evil came to light together.

Go to the corn-dance, change your name to villain!

Away! Your presence tempts my soul to mischief.

[Exit the Prophet.

Would that I were a woman, and could weep,

And slake hot rage with tears! O spiteful fortune,

To lure me to the limit of my dreams,

Then turn and crowd the ruin of my toil

Into the narrow compass of a night.

My brother's deep disgrace—myself the scorn

Of envious harriers and thieves of fame,

Oh, I could bear it all! But to behold

Our ruined people hunted to their graves—

To see the Long-Knife triumph in their shame—

This is the burning shaft, the poisoned wound

That rankles in my soul! But why despair?

All is not lost—the English are our friends.

My spirit rises—Manhood, bear me up!

I'll haste to Malden, join my force to theirs,

And fall with double fury on our foes.

Farewell, ye plains and forests, but rejoice!

Ye yet shall echo to Tecumseh's voice.

Enter Lefroy.

Lefroy. What tidings have you gleaned of Iena?

Tecumseh. My brother meant to wed her to Tarhay—

The chief who led his warriors to ruin;

But, in the gloom and tumult of the night,

She fled into the forest all alone!

Lefroy. Alone! In the wide forest all alone!

Angels are with her now, for she is dead.

Tecumseh. You know her to be skilful with the bow.

'Tis certain she would strike for some great lake—

Erie or Michigan. At the Detroit

Are people of our nation, and perchance

She fled for shelter there. I go at once

To join the British force.

[Exit Tecumseh.

Lefroy.                    But yesterday

I climbed to Heaven upon the shining stairs

Of love and hope, and here am quite cast down.

My little flower amidst a weedy world,

Where art thou now? In deepest forest shade?

Or onward, where the sumach stands arrayed

In autumn splendour, its alluring form

Fruited, yet odious with the hidden worm?

Or, farther, by some still sequestered lake,

Loon-haunted, where the sinewy panthers slake

Their noon-day thirst, and never voice is heard,

Joyous of singing waters, breeze or bird,

Save their wild wailings. (A halloo without.) 'Tis Tecumseh calls!

Oh, Iena! If dead, where'er thou art—

Thy saddest grave will be this ruined heart!




Enter Chorus.

War is declared, unnatural and wild,

By Revolution's calculating sons!

So leave the home of mercenary minds,

And wing with me, in your uplifted thoughts,

Away to our unyielding Canada!

There to behold the Genius of the Land,

Beneath her singing pine and sugared tree,

Companioned with the lion, Loyalty.

SCENE FIRST.—A room in Fort George.

Enter General Brock reading a despatch from Montreal.

Brock. Prudent and politic Sir George Prevost!

Hull's threatened ravage of our western coast

Hath more breviloquence than your despatch.

Storms are not stilled by reasoning with air,

Nor fires quenched by a syrup of sweet words.

So to the wars, Diplomacy, for now

Our trust is in our arms and arguments

Delivered only from the cannon's mouth!


Enter an Orderly.

Orderly. Your Exc'llency?

Brock.                    Bid Colonel Proctor come!

[Exit Orderly.

Now might the head of gray Experience

Shake o'er the problems that surround us here.

I am no stranger to the brunt of war,

But all the odds so lean against our side

That valour's self might tremble for the issue.

Could England stretch its full assisting hand

Then might I smile though velvet-footed Time

Struck all his claws at once into our flesh;

But England, noble England, fights for life,

Couching the knightly lance for liberty

'Gainst a new dragon that affrights the world.

And, now, how many noisome elements

Would plant their greed athwart this country's good!

How many demagogues bewray its cause!

How many aliens urge it to surrender!

Our present good must match their present ill,

And, on our frontiers, boldest deeds in war

Dismay the foe, and strip the loins of faction.

Enter Colonel Proctor.

Time waits not our conveniency; I trust

Your preparations have no further needs.

Proctor. All is in readiness, and I can leave

For Amherstburg at once.

Brock.                   Then tarry not,

For time is precious to us now as powder.

You understand my wishes and commands?

Proctor. I know them and shall match them with obedience.

Brock. Rest not within the limit of instructions

If you can better them, for they should bind

The feeble only; able men enlarge

And shape them to their needs. Much must be done

That lies in your discretion. At Detroit

Hull vaunts his strength, and meditates invasion,

And loyalty, unarmed, defenceless, bare,

May let this boaster light upon our shores

Without one manly motion of resistance.

So whilst I open Parliament at York,

Close it again, and knit our volunteers,

Be yours the task to head invasion off.

Act boldly, but discreetly, and so draw

Our interest to the balance, that affairs

May hang in something like an even scale,

Till I can join you with a fitting force,

And batter this old Hull until he sinks.

So fare-you-well—success attend your mission!

Proctor. Farewell, sir! I shall do my best in this,

And put my judgment to a prudent use

In furtherance of all.

[Exit Proctor.

Brock. Prudent he will be—'tis a vice in him.

For in the qualities of every mind

There's one o'ergrows, and prudence in this man

Tops all the rest. 'Twill suit our present needs.

But, boldness, go with me! for, if I know

My nature well, I shall do something soon

Whose consequence will make the nation cheer,

Or hiss me to my grave.

Re-enter Orderly.

Orderly.                Your Exc'llency,

Some settlers wait without.

Brock. Whence do they come?

Enter Colonel Macdonell.

Orderly. From the raw clearings of Lake Erie, sir.

Brock. Go bring them here at once. (Exit Orderly.)

The very men

Who meanly shirk their service to the Crown!

A breach of duty to be remedied;

For disaffection like an ulcer spreads

Until the caustic ointment of the law,

Sternly applied, eats up and stays corruption.

Enter Deputation of Yankee Settlers.

Good morrow, worthy friends; I trust you bear

Good hopes in loyal hearts for Canada.

1st Settler.That kind o' crop's a failure in our county.

Gen'ral, we came to talk about this war

With the United States. It ain't quite fair

To call out settlers from the other side.

Brock. From it yet on it too! Why came you thence?

Is land so scarce in the United States?

Are there no empty townships, wilds or wastes

In all their borders but you must encroach

On ours? And, being here, how dare you make

Your dwelling-places harbours of sedition,

And furrow British soil with alien ploughs

To feed our enemies? There is not scope,

Not room enough in all this wilderness

For men so base.

2nd Settler.Why, General, we thought

You wanted settlers here.

Brock.                    Settlers indeed!

But with the soldier's courage to defend

The land of their adoption. This attack

On Canada is foul and unprovoked;

The hearts are vile, the hands are traitorous,

That will not help to hurl invasion back.

Beware the lariat of the law! 'Tis thrown

With aim so true in Canada it brings

Sedition to the ground at every cast.

1st Settler.Well, General, we're not your British sort,

But if we were we know that Canada

Is naught compared with the United States.

We have no faith in her, but much in them.

Brock. You have no faith! Then take a creed from me!

For I believe in Britain's Empire, and

In Canada, its true and loyal son,

Who yet shall rise to greatness, and shall stand

At England's shoulder helping her to guard

True liberty throughout a faithless world.

Here is a creed for arsenals and camps,

For hearts and heads that seek their country's good;

So, go at once, and meditate on it!

I have no time to parley with you now—

But think on this as well! that traitors, spies,

And aliens who refuse to take up arms,

Forfeit their holdings, and must leave this land,

Or dangle nearer Heaven than they wish.

So to your homes, and ponder your condition.

[Exeunt Settlers ruefully.

This foreign element will hamper us.

Its alien spirit ever longs for change,

And union with the States.

Macdonell.                 O fear it not,

Nor magnify the girth of noisy men!

Their name is faction, and their numbers few.

While everywhere encompassing them stands

The silent element that doth not change;

That points with steady finger to the Crown—

True as the needle to the viewless pole,

And stable as its star!

Brock.                  I know it well,

And trust to it alone for earnestness,

Accordant counsels, loyalty and faith.

But give me these—and let the Yankees come!

With our poor handful of inhabitants

We can defend our forest wilderness,

And spurn the bold invader from our shores.

Re-enter Orderly.

Orderly. Your boat is ready, sir!

Brock.                            Man it at once—

I shall forthwith to York.


SCENE SECOND.—York, the Capital of Upper Canada. The space in front of old Government House.

Enter two U. E. Loyalists, separately.

1st U. E. Loyalist.Well met, my friend! A stirrer like myself.

2nd U. E. Loyalist.Yes, affairs make me so. Such stirring times

Since Brock returned and opened Parliament!

Read you his speech?

1st U. E. Loyalist.That from the Throne?

2nd U. E. Loyalist.                       Ay, that!

1st U. E. Loyalist.You need not ask, since 'tis on every tongue,

Unstaled by repetition. I affirm

Words never showered upon more fruitful soil

To nourish valour's growth.

2nd U. E. Loyalist.That final phrase—

Oh, it struck home: a sentence to be framed

And hung in every honourable heart

For daily meditation.

"We are engaged in an awful and eventful contest. By unanimity and despatch in our councils, and by vigour in our operations, we may teach the enemy this lesson, that a country defended by free men, enthusiastically devoted to the cause of their king and constitution, can never be conquered."

1st U. E. Loyalist.That reaches far; a text to fortify

Imperial doctrine and Canadian rights.

Sedition skulks, and feels its blood a-cold,

Since first it fell upon the public ear.

2nd U. E. Loyalist.There is a magic in this soldier's tongue.

Oh, language is a common instrument;

But when a master touches it—what sounds!

1st U. E. Loyalist.What sounds indeed! But Brock can use his sword

Still better than his tongue. Our state affairs,

Conned and digested by his eager mind,

Draw into form, and even now his voice

Cries, Forward! To the Front!

2nd U. E. Loyalist.Look—here he comes!

1st U. E. Loyalist.There's matter in the wind: let's draw-a-near.

Enter General Brock, accompanied by Macdonell, Nichol, Robinson and other Canadian Officers and friends conversing.

Brock. 'Tis true our Province faces heavy odds:

Of regulars but fifteen hundred men

To guard a frontier of a thousand miles;

Of volunteers what aidance we can draw

From seventy thousand widely scattered souls.

A meagre showing 'gainst the enemy's

If numbers be the test. But odds lie not

In numbers only, but in spirit too—

Witness the might of England's little isle!

And what made England great will keep her so—

The free soul and the valour of her sons;

And what exalts her will sustain you now

If you contain her courage and her faith.

So not the odds so much are to be feared

As private disaffection, treachery—

Those openers of the door to enemies—

And the poor crouching spirit that gives way

Ere it is forced to yield.

Robinson.                  No fear of that!

Brock. I trust there is not: yet I speak of it

As what is to be feared more than the odds.

For like to forests are communities—

Fair at a distance, entering you find

The rubbish and the underbrush of states.

'Tis ever the mean soul that counts the odds,

And, where you find this spirit, pluck it up—

'Tis full of mischief.

Macdonell.             It is almost dead.

England's vast war, our weakness, and the eagle

Whetting his beak at Sandwich, with one claw

Already in our side, put thought to steep

In cold conjecture for a time, and gave

A text to alien tongues. But, since you came,

Depression turns to smiling, and men see

That dangers well opposed may be subdued

Which, shunned, would overwhelm us.

Brock.                              Hold to this!

For since the storm has struck us we must face it.

What is our present count of volunteers?

Nichol. More than you called for have assembled, sir—

The flower of York and Lincoln.

Brock.                          Some will go

To guard our frontier at Niagara,

Which must be strengthened even at the cost

Of York itself. The rest to the Detroit,

Where, with Tecumseh's force, our regulars,

And Kent and Essex loyal volunteers,

We'll give this Hull a taste of steel so cold

His teeth will chatter at it, and his scheme

Of easy conquest vanish into air.

Enter a Company of Militia with their Officers, unarmed. They salute, march across the stage, and make their exit.

What men are those? Their faces are familiar.

Robinson. Some farmers whom you furloughed at Fort George,

To tend their fields, which still they leave half reaped

To meet invasion.

Brock.            I remember it!

The jarring needs of harvest-time and war,

'Twixt whose necessities grave hazards lay.

Robinson. They only thought to save their children's bread,

And then return to battle with light hearts.

For, though their hard necessities o'erpoised

Their duty for the moment, they are men

Who draw their pith from loyal roots, their sires,

Dug up by revolution, and cast out

To hovel in the bitter wilderness,

And wring, with many a tussle, from the wolf

Those very fields which cry for harvesters.

Brock. Oh, I observed them closely at Fort George—

Red-hot for action in their summer-sleeves,

And others drilling in their naked feet—

Our poor equipment (which disgraced us there)

Too scanty to go round. See they get arms,

An ample outfit and good quarters too.

Nichol. They shall be well provided for in all.

Enter Colonels Baby[1] and Elliott.

[1] Pronounced Baw-bée.

Brock. Good morning both; what news from home, Baby?

Baby. None, none, your Exc'llency—whereat we fear

This Hull is in our rear at Amherstburg.

Brock. Not yet; what I unsealed last night reports

Tecumseh to have foiled the enemy

In two encounters at the Canard bridge.

A noble fellow, as I hear, humane,

Lofty and bold, and rooted in our cause.

Baby. I know him well; a chief of matchless force.

If Mackinaw should fall—that triple key

To inland seas and teeming wilderness—

The bravest in the West will flock to him.

Brock. 'Twere well he had an inkling of affairs.

My letter says he chafes at my delay—

Not mine, but thine, thou dull and fatuous House—

Which, in a period that whips delay,

When men should spur themselves and flash in action,

Letst idly leak the unpurchasable hours

From our scant measure of most precious time!

Baby. 'Tis true, your Exc'llency, some cankered minds

Have been a daily hindrance in our House.

No measure so essential, bill so fair,

But they would foul it by some cunning clause,

Wrenching the needed statute from its aim

By sly injection of their false opinion.

But this you cannot charge to us whose hearts

Are faithful to our trust; nor yet delay:

For, Exc'llency, you hurry on so fast

That other men wheeze after, out of breath,

And haste itself, disparaged, lags behind.

Brock. Friends, pardon me, you stand not in reproof.

But haste, the evil of the age in peace,

Is war's auxiliary, confederate

With Time himself in urgent great affairs.

So must we match it with the flying hours!

I shall prorogue this tardy Parliament,

And promptly head our forces for Detroit.

Meanwhile, I wish you, in advance of us,

To speed unto your homes. Spread everywhere

Throughout the West broad tidings of our coming,

Which, by the counter currents of reaction,

Will tell against our foes and for our friends.

As for the rest, such loyal men as you

Need not our counsel; so, good journey both!

Baby. We shall not spare our transport or ourselves.

Enter a travel-stained Messenger.

Elliott. Good-bye.

Baby.              Tarry a moment, Elliott!

Here comes a messenger—let's have his news.

Messenger. It is his Excellency whom I seek.

I come, sir, with despatches from the West.

Brock. Tidings, I trust, to strengthen all our hopes.

Messenger. News of grave interest, this not the worst.

[Handing a letter to General Brock.

Brock. No, by my soul, for Mackinaw is ours!

That vaunted fort, whose gallant capture frees

Our red allies. This is important news!

What of Detroit?

Messenger.       Things vary little there.

Hull's soldiers scour our helpless settlements,

Our aliens join them, but the loyal mass—

Sullen, yet overawed—longs for relief.

Brock. I hope to better this anon. You, sirs,

(To his aides.)

Come with me; here is matter to despatch

At once to Montreal. Farewell, my friends.

(To Baby and Elliott.)

Baby. We feel now what will follow this, farewell!

[Exeunt Baby, Elliott and Messenger.

Brock. Now, gentlemen, prepare against our needs,

That no neglect may check us at the start,

Or mar our swift advance. And, for our cause,

As we believe it just in sight of God,

So should it triumph in the sight of man,

Whose generous temper, at the first, assigns

Right to the weaker side, yet coldly draws

Damning conclusions from its failure. Now

Betake you to your tasks with double zeal:

And, meanwhile, let our joyful tidings spread!



Enter two Old Men of York, separately.

1st Old Man.Good morrow, friend! a fair and fitting time

To take our airing, and to say farewell.

'Tis here, I think, we bid our friends God-speed,

A waftage, peradventure, to their graves.

2nd Old Man.'Tis a good cause they die for, if they fall.

By this gray pate, if I were young again,

I would no better journey. Young again!

This hubbub sets old pulses on the bound

As I were in my teens.

Enter a Citizen.

                       What news afoot?

Citizen. Why everyone's afoot and coming here.

York's citizens are turned to warriors,

And gentle hearts beat high for Canada!

For, as you pass, on every hand you see,

Through the neglected openings of each house—

Through doorways, windows—our Canadian maids

Strained by their parting lovers to their breasts;

And loyal matrons busy round their lords,

Buckling their arms on, or, with tearful eyes,

Kissing them to the war!

1st Old Man.             The volunteers

Will pass this way?

Citizen.            Yes, to the beach, and there

Embark for Burlington, whence they will march

To Long Point, taking open boats again

To plough the shallow Erie's treacherous flood.

Such leaky craft as farmers market with:

Rare bottoms, one sou-wester-driven wave

Would heave against Lake Erie's wall of shore,

And dash to fragments. 'Tis an awful hazard—

A danger which in apprehension lies,

Yet palpable unto the spirit's touch

As earth to finger.

1st Old Man.        Let us hope a calm

May lull this fretful and ill tempered lake

Whilst they ascend.

[Military music is heard.

Citizen.           Hark! here our soldiers come.

Enter General Brock, with his aides, Macdonell and Glegg, Nichol, and other Officers, followed by the Volunteers in companies. A concourse of Citizens.

Macdonell. Our fellows show the mark of training, sir,

And many, well-in-hand, yet full of fire,

Are burning for distinction.

Brock.                       This is good:

Love of distinction is the fruitful soil

From which brave actions spring; and, superposed

On love of country, these strike deeper root,

And grow to greater greatness. Cry a halt—

A word here—then away!

[Flourish. The volunteers halt, form line, and order arms.

                        Ye men of Canada!

Subjects with me of that Imperial Power

Whose liberties are marching round the earth:

I need not urge you now to follow me,

Though what befalls will try your stubborn faith

In the fierce fire and crucible of war.

I need not urge you, who have heard the voice

Of loyalty, and answered to its call.

Who has not read the insults of the foe—

The manifesto of his purposed crimes?

That foe, whose poison-plant, false liberty,

Runs o'er his body politic and kills

Whilst seeming to adorn it, fronts us now!

Threats our poor Province to annihilate,

And should he find the red men by our side—

Poor injured souls, who but defend their own—

Calls black Extermination from its hell

To stalk abroad, and stench your land with slaughter.

These are our weighty arguments for war,

Wherein armed Justice will enclasp her sword,

And sheath it in her bitter adversary;

Wherein we'll turn our bayonet-points to pens,

And write in blood:—Here lies the poor invader;

Or be ourselves struck down by hailing death;

Made stepping-stones for foes to walk upon—

The lifeless gangways to our country's ruin.

For now we look not with the eye of fear;

We reck not if this strange mechanic frame

Stop in an instant in the shock of war.

Our death may build into our country's life,

And failing this, 'twere better still to die

Than live the breathing spoils of infamy.

Then forward for our cause and Canada!

Forward for Britain's Empire—peerless arch

Of Freedom's raising, whose majestic span

Is axis to the world! On, on, my friends!

The task our country sets must we perform—

Wring peace from war, or perish in its storm!

[Excitement and leave-taking. The volunteers break into column and sing:

O hark to the voice from the lips of the free!

O hark to the cry from the lakes to the sea!

Arm! arm! the invader is wasting our coasts,

And tainting the air of our land with his hosts.

Arise! then, arise! let us rally and form,

And rush like the torrent, and sweep like the storm,

On the foes of our King, of our country adored,

Of the flag that was lost, but in exile restored!


And whose was the flag? and whose was the soil?

And whose was the exile, the suffering, the toil?

Our Fathers'! who carved in the forest a name,

And left us rich heirs of their freedom and fame.

Oh, dear to our hearts is that flag, and the land

Our Fathers bequeathed—'tis the work of their hand!

And the soil they redeemed from the woods with renown

The might of their sons will defend for the Crown!


Our hearts are as one, and our spirits are free,

From clime unto clime, and from sea unto sea!

And chaos may come to the States that annoy,

But our Empire united what foe can destroy?

Then away! to the front! march! comrades away!

In the lists of each hour crowd the work of a day!

We will follow our leader to fields far and nigh,

And for Canada fight, and for Canada die!

[Exeunt with military music.

SCENE FOURTH.—Fort Detroit.—The American Camp.

Enter General Hull, Colonel Cass and other Officers.

Cass. Come, General, we must insist on reasons!

Your order to withdraw from Canada

Will blow to mutiny, and put to shame

That proclamation which I wrote for you,

Wherein 'tis proudly said, "We are prepared

To look down opposition, our strong force

But vanguard of a mightier still to come!"

And men have been attracted to our cause

Who now will curse us for this breach of faith.

Consider, sir, again!

Hull.                 I am not bound

To tack my reasons to my orders; this

Is my full warrant and authority—

[Pointing to his Instructions.

Yet, I have ample grounds for what I do.

Cass. What are they, then?

Hull.                        First, that this proclamation

Meets not with due response, wins to our side

The thief and refugee, not honest men.

These plainly rally round their government.

1st Officer.Why, yes; there's something lacking in this people,

If we must conquer them to set them free.

Hull. Ay, and our large force must be larger still

If we would change these Provinces to States.

Then, Colonel Proctor's intercepted letter—

Bidding the captor of Fort Mackinaw

Send but five thousand warriors from the West,

Which, be it artifice or not, yet points

To great and serious danger. Add to this

Brock's rumoured coming with his volunteers,

All burning to avenge their fathers' wrongs,

And our great foe, Tecumseh, fired o'er his;

These are the reasons; grave enough, I think,

Which urge me to withdraw from Canada,

And wait for further force; so, go at once,

And help our soldiers to recross the river.

Cass. But I see——

Hull.                No "buts"! You have my orders.

Cass. No solid reason here, naught but a group

Of flimsy apprehensions——

Hull.                       Go at once!

Who kicks at judgment, lacks it.

Cass.                           I——

Hull.                                 No more!

I want not wrangling but obedience here.

[Exeunt Cass and other officers, incensed.

Would I had ne'er accepted this command!

Old men are out of favour with the time,

And youthful folly scoffs at hoary age.

There's not a man who executes my orders

With a becoming grace; not one but sulks,

And puffs his disapproval with a frown.

And what am I? A man whom Washington

Nodded approval of, and wrote it too!

Yet here, in judgment and discretion both,

Ripe to the dropping, scorned and ridiculed.

Oh, Jefferson, what mischief have you wrought—

Confounding Nature's order, setting fools

To prank themselves, and sit in wisdom's seat

By right divine, out-Heroding a King's!

But I shall keep straight on—pursue my course,

Responsible and with authority,

Though boasters gird at me, and braggarts frown.


SCENE FIFTH.—Sandwich, on the Detroit.—A room in the Baby mansion.

Enter General Brock, Colonels Proctor, Glegg, Baby, Macdonell, Nichol, Elliott and other Officers.

Baby. Welcome! thrice welcome!

Brave Brock, to Sandwich and this loyal roof!

Thank God, your oars, those weary levers bent

In many a wave, have been unshipped at last;

And, now, methinks those lads who stemmed the flood

Would boldly face the fire.

Brock.                      I never led

Men of more cheerful and courageous heart,

But for whose pluck foul weather and short seas,

'Twere truth to say, had made an end of us.

Another trial will, I think, approve

The manly strain this Canada hath bred.

Proctor. 'Tis pity that must be denied them now,

Since all our enemies have left our shores.

Brock. No, by my soul, it shall not be denied!

Our foe's withdrawal hath a magnet's power

And pulls my spirit clean into his fort.

But I have asked you to confer on this.

What keeps Tecumseh?

Elliott.            'Tis his friend, Lefroy,

Who now rejoins him, after bootless quest

Of Iena, Tecumseh's niece.

Brock.                     Lefroy!

I had a gentle playmate of that name

In Guernsey, long ago.

Baby.                  It may be he.

I know him, and, discoursing our affairs,

Have heard him speak of you, but in a strain

Peculiar to the past.

Brock.                He had in youth

All goods belonging to the human heart,

But fell away to Revolution's side—

Impulsive ever, and o'er prompt to see

In kings but tyrants, and in laws but chains.

I have not seen or heard of him for years.

Baby. The very man!

Brock.              'Tis strange to find him here!

Elliott. He calls the red men freedom's last survival;

Says truth is only found in Nature's growth—

Her first intention, ere false knowledge rose

To frame distinctions, and exhaust the world.

Brock. Few find like him the substance of their dreams.

But, Elliott, let us seek Tecumseh now.

Stay, friends, till we return.

[Exeunt Brock and Elliott.

Glegg.                         How odd to find

An old friend in this fashion!

Proctor.                       Humph! a fool

Who dotes on forest tramps and savages.

Why, at the best, they are the worst of men;

And this Tecumseh has so strained my temper,

So over-stept my wishes, thrid my orders,

That I would sooner ask the devil's aid

Than such as his.

Nichol.           Why, Brock is charmed with him!

And, as you saw, at Amherstburg he put

Most stress upon opinion when he spoke.

Macdonell. Already they've determined on assault.

Proctor. Then most unwisely so! There are no bounds

To this chief's rashness, and our General seems

Swayed by it too, or rashness hath a twin.

Nichol. Well, rashness is the wind of enterprise,

And blows its banners out. But here they come

Who dig beneath their rashness for their reasons.

Re-enter General Brock and Colonel Elliott, accompanied by Tecumseh, conversing.

Tecumseh. We have been much abused! and have abused

Our fell destroyers too—making our wrongs

The gauge of our revenge. And, still forced back

From the first justice and the native right,

Ever revenge hath sway. This we would void,

And, by a common boundary, prevent.

So, granting that a portion of our own

Is still our own, then let that portion be

Confirmed by sacred treaty to our tribes.

This is my sum of asking—you have ears!

Brock. Nay, then, Tecumseh, speak of it no more!

My promise is a pledge, and from a man

Who never turned his back on friend or foe.

The timely service you have done our cause,

Rating not what's to come, would warrant it.

So, if I live, possess your soul of this—

No treaty for a peace, if we prevail,

Will bear a seal that doth not guard your rights.

Here, take my sash, and wear it for my sake—

Tecumseh can esteem a soldier's gift.

Tecumseh. Thanks, thanks, my brother, I have faith in you;

My life is at your service!

Brock.                      Gentlemen,

Have you considered my proposal well

Touching the capture of Detroit by storm?

What say you, Colonel Proctor?

Proctor.                       I object!

'Tis true, the enemy has left our shores,

But what a sorry argument is this!

For his withdrawal, which some sanguine men,

Jumping all other motives, charge to fear,

Prudence, more deeply searching, lays to craft.

Why should a foe, who far outnumbers us,

Retreat o'er this great river, save to lure

Our poor force after him? And, having crossed—

Our weakness seen, and all retreat cut off—

What would ensue but absolute surrender,

Or sheer destruction? 'Tis too hazardous!

Discretion balks at such a mad design.

Brock. What say the rest?

1st Officer.              I fear 'tis indiscreet.

2nd Officer.'Twould be imprudent with our scanty force.

Brock. What say you, Nichol, to my foolish scheme?

Nichol. I think it feasible and prudent too.

Hull's letters, captured by Tecumseh, prove

His soldiers mutinous, himself despondent.

And dearly Rumour loves the wilderness,

Which gives a thousand echoes to a tongue

That ever swells and magnifies our strength.

And in this flux we take him, on the hinge

Of two uncertainties—his force and ours.

So, weighed, objections fall; and our attempt,

Losing its grain of rashness, takes its rise

In clearest judgment, whose effect will nerve

All Canada to perish, ere she yield.

Brock. My very thoughts! What says Tecumseh now?

Tecumseh. I say attack the fort! This very night

I'll cross my braves, if you decide on this.

Brock. Then say no more! Glegg, take a flag of truce,

And bear to Hull this summons to surrender.

Tell him Tecumseh and his force are here—

A host of warriors brooding on their wrongs,

Who, should resistance flush them to revenge,

Would burst from my control like wind-borne fire,

And match on earth the miseries of hell.

But, should he yield, his safety is assured.

Tell him Tecumseh's word is pledged to this,

Who, though his temperate will in peace is law,

Yet casts a loose rein to enforcèd rage.

Add what your fancy dictates; but the stress

Place most on what I speak of—this he fears,

And these same fears, well wrought upon by you,

May prove good workers for us yet.

Glegg.                             I go,

And shall acquit myself as best I can.

[Exit Glegg.

Brock. Tecumseh, wonder not at such a message!

The guilty conscience of your foes is judge

Of their deserts, and hence 'twill be believed.

The answer may be "nay," so to our work—

Which perfected, we shall confer again,

Then cross at break of morn.

[Exeunt all but Tecumseh.

Tecumseh.                   This is a man!

And our Great Father, waking from his sleep,

Has sent him to our aid. Master of Life,

Endue my warriors with double strength!

May the wedged helve be faithful to the axe,

The arrow fail not, and the flint be firm!

That our great vengeance, like the whirlwind fell,

May cleave through thickets of our enemies

A broad path to our ravaged lands again.


SCENE SIXTH.—Moonlight. The bank of the Detroit River, near the Baby mansion.

Enter Captain Robinson.

Robinson. I thought to find my brother here—poor boy,

The day's hard labour woos him to his rest.

How sweet the night! how beautiful the place!

Who would not love thee, good old Sandwich town!

Abode of silence and sweet summer dreams—

Let speculation pass, nor progress touch

Thy silvan homes with hard, unhallowed hand!

The light wind whispers, and the air is rich

With vapours which exhale into the night;

And, round me here, this village in the leaves

Darkling doth slumber. How those giant pears

Loom with uplifted and high-ancient heads,

Like forest trees! A hundred years ago

They, like their owner, had their roots in France—

In fruitful Normandy—but here refuse,

Unlike, to multiply, as if their spirits

Grieved in their alien home. The village sleeps,

So should I seek that hospitable roof

Of thine, thou good old loyalist, Baby!

Thy mansion is a shrine, whereto shall come

On pilgrimages, in the distant days,

The strong and generous youths of Canada,

And, musing there in rich imaginings,

Restore the balance and the beaver-pack

To the wide hall; see forms of savagery,

Vanished for ages, and the stately shades

Of great Tecumseh and high-hearted Brock.

So shall they profit, drinking of the past,

And, drinking loyally, enlarge the faith

Which love of country breeds in noble minds.

But now to sleep—good-night unto the world!


Enter Iena, in distress.

Iena. Oh, have I eaten of the spirit-plant!

My head swims, and my senses are confused,

And all grows dark around me. Where am I?

Alas! I know naught save of wanderings,

And this poor bosom's weight. What pang is here,

Which all my pressing cannot ease away?

Poor heart! poor heart! Oh, I have travelled far,

And in the forest's brooding place, or where

Night-shrouded surges beat on lonely shores,

Have sickened with my deep, dread, formless fears;

But, never have I felt what now I feel!

Great Spirit, hear me! help me!—this is death!

[Staggers and swoons behind some shrubbery.

Enter General Brock and Lefroy.

Brock. You may be right, Lefroy! but, for my part,

I stand by old tradition and the past.

My father's God is wise enough for me,

And wise enough this gray world's wisest men.

Lefroy. I tell you, Brock,

The world is wiser than its wisest men,

And shall outlive the wisdom of its gods,

Made after man's own liking. The crippled throne

No longer shelters the uneasy king,

And outworn sceptres and imperial crowns

Now grow fantastic as an idiot's dream.

These perish with the kingly pastime, war,

And war's blind tool, the monster, Ignorance!

Both hateful in themselves, but this the worst.

One tyrant will remain—one impious fiend

Whose name is Gold—our earliest, latest foe!

Him must the earth destroy, ere man can rise,

Rightly self-made, to his high destiny,

Purged of his grossest faults; humane and kind;

Co-equal with his fellows, and as free.

Brock. Lefroy, such thoughts, let loose, would wreck the world.

The kingly function is the soul of state,

The crown the emblem of authority,

And loyalty the symbol of all faith.

Omitting these, man's government decays—

His family falls into revolt and ruin.

But let us drop this bootless argument,

And tell me more of those unrivalled wastes

You and Tecumseh visited.

Lefroy.                   We left

The silent forest, and, day after day,

Great prairies swept beyond our aching sight

Into the measureless West; uncharted realms,

Voiceless and calm, save when tempestuous wind

Rolled the rank herbage into billows vast,

And rushing tides which never found a shore.

And tender clouds, and veils of morning mist,

Cast flying shadows, chased by flying light,

Into interminable wildernesses,

Flushed with fresh blooms, deep perfumed by the rose,

And murmurous with flower-fed bird and bee.

The deep-grooved bison-paths like furrows lay,

Turned by the cloven hoofs of thundering herds

Primeval, and still travelled as of yore.

And gloomy valleys opened at our feet—

Shagged with dusk cypresses and hoary pine;

And sunless gorges, rummaged by the wolf,

Which through long reaches of the prairie wound,

Then melted slowly into upland vales,

Lingering, far-stretched amongst the spreading hills.

Brock. What charming solitudes! And life was there!

Lefroy. Yes, life was there! inexplicable life,

Still wasted by inexorable death.

There had the stately stag his battle-field—

Dying for mastery among his hinds.

There vainly sprung the affrighted antelope,

Beset by glittering eyes and hurrying feet.

The dancing grouse, at their insensate sport,

Heard not the stealthy footstep of the fox;

The gopher on his little earthwork stood,

With folded arms, unconscious of the fate

That wheeled in narrowing circles overhead;

And the poor mouse, on heedless nibbling bent,

Marked not the silent coiling of the snake.

At length we heard a deep and solemn sound—

Erupted moanings of the troubled earth

Trembling beneath innumerable feet.

A growing uproar blending in our ears,

With noise tumultuous as ocean's surge,

Of bellowings, fierce breath and battle shock,

And ardour of unconquerable herds.

A multitude whose trampling shook the plains,

With discord of harsh sound and rumblings deep,

As if the swift revolving earth had struck,

And from some adamantine peak recoiled,

Jarring. At length we topped a high-browed hill—

The last and loftiest of a file of such—

And, lo! before us lay the tameless stock,

Slow wending to the northward like a cloud!

A multitude in motion, dark and dense—

Far as the eye could reach, and farther still,

In countless myriads stretched for many a league.

Brock. You fire me with the picture! What a scene!

Lefroy. Nation on nation was invillaged there,

Skirting the flanks of that imbanded host;

With chieftains of strange speech and port of war,

Who, battle-armed, in weather-brawny bulk,

Roamed fierce and free in huge and wild content.

These gave Tecumseh greetings fair and kind,

Knowing the purpose havened in his soul.

And he, too, joined the chase as few men dare;

For I have seen him, leaping from his horse,

Mount a careering bull in foaming flight,

Urge it to fury o'er its burden strange,

Yet cling tenacious, with a grip of steel,

Then, by a knife-plunge, fetch it to its knees

In mid career, and pangs of speedy death.

Brock. You rave, Lefroy! or saw this in a dream.

Lefroy. No, no; 'tis true—I saw him do it, Brock!

Then would he seek the old, and with his spoils

Restore them to the bounty of their youth,

Cheering the crippled lodge with plenteous feasts,

And warmth of glossy robes, as soft as down,

Till withered cheeks ran o'er with feeble smiles,

And tongues, long silent, babbled of their prime.

Brock. This warrior's fabric is of perfect parts!

A worthy champion of his race—he heaps

Such giant obligations on our heads

As will outweigh repayment. It is late,

And rest must preface war's hot work to-morrow,

Else would I talk till morn. How still the night!

Here Peace has let her silvery tresses down,

And falls asleep beside the lapping wave.

Wilt go with me?

Lefroy.          Nay, I shall stay awhile.

Brock. You know my quarters and the countersign—

Good-night, Lefroy!

Lefroy.             Good-night, good-night, good friend!

[Exit Brock.

Give me the open sleep, whose bed is earth,

With airy ceiling pinned by golden stars,

Or vaultage more confined, plastered with clouds!

Your log-roofed barrack-sleep, 'twixt drum and drum,

Suits men who dream of death, and not of love.

Love cannot die, nor its exhausted life,

Exhaling like a breath into the air,

Blend with the universe again. It lives,

Knit to its soul forever. Iena!

Dead in the forest wild—earth cannot claim

Aught but her own from thee. Sleep on! sleep on!

Iena. (Reviving.) What place is this?

Lefroy. Who's there? What voice is that?

Iena. Where am I now?

Lefroy.               I'll follow up that sound!

A desperate hope now ventures in my heart!

Iena. Help me, kind Spirit!

Lefroy.                     I could pick that voice

From out a choir of angels! Iena!

[Finds her behind the shrubbery.

'Tis she! 'tis she! Speak to me, Iena—

No earthly power can mar your life again,

For I am here to shield it with my own.

Iena. Lefroy!

Lefroy.       Yes, he!

Iena.                  My friends! found, found at last!

Lefroy. Found, found, my love! I swear it on your lips,

And seal love's contract there! Again—again—

Ah, me! all earthly pleasure is a toil

Compared with one long look upon your face.

Iena. Oh, take me to my friends! A faintness came

Upon me, and no farther could I go.

Lefroy. What spirit led you here?

Iena.                             My little bark

Is yonder by the shore—but take me hence!

For I am worn and weak with wandering.

Lefroy. Come with me then.

Enter the Prophet, who stalks gloomily over the stage—scowling at Iena and Lefroy as he passes out.

Iena.                      The Prophet! I am lost!

Lefroy. This monster here! But he is powerless now.

Fear him not, Iena! Tecumseh's wrath

Burns 'gainst him still—he dare not do thee hurt.

Iena. Must I endure for ever this fiend's hate?

He stabbed me with his eye—

Lefroy.                      Oh, horrible!

Let us but meet again, and I shall send

His curst soul out of this accursed world!


SCENE SEVENTH.—The highway through the Forest leading to Fort Detroit.—The Fort in the distance; cannon and gunners at the gate.

Enter Tecumseh, Stayeta, and other Chiefs and Warriors.

Tecumseh. There is the Long-Knive's fort, within whose walls

We lose our lives or find our lands to-day.

Fight for that little space—'tis wide domain!

That small enclosure shuts us from our homes.

There are the victors in the Prophet's strife—

Within that fort they lie—those bloody men

Who burnt your town to light their triumph up,

And drove your women to the withered woods

To shudder through the cold slow-creeping night,

And help their infants to out-howl the wolf.

Oh, the base Long-Knife grows to head, not heart—

A pitiless and murdering minister

To his desires! But let us now be strong,

And, if we conquer, merciful as strong!

Swoop like the eagles on their prey, but turn

In victory your taste to that of doves;

For ever it has been reproach to us

That we have stained our deeds with cruelty,

And dyed our axes in our captives' blood.

So, here, retort not on a vanquished foe,

But teach him lessons in humanity.

Now let the big heart, swelling in each breast,

Strain every rib for lodgment! Warriors!

Bend to your sacred task, and follow me.

Stayeta. Lead on! We follow you!

Kickapoo Chief.                  Advance, ye braves!

Tecumseh. Stay! make a circuit in the open woods—

Cross, and recross, and double on the path—

So shall the Long-Knives overcount our strength.

Do this, Stayeta, whilst I meet my friend—

My brave white brother, and confer with him.

Enter General Brock, Proctor, Nichol, Macdonell and other Officers and Forces, on the highway. Tecumseh goes down to meet them.

Brock. Now by God's providence we face Detroit,

Either to sleep within its walls to-night

Or in deep beds dug by exulting foes.

Go, Nichol, make a swift reconnaissance—

We'll follow on.

Nichol.          I shall, but ere I go

I do entreat you, General, take the rear;

Those guns are shrewdly placed without the gate—

One raking fire might rob us of your life,

And, this lost, all is lost!

Brock.                       Well meant, my friend!

But I am here to lead, not follow, men

Whose confidence has come with me thus far!

Go, Nichol, to your task!

[Exit Nichol. Tecumseh advances.

                         Tecumseh, hail!

Brave chieftain, you have made your promise good.

Tecumseh. My brother stands to his! and I but wait

His orders to advance—my warriors

Are ripe for the assault.

Brock.                    Deploy them, then,

Upon our landward flank, and skirt the woods,

Whilst we advance in column to attack.

[Tecumseh rejoins his warriors.

Signal our batteries on the farther shore

To play upon the Fort! Be steady, friends—

Be steady! Now upon your country turn

Your multiplying thoughts, and strike for her!

Strike for your distant and inviolate homes,

Perfumed with holy prayer at this hour!

Strike! with your fathers' virtue in your veins

You must prevail—on, on, to the attack!

[Brock and forces advance towards the Fort. A heavy cannonading from the British batteries.

Re-enter Nichol hastily.

Nichol. Stay, General! I saw a flag of truce

Cross from the Fort to the Canadian shore.

Brock. Halt! There's another from yon bastion flung;

And, see! another waves adown the road—

Borne by an officer! What think you, Nichol?

Nichol. Your threats are conquerors! The Fort is ours!

Glegg. Yes, look! the gunners have been all withdrawn

Who manned the cannon at yon western gate.

Proctor. So many men to yield without a blow!

Why, this is wonderful! It cannot be!

Brock. Say, rather, should not be, and yet it is!

'Tis plainly written on this captain's face.

[Officer with flag of truce approaches.

Officer. This letter from our General contains

Proposals to capitulate—pray send

An officer to ratify the terms.

[General Brock reads letter.

Brock. You have a wise and politic commander!

Officer. Our General, knowing your superior force—

Nichol. (Aside.) Oh, this is good! 'tis barely half his own!

Officer. And, noting your demand of yesterday,

With clearer judgment, doth accede to it,

To bar effusion of much precious blood

By reasonable treaty of surrender.

Brock. Why, this is excellent, and rare discretion!

Officer. He fears your Indians could not be restrained.

Our women's prayers—red visions of the knife—

We know not what—have melted his stout heart,

And brought him to this pass.

Brock.                        Ay, ay, how good!

Great judgment and humanity combined.

Glegg and Macdonell, go at once and sign

Those happy stipulations which restore

Fair Michigan to empire and the crown.

[Exeunt Glegg, Macdonell and Officer with flag.

We shall await our officers' return—

But now prepare to occupy the Fort!

With colours flying we shall enter it,

And martial music, as befits the scene.

No Sunday ever saw a finer sight—

Three cheers for Canada and England's right!

[Shouts and congratulations from the soldiery.

SCENE EIGHTH.—Fort Detroit.—A Tumult of American Soldiers and Citizens.

Enter General Hull and one of his officers, accompanied by Brock's Aides, Glegg and Macdonell.

Hull. Here is the paper! Tell your General

Divine humanity, which hath in me

A deeper root than fear of him, thus yields:

A sheer compunction lest the savage axe

Should drink too deeply in confused revenge.

Glegg. Depend upon it, we shall tell him so,

And shall away at once.

[Exeunt Glegg and Macdonell.

Hull.                  'Tis well I lived

To stop this bloody work! Deferment played

Into the hands of death.

Officer.                                   Oh, sir, I think

That what begins in honour so should end—

First deeds, not stained, but dusted by the last;

For thus the long day of a useful life

Seems burnished by its close.

Hull.                         My friend, had all

Been trusty as the men of your command!

But—I am great in silence and shall speak

No more of this! What's done is for the best.


Officer. A bleached and doting relic of stale time!

His best is bad for us.

[A squad of Volunteer Militia insultingly surround the General, hooting and groaning.

1st Volunteer.          Hull! hold the fort!

2nd Volunteer.Resist! We'll back you up!

Hull.                                     Insolent ruffians!

Some men are here in whose sincerity

And courage I have perfect faith—but you!—

Untaught, unmannerly and mutinous—

Your muddy hearts would squirm within your ribs

If I but gave the order to resist!

You would command me! You who never learned

The simple first note of obedience!

Stand off, nor let me! I regard you not.

Fine Volunteers are you, who mutinied

O'er such privations as true soldiers laugh at!

Fine Volunteers! whom we were forced to coax

And almost drag upon the forest march.

Oh, if I had a thousand more of men,

A thousand less of things—which is your name—

I would defend this Fort, and keep it too.

Stand off, and let me pass!


1st Volunteer.             The General

Talks well, boys, when he's mad!

Enter an Officer.

Officer.                        Fall in! Fall in!

Here come the British troops—the Fort's surrendered!

Enter General Brock and Forces, with Colours flying and military music. The American soldiers sullenly ground arms, and march out of the Fort.

Brock. This is a happy end! You, Nichol, make—

With Proctor—rough lists of our spoils of war,

Then join with us in grateful prayers to Heaven.

[Exeunt Nichol and Proctor.

Enter Tecumseh and Stayeta (the latter wearing Brock's sash) with other Chiefs and Warriors, and Lefroy.

Tecumseh. My valiant brother is the rising sun—

Our foes the night, which disappears before him!

Our people thank him, and their hearts are his!

Brock. Why, here is misdirection! For their thanks—

They fall to you, Tecumseh, more than me!

And, lest what lies in justice should too long

Stand in expectancy—till thanks seem cold—

Take mine, Tecumseh! for your services

Have won, with us, the honours of the day,

And you shall share its spoils.

Tecumseh.                       Freedom I prize,

And my poor people's welfare, more than spoils!

No longer will they wander in the dark;

The path is open, and the sky is clear.

We thank you for it all!

Brock.                   Nay, then, our thanks

We'll interchange—take mine, as I take thine!

But how is this? Is friendship's gift unused?

Where is my brother's sash?—

Tecumseh.                     That gift I deemed

Conferred on me as on a warrior,

And, when I saw a worthier than myself,

I could not wear it. 'Tis Stayeta's now—

He keeps it till he finds a worthier still.

Brock. Noble Tecumseh! thou art still the best!

Men envy their own merit in another—

Grudging e'en what's superfluous to themselves—

But thou, great valour's integer, wouldst share

Its very recompense with all the world!

Here are my pistols—take them from a friend—

Nay—take them! Would I had a richer gift!

Lefroy. This is a noble friendship.

Brock.                              Ah, Lefroy!

What think you now of war?

Lefroy.                    If this war shield

Nature's most intimate and injured men,

I shall revoke my words and call it blest.

Re-enter General Hull.

Hull. You asked not for my sword—but here it is!

I wielded it in honour in my youth,

And now to yield it, tarnished, in old age,

Vexes me to the soul.

Brock.                                     Then keep it, sir!

Hull. Trenton and Saratoga speak for me! (Aside.)

I little thought that I should have to knead,

In my gray years, this lumpy world again.

But, when my locks were brown, my heart aflame

For liberty, believe me, sir, this sword

Did much to baffle your imperious King!

Brock. That stands not in dispute, so keep the sword!

'Tis strange that those who fought for liberty

Should seek to wrench it from their fellowmen.

Impute not guilty war to Kings alone,

Since 'tis the pastime of Republics, too!

Yours has its dreams of glory, conquest, spoil—

Else should we not be here. But, General,

Wilt dine with us? We shall discuss this matter!

Hull. Nay, let me to my house; I cannot eat.

Brock. Sir, as you will—but, prithee, be prepared!

I sail in six days for Niagara,

And you for Montreal.

Hull.                 Till then, adieu!

[Exit General Hull.

Tecumseh. Why should my brother leave Detroit so soon?

Brock. Our foes are massing at Niagara,

And I must meet them; Colonel Proctor stays

In this command.

Tecumseh.        I know him very well.

My brother's friend says "Go!" but you say "Come!"

Brock. (Aside.) How am I straitened for good officers!

(To Tecumseh.) Friend Proctor's prudence may be useful here.

Tecumseh. I do misgive me o'er my brother's friend.

Re-enter Nichol and Proctor.

Nichol. Large stores, munitions, public properties;

A rare account of needed stands of arms;

A brig of war, and military chest—

These are the spoils of bloodless victory.

[Handing General Brock a list.

Brock. Nought is much prized that is not won with blood!

Glegg. And yet I would old England's victories

Were all as bloodless, ample and complete.

Macdonell. Oh, 'tis a victory fitly gained this day;

Great turning point of our Canadian fortunes!

This day forever should red-lettered stand

In all the calendars of our loved land!




Enter Chorus.

Chorus.                 O Canada!

Bright youth among the graybeards of the earth,

Dark days have come upon thee! Brock is slain—

That spirit glorious who fired thy soul,

And led thee to renown and victory.

Alas! the rare advantages he won,

By weak successors (equals in command,

But, oh, of what inferior mould in greatness!)

Have been let slip unto the winds, thy hopes

By an untimely armistice destroyed,

Those fleets he would have captured from the foe,

But for a hateful truce on him enjoined,

Were, in a fataler still, equipped, and loosed

To lord it o'er thee on the lakes. One bore

Destruction to thy upper Capital—

The other meets thy poorly furnished hulls

On Erie's bosom, and with hosts of men

And weight of armament doth bear them down.

O lamentable hour, which paves the way

To sad remaining scenes—a coward's part,

And the last pulse-beat of a hero's heart.


SCENE FIRST.—The Indian Council House, Amherstburg.

Enter Baby and Elliott.

Baby. Now, Elliott, what think you keeps our fleet?

We heard the crash of battle yesterday,

And still no tidings come.

Elliott.                   I fear the worst.

Baby. I fear it, too! Worse still to think this worst

Owes to sheer folly—to an armistice

Astutely urged, and too politely granted.

Some chance politenesses obstruct themselves,

Like meeting men who shuffle in the street,

Each striving to give way; but this, of Sheaffe's,

Was of the stately kind! He stood aside;

Bowed, hat in hand, and let the foe pass by

To build his navy up.

Elliott.              Well, we have here

A fool who beats Sheaffe's folly at the game,

But for whose slackness we might still record

Some gains on land, 'gainst losses on the lake.

Baby. You speak of Proctor; hum! a prudent man,

Who loves his life, and will maintain his love.

'Tis a safe temper.

Elliott.            Ay, for peace, not war.

But what a damper to our volunteers!

They left their customable, proper toil

To fight, not for a wage, but for their freedom—

A thing to be achieved by instant ways,

Though they run blood. Thus, if they won and lived,

The sooner to their homes; and, if they died—

Fair end: their lives went for their country's good.

But how, by bootless and lame leadership,

Has Proctor soured the temper of our men;

Cooling them to contempt, till, in a pique,

He straight disarms, then sends them to their homes!

Baby. Unheard-of folly! All this is a text

From which I often preach unto myself.

Elliott. Would that by preaching we could mend the matter!

Even Tecumseh he insults, whose cause

Lies close to ours; and, saving him and us,

(Whose aid he would dispense with if he dared,)

What force is left him but his regulars,

Whose sickly frames and broken confidence

Would scarcely face the effigies of foes!

Baby. True! true! it breeds fear but to think of it.

Elliott. Then hear him prate about the charge he bears

Upon his individual shoulders—his!

Oh, it is galling! while he boasts withal

What he would do were things fortuitous,

And in a fairer plight; and this fudged stuff

Goes down with some. But, not to spin it out,

We know that, at Sandusky, Harrison

(Who is as good a substitute for Hull

As ours a poor one for immortal Brock)

Waits transport to invade us in large force.

So—lest our General means to beat retreat,

Or ruinously yield—'tis time to stir.

Baby. What can we do? We are not in command.

Elliott. Force him who is to face our enemies—

First calling back our volunteers.

Baby.                              Force him,

Who would not face yourself, to face five thousand!

Why, Elliott, we might as well expect

Light from a cave, as leadership from him.

Enter McKee.

What news, McKee?

McKee.            It could not well be worse.

Our fleet is captured, and the General

Has issued orders to retreat.

Baby.                         Ay, ay;

We had already lost our fleet in thought,

Which ofttimes pre-digests calamities.

But this retreat—how looks Tecumseh at it?

McKee. I never saw him in so strange a temper—

Calm on the surface, but convulsed beneath,

Just poising on the edge of whirling rage.

He now harangues his chiefs and warriors,

And has demanded conference with Proctor,

Wherein I look for deep outbursts of wrath.

For Proctor, fearing him, pretends our fleet

Is absent for repairs—a foolish lie,

Which yet will deepen what it but prorogues.

Baby. We must compose this threatened broil, McKee;

Dissension now would ruin everything.

McKee. Tecumseh thinks there's ruin in retreat.

Proctor can't thumb his temper to the point,

Nor rove him through his plans.

Baby.                           Well, certainly,

Had we but power and time enough to mass

Our people's strength 'twould be the nobler part

To risk a battle here. But, pshaw! this counts

In mere conjecture as to what might be

Had we command; for Proctor will retreat!

He feels endangered in a special sense.

The savage massacre of prisoners

At Old Miami and at Raisin River

Has made him hated by the enemy,

Who, right or wrong, put all the blame on him,

And this he knows.

Enter General Proctor.

McKee.             Would Brock were still alive!

Proctor. Pardon my overhearing ears!—what then?

McKee. (Turning sharply.) Then we should fight!

Some bold, some daring plan,

Would still forefend retreat.

Proctor.                      Some strange exploit!

Some headlong rashness which would find you graves.

'Twas prologue to his own: a fault in him

I would not emulate.

Elliott.             A fault in him!

His death was of the parcel of the man.

In him example, striving to excel

The precept, made him reckless of his life.

'Twas thus he lost it: his main force behind—

With but a handful, taken by surprise,

Rather than flee he charged! and, with the words,

"Push on, my brave York Volunteers!" he fell.

Oh, such a fall atoned for such a fault;

For by that fall he lashed his followers

Up to a sure and terrible revenge.

It was a fearful victory! Our foes,

Flying from death to death, sprang o'er the cliffs

And precipices of Niagara,

And, on the rocks, or in the swirling flood,

Made expiation of their foul invasion.

Let this dwell in our minds! and let not death,

Or, rather, fear of death, repel us now,

Nor turn us to a base retreat from it.

Proctor. Let wisdom dwell, too, in our minds, I urge.

Bethink you: Harrison is on the wing—

Thousands to hundreds is his argument!

Our fleet is captured; our supplies are scant;

And winter may be scented in the air.

We must retreat, since men must eat or die;

So, winding up these threads of sense, prepare!

Lest time desert our opportunity.

Baby. What will Tecumseh say to this?

Proctor.                              That dog,

Who barks at all I do, must come with us,

And guard our rear—else were his absence best.

McKee. Should he refuse?

Proctor.                 Then tell him we retire

But further east to make a desperate stand.

'Tis well to say it lest he cross my plans.

As for his prate, not all the forest's combs

Could sweeten such a tongue.

Baby.                        I think you lack

The fair idea of this chief; his mind

Has greatness in it—but here comes the man:

Confer with him yourself!

Enter Tecumseh and a concourse of Chiefs and Warriors.

Proctor.                 Nay, I must go,

And push our preparations—

Tecumseh. (Confronting Proctor.) Stay, my friend!

Proctor. I cannot stay; speak to him, gentlemen.


Tecumseh. (Touching his hatchet.) I am Tecumseh.

You are Proctor—stay!

Proctor. What means this madman? He is insolent. (Aside.)

Tecumseh. Brother! My people are before you now!

In the last war, the British father gave

Our chiefs the hatchet, and they fought for him;

But in that bloody strife the Long-Knife laid

The King upon his back; whereat he took

Our foes, without our knowledge, by the hand.

Again the Long-Knife warred upon the King;

Again our father handed us the axe,

With promise that our lands would be restored.

We have not shrunk from battle. We have fought,

And many of our people have been slain!

Our promise is redeemed! but what of his?

Oft have we heard you, boasting of him, say

He never would withdraw from British ground.

Yet, neither asking nor advising us,

We mark you now preparing to retreat—

Afraid to even see his enemies!

My brother, you are like a lusty dog

Which proudly curls its tail upon its back,

But, when affrighted, whips it 'tween its legs,

And runs for life! Why should you meanly flee?

The Long-Knives have not yet defeated us

By land, nor is it certain that your ships

Are captured on the lake; but, even so,

First fight, and, if defeated, then retreat!

But, brother, if you will not fight, you hold

The arms our father furnished for our use.

Give these to us, and you may go in peace.

My people are in our Great Spirit's care!

We are determined to defend our lands,

Or, if He wills it, strew them with our bones.

Baby. Why, this is manliness, and pathos, too!

Proctor. We must retreat. We cannot spare the arms

You now demand of us.

Tecumseh.             Not spare them, brother?

Do I hear aright?

Proctor.          We cannot spare them.

Tecumseh. By Manitou, you shall! Those arms are ours.

I would not quarrel lightly with my friend,

Nor cut the bands which bind me to his cause

Upon a small occasion; but those arms,

Useless to him, are precious life to us,

And we shall have them.

Proctor.                Yes, if you retreat!

We cannot spare them else.

Tecumseh.                  And why retreat?

The timid woman and the child will stand

And struggle when assaulted by their kind;

Nay, hares resist, and gnats and flies will fight.

One thing alone runs from its sort in fear,

And thou art it!

Proctor.         The wildest talk in sleep

Outmeasures this in sense. We must retreat!

Tecumseh. Must! must! Oh, could my kindred spirit, Brock,

But live again—be here—would he retreat?

Yours his command—but why should I compare

The king-bird with the crow? Brave Brock retreat!

Oh, when that badger was abroad, dogs hid

And gave the lie to nature! Here we stay.

Give us the arms, and we shall act like him,

Whilst you make off in peace.

Proctor.                      This man would breed

A deadly quarrel—prudence bear me through! (Aside.)

I mean to give those arms, but for a use

More wise than you would put them to. Retreat

Is but to find some vantage in the woods—

Some footing for defence; so, come with us;

I would not ask you else.

Tecumseh.                 Seek your own kind!

Go boom in festering swales, or, like a frog,

Croak your dull night-song in the standing pool—

Your voice is not a man's.

Proctor.                   This chief is fevered.

Explain the why and wherefore of retreat,

Then let him come with us or stay; I care not.


Tecumseh. Ha! There are cares my brother never cared for;

Duties to which he never paid his duty;

Sacred agreements, oaths and covenants

Which he would break like twigs. Coward and liar!

There's something here that whispers to my hand

[Drawing his hatchet.

To set you free from all.

[Baby, Elliott and McKee interpose.

Elliott.                  Tecumseh, hold!

Baby. This is unworthy of you. Be a man!

Tecumseh. A man! Oh, if to honour words by deeds;

To look on truth as on the healthful air,

Without which I should suffocate and die:

To love my injured people, and oppose

My constant spirit 'gainst tumultuous wrongs—

If this is lack of manhood mark me down.

But to be over-reached and thrown aside—

Our mighty sacrifices and our service

Rated as nothing in this coward's plans—

It rends my soul. Back! I shall chop his own

From out its frame, and send the mould of lies

Down to his people's hell! Away!

McKee.                           No! no!

Elliott. Stay, be advised by us!

[Proctor retires.

Baby.                            Do nothing rash!

We are your friends—you know us to be true,

And we, like you, despise this General.

Fear bares the coward's heart. The gaudy acts

Whereby unsoundness shores its credit up

Are at its touch exposed. 'Tis so with him—

And thus far we are with you. But retreat

Hath a discreetness too. This Harrison,

Once landed (for our long and liberal shores

We cannot well defend), might circle us,

And, with o'erwhelming numbers, hem us in.

But, by retreat, we have the choice of place,

And Harrison—you know the man—will follow.

The forest will befriend us—we can stand

Where'er we please, and shall whene'er you please.

Tecumseh. So! Proctor's promises deceive you, too!

Baby. Nay, 'tis my promise, and you know the stuff

My word is built on. Deal with me, Tecumseh,

As you had dealt with Proctor, if I lie.

Tecumseh. My friend, your reason breaks a spirit's wing

That ne'er touched ground before. Oh, I grow weak—

Cast from my thoughts, and banished from my dream!

The plumed hope droops—fate's shadow covers it;

And dim forebodings peer into my soul.

I am not what I was—there—there—I'll go!

Baby. I hope to see you smile at this ere long.


SCENE SECOND.—A wood near Amherstburg.—Tecumseh's Camp.—A vista to the East, the sun's upper rim just rising above the horizon.

Enter Warriors and Josakeeds. The warriors extend their weapons towards the sun. The Josakeeds advance facing it.

1st Josakeed.He comes! Yohewah! the Great Spirit, comes

Up from his realm—the place of Breaking Light!

Hush, nations! Worship, in your souls, the King,

Above all Spirits! Master of our lives!

I-ge-zis! He that treads upon the day,

And makes the light!

2nd Josakeed.He comes! he comes! he comes!

The ever-dying, ever-living One!

He hears us, and he speaks thus to mine ears!

I wipe once more the darkness from the earth;

I look into the forest, and it sings—

The leaves exult; the waters swim with joy.

I look upon the nations, and their souls

Strengthen with courage to resist their foes.

I will restore them to their fathers' lands;

I will pour laughter on the earth, like rain,

And fill the forest with its ancient food.

Corn will be plenteous in the fields as dust,

And fruits, moved to their joy, on every bough

Will glow and gleam like ardent fire and gold.

3rd Josakeed.O Mighty Spirit! Guardian of our Breath!

We see thy body, and yet see thee not.

The spirits in our forms, which no man sees,

Breathe forth to thee, for they are born of thee.

Hear us, thy children, and protect our lives!

Our warriors retreat—it is thy will!

Declare the way—the fateful time to stand!

Then, if in battle they decline in death,

Take them, O Master, to thy Mighty Heart—

Thy Glorious Ground and Shining Place of Souls!

Yohewa! Master of Breath! Yohewa!

Hear us! Hear us!

All.              Master of Breath—hear us!


SCENE THIRD.—The same.

A girl's voice singing without, then enter Iena, Winona, Weetamore and other Indian maidens—some at quill-work, others embroidering.

Iena.       There is within my heart, I know not why,

An apprehension I ne'er felt before.

Winona. The night-sun set in cloud, and curling mists

Hid the plumed star from sight. Mayhap, those signs

Bode danger to our loves. Sing, Weetamore—

Your tender voice will charm away our fears.

Iena. Nay, sing no more in strains so sorrowful!

Why is it all our people's songs are sad?

[A bird's note is heard.

Winona. I know not why; no more than yon poor bird

Knows why it mourns.

Iena.                It is the wood pewee,

That haunts the deepest forest. 'Tis the bird

Yohewa gave to solitude for voice—

The lonely heart within the lonely heart!

Why comes this feathered sadness from its wilds,

To thrill us with its pain?

Enter Mamatee.

                            O Mamatee!

Mamatee. Alas, alas, the Long-Knife's big canoes

Are on the lake, and sweeping to our shores!

Fort Malden burns; our warriors retreat;

And we, poor souls! must fly to densest woods,

And wait till they return?

Iena.                      Till they return—

Ah! when shall they return?

Enter Lefroy.

                            Here comes my love,

With parting in his eyes.

Lefroy.                   You speak the word!

But, if we part, we part to meet again.

And, thus, to leave you for love's sake makes sweet

The bitter word, and will uphold my heart.

Tecumseh is already gone—farewell.

Iena. Farewell, and we shall meet again—here? where?

Yes, yes, I know—there's something tells me where.

Farewell! my love will follow you on wings

High-flighted as the swan's—my soul! my soul!

[Lefroy places Iena in Mamatee's arms.

Lefroy. In loving arms I place this precious charge.

Oh, cherish her! for she is dear to me

As is the Intercessor to your race.

[Exit Lefroy.

Iena. Now let me go—see—I am well again!

An impulse rises from the seat of dreams—

Love's apprehension may be cured by love.

Winona, will you help me?

Winona.                   Sister, how?

Iena. Your brother, Chaska, is a slender youth,

With features softly fashioned. 'Tis a boy

Some say resembles me; and like me, too,

His gentle form contains a venturous soul.

You make a young brave's suit for him, I think.

Winona. Yes, for his huskenaw; you call it that—

We have another name. Look, this completes it!

[Holding up an ornamented moccasin.

'Tis from the self-piece cut, and quill'd all o'er—

Your gathered edges show not half so well.

Iena. Oh, if you love me, let me have this dress.

Winona. With all my heart: but tell me, Iena,

What means this strange request?

Iena.                            Come to your lodge!

I there shall tell you all I have in mind.

[Exeunt Iena and Winona.

Mamatee. The girl conceives some folly. To my cares!

O weary woman, thine the weary work!

[Exit Mamatee.

1st Maiden.Iena asked, and I do marvel why,

Our songs are all so sad. We forest maids

Should sing as lightly as our forest leaves.

'Tis strange!

Weetamore. You are too happy-young to think

'Tis else than strange. Now I shall answer you

Ere Iena can come to chide the strain.

(Weetamore sings.)

Who would not be a forest-maid,

  And ever spend at ease

The flowery season in the shade

  Of sighing summer's sweetest trees?

But who would be a forest-maid,

  Beset by foes and fears?

To see in every flash a blade,

  To start at every sound she hears!


We flit—we fly—no home have we,

  And terror is the tale!

A fate is whispered by the tree—

  A doom is uttered by the gale.

Short season of delight have we,

  But that of pain is long:

And, so, 'tis sorrow, and not glee,

  That gives the burden to our song.

Re-enter Iena, dressed as a young Indian Brave.

Iena. Now for my bow! my quiver! here it is!

This quiver slung, I'm ready for the field.

1st Maiden.Why, this is Iena!

Iena.                          Yes, Iena.

But, sisters, lock this secret in your hearts.

Love's Spirit whispered in a dream—"Go, shield

Your lover in the fight!"

2nd Maiden.                 A dream, a dream!

3rd Maiden.A sacred dream!

All.                        We promise to be true,

[The Maidens join hands and move in a circle round Iena, chanting:

Spirit of Love! Spirit of Love!

  That in Great Nature's heart doth dwell:

Spirit of Love! Spirit of Love!

  Go with our sister—shield her well!

SCENE FOURTH.—The Ruins of Fort Malden at Amherstburg.

Enter General Harrison and other American Officers.

Harrison. All gone! all gone! Naught here but smoking ruins!

Now would I give this Province for one man,

Were that man only Proctor. Perfidy!

Thy manager has fled; and we are balked

In our just vengeance.

1st Officer.           Let us follow him!

There are no ties 'twixt mercy and this man

That we should spare him.

Harrison.                 No, his ruthless axe,

Stayed only by Tecumseh's noble rage,

Has lit upon too many helpless heads.

Their blood cries, "After him!" and with our force

We can o'erwhelm his if we overtake him.

2nd Officer.'Tis strange Tecumseh hugs his flying fortunes!

3rd Officer.Think you he is gone?

Harrison. No doubt of it, else would he face us here.

2nd Officer.Had he remained we might perchance have made

Our peace with him, and ended this long feud.

Harrison. Made peace with him! There is no peace on earth

For him, save in it. We are what we are;

And if some miracle will work a change

In us, then shall we find him, as we would,

Contented but with peace. This much I say,

Knowing the man—but this is not the point!

'Tis Proctor, not Tecumseh, we discuss,

And Proctor we must capture if we can.

Enter a Scout.

What tidings have you gathered?

Scout.                         Proctor's force

Is making for the Heights of Burlington.

'Tis said Tecumseh made him pledge his word

To stand, and fight at the Moravian Town,

Should we pursue.

Harrison.         Will hounds pursue the hare?

'Tis boot-and-saddle, and quick marches now,

If we would catch the foe.


SCENE FIFTH.—The Highway through the Forest on the River Thames, near the Moravian Town.

Enter Tecumseh and his Chiefs, General Proctor, Colonel Baby and other Officers, and Proctor's Orderly.

Tecumseh. I'll go no further.

Proctor.                      A little further—

Toward the heights—'twere well!

Tecumseh.                        No, not a step,

Were they the Alleghanies! Here we stand!

The enemy draws near, and we must fight.

Proctor. Well, here we stand—here shall I lay my bones,

If so God wills it. Ha—I like the spot!

A river to protect us on our left;

Swamps to the north, and forest everywhere.

What a gigantic panoply of woods!

Why, here are maples scarce three men could girth

With their encircling arms. What trees!

Tecumseh.                               Yes, yes-

Would they were soldiers, brother; they are strong,

And, being rooted to their place, would ne'er

Give way as we have done. But to affairs—

Proctor. Ay, to the proper ordering of our force.

Do you direct! What think you now is best?

Tecumseh. Two swamps are here o'ergrown with swollen trunks

Of black and moss-hung ash. Their underbrush,

Thick-set, and tangled with the blistering vine,

No cavalry can pass. Between them lies

A neck of open woods and turfy soil,

Where I shall plant my braves; but this straight path—

This highway by the river—is your ground.

Here place your cannon, and await attack,

Whilst I oppose it there.

Enter a Scout.

Scout.                   Make ready, sirs!

The enemy approaches—we can hear

His trumpet-calls resounding through the woods.

[Exit Scout.

Proctor. Then, briefly, my opinion sides with yours.

The trial hour is come—farewell, my friend!

We two shall stand or fall upon this field,

And fame it to all time.

Tecumseh.                Keep a stout heart,

I pray you, brother; all will thus be well.

[Exeunt Tecumseh and his Chiefs.

Baby. I think this disposition excellent.

Proctor. It is, it is. Now let us fight it out!

There are occasions when the spirit mounts,

Uplifted by what threats it; this is one.

Go, gentlemen, and marshal up our force—

I shall await you here. Stay you with me, (To his Orderly.)

I have instructions for you.

[Exeunt all but Proctor and his Orderly.

                                     Come hither!

We may be beaten here—

Orderly.                I think we shall.

Proctor. What right have you to think?

Orderly.                               You said it, sir.

Proctor. I said we may—(aside) tut! this is less than prudent.

Go, put my fleetest horses to my carriage;

Have others ready-saddled in our rear,

And, with some trusty fellows, stay by them—

They may be useful in emergency.

[Exit Orderly.

If there are seasons in the soul of man,

As in the year, it is my bleakest now.

How many rail at me, and call me coward,

Because with prudent outlook I foresee

What can be done and what can not be done!

One must endure! though to be misconceived;

To find one's actions and one's qualities

Framed in misapprehension; to be deemed

The thing that one is not, might well offend.

But that which guides my life enables me

To bear against the rub of false opinion;

So, prudence, miscalled cowardice by those

Who count their rashness virtue, tend me still!

Tecumseh foolishly resolves to die—

For who, against such odds, can hope to live?

And, if there be a virtue in mere death,

Then is he welcome to his grave and all

The honour and the glory death can give.

But those who have some business still on earth—

Something to do that cannot else be done—

Look on this matter with a different eye.

It is our trumpet call; my soldiers come.

In the adieu to death the quick resolve

Must spur calm judgment on to execution.


SCENE SIXTH.—Tecumseh's part of the Field.

Enter Tecumseh.

Tecumseh. This is our summer—when the painted wilds,

Like pictures in a dream, enchant the sight.

The forest bursts in glory like a flame!

Its leaves are sparks; its mystic breath the haze

Which blends in purple incense with the air.

The Spirit of the Woods has decked his home,

And put his wonders like a garment on,

To flash, and glow, and dull, and fade, and die.

Oh, let not manhood fade within my soul!

And thou, pale doubt, that hast distracted me—

Ye forecasts that would drag my spirit down—

Hence and forever flee! Ye have no place,

No business in this breast. My field is here!

Here must my people's cause be lifted up,

Or sink to rise no more.


Enter three American Scouts, looking cautiously about them.

1st Scout.               This is their spot.

2nd Scout.I see them coming. Look! away—away—


(Firing, and other sounds of conflict, are heard from Proctor's part of the field, and then suddenly stop.)

Re-enter Tecumseh, with Stayeta and his other Chiefs and Warriors.

Stayeta. The noise of battle rose, and then it ceased

Almost upon beginning. This is strange.

Tecumseh. It is; ah, Proctor, how my soul mistrusts thee!

Go, some of you, see what this silence means—

But stay—here comes a witness of the fight.

Enter Lefroy, out of breath, and excited.

Lefroy. The line was broken by a charge of horse,

And, in the British quarter, all is lost.

Tecumseh. And Proctor—he who meant to leave his bones,

If so God willed it—

Lefroy.               Willed it otherwise!

Upon the instant of attack he fled;

And, seeing this, the line gave way at once.

Tecumseh. 'Twas this I feared. He loves his wretched life

Too well to leave his vile bones anywhere.

Dastard and coward! Oh, the heavens should crack,

And dart their lightning down upon this slave!

How come such creatures 'mongst the breed of men

To make their nation blush?

Lefroy.                     I cannot tell.

Like sulphur in rain-channels after storms,

Or little frogs, one marvels how they come.

But some fought well; Baby, among the rest,

Who now is prisoner. Myself was saved

Most strangely by a boy—a youthful brave,

Whose arrows helped me in a dangerous spot.

I never saw so sweet a lad before.

His face! I started when I saw it first—

It seemed so like to Iena's! Think you,

Could she be here?

Tecumseh.          Impossible!

Dahcota Chief.                 No, no.

'Twas Chaska, of our nation; one who longs

For plumes before his time. He has been seen,

Yet is so active that we cannot catch him.

Lefroy. Ah, then, 'twas he! This way he ran before me,

Round the rough angle of the lower swamp,

Then darted into it. I followed fast,

And sought, but could not find him—he was gone.

(A flourish of trumpets without, sounding the advance of the American Force.)

Stayeta. Hark! Now the Long-Knives come!

Tecumseh.                                Yes, now they come.

Courage! Warriors, courage! Let our deeds

Take colour from the scene. Now must we fight

Like men; not run like slaves. What matters it

To those who fled, and left us, if they flee?

They can join palms, make peace, draw treaties up,

And son and father, reconciled again,

Will clap their hands, and glory in their race

Which hath despoiled our own. For us, no peace

Save what our axes gain, or, in our graves.

Therefore—as men fore-doomed to war or death—

Let valour make excuse that we shall live,

And, breathing vengeance, shake our spoilers so

That they will reel in terror to the East,

From whence they came, and cry—"The West is yours!"

Oh, warriors, think of all, and strike like men

Whose homes are in their hands, whose souls are free.

The voice that calls you now will call no more,

For something whispers to this fearless heart—

Here must I fight, and for my people die!

Delaware Chief. Then shall we fight and die with you like men.

Dahcota Chief. Or live to see you Chief of all our race.

(A flourish without, then enter the American Forces. A fierce hand-to-hand conflict begins.)

Tecumseh. Our foes are turning! Strike them! beat them back!

Stayeta. Pursue! pursue!

(The American Troops retreat fighting. Exeunt omnes.)

Enter Iena, from behind.

Iena.                    I hear, yet cannot see,

The dreadful fray! My arrows all are spent.

There are a thousand in my quivered heart

Could I but match them to this useless bow.

What shall I do? Ah, this is our own tree!

It will protect me whilst I wait the end.

[Retires behind a large sugar maple.

Re-enter a small band of Braves, driven back by Soldiers, who chase them out and then return.

1st Soldier.Ha, ha, those red-skins fled like hunted wolves!

Away, and start another pack!

[Exeunt forward.

Iena. (Looking out.) Alas!

Our people 'gin to flee—I fear—I fear.

Here comes my love! Oh, for one arrow more!

Enter Lefroy and an American Officer fighting with swords. In the struggle they draw abreast of Iena's tree, and pause.

Officer. You are a white man.

Lefroy.                       I am a white man.

Officer. And what a soulless one are you who leave

Your place in civil, good society

To herd with savages; from one extreme

Falling away unto the basest side—

The furthest from the humanizèd world.

Lefroy. Nay, I deny it! Further, I would say,

My genius leans, like Nature, to all sides,

Can love them all at once, and live with all.

Officer. So! so! you are a poet, painter, what?

Well, that is nothing; I must try and kill you.

[They fight again, and Lefroy disarms the Officer.

Lefroy. Now might I kill you if I had the heart.

Be prisoner instead; I cannot kill

A man thus, in cold blood.

Re-enter two Soldiers.

Officer.                  'Tis more than kind.

1st Soldier.Why, that's our captain there, disarmed—let fly!

My carbine is unloaded.

(Second Soldier aims at Lefroy. Iena, with a cry, leaps from her shelter and intercepts the shot.)

Lefroy.                 Who is this?

Not Chaska! Oh, no, no—'tis Iena!

I see her now, who could not see my love—

Love clear and incorruptible as glass,

Love that had dared a monster, wilds and floods—

Dare fire, and draw the bow that shielded me.

Speak to me, Iena! No voice—she's dead!

Officer. This is the strangest chapter of my life—

Soldiers, stand off, and rest upon your arms.

Lefroy. Silent for ever! Oh, my girl! my girl!

Those rich eyes melt; those lips are sun-warm still—

They look like life, yet have no semblant voice.

Millions of creatures throng, and multitudes

Of heartless beings flaunt upon the earth:

There's room enough for them; but thou, dull Fate—

Thou cold and partial tender of life's field,

That pluck'st the flower, and leav'st the weed to thrive—

Thou hadst not room for her! Oh, I must seek

A way out of the rack—I need not live.

Officer. The world grows less familiar every hour:—

Is that a girl?

Lefroy.         Yes, yes, but she is dead—

And love is left upon the earth to starve.

My object's gone, and I am but a shell,

A husk, an empty case, or anything

That may be kicked about the world.

[Exit Lefroy, carrying Iena.

Officer.                            I see!

I have a tear or two behind these eyes,

And they are coming. If he need a friend

I know of one.

2nd Soldier.Now, dang me, who'd 'a thought

That was a girl!

Officer. (Turning aside.) What strange and selfless paths

Do skirt the world's hard highway! I have seen

What gives me sight. The tide of battle rolls

Back, and our people win, as win they must:

But, now, methinks, I'll strive with different heart.

Come, soldiers, let's away and join the fight.

[Exeunt through a by-entrance.

Re-enter Tecumseh's warriors driven back, and then re-enter Tecumseh, Stayeta, and other Chiefs.

Tecumseh. Has death died out, that no one now can die?

Or are you driven back by fear of it?

Oh, slaves or men, determine which you are!

Re-enter the American troops, in pursuit.

Stayeta. Tecumseh calls! On, warriors, strike them down!

(Tecumseh and his warriors, by a fierce onslaught, again drive their opponents back. The fight continues without—then re-enter Tecumseh mortally wounded.)

Tecumseh. Great Spirit, hadst thou spared me but one hour—

Yet thy behest rules all.

Re-enter Delaware Chief, also wounded.

Delaware Chief.           What! wounded too?

Tecumseh. Yes, I am shot. Recall some warriors

To bear my body hence. Give no alarm,

Lest our poor braves lose courage; but make haste—

I have not long to live. Yet hear my words!

Bury me in the deep and densest forest,

And let no white man know where I am laid.

Promise this ere you go.

Delaware Chief.          I promise it.

Alas, alas, our bravest and our best!

[Exit Delaware Chief.

Tecumseh. The hour is come! these weary hands and feet

Draw to the grave. Oh, I have loved my life,

Not for my own but for my people's cause.

Who now will knit them? who will lead them on?

Lost! lost! lost! The pale destroyer triumphs!

I see my people flee—I hear their shrieks—

And none to shield or save! My axe! my axe—

Ha—it is here! No, no—the power is past.

O Mighty Spirit, shelter—save—my people!


SCENE SEVENTH.—Another part of the Field.

Enter General Harrison and other American Officers, and Colonel Baby, a prisoner.

Harrison. You were too brave a man, Baby, to swell

The craven Proctor's flight of followers.

Baby. Speak not of him! I mourn the death of one—

A soldier—and a savage if you will—

Able and honourable, valiant, pure,

As ever graced the annals of the earth.

Harrison. You mean Tecumseh; search is made for him.

I hope to give him fitting burial.

Baby. Oh, sir, he loved his people! They are men

Much hated by the small and greedy mind—

The mind that is not gentle, and that jeers

And laughs at all forlorn and broken fortune.

And some there be who coldly pass them by

As creatures ruled by appetite, not law;

Yet, though to such they seem but human beasts,

They are to those who know, or study them,

A world of wonders! I entreat you, sir,

To make right use of your authority,

And shield them if you can.

Harrison.                   I shall, I shall.

Right feeling tends this way, though 'tis a course

Not to be smoothly steered.

Enter a party of soldiers.

1st Soldier.                Tecumseh's body

Cannot be found; 'twas borne away and buried

By faithful friends who would not name the place,

If they were tortured.

1st Officer.           He is well content

Without our honours. This man's race hath lost

A lofty spirit.

2nd Officer.    All will mourn for him!

No need had he of schools or learned books—

His soul his mentor, his keen lion-looks

Pierced to the heart of things. Nor needed he

Counsels of strength and goodness. To be free

Required no teacher, no historic page,

No large examples sought from age to age.

For such things were himself, and, as his breath,

Instinctive, pleaders 'gainst the fears of death.

Harrison. Sleep well, Tecumseh, in thy unknown grave,

Thou mighty savage, resolute and brave!

Thou, master and strong spirit of the woods,

Unsheltered traveller in sad solitudes,

Yearner o'er Wyandot and Cherokee,

Couldst tell us now what hath been and shall be!


The End.



(A Transposition from "Schoolcraft.")

Whir! what glad tidings! what delicious din!

Throw up the windows! Let the songtide in!

The mid-May sky is dapple-gray, earth sere,

And the woods leafless, but the birds are here!


So then I sighed for summer. When it came,

With all its rose-fed reveries, and flame

Of honeyed sunflowers, and the scented thorn,

I wandered out into the woods at morn.

A fair young morn, in which a shower had been,

So all the world was in its deepest green,

And every spot whereon the cool rain fell

Breathed soothing odours. Yet it seemed a spell

Inthralled the woods, for not a leaflet stirred,

And, save the murmurs of a piney herd,

Which sighed aloft, although the nether air

Was still as death,—'twas silence everywhere.


'Twas silence save when sudden voices made

A momentary descant in the shade.

The small birds of the forest were unseen,

Yet ofttimes from their lofty coverts green

Would fall a little trickling melody,

Which leapt at intervals from spray to spray

Like rills from rock to rock. And through the bush

There stole the mournful "Faraway!" of the thrush—

The song of songs! Who hearkens unto it

Soon finds a swarm of old-love memories flit

In dreamy guise about his painèd heart,

And, if he ponder long, then tears will start,

Remembering the pageant of the past,

And thinking how the days which fly so fast

Seem thin and naked, and of little girth,

Compared with old, old vanished days and mirth.


And, as I strolled, there came into my mind,

Out of the lost lore of the savage kind,

Out of the wreck of years, a tale oft told

By Indian maidens to their swains of old.

For, here, a lounger in this woodland world,

Thrilled through with song, each dewy bloom unfurled,

Might feed his spirit, roaming on the brink

Of Fairyland, with fantasies, or drink

At memory's fount. So fictions read in youth,

And parables which hide some deathless truth,

And tales and histories of vanished times,

Traditions dim, and half-forgotten rhymes

Stole in and out of mind as steals some brook

From shade to sunshine, and from nook to nook.

And thus it chanced to stray into my thought,

This quaint old legend of the forest, fraught

With love and loss—this story of a man,

Inspired, but built on Nature's savage plan.


A chief hight Wawanosh, of high renown,

But cruel, proud and stern—a man whose frown

Smote all with fear; whose very smile was cold

As winter's sun when ramping clouds unfold,

And let him look a moment through, then close—

Had one fair child, the paragon, the rose

Of all his tribe; a tender creature, born

To sweeten to the world that bitter thorn

Upon a parent stem, his savage heart.

He could not look on her but he would smart

With inner consciousness (quite out of ken

Whene'er he looked on common maids or men)

Of something there—a soul which he misprized,

So pure and good it was, yet recognized

As infinitely finer than his own.

So would he turn from her with inward groan,

And scowl upon his people till they quailed,

In ignorance that his dark spirit failed

At sight of her. Yet they withstood him not,

And bore it meekly, since he had begot

This loving creature who was all men's praise.

For as a wretch sometimes, by wondrous ways,

Wins a true woman's love, and friends demur,

At first, then chance him for the sake of her,

So could no sire have such a child as she,

A maid so infinitely kind, and be

Outlawed from human liking. Hence they shook

Before him, yet endured, nay, even took

A pleasure in his frowns at thought of her;

But, as for him, there was no blasted fir

More bleached in feeling, dry at heart, and dead.


So when the youth, Chileeli, sought to wed,

And asked him for his daughter, he uprose,

And stared, as if the meanest of his foes

Affronted him. "What! wed her to a boy—

An idler ignorant of war's employ!

A coward who has never fleshed a spear,

Not even in the timid jumping deer!

Begone! lest with a puff of manly breath

I blow thee from my sight. Begone! 'tis death

To ask again. Away! my wrath is hot."

So this young swain, who was a poet, not

A vengeful man by nature, in despair

Fled to the wilds to nurse his passion there.


A mighty promontory, gray and bold,

O'erhung a lonely lake, which lay unrolled

A hill-girt league beneath the summer sun.

Its dreaming waters few e'er looked upon

Save young Chileeli; for dark spirits met,

And whispered round its shores, and so beset

Its pleasant places that his people feared,

And shunned it. Hence upon this height he reared

A bower of living leaves, whereto he stole

To sigh alone, and marvel in his soul

Why he so differed from his fellowmen.

For all were ruthless warriors, and, when

The hatchet was unearthed, all took delight

In the fierce dance, the war-path, and the fight.

And all were keen as eagles in the chase;

Could sight the stealthy fox afar, and trace

The cunning carcajou unto his lair;

Could track the moose, and trap the horrid bear,

And kill sweet birds without a moment's pain,

Or simply wound, nor think of them again.

And all were traders keen, who knew the price

And value of the white man's merchandise;

And, boasting of the gew-gaws they had bought,

Could match him at his very game, they thought.

All fond of gawds, all fond of spoil and blood,

They flew from chase to chase, from feud to feud:

A restless tribe, redeemed by one deep trait,

Their love of her—his dream by night and day.


So he bewailed his fate, for that his life

Jarred, and was out of keeping with the rife,

Rude manhood round him. Why had he been born,

And forced by Nature to endure the scorn

Of Wawanosh and every common brave?

To feel there was no heart this side the grave

Which beat for him? No heart! Ah, there was one,

The sweetest and the fondest 'neath the sun!

One soul who loved, whoever else might jibe

And jeer at this lone poet of his tribe.

Blest thought! Again the flowers looked, as of old,

Companionable, and the woods less cold.

Again those wards of Nature, summer-bright,

Seemed sentient creatures lapt in self-delight.

And o'er the lake some fairy hand had drawn

An amethystine glory, like the dawn

Of some far morn in heaven; a haze which blent

The solemn waters with the firmament

In charmed suffusion, rifted by the day

With dreamy lights, which faded far away

In infinite perspective. Long he gazed

On this entrancing scene, his soul upraised,

Each intuition keener than the last,

Till consciousness into his being passed

Of Nature, and of Nature's final cause:

How the Great Spirit, working through his laws,

Sheds beauty from him as the endless need

Of his supernal essence; hence the breed

Of artist minds, wherein reflected lie

The emanations of his deity.


But what of these? and wherein served they now

The needs of present love? His chieftain's brow

Frowned on his suit because he hated war,

And haunted spirit-lakes and cliffs afar,

And shunned the common looks of common men.

These understood him not, laughed long, and then

Grew cold as death. There was no comfort nigh;

Earth seemed to gloom again, its grace to fly,

And his large heart grow empty as the air.

There seemed no edge, no end, to his despair;

No promise, save in dreams by love distilled,

And longings which might never be fulfilled.


There seemed, in truth, one only way to win;

But to put out the inner light, to sin

Against his better self, to warp, and bend

His nature, even for so great an end,

Cut conscience to the core. He pondered long,

But reason kicks the beam where love is strong;

Nay, turns love's advocate, and smooths away

Its own misgivings and perplexity.

So, step by step, our lover reached resolve:

He, too, would seek the nearest way, and solve

Love's problem with the axe; by paths untried

Win savage Wawanosh unto his side,

Or bear his fate alone.


                      There is a goal,

In the horizon of each living soul,

By noble toil attained, or cunning plan;

The starting place is naught—all's in the man.

But woe betide the love, the fame, or pelf,

Grasped by a soul unfaithful to itself.

Such love, when won, is dust, such fame a dream,

Such wealth unstable as a desert stream.

So runs the rede Time's ancient tomes unfold;

So runs the sequel of this legend old.


Chileeli's nature seemed to change outright.

He who had shunned the chase, and scorned the fight,

Now craved permission to be made a brave.

This gained, with ceremony due, he gave

Three days to fasting; neither ate nor slept,

Nor moved one muscle of his frame, but kept

The self-same posture all that time alone.

Then came the torture, borne without a groan,

In presence of his tribe; the sacred dance,

The profuse feast, the dreaming-lodge, the trance,

And the awaking to new life, renamed,

Armed like his fellows, and already famed.


Armed, and notorious! For in very truth

A thousand tongues were busy with the youth,

A thousand heads shook gravely. Was not this

The Solitary who thought war amiss,

And all the customs of his people wrong?

Yet now they heard this stripling's double-tongue

Urging them on to strife! What warrior keen

Could trust the changer? Yet, with haughty mien,

This whilom butt of every urchin's jibe

Now dared the foremost hunters of his tribe

To fetch their spoils upon a certain day

And match them with his own. These lounged away,

Smiling askance, and dreaming not of shame,

Till the appointed morn. Their trophies came—

But his! alack, what slaughter! Ears and paws

And tails of panther, wolf, and fox, the claws

Of monstrous bears, mouffles of moose, and wings

Of owls and eagles—in his wanderings

Nothing escaped him. From the innocent wren

To the poor moldwarp in its sinuous den,

All fared alike; the bittern from the brake,

Earth's primal brood, toad, lizard, turtle, snake—

All things that fly, or walk, or crawl, or creep

Were there, in whole or part, in this vast heap,

So that the hunters stared in blank surprise,

And all the people rent the air with cries—

"This is the Slayer!" and made loud acclaim.


This strange exploit so swelled Chileeli's fame

That, when he sought to raise a band for war,

The choicest spirits rallied from afar;

Experienced braves, and youngsters of his clan,

With, here and there, some wizened, wild old man

Who smelt the fray, and would not be denied.

Nay, even Wawanosh unbent his pride,

Coughed, eyed the sun, and sneezed, and then

Cried, "Good! Yet fools oft end where better men

Begin. Still you have chosen wisely. Go!

The way to love's delight lies through the foe."


Enough! Chileeli's soul was all on fire

With eagerness and unfulfilled desire!

He needed not his chief's ungracious praise,

Or any pressure from without, to raise

His spirit to its height. At his behest

The braves were painted, and each scalp-lock drest

All in a trice. The sacred war-song rose,

And swelled upon the night, but, at its close,

He grasped the instant purpose, bade each man

Fall into file, and so the march began.


His scheme was dangerous, the path unknown,

The enemy a race renowned, and blown

With countless triumphs. If he routed them

His purpose was attained—what chief could stem

His claim, or keep him longer from his love?

So, on he hasted in pursuit thereof,

His braves estranged, yet faithful; for an awe

Seemed to inspire their spirits when they saw

The unimaginable light that burned

In his impetuous eyes. Their course now turned

Eastward along a clamouring stream, which played

Its organ-tune amongst the hills, and made

Immortal music. Flowers of precious dye,

And birds of song, appealed as he passed by,

But all in vain. He saw but felt not; heard,

But no responsive sense of beauty stirred

Within his mind distraught. On, day by day,

He and his painted warriors made way.

By stream and hill, by slimy swamp and swale,

Through forests deep and many a sunless vale,

Silent as shadows, stealthily they passed,

And reached, unseen, their enemy at last.


The pathway ended where a tongue of land

O'erlookt the foeman's village. On each hand

The hamlet lay half hid by fruited trees,

And corn and vines and summer's greeneries.

And, nestling where a flower-fringed streamlet run,

Red with the radiance of the setting sun,

Each cabin in the dying lustre stood

Transfigured by romance and solitude.

And life was there, the savage life of old,

Of fine-limbed women and of warriors bold.


[]Unarmed they gambled by their evening fires,

Or listened to the legends of their sires.

And through the vale the tender echoes spread

Of soft sweet Indian laughter—maidenhead

And youth in dalliance sweet—the joyous cry

Of boys at play—the mother's lullaby.

And young Chileeli in his ambush knelt,

And looked on this, and, for an instant, felt

A spirit rise—his former self—which gave

One parting pang, then vanished in the wave

Of his intense resolve.


                        The sun went down,

Night's shadows fell upon the little town;

And when each cabin lay in slumber deep—

As still as death—the very dogs asleep—

Then rose Chileeli from his hiding-place

With all his warriors, and stole apace,

Like phantoms in the darkness, to their ground.

This reached, they listened, but no cabined sound

Of waking life was there; naught met the ear

Save Sleep's deep breathing, like the moaning drear

Of desert wind. Then rose the awful cry,

The war-whoop wild resounding to the sky!

Each cabin door upon its hinges spun,

And in a trice the savage fight begun!


Chileeli triumphed. Morn had come again

Ere the strife ceased and every foe was slain.

That summer sun showed heaven the direst sight—

Men, women, children, all had perished quite!

Nothing survived; the very vines were killed,

The corn uprooted, and the fruit trees pilled.

So, when the ruin was complete, and fate

Had filled its measure to the brim; when hate

Had nothing left to wreak itself upon,

When the hot fever of revenge was gone,

And the fell lust for blood no longer burned,

Chileeli and his warriors homeward turned.


[]That bourne regained, our lover quickly spread

His monstrous spoils before his nation's head—

Grim Wawanosh—who looked, at first, askance

At the array, then took a straiter glance,

And cried, "Why, this is strange! The youth has brought

Outlandish spoils, unheard of, out of thought!

Not scalps alone, but breasts of maidens fair,

And infants' arms wound in their mothers' hair,

And warriors' string-fingers, ears and toes,

And see! among the rest, this giant nose—

I know it well—'tis Honka's! he who thrust

His knife here once; he too has bit the dust!

Enough! This youth has won his choice of wives—

Go, bring my daughter here! Whoso contrives

A rarer wedding feast than ours to-day

Must range afar!"


                        Chileeli dared not stay

The messenger, for all things, life and death,

Were in the chieftain's hands, who, with a breath,

Could make or mar his fate. But, now, a thing—

A strange delay which set all wondering—

Took place. The messenger returned, and said

That he had sought, but could not find, the maid.

Then other, and still other men were sent,

But each came back in like bewilderment.

And soon the tribe was all astir, the ground

Ransacked for leagues, and yet she was not found;

Nor by her tribe, in forest or on plain,

Was that chief's daughter ever seen again.


The people mourned for her, by day and night,

But young Chileeli was distracted quite.

Once more he shunned his fellowmen, and now

Haunted the dreamy promontory's brow

Where stood his bower, and brooded there alone.

But all was changed; the mystic charm had flown,

The beauty perished. He had wrenched his heart,

And wrested to vain ends its better part;

Earth's grace had vanished, for his soul was blind.

One aim remained, one bootless aim, to find—

What seemed irrevocably lost—his love!

But how, or where? What spirit from above,

Or from earth's shadows under, good or ill,

Could waft her to his side, or work his will?

Haggard and spent with searching, here and there

His eye turned restlessly—the gloomy stare

Of one half-mad, who looks from this to that

By turns, as if mere longing had begat

The thing desired. Then all at last grew blank—

A dull, dead space wherein his spirit sank,

As sinks some drowned thing in the desolate wave.


For hours he sat in stupor thus, nor gave

One sign of life, till suddenly there came

Upon the air a voice which called his name

Midst wingings soft. Then, slowly opening wide

His listless eyes, he presently espied,

Above the neighbouring wood, a wondrous bird,

Which thrilled the air with voice till now unheard,

As if some flower had risen from its throng,

On shining wings, and burst into a song!

And ever was its tender voice the same—

Chileeli! still Chileeli! still his name!

So that his heart leapt up, and hopes and fears

Chased through his fevered soul, and burning tears

Oozed from his aching eyes. What spell was this

That lay on him? Her fond embrace, her kiss—

He felt such raptures now! What spell was it

Which caused that winged form to descend, and sit,

And gaze upon him from the neighbouring thorn?

Ah, me! What magic now was in the morn?

For, as he looked, the bird began to grow,

Its shape to change, its plumage, white as snow,

Or myriad-tinted, turned to floating hair,

And soon there stood, transformed before him there,

His very love! who, in his ravished sight,

Bent on him once again her looks of light.


Ah, such another vision ne'er was seen,

So fond a gaze yet passionless a mien!

Divinely featured, of seraphic hue—

Her face seemed not of earth, yet cherished, too,

An earthly beauty, for her upper lip

Was Cupid's bow, clear-cut, yet 'neath each tip

A little cherub nestled in a smile!

He rushed to clasp her glorious form, the while

It backward fled, and faded into air—

Then reappeared in shape supremely fair,

And waved him to his place with warning hand.

Then came her voice—"Approach not where I stand!

I am immortal, thou wast born for death!

Thy earthly love shall perish like thy breath;

For love's almighty Father neither asks

The baser service of the world, nor tasks,

Nor tempts the heart to win by ways unblest.

Not his the indirection, or behest,

Which ruled thy hand; for what is pure must be

Won by pure deeds—the Spirit's mastery

O'er lust and temporal fears. And since that thou

Wouldst win unwisely, and hast stained thy brow,

Bewrayed thy poet-function, thrust apart

Thy finer nature, and abused thy heart,

Therefore the Father of pure thoughts hath ta'en

Me from thy path, and from the bitter pain

Of thy unhallowed love. Yet do I feel

My woman-spirit yearn, and fain would steal—

For love is strong—into thy life forlorn;

Into thy sinful being, tempest-torn;

Away with thee unto thy destined shore,

Thy silence and thy darkness evermore!


"Alack, what have I said? Adieu! Adieu!"

Her form became a bird again, and flew

Far off unto the bourne of endless life.

And he? Alas, the unavailing strife—

The search for that which never could be found!

Crushed by despair, he swooned upon the ground,

And lay for long as dead; then rose again,

To feel love's hunger and undying pain

Still gnawing at his heart. He could not sleep;

So dry his life had grown he could not weep.

He sought his tribe, and found it still intent

On war and spoil. Old Wawanosh unbent

His sullen brow, and caught him by the hand,

Then, grinning fiercely, offered him command,

With a fresh choice of wives! Their very sport

Seemed drearier than death; and, all amort,

And spirit-sunk, like many a thing of yore,

He fled away, and ne'er was heard of more.



A story worth telling our annals afford,

'Tis the wonderful journey of Laura Secord!

Her poor crippled spouse hobbled home with the news,

That Bœrstler was nigh! "Not a minute to lose,

Not an instant," said Laura, "for stoppage or pause—

I must hurry and warn our brave troops at Decaw's."

"What! you!" said her husband, "to famish and tire!"

"Yes, me!" said brave Laura, her bosom on fire.

"And how will you pass the gruff sentry," said he,

"Who is posted so near us?"


                          "Just wait till you see!

The foe is approaching, and means to surprise

Our troops, as you tell me. Oh, husband, there flies

No dove with a message so needful as this—

I'll take it, I'll bear it. Good-bye!" with a kiss.

Then a biscuit she ate, tucked her skirts well about,

And a bucket she slung on each arm, and went out.


'Twas the bright blush of dawn, when the stars melt from sight,

Dissolved by its breath like a dream of the night;

When Heaven seems opening on man and his pain,

Ere the rude day strengthens and shuts it again.

But Laura had eyes for her duty alone—

She marked not the glow and the gloom that were thrown

By the nurslings of morn, by the cloud-lands at rest,

By the spells of the East, and the weirds of the West.

Behind was the foe, full of craft and of guile;

Before her a long day of travel and toil.

"No time this for gazing," said Laura, as near

To the sentry she drew—


                      "Halt! You cannot pass here!"

"I cannot pass here! Why, sirrah, you drowse!

Are you blind? Don't you see I am off to my cows?"

"Well, well, you can go!" So she wended her way

To the pasture's lone side, where the farthest cow lay,

Got her up, caught a teat, and, with pail at her knees,

Made her budge, inch by inch, till she drew by degrees

To the edge of the forest: "I've hoaxed, on my word,

Both you and the sentry," said Laura Secord.


With a lingering look at her home, then away

She sped through the wild-wood—a wilderness gray—

Nature's privacy, haunt of a virgin sublime,

And the mother who bore her, as ancient as Time;

Where the linden had space for its fans and its flowers,

The balsam its tents, and the cedar its bowers;

Where the lord of the forest, the oak, had its realm,

The ash its domain, and its kingdom the elm;

Where the pine bowed its antlers in tempests, and gave

To the ocean of leaves the wild dash of the wave;

And the mystical hemlock—the forest's high-priest—

Hung its weird, raking top-gallant branch to the east.


And denser and deeper the solitude grew;

The underwood thickened and drenched her with dew.

She tript over moss-covered logs, fell, arose,

Sped and stumbled again by the hour, till her clothes

Were rent by the branches and thorns, and her feet

Grew tender and way-worn and blistered with heat.

And on, ever on, through the forest she passed,

Her soul in her task, but each pulse beating fast;

For shadowy forms seemed to flit through the glades,

And beckon her into their limitless shades;

And mystical sounds—in the forest alone,

Ah, who has not heard them?—the voices! the moan

Or the sigh of mute nature which sinks on the ear,

And fills us with sadness, or thrills us with fear?

And who, lone and lost in the wilderness deep,

Has not felt the strange fancies, the tremours which creep

And assemble within, till the heart 'gins to fail,

The courage to flinch, and the cheek to grow pale,

Midst the shadows which mantle the Spirit that broods

In the sombre, the deep-haunted, heart of the woods?


She stopt—it was noonday. The wilds she espied

Seemed solitudes measureless. "Help me!" she cried;

Her piteous lips parched with thirst, and her eyes

Strained with gazing. The sun in his infinite skies

Looked down on no creature more hapless than she.

For woman is woman where'er she may be.

For a moment she faltered, then came to her side

The heroine's spirit—the Angel of Pride.

One moment she faltered. Beware! What is this?

The coil of the serpent! the rattlesnake's hiss!

One moment, then onward. What sounds far and near?

The howl of the wolf! yet she turned not in fear,

Nor bent from her course, till her eye caught a gleam,

From the woods, of a meadow through which flowed a stream,

Pure and sweet with the savour of leaf and of flower,

By the night-dew distilled and the soft forest shower;

Pure and cold as its spring in the rock crystalline,

Whence it gurgled and gushed 'twixt the roots of the pine.


And blest above bliss is the pleasure of thirst,

Where there's water to quench it; for pleasure is nursed

In the cradle of pain, and twin marvels are they

Whose interdependence is born with our clay.

Yes, blessed is water, and blessed is thirst,

Where there's water to quench it; but this is the worst

Of this life, that we reck not the blessings God sends,

Till denied them. But Laura, who felt she had friends

In Heaven, as well as on earth, knew to thank

The Giver of all things, and gratefully drank.


[]Once more on the pathway, through swamp and through mire,

Through covert and thicket, through bramble and brier,

She toiled to the highway, then over the hill,

And down the deep valley, and past the new mill,

And through the next woods, till, at sunset, she came

To the first British picket, and murmured her name;

Thence, guarded by Indians, footsore and pale,

She was led to FitzGibbon, and told him her tale.


For a moment her reason forsook her; she raved,

She laughed, and she cried—"They are saved! they are saved!"

Then her senses returned, and, with thanks loud and deep

Sounding sweetly around her, she sank into sleep.

And Bœrstler came up; but his movements were known,

His force was surrounded, his scheme was o'erthrown.

By a woman's devotion—on stone be't engraved!—

The foeman was beaten, and Burlington saved.


Ah! faithful to death were our women of yore.

Have they fled with the past, to be heard of no more?

No, no! Though this laurelled one sleeps in the grave,

We have maidens as true, we have matrons as brave;

And should Canada ever be forced to the test—

To spend for our country the blood of her best—

When her sons lift the linstock and brandish the sword,

Her daughters will think of brave Laura Secord.


(Written in 1890.)

Eight years have fled since, in the wilderness,

I drew the rein to rest my comrade there—

My supple, clean-limbed pony of the plains.

He was a runner of pure Indian blood,

Yet in his eye still gleamed the desert's fire,

And form and action both bespoke the Barb.

A wondrous creature is the Indian's horse;

Degenerate now, but from the "Centaurs" drawn—

The apparitions which dissolved with fear

Montezuma's plumed Children of the Sun,

And throned rough Cortez in his realm of gold!


A gentle vale, with rippling aspens clad,

Yet open to the breeze, invited rest.

So there I lay, and watched the sun's fierce beams

Reverberate in wreathed ethereal flame;

Or gazed upon the leaves which buzzed o'erhead,

Like tiny wings in simulated flight.

Within the vale a lakelet, lashed with flowers,

Lay like a liquid eye among the hills,

Revealing in its depths the fulgent light

Of snowy cloud-land and cerulean skies.

And rising, falling, fading far around,

The homeless and unfurrowed prairies spread

In solitude and idleness eterne.


And all was silence save the rustling leaf,

The gadding insect, or the grebe's lone cry,

Or where Saskatchewan, with turbid moan,

Deep-sunken in the plain, his torrent poured.

Here Loneliness possessed her realm supreme,

Her prairies all about her, undeflowered,

Pulsing beneath the summer sun, and sweet

With virgin air and waters undefiled.

Inviolate still! Bright solitudes, with power

To charm the spirit—bruised where ways are foul—

Into forgetfulness of chuckling wrong,

And all the weary clangour of the world.


Yet, Sorrow, too, had here its kindred place,

As o'er my spirit swept the sense of change.

Here sympathy could sigh o'er man's decay;

For here, but yesterday, the warrior dwelt

Whose faded nation had for ages held,

In fealty to Nature, these domains.

Around me were the relics of his race—

The grassy circlets where his village stood,

Well-ruled by custom's immemorial law.

Along these slopes his happy offspring roved

In days gone by, and dusky mothers plied

Their summer tasks, or loitered in the shade.

Here the magician howled his demons up,

And here the lodge of council had its seat,

Once resonant, with oratory wild.

All vanished! perished in the swelling sea

And stayless tide of an encroaching power

Whose civil fiat, man-devouring still,

Will leave, at last, no wilding on the earth

To wonder at or love!

                        With them had fled

The bison-breed which overflowed the plains,

And, undiminished, fed uncounted tribes.

Its vestiges were here—its wallows, paths,

And skulls and shining ribs and vertebræ;

Gray bones of monarchs from the herds, perchance,

Descended, by De Vaca first beheld,

Or Coronado, in mad quest of gold.

Here hosts had had their home; here had they roamed,

Endless and infinite—vast herds which seemed

Exhaustless as the sea. All vanished now!

Of that wild tumult not a hoof remained

To scour the countless paths where myriads trod.


Long had I lain 'twixt dreams and waking, thus,

Musing on change and mutability,

And endless evanescence, when a burst

Of sudden roaring filled the vale with sound.

Perplexed and startled, to my feet I sprang,

And in amazement from my covert gazed,

For, presently, into the valley came

A mighty bison, which, with stately tread

And gleaming eyes, descended to the shore!

Spell-bound I stood. Was this a living form,

Or but an image by the fancy drawn?

But no—he breathed! and from a wound blood flowed,

And trickled with the frothing from his lips.

Uneasily he gazed, yet saw me not,

Haply concealed; then, with a roar so loud

That all the echoes rent their valley-horns,

He stood and listened; but no voice replied!

Deeply he drank, then lashed his quivering flanks,

And roared again, and hearkened, but no sound,

No tongue congenial answered to his call—

He was the last survivor of his clan!


Huge was his frame! the famed Burdash, so grown

To that enormous bulk whose presence filled

The very vale with awe. His shining horns

Gleamed black amidst his fell of floating hair—

His neck and shoulders, of the lion's build,

Were framed to toss the world! Now stood he there

And stared, with head uplifted, at the skies,

Slow-yielding to his deep and mortal wound.

He seemed to pour his mighty spirit out

As thus he gazed, till my own spirit burned,

And teeming fancy, charmed and overwrought

By all the wildering glamour of the scene,

Gave to that glorious attitude a voice,

And, rapt, endowed the noble beast with song.

The Song.

Hear me, ye smokeless skies and grass-green earth,

  Since by your sufferance still I breathe and live!

Through you fond Nature gave me birth,

  And food and freedom—all she had to give.

Enough! I grew, and with my kindred ranged

Their realm stupendous, changeless and unchanged,

      Save by the toll of nations primitive,

Who throve on us, and loved our life-stream's roar,

And lived beside its wave, and camped upon its shore.


They loved us, and they wasted not. They slew,

  With pious hand, but for their daily need:

Not wantonly, but as the due

  Of stern necessity which Life doth breed.

Yea, even as earth gave us herbage meet,

So yielded we, in turn, our substance sweet

      To quit the claims of hunger, not of greed.

So stood it with us that what either did

Could not be on the earth foregone, nor Heaven forbid.


And, so, companioned in the blameless strife

  Enjoined upon all creatures, small and great,

Our ways were venial, and our life

  Ended in fair fulfilment of our fate.

No gold to them by sordid hands was passed;

No greedy herdsman housed us from the blast;

      Ours was the liberty of regions rife

In winter's snow, in summer's fruits and flowers—

Ours were the virgin prairies, and their rapture ours!


So fared it with us both; yea, thus it stood

  In all our wanderings from place to place,

Until the red man mixed his blood

  With paler currents. Then arose a race—

The reckless hunters of the plains—who vied

In wanton slaughter for the tongue and hide,

      To satisfy vain ends and longings base.

This grew; and yet we flourished, and our name

Prospered until the pale destroyer's concourse came.


Then fell a double terror on the plains,

  The swift inspreading of destruction dire—

Strange men, who ravaged our domains

  On every hand, and ringed us round with fire;

Pale enemies, who slew with equal mirth

The harmless or the hurtful things of earth,

      In dead fruition of their mad desire:

The ministers of mischief and of might,

Who yearn for havoc as the world's supreme delight.


So waned the myriads which had waxed before

  When subject to the simple needs of men.

As yields to eating seas the shore,

  So yielded our vast multitude, and then—

It scattered! Meagre bands, in wild dismay,

Were parted and, for shelter, fled away

      To barren wastes, to mountain gorge and glen.

A respite brief from stern pursuit and care,

For still the spoiler sought, and still he slew us there.


Hear me, thou grass-green earth, ye smokeless skies,

  Since by your sufferance still I breathe and live!

The charity which man denies

  Ye still would tender to the fugitive!

I feel your mercy in my veins—at length

My heart revives, and strengthens with your strength—

      Too late, too late, the courage ye would give!

Naught can avail these wounds, this failing breath,

This frame which feels, at last, the wily touch of death.


Here must the last of all his kindred fall;

  Yet, midst these gathering shadows, ere I die—

Responsive to an inward call,

  My spirit fain would rise and prophesy.

I see our spoilers build their cities great

Upon our plains—I see their rich estate:

      The centuries in dim procession fly!

Long ages roll, and then at length is bared

The time when they who spared not are no longer spared.


Once more my vision sweeps the prairies wide,

  But now no peopled cities greet the sight;

All perished, now, their pomp and pride:

  In solitude the wild wind takes delight.

Naught but the vacant wilderness is seen,

And grassy mounds, where cities once had been.

      The earth smiles as of yore, the skies are bright,

Wild cattle graze and bellow on the plain,

And savage nations roam o'er native wilds again!


The burden ceased, and now, with head bowed down,

The bison smelt, then grinned into the air.

An awful anguish seized his giant frame,

Cold shudderings and indrawn gaspings deep—

The spasms of illimitable pain.

One stride he took, and sank upon his knees,

Glared stern defiance where I stood revealed,

Then swayed to earth, and, with convulsive groan,

Turned heavily upon his side, and died.


(Written at the Grand Rapids of the Saskatchewan.)

Here, in this howling torrent, ends

  The rushing river, named

      By savage man


  In dark tradition famed.


His source, Creation's dread abyss,

  Or in the glacier's cell;

      His way, the sweep

      Of canyons deep,

  And clefts and chasms fell.


And forth from many a mountain's side

  He leaps with laughter grim;

      Their spurs are slit,

      Their walls are split,

  To make a path for him.


And down into the plains he raves

  With dusky torrent cold,

      And lines his bed

      With treasure shred

  From unknown reefs of gold.


And, monster-like, devours his shores,

  Or, writhing through the plain,

      Casts up the while

      Full many an isle,

  And swallows them again.


For though, betimes, he seems to sink

  Amidst his prairies pale,

      He swells with pride

      In summer-tide,

  When low-born rivers fail.


And knits tradition to his shores

  Of savage fights and fame,

      When poaching Cree

      The Blackfoot free

  With magic arms o'ercame.


Of Wapiti and Spanish horse,

  And of the bison horde,

      A transverse stream,

      As in a dream,

  Which flowed at every ford.


And of the whites who first espied

  His course, their toils and cares;

      Of brave Varennes,

      The boast of men,

  And prince of voyageurs!


Of ancient settlement and farm

  Ere France his wantons pressed;

      Ere royal mind

      For lust resigned

  The Empire of the West.


Of him who once his waters churned—

  The bluff fur-trader King—

      Mackenzie bold,

      Renowned of old

  For his far wandering.


Of later days, when to his shores

  The dauntless Franklin came;

      Ere Science lost,

      In Arctic frost,

  The life, the lofty aim.


Or of the old Bois-brûlé town,

  Whose huts of log and earth

      Rang, winter-long,

      With jest and song,

  And wild plain-hunters' mirth.


And of the nearer, darker day,

  Which saw their offspring leap

      To arms, and wake,

      With frenzied shake,

  Dull Justice from her sleep.


Or, turning to the future, dreams

  On Time, and prophesies

      The human tide

      When, by his side,

  Great cities shall arise.


The sordid tide, the weltering sea,

  Of lusts and cares and strife;

      The dreaded things

      The worldling brings—

  The rush and roar of life.


And onward tears his torrent still,

  A hundred leagues withdrawn,

      Beyond the capes

      And silvan shapes

  And wilds of Chimahaun.


Down through the silent forest land,

  Beyond the endless marge

      Of swale and brake,

      And lingering lake,

  Beyond the Demicharge.


Till at the Landing-place he lifts

  His crest of foam, and, quick

      As lightning, leaps

      Adown the steeps

  Of Missipòwistic!


Whilst o'er him wheels the osprey's wing—

  And, in the tamarac glades

      Near-by, the bear

      And Mooswa share

  Their matchless mossy shades.


Whilst echoes of the huskies' yells

  From yonder woods are flung

      At midnight dim,

      A chorus grim,

  As if by demons sung!


But, see! Here comes a birch canoe!

  Two wiry forms it bears,

      In quaintest guise,

      With wrinkled eyes—

  Two smoke-dried voyageurs!


"We'll take you down! Embarquez donc—

  Embarquez donc, monsieur!

      We'll steer you through

      The channel true,"

  Cries each old voyageur.


"Nay, look ye, men—those walls of foam,

  Yon swirling 'cellars' fell!"

      "Fear not to pass,

      Thou Moniyas!

  We know this torrent well."


"I've roamed this river from my youth—

  I know its every fork."

      "And I have made,"

      The other said,

  "Full many a trip to York!"


Soho! I'll go! The Rapids call!

  With hamper at my wing

      We sally down

      Their foaming crown

  Like arrow from the string—


Into the yeast of waters wild,

  Where winds and eddies rave!

      Into the fume

      And raging spume

  And tempest of the wave!


Past rocky points, with bays between,

  Where pelicans, bright-hued,

      Are flushed to flight

      With birds like night—

  The cormorant's impish brood!


And madly now our frail craft leaps

  Adown the billows' strife,

      And cleaves their crests

      And seething breasts

  As 'twere a thing of life.


As dips the pandion for his prey

  So dips our bark amain.

      We sink and soar,

      And sink and soar,

  And sink and soar again!


Till, following the foaming fall

  Of one long, throbbing wave,

      Enrapt we glide,

      And seem to slide

  Down, down into its grave!


"O break! O break! sweet balm, soft air!"

  No, no, we mount! we rise!

      Once more the dash

      And deafening clash

  Of billows flout the skies.


Till, swept o'er many a whirling swell,

  The final surge is past,

      And, like the strife

      Of human life,

  We reach calm floods at last.


Now, thanks, ye grim old voyageurs!

  No man has flinched in fear—

      Yet in earth's round

      I've seldom found

  This life and death so near.


Thanks, thanks to you, good men and true!

  Here we shall rest awhile,

      And toast the bold

      Coureurs of old

  Upon the Prisoners' Isle.


(Ancien Règime, circa 1680.)

Brothers! all things have end, as hath this feast—

This farewell feast of sweet sagamity

And fine brown flesh of beaver and of bear.

Your own provision I have thus set forth

After the ancient custom. Whilst you ate

I sat aside, and thought how we are one—

In language, race—in all things one save love.

I sat aside, and pondered in my soul

The severing hate which seals my lingering death,

Yet sweetens still the foretaste of its pangs.


The feast now over—bowls well scraped—but first,

Confess I run the gauntlet well! Ah, ha!

No hatchet hit this loftier head than yours,

And, save these mangled hands, all's right with me!

Why not, since you, the quarry of my chase,

Have ne'er o'ertaxed my speed to run you down?


This galls you! Good! Let womanish passion rise—

Your childish rage—and break my leave to speak!

When captives of your nation give us feasts

We let them speak; yet, I remember me,

They but beseech their miserable lives—

Not death, with torture, as we do.


                              One word!

In lieu of him who perished by this axe

Yon dotard will not take me for a son—

A substitute worth fifty of his tribe!

Belike, that wench rejects my brotherhood,

Though thus she might be sister to a man,

Not to a Yendat dog with soul askew,

Who sneaked and snarled. This is your Chief's desire—

As far from mine as I am from your power

To make me quail at aught that you can do.

What! Lift you up! An Onondaga help

Your recreant breed to rise! Nay, were this urged,

Then would your torture strike!


                        You bear with this!—

Struck dumb, mayhap, by some ancestral thought.

For, Yendats, I perceive we might be one

But for this flood of hate which, turned to love—

For now my thoughts clear up with coming death—

Might well oppose the flux which threatens all;

Those pale, thin streams which up our inlets pour—

Diverse, yet deadly. Ah! "Yonondio

Is still your friend with whom you trade," you say,

"As we do with Corlaer"; and, true, their tools

Are finer than our flints, their kettles thin,

And better than our clay, their arms—but, what?

"No more!" you cry; then lead me to the stake!

  (He is led by the Hurons to the place of torture.)

Now here, behold me! Atotaroh's son!

For he it is you ambushed yesterday—

A goodly prize—so now exhaust yourselves!

But, hark! no common cords, since you must tie

An Onondaga's very spirit down!

You will not heed! and I am bound, you fools,

After your fashion! for one strain, and see!

Your moosewood strings and linden lashings snap

Like rotten twigs! (Flings them in their teeth.) You must be taught to bind!


Chut! yelping urchins, hence! Ye wizened crones

And screeching hags, stand off! Your wise men know

I am their sacrifice, and not your sport.

Ye warriors, what I would say is this:

Naught holds the Onondaga but his stocks

Of iron-wood, or the hard gray willow withe.

Bring this, then tie me to our people's tree—

The foliaged elm, leaf-wreathen to the root!


Believe me, chiefs, I have no fear of death—

That lies not in the compass of my soul!

Nay, I rejoice in this your sacrifice

To great Areskoui, who, from the sun,

Looks down upon us all. Yet there are thoughts—

Like storm-clouds beating up against the wind,

Or eddies running counter to the stream—

Which fain would stem our currents of revenge.

For did Yonondio but look on this—

Corlaer! those rival raveners, whose maws

Would drink our rivers and devour our lands!

How they would smile to see you round me now,

And whisper, sidelong, from their screening palms—

"One foe the less, one fertile tract the more!"

Ah, they would gloat upon this dance of death;

For they who still beseech will yet demand,

And dance in grinning triumph round you all! (Ironical cries)

Have we not heard—but wherefore should I speak,

Since you but mock me with assent? forked words

Wherewith unwittingly you stab yourselves!

Have you not heard your fathers' tales of yore—

How the destroyers voyaged with the sun

O'er boiling reaches of outlandish foam,

And, anchoring fast by many a torrid isle,

Woke the mild Arrawac from his livelong dream?

You have not! care not! Foes are friends, friends foes,

In the dread turmoil which confuses all!

Yet, if your ears have served not, I have seen

Old Wamesits and Wampanoags who know

Their pale-faced pilgrims from across the sea;

The men who came with faded, upturned eyes,

And, supplicating some outlying land,

With subtle leasing, straight enlarged themselves—

Who from the gift made title to the whole,

And thrust the red man back upon the ribs

Of spiny mountains, bleak with summer snow,

Till great Metàcomet arose, and fell!

And, otherwhere, encased in iron they came,

Or in black robes—and won you to their side!

Through you they smote us, tore our castles down,

And sought to lay the mighty "Long-House" low,

Which else had spread—a shelter for us all!

Away all thoughts and feelings save my hate,

Which burns and hisses in my veins like fire—

Hate infinite and fierce, whose sense will dull

The pangs of all your faggots and your flames!

O fools! we were the tempest, you the leaves

Which fled before it! Traitors to our race,

Where are ye? Erie or Andasté, speak!

Ye craven remnants of the Yendat—where?

Your emptied forests tell—your ruined towns!

O you poor creatures of Yonondio, blush!

Your women should deride, your children jeer,

And Atahensic, from her silver home,

Look down and curse you! Ah! come back, my soul!

This rage is viler than the fear of death!

O Jouskeha, give calm! that I may feel,

And so endure, and by endurance please

Arèskoui and thee!


                      The withes at last!

My meaning has been reached, and I am bound!

No flimsy setting this, half-fast, half-free,

But the triced frame, as stubborn as the elm!

Ah, there is something yet unsaid, but, no—

The darkness falls! Now, torches and the Fire!


The Eastern and the Western gates

  Are open, and we see her face!

Between her piney steeps she waits

  The coming of each alien race.

Dear Genius of a virgin land,

  Kanata! Sylph of northern skies!

Maid of the tender lip and hand,

  And dark, yet hospitable, eyes.


Thou art our Spirit of Romance,

  Our Faerie Queen, our Damsel lorn,

Who, framed by some mysterious chance,

  In undiscovered woods wast born.

In days of love and life gone by,

  Ere waned the light, ere ebbed the tide,

Wild singers sought thy company,

  And supple forms from forests wide.


They sported on the golden shore,

  And far dim headlands of the past;

Untrammelled all, their spirits bore

  No sense of soil by passion cast.

No philosophic doubts were theirs,

  No tideless, stern pursuit of gain,

No weariness of life, no cares,

  No yearnings underlaid with pain.


But, wild and true and innocent,

  They plucked the blossom of the year,

Where savours of the woods were blent

  With music of the waters clear.

Death had no tears; it but revealed

  A spectral world to spectral eyes,

Where spirit-wildings roamed afield,

  And spirit-pinions swept the skies.


Where still the chase they would pursue,

  And o'er the vacant rivers glide

With ghostly paddle and canoe,

  With phantom forests on each side—

Forever, where no frost should fall

  To waste the sweetness of the light,

Nor old age and its funeral,

  Nor bitter storm, nor ancient night.


'Tis past, Kanata! Weightier days

  Strain tight the girdle of the year;

Pale feet are in thy forest-ways,

  Pale faces on thy plains appear;

And eyes, adventurous, behold

  The gathering shadows on thy brow,

Where sacred graves of grassy mould

  Turn black beneath the westering plough.


Thy plains are whispered of afar,

  Thy gleaming prairies rich increase;

And, leaning on their tools of war,

  Men dream of plenitude and peace.

For Europe's Middle Age is o'er,

  And still her ways are undefined,

And darker seem the paths before

  Than the dark paths which lie behind.


Perchance! but still I see them come—

  Her uncouth peasants, seeking rest,

Sighing for sympathy, a home

  And shelter in the peaceful West,

Where ancient foes in race and creed

  May never more the tyrants see,

Who eat the bread of craft and greed,

  And steal the wine of liberty.


Vain promise and delusive dreams

  Which gloze the hidden, narrow heart;

Here man's own vile and selfish schemes

  Will yet enact the tyrant's part.

Alas! for equal life and laws,

  And Freedom 'neath the Western sun;

Here must they stand or fall—her cause

  On these fresh fields be lost or won.


Still must she fight who long hath fought;

  Still must she bleed who long hath bled;

There is no consecrated spot,

  No clime where she alone doth tread.

Devise for her your "simple plan,"

  Or "perfect system," as of old;

They count not where insensate man

  Spurns his own right to be controlled.


When I recall the days misspent,

  The unabiding hours of youth,

The erring thoughts with pleasure bent,

  The poor and shallow search for truth,

Then vain regrets take hold of me

That, sailing on the summer sea,

I dreamt not of a wintry flood

Which I must cross in solitude.


Had I but thought of this—descried

  The stormy winds, the tempest strong,

The heaving wave, the darkling tide—

  Discretion then had found a tongue.

I should have studied well the art

Of seamanship—the pilot's part—

Re-rigged my craft, without, within,

And laid my soul's provision in.


Repining! 'Tis the way with man:

  Repine not; rest, O heart, secure!

Affections lie within thy span

  Of thoughtlessness which must endure.

There friendship had its steadfast root,

There true love bore its fadeless fruit.

If these condemn, then let me be

Wrecked on the future's stormy sea!


Call back the past, and let us hear

  Its tender voices as of yore;

Let the old welcomes greet the ear,

  The old friends meet us as before.

And, ah! let memory fulfil

Her perfect task—bring back the thrill

Of chords long hushed, of loving sighs,

And eyliads from vanished eyes!


They are not dead, they do but sleep;

  They come! I see, I feel them all.

By recollection touched, they leap

  Responsive to the spirit's call.

Depart from me, ye vain regrets,

Ye selfish fears which time begets!

The future, like the past, is mine,

For memory's light is light divine.


Then courage! to the helm, the sail,

  And let the roaring tempest frown!

What though the billows should prevail,

  What though the whelming waters drown?

They cast us on the further shore:

Think not they change what nature bore—

Fond, unreflecting souls, yet true

To friendship, love, and Heaven, too!


"The navigation of Hudson's Straits is impracticable."—Enlightened Hudson's Bay Company Trader from Ungava.

"The Hudson's Bay route is a chimera."—Patriotic Toronto Newspaper.

Open the Bay, which o'er the Northland broods,

  Dumb, yet in labour with a mighty fate!

Open the Bay! Humanity intrudes,

And gropes, prophetic, round its solitudes,

  In eager thought, and will no longer wait.


Open the Bay which Cabot first espied

  In days when tiny bark and pinnace bore

Stout pilots and brave captains true and tried—

Those dauntless souls who battled, far and wide,

  With wind and wave in the great days of yore.


Open the Bay which Hudson—doubly crowned

  By fame—to science and to history gave.

This was his limit, this his utmost bound—

Here, all unwittingly, he sailed and found,

  At once, a path of empire and a grave.


Open the Bay! What cared that seaman grim

  For towering iceberg or the crashing floe?

He sped at noonday or at midnight dim,

A man! and, hence, there was a way for him,

  And where he went a thousand ships can go.


Open the Bay! the myriad prairies call;

  Let homesteads rise and comforts multiply;

Give to the world the shortest route of all,

Let justice triumph though the heavens should fall!

  This is the voice of reason—manhood's cry.


Open the Bay! Who are they that say "No"?

  Who locks the portals? Nature? She resigned

Her icy reign, her stubborn frost and snow,

Her sovereign sway and sceptre, long ago,

  To sturdy manhood and the master, Mind!


Not these the foe! Not Nature, who is fain

  When earnest hearts an earnest end pursue;

But man's old selfishness and greed of gain:

These ancient breeders of earth's sin and pain—

  These are the thieves who steal the Nation's due!


Such are the heirs of traders Gillam led—

  Such were they in the past, with souls obtuse

When duty called—who, recreant, and dead

To England's honour, hung the craven head,

  And struck the British flag to La Perouse.


And such are they who, in their Eastern place,

  Say, "It is folly and the purpose vain!"

The carrier and the shallow huckster's race—

Theirs are the hands, not Nature's, which efface,

  And seal the public good for private gain.


Open the Bay! Let Earth's poor people in!

  What though the selfish interests lie and flout—

Open the Inlet! Let them growl and grin,

And Power still hobnob with them in their sin—

  Humanity, their master, is about!


It looks abroad, and with purged vision sees

  Man's wily nature bared, not overcast;

It comes to scatter to the winds his pleas,

His privilege and bland accessories,

  And with strong arm right the wronged land at last.


And he is gone, who led the few

  Forecasters of a nation fair;

That gentle spirit, strong and true

  As ever breathed Canadian air!


Forever fled? the kindly face,

  The eager look, the lambent eye,

Still haunted by a boyish grace—

  Can these from recollection fly?


The counsel sound, the judgment clear,

  The mild thought brooding over all,

The ready smile, the ready tear—

  Can these from recollection fall?


Ah! well do I remember still

  The sultry day, whose sun had set;

The hostel near the tower-crowned hill,[2]

  The parlour dim where first we met;


The flush of hope, the joy divine

  On that pale eve of loftier times,[3]

When, with his friendly hand in mine,

  He praised my poor Canadian rhymes;


And sung the old Canadian songs,[4]

  And played the old Canadian airs,

Then turned his smile on fancied wrongs,

  And laughed away a youth's despairs;


And said: "Throw sickly thoughts aside—

  Let's build on native fields our fame;

Nor seek to blend our patriot pride

  With alien worth or alien shame!


"Nor trust the falterers who despond—

  The doubting spirits which divine

No stable future save beyond

  Their long, imaginary line!


"But mark, by fate's strong finger traced,

  Our country's rise; see time unfold,

In our own land, a nation based

  On manly deeds, not lust for gold.


"Its bourne the home of generous life,

  Of ample freedom, slowly won,

Of modest maid and faithful wife,

  Of simple love 'twixt sire and son.


"Nor lessened would the duty be

  To rally, then, around the Throne;

A filial nation, strong and free—

  Great Britain's child to manhood grown!


"But lift the curtain which deceives,

  The veil that intercepts the sight,

The drapery dependence weaves

  To screen us from the nobler light.


"First feel throughout the throbbing land

  A nation's pulse, a nation's pride—

The independent life—then stand

  Erect, unbound, at Britain's side!"


And many a year has fled, and now

  The tongue which voiced the thought is stilled;

The veil yet hangs o'er many a brow,

  The glorious dream is unfulfilled.


Yet Ocean unto Ocean cries!

  For us their mighty tides go forth.

We front the sun—behind us lies

  The mystery of the unconquered North!


And ardent Aspiration peers

  Beyond the clouds, beyond the night,

Beyond the faltering, paltering years,

  And there beholds the breaking Light!


For, though the thoughtful mind has passed

  From mortal ken, the generous hand—

The seed they sowed has sprung at last,

  And grows, and blossoms through the land.


And time will realize the dream,

  The light yet spread o'er land and wave;

And Honour, in that hour supreme,

  Will hang his wreath o'er Foster's grave.

Written in 1888.

[2] Parliament Hill.

[3] Confederation.

[4] Mr. Foster was fond of French-Canadian song; its vivacity and plaintiveness equally touched him.


My thoughts are full of gloom to-night, my heart is full of pain;

And tears, dull as a blind man's, roll adown my cheeks like rain.

And yet the moon is beaming bright, the stars are shining true,

Yet dimly, in their distant skies and fields of palest blue.

Within my home the lamp-light shines a chamber's length along,

And there my children's voices rise in laughter and in song.

Without, assembled here and there, the trees like phantoms stand,

And cast their spectral shadows down upon the spectral land.

And all around are sweetest sounds—the music of the night,

The sidelong whisper of the leaves, the churme of waters bright.

A dream of fragrance fills the air, the moon-flower's cup o'erflows,

And subtle ears, perchance, may hear the breathing of the rose.

The dark green earth, the pale blue heaven with mellow grace are clad,

The night-flower blows, the music flows, and yet my heart is sad.


For my delight is far from me—it comes not at my call,

The perfect womanhood, which gave a meaning to them all.

The burning rose turns to the moon its folded heart, dew-fed,

The gentle lily shrinks and hides its pure and stainless head.

They are but parts of Nature's plan; my love unites the whole,

As if the rose's glowing form possessed the lily's soul.

Full well I know, behind the veil, a loving purpose reigns

Through all the mystery of earth, its pleasures and its pains.

Tree sighs for tree, flower sighs for flower, love binds them in its thrall;

But she is far away whose love, with mine, discovered all.


There is a stream which flows beneath the skies,

Whose flood is fed by aching hearts and eyes.

Onward it rolls forever down the years,

In seeming peace, yet brimmed with secret tears.


Few seek to trace it to its hidden source;

Few arms are stretched to stay it in its course.

With life it flows, with life's expiring breath

It leaps in anguish to the sea of death.


Yet time's allurements on its surface glow,

And on its banks the flowers of passion blow;

Its charmèd water silvers on the oar,

Its hollow laughter peals from shore to shore.


For there the worldlings sail, affect to rest,

Or, sated, sleep upon its fleeting breast;

Or, fevered, wake to find themselves again

But further borne adown this stream of pain.


Beset with fears, perturbed by human ill,

They dread the fated flood, yet haunt it still,

Like Custom's slaves, who, blinded by desire,

Build and rebuild o'er subterranean fire;


Nor note that counter current's strong employ—

The grief, the tears which thrill with finer joy—

The stream which, set against the world's device,

Flows back to Heaven through self-sacrifice.


Or catch a glimpse of that immortal clue,

Yea, clearly see when sense to soul is true;

Yet coldly turn aside, nor seek to gain

The simple issue from the maze of pain.


But idly sigh—"Sufficient for the day

The ills thereof, inseparate from Life's clay;"

Or, "Other men may come when we are gone,

And solve the problem—let the stream roll on!"


What matters it if on the stormy shore

Of wild Newfoundland or stern Labrador

His foot first fell, or on Cape Breton's strand?

The dauntless sailor somewhere hit the land!


The Land! No pent-up nursling of the seas,

Fanned in the Gulf-stream by the torrid breeze;

For Ocean grim this grim sea-dog had cast,

Triumphant, on his furthest shore at last.


With loud huzzas St. George's banner flew,

First o'er the main—a world, an Empire new!

Whilst woke the Continent, and, from his lair,

The wilding rushed, and shook his streaming hair!


Time sped, and saw full many a flag unfurled

In fierce contention for that virgin world;

Saw France's star by Britain's sun effaced,

And Britain's flag by kindred hands abased.


Yet time beheld the trampled banner rise

Victorious beneath Canadian skies,

And races nurtured 'neath its sway go forth,

In welded strength the Nation of the North.


And where is he who gave a realm to these

Large heirs of Freedom, rulers of its seas?

What recompense was his? What high acclaim?—

An unknown grave, a half-forgotten name!


But, no! The hour is ripe; its tumult stills

Whilst Canada her sacred task fulfils.

At last[5] the triumph sounds, the laurels twine,

And incense burns at Cabot's matchless shrine!

[5] The Cabot celebration at Halifax, N.S., in 1897.


Avaunt, thou monstrous product of the time,

Cruel, remorseless, shallow and untrue!

Vain charlatan that ever lead'st anew

The yearning world along the paths of crime,

Misusing Science—thou that seek'st to climb

To ruinous control with more ado

Than monarch to his Throne! What meed is due

Thy horrid bent, save scorn in prose or rhyme?

Art thou Democracy's incarnate dream?

Is thine the Gospel of its better day?

Wisdom, high mind, compassion, honour spurn

The foul imposture. No, a holier gleam—

The thought humane which leads, but not astray,

Is still the light to which true spirits turn.


The thought of frail Humanity; its tears,

Its plenitude of suffering and sin,

Its tender heart when shame first enters in,

That self-same heart grown callous with the years.

Its visage hardened by the sounds it hears—

The moil of countless miseries, the din

Of wrangling schemes which end where they begin—

Its mind so fit for joy, so worn with fears.

We stumble yet discern, Humanity!

These are the burdens which oppressed Christ's soul,

Wrought up to triumph, midst earth's vanity,

By self-effacement; this the aureole

Which yet shall crown thy brows with light divine—

The emblem of His victory—and thine!


(To a Great Poet.)

The world still juggles with its pleasure, feigns

  Wherein it lacks, and lives pretentious days,

Spurning calm joys, truth, beauty, simple ways—

  These old inspirers of the poet's pains.

  O Solitary! still be these thy gains,

The harvest of thy thought, the things of praise,

The solemn chords of thy remembered lays,

  The notes which live when worldly mouthing wanes!

Nor these alone thy glory and reward;

  For Inspiration hath a sexless joy

Sweeter than lover's dreams. Thy flights afford

  Fairer nativities than Love's employ;

The offspring of a Spirit set apart,

Yet knit forever to the human heart.


There is a forest in the wild north land

  So weird and grim the very lynxes thread,

With quickened pulse, its glades and shadows dread.

  Its jagged stems, black and fire-blasted, stand

  Close-rooted in the dull and barren sand;

And over league-long hills and valleys spread

Those ruined woods—a forest dark and dead—

  A giant wreck in desolation grand:

Like to that other world, the mind of man,

  Wherein are wastes once innocent and dear,

Where beauty throve till fires of passion ran,

  And blighted all. When to such deserts drear

The spirit turns, in retrospection wan,

  The proudest starts, the boldest shrinks in fear.


Once from the bitter page of Doubt it hapt

  That, wearily, I turned me to the wall,

And, lo! there, in the hearth's dull embers, all

  The self-same thoughts which harrowed me seemed mapt.

  But near were coiled a cat and kitten, lapt

In furry dream; then next, where lay in thrall

Of slumber softer than a feather's fall

  Dear wife and babe, I stood in silence rapt.

O endless chain of being and of love,

  O paths and pathos of mysterious sleep,

    Ye pointed to a world yet undescried!

Strange calm befell me, light as from above,

  And thoughts which man can neither yield nor keep:

    My heart was filled, my house was glorified!


Twice has the Winter sallied from his lair,

  In seeming triumph, and as quick retired

Into the north again. So things desired,

  And loved, still linger in St. Martin's care.

  The flowers have vanished, and the woods are bare;

But, all around, stray forms, by Autumn fired,

Still glow like flowers, and many a thought inspired

  By Summer, yet is fit for later wear.

Fit and unfit—since naught consists with Time!

  For, 'twixt this being and what is to be—

    Brief space where even Pleasure holds his breath—

All's incomplete. Life's but a faulty rhyme,

  Conned half-contentedly o'er land and sea,

    Till comes the infinite Creator—Death!



Revised from the Edition of 1868.


We are not wholly blest who use the earth,

  Nor wholly wretched who inherit Sleep.

Behold it is a palace of delight

Built beyond fear of storms by day or night;

  And whoso enters doth his station keep

Unmindful of the stain upon his birth.


Sin hath no hold on it; yea, men may take

  Their loves into their arms tenaciously.

For Sleep is as a chamber high and fair,

Wherein warm love makes light of cold despair;

  Where wives may deem their faithless lords are nigh,

And maids may kiss false lovers for love's sake.


Thou canst not fetter it, for it is free;

  No tyrant yokes it to the labouring oar.

It is a solemn region visited

By mystic radiance when the sun is fled;

  Where Labour bends his aching brows no more,

And men have peace, and slaves have liberty.


See now it hath a tender bloom, like light

  Viewed at the Autumn's latest outgoing.

It is the summer of our daily sorrow,

The solstice sweet whose winter is the morrow.

  And, now, 'tis like the firstlings of the Spring,

Which win their fragrance in the snow's despite.


Faint, far-off sounds are blown unto our ears,

  Faint, far-off savours steal unto our lips,

When orient dreams assemble, manifold,

Where Sleep hath throned himself on royal gold.

  Then night is noontide, morning an eclipse

Where oft no comfort is but in our tears.


So man may say not to himself, "Time fills

  Its even measures with matched bitterness,"

Whilst he hath sleep, a jewel without peer,

Set in the light which is its bezel here;

  Whilst fall athwart the days the hours which bless,

Wherein strong forces strive with human ills.


For, though unequal with the unseen Powers,

  We—who eat bread and suffer strange decay—

Yet scale their universe in dreams which make,

Mid adverse things, a heaven for our sake,

  And find, beyond the precincts of the day,

The gates of an elysium which is ours.


I entered in thereat, and I had peace;

  By ancient ways I went, and I had rest.

And space was far about me, murmurings

And wildering speed of undulary wings;

  My limbs were lissom, and my soul possest

Of thousand fantasies which would not cease.


Beyond me were wide plains of amber light,

  And sunless regions stained with solemn gold.

And there the myriad wild-fowl soared on high,

Scattered and strewn like dust against the sky.

  And, in the East, a tender shadow rolled

Forth from the distant antres of the night.


Aërial mountains of their substance gave

  To beamless forests, where the breezes stirred

Faintly, and faintly shook the leaves. I saw

The rising mists above the mountains draw

  Like phantoms to the hovering clouds, and heard,

Far-off, the sullen tumult of the wave.


Not any space of all the world's desire

  Was fairer to mine eyes, and, when my death

Seemed instant on my head, mine eyes grew dim,

And all the life fled out of every limb.

  My fears I felt as one who holds his breath,

And fears betwixt the thunder and the fire.


For I was falling, falling from on high

  With the deceitful earth, which sunk away.

Unmeasured depths were sounded as I fell,

And there was peace no more, nor could I tell,

  For dizziness, the darkness from the day,

So numb of sense, so dead with fear, was I.


Oh, blessed was the form that caught my hand,

  Unseen, and swung me thrice throughout all space;

Blessed who dropt with me to ocean's brink,

And gave me hope as food and love as drink,

  And fanned with snowy flowers mine anguished face,

And soothed me with her kisses as she fanned.


Lo, she was wholly and most strangely fair,

  Sleek-throated like a dove, and solemn-eyed.

Her lips were as an infant's, small and sweet,

And as an infant's were her naked feet;

  And, scarf-like, flowed and shimmered at each side

Her cloven tresses of untrammelled hair.


The melancholy waste of wave was dead,

  And Silence haunted the Marmorean hills;

Nor any sound of any breeze or bird

Within the mystic light or shade was heard,

  When as she said, "O love, 'tis Life that kills,"

When as she sighed, and touched my lips, and said:


"Small light have they, O love, who love their lives,

  Calling the dead the past, and fearing death;

For these our ways aforetime have been trod

By patient sufferers who are now as God,

  Being immortal, with abiding breath,

In seats of joy where Hope no longer strives.


"'Tis but a terror which entreats control,

  A baseless fear which thwarts us of the dues

Of sacred death—things effable above,

And roomy thrones and light of endless love.

  Wherefore 'tis meet to seal our fate, and use

The trodden path which disenthralls the soul.


"For I am weary of the day which dips,

  And, faint with love, I hunger for thy sighs.

They who have tasted of my limbs, and felt

My veins and the keen life that in them dwelt

  Like fire, and felt as fire my kindling eyes,

And caught my tears upon their trembling lips,—


"They shall be hateful to me for thy sake,

  If thou, O love, wilt drink of this with me."

Whereat a tiny, vase-like amethyst

She pressed from lip to lip, and then I wist

  Our steps were God-like and our souls were free,

For all our flesh fell from us flake by flake.


And all our bones we gathered in a pyre,

  Like faggots, and the flesh thereon we laid;

And all the mystery of baleful years,

And all our mortal sleep and sin and tears,

  We heaped upon the pile which we had made,

And closed them in, and burnt them with swift fire.


And in the smoke thereof we faded thence

  Away into empyreal regions blest,

Beyond the utmost cloisters of the skies;

And, like a flame, the lightning of her eyes

  Burnt in our path, whilst upward at behest

Of love we soared to love's Omnipotence.


Upward we rose in endless strength and youth,

  And reached the far celestial Light which saves.

We found the realm wherein earth's sorrowings

Were heard no more, where myriad blameless things

  Rose from their venial and lethean graves,

And found a resting-place, and called it Truth.


They rose from island and from continent,

  Pale-featured spirits in apparel bright;

They rose from ancient rivers and the sea,

In human shapes and garbs of chastity.

  They came from sepulchres of death and night,

Faint with despair and long imprisonment.


And all these shapes found each its own desire,

  Whate'er its faith on earth, whate'er its creed.

The Christian saw at last the Son unsoiled;

The Prophet's God upon his creatures smiled;

  The Indian found his Manitou indeed,

Lama his Life, the Magian his Fire.


For all these souls were innocent below,

  And loved God well who loved what He had made;

And loving all things, though they found not Truth,

Were yet received of Heaven, and gat them youth,

  And pined no more, but simple homage paid

In endless mitigation of their woe.


For God, who is our Master and our Lord,

  Took pity on their helpless ignorance,

And from their earthly longings, ties, and pelf—

Their outworn idols—took them to Himself,

  And clad them round with glorious circumstance,

And all the joys high Heaven doth afford.


Oh, could I sleep forever in a dream,

  Or dream such dreams forever whilst I slept!

Onward they went, and sung their mystic psalms,

Screening their pallid faces with their palms,

  Whither the Unimaginable kept

His kingly state as doth Him best beseem.


Onward they went unto the Paraclete,

  With far-heard sound of voice and instrument.

I could not follow them—I could not tread

Where passion burns not, and Earth's love is dead;

  For these had caught me in their arms, and bent

My will to theirs, and bound my feeble feet.


Yes, they possessed me, and, with keen desire,

  I took her eyes' wild light into my soul.

I claspt her spirit form, and drunk her breath,

And then our lips, more near than life and death,

  Clung each to each in silence, and control

Vanished as snowflakes vanish in the fire.


That moment there was darkness, and the lists

  Of Heaven gave place unto the gloom of day;

Whereat I woke to deadly fears and pain,

To misery of the tempest and the rain,

  And crime and subterfuge, and fierce affray

Of warring creeds, and brawling Mammonists.


O heard ye the pines in their solitude sigh,

When the winds were awakened and night was nigh?

When the elms breathed out a sorrowful tale,

Which was wafted away on the wings of the gale;


When the aspen leaf whispered a legend dread,

And the willows waved darkly over the dead;

And the poplar shone with a silvery gleam,

And trembled like one in a troublesome dream;


And the cypresses murmured of grief and woe,

And the linden waved solemnly to and fro,

And the sumach seemed wrapt in a golden mist,

And the soft maple blushed where the frost had kissed;


And the spectral birch stood alone in the gloom,

Like an unquiet spirit uprist from the tomb;

And the cedar outstretched its lone arms to the earth,

To feed with sweet moisture the place of its birth;


And the hemlock, uplifted above the crowd,

Drunk deeply of mist at the brink of a cloud;

And the balsams, with curtains of shaggy green,

Like tents in the distance were dimly seen.


I heard the pines in their solitude crying,

When the winds were awakened, and day was dying;

And fiercer the storm grew, and darker its pall,

But the voice of the pines was louder than all.

The Voice of the Pines.

We fear not the thunder, we fear not the rain,

  For our stems are stout and long;

Nor the growling winds, though they blow amain,

  For our roots are great and strong.

Our voice is eternal, our song sublime,

  Its theme is the days of yore—

Back thousands of years of misty time,

  When we first grew old and hoar!


Deep down in the crevice our roots were hid,

  And our limbs were thick and green

Ere Cheops had builded his pyramid,

  Or the Sphinx's form was seen.

Whole forests have flourished within our ken,

  Which withered upon the plain:

And cities and race after race of men

  Have risen and sunk again.


We stand all aloof, for the giant's strength

  Craveth naught from lesser powers;

'Tis the shrub that loveth the fertile ground,

  But the sturdy rock is ours!

We tower aloft where the hunters lag

  By the weary mountain side,

By the jaggy cliff, by the grimy crag,

  And the chasms yawning wide.


We commune with the stars through the paly night,

  For we love to talk with them;

The wind is our harp, and the marvellous light

  Of the moon our diadem.

And when lovers are breathing a thousand vows,

  With their hearts and cheeks aglow,

We chant a love strain, 'mid our breezy boughs,

  Of a thousand years ago!


Cold Winter, who filches the flying leaf,

  And steals the floweret's sheen

Can injure us not, nor work us grief,

  Nor make our tops less green.

And Spring, who awakens his sleeping train

  By meadow and hill and lea,

Brings no new life to our old domain,

  Unfading, stern and free.


The passage of years doth not move us much,

  And Time himself grows old

Ere we bow to his flight, or feel his touch

  In our "limbs of giant mould."

The leafed woods fall, by decay opprest;

  The loftiest feel his stroke!

But the burden of age doth lightly rest

  On the ancient forest folk!


Sublime in our solitude, changeless, vast,

  While men build, work, and save,

We mock—for their years glide away to the past,

  And we grimly look on their grave.

Our voice is eternal, our song sublime,

  For its theme is the days of yore—

Back thousands of years of misty time,

  When we first grew old and hoar.


If those twin gardens of delight,

Thine eyes, were ever in my sight,

I would no pinks or roses seek,

Save those which bloom upon thy cheek.

I would no pleasant perfume breathe

Save that which parts thy snowy teeth,

Or in sweet warblings e'er rejoice,

Save when I listened to thy voice.

Than in the citadel of love

I would no other dwelling have.

For neighbours, then, the jewelled pair,

Who part each night thy long, loose hair,

Or other twain who sit upon

Thy swelling breast as on a throne,

Or those two, wand'rers since their birth,

Who set small seals about the earth.

I would no other seasons find

Than the reversals of thy mind.

Thus, thy delight and joy would be

Enough of summer warmth for me;

And thy displeasure next would hold

A season short of wintry cold.

No other food would I beseech

Than such as thy smooth chin could reach,

Or what I otherwise might sip

About its suburbs, on a lip,

Or cheek, or, higher, where the snow

In stainless white the brow doth show.

No other sickness should I feel

Than what thy queenly touch could heal,

Or any weariness or pain

That thou couldst not remove again.


[]Thus all delights would meet in thee,

And I should live, and live to be,

Whilst dwelling in thy happy fold,

A shunner of those natures cold

Which ever cross and cross again

Love's path unwitting of Love's pain—

Unwitting of the keen degrees

Of his wan languor and disease.


Such is my imaged world—in fine,

Love's home should be that form of thine.

If so, why laugh all love to scorn,

And, like a stalk of fruitless corn,

Nor yield nor fill one golden ear

With promise for the Future's wear?

Why hide those eyes? Enough that night

Finds each, like some starved eremite,

Shut in with coffin-lids of snow,

Which chill the fateful forms below.

Why hide them? They their lustre win

From fairer fields and floods within,

And whatsoever thence is ta'en

Those eyes, my love, must give again.


Why turn, O love, why turn away,

Like sunshine from an April day?

The past is dreary, dumb and cold,

And love and youth are growing old.

The past doth wear no weather-locks,

Bestirs no fields, and feeds no flocks.

The past is like a gloomy grot,

For ages hidden, and forgot

Till stumbled on—and then are found

Some relics. When no longer sound,

Or form of thine is heard or seen,

Thou art the past, and then I ween

Thou art forgotten, too, and, lo!

Art buried, though thou think'st not so.


[]Why look so haughty and so proud,

As Time himself to thee had bowed,

And cringed, and craved with humble air

Permission to preserve thee fair?

Time cares no whit for thy delight

In beauty, or in beauty's might.

Thou canst not coax him with thine eyes,

Or bluff him with asperities!

Thou canst not hold him in thy fee,

A vassal to thy sovereignty;

For Time his obligation pays

With silvery nights and golden days,

Till all are quit at last, and paid

In full by mattock, trench and spade.


This Time shall come with finger cold

And wrinkle up thy smooth-set mould;

Shall come like hoar-frost in the night,

Shall come like darkness in the light,

And blind thy sombre eyes with tears,

And darken thought with sullen fears,

And, taking thee within his arms,

Shall husk thy body of its charms,

And, for a garment, clothe thee in

A frosty poll and wrinkled skin,

And, for the music of thy voice,

Shall give thee groans, and, for thy choice,

A stick, or crutch, to pick thy way

Adown some Autumn's golden day.


Then, being mortal, be not proud

And—love confessed, and love allowed—

My life will cling to thee, and sleep

Shall part us not. Not any deep

In calm or storm, nor wealth, nor fame,

Nor any voice that calls thy name,

Nor pestilence, nor poisonous breath

Of calumny—not even death

Shall rend the mystic tie divine

Which knits, O love, my soul to thine!


Oft have I wandered by the pebbly shore,

  And in the woods have had my own delight

            And quiet pleasure.

Far-seen expanses, both by day and night,

            Have warmed my sight,

  And caused my longing spirit soar

From common sounds up to a lofty measure.


Yet never did I greet the clear sublime

  Until with patient steps I clomb thy steep,

      And looked beyond

A thousand forests yielding music deep,

      And saw the thunder leap

  In mist from cataracts whose rhyme

Was lost in distance, though mine ear was fond.


Out o'er the mighty wilderness I looked—

  A world of solitude, a morning-dream—

      And, far away,

In opening woods, I saw where Bonnechère brooked

      To swell great Uttwa's stream.

  And, further still, divinely hazed,

Ethereal hills stood wedged into the day.


What antique forms lay yonder, undescried,

  Behind those hills in mystic valleys deep,

      Sweet Fancy drew—

Of captive maidens weeping side by side,

  Of fairy hermitages lost in sleep.

For there the distance blent with Youth's romance,

  And claspt my thought away in regions old.

      Life's shadows flew

  From childhood's days, and, in a waking trance,

I lived again its wondrous age of gold.


        Oft I have met her

In openings of the woods and pleasant ways,

        Where leaves beset her,

And hanging branches crowned her head with bays.


        Oft have I seen her walk

Through flower-deckt fields unto the oaken pass

        Where knelt the chewing flock,

And lambkins gambolled round her on the grass.


        Oft have I seen her stand

By wandering brooks o'er which the willows met,

        Or where the meadow-land

Balmed the soft air, with dew-mist drapery wet.


        Much patting of the wind

Had bloomed her cheek with colour of the rose;

        Rare beauty was entwined

With locks and looks in movement or repose.


        Beneath her sloping neck

Her bosom-gourds swelled chastely, white as spray

        Wind-tost—without a fleck—

The air which heaved them was less pure than they.


        Strolling in Evening's eye

There came unto her airy laughter-chimes,

        Nature's night-hymn and cry,

The music of the leaves and river rhymes.


          The floriage of Spring

And Summer's coronals were hers in trust,

          Till came the Winter-King

To droop their sweetness into native dust.


          His sharp, embracing wind

And wavering snow, or heapt in rimy hills,

          She loved; ay! she could bind

On Fancy's brow his charmèd icicles.


          The dingle and the glade,

The rock-ribbed wilderness, the talking trees

          Seemed fairer while she stayed,

And drank of their dim meanings and old ease.


          For Nature craved her, nursed

Her spirit at her mighty breast as one

          Who felt the forest's thirst,

The hunger of the mountains for the sun.


          Thoughts such as day unfolds

From starry quietude and noiseless sleep;

          Scenes which the Fancy holds

In easy thraldom in her joyous keep;


          Visions of Duty's height

And pious legends told at dimmest eve,

          Came thronging, faintly bright,

The habit of her inner life to weave.


          Thus chiefly did she love

To soothe the hidden ruth, the bridled tear;

          With counsel from above

Alleviating woe, allaying fear.


          For, all alive to pain,

Another's was her own; Life's ceaseless care,

          Which loads with chain on chain

The heavenward spirit, she was wont to share.


          All this, and more, was hers—

What the sad soul remits to God alone;

          What the fond heart avers

In secret helplessness before His throne.


          For He who made the light,

Earth and the biding stars, was all her guide.

          She worshipped in His sight,

She joyed, she wept, she flung away her pride.


          She thought of One who bore

The awful burden of the world's despair;

          What could she give Him more

Than helpful deeds, a simple life and fair?


          She was, and is, for still

She lives and moves upon the grass-green earth,

          And, as of old, doth fill

Her heart with love, still mingling tears with mirth.


          So wherefore cast about

For sect or creed from which no rancour spreads,

          Since we can make her out

By following the peaceful path she treads?


          Though Truth is hard to find,

And blind belief is oft in error's thrall;

          Though unbelief is blind;

Though we who know a portion know not all—


          Yet she is self-revealed

Throughout the puzzled world we wander in,

          And free—though unrepealed

Her statutes—since she hath the power to sin.


          For what should not be makes

Her life sublime by putting it to test;

          And in this wise awakes

The evil that is in us for the best.


Why stray'dst thou from the unseen realm of wonder

  To mock my soul, which fain would visit thee,

  And, tireless, roam, exploring eagerly

Thy furthest vale, where sleeps the infant Thunder?

  Alas, so fair art thou I fain would be

As one who knew not, and who ne'er could know

  Those yearnings deep which sicken in the heart—

Those idle thoughts which have in fancy's flow

  Their frenzied utt'rance and unvalued part.

Then the fair form of things I would pass by,

And view thee, glorious cloud, unheedingly.


What tortured rocks are those? What cliffs appalling?

  What healthy throng of men and maidens sing

  By yonder lake unseen? What echoing

Is that methinks I hear? What voices calling?

  And, far away, by frequent brook and spring,

In fruitful fields, behind yon snowy hills,

  What rustics pay orisons to the morn

With outpoured beakers, ta'en from sparkling rills

  Which sing forever through the tasselled corn!

Ah, me! what happy, happy swains are there!

What happy maids! What trysts! What joyance fair!


Who built those palaces and lofty towers,

  With crownèd battlements and standards drooping?

  And, see! what knights pass through the arched ways stooping,

In haste to join fair ladies in their bowers,

  Or bevy-laughers in yon gardens grouping?

To what far city do those strange folk bring

  Their gleaming sapphires and manorial gold?

And whence the uncouth people following

  Yon fleecy flocks escaping from the fold—

Those mounting herds whose lives so long have been

In scented meadow-lands and pastures green.


Methinks I hear the rolling murmur deep

  Of cascades tumbling o'er thy lofty heights,

  Where elves assemble, when the summer nights

Are red-through with the dawn, and, from the steep,

  Skim with the falling foam till each alights

On yonder plain low-stretching to the sea.

  There late have come, from regions far away,

Some long-lost mariners with shouts and glee.

  Their moorèd craft I see within yon bay—

Large galleons scathed by many a whistling breeze,

And barks and amber-freighted argosies.


And yonder there is he, perchance, who tells

  Of cloudlands lying westward from the sun,

  Within whose vales the mystic rivers run,

By whose banks grow the fadeless asphodels.

  Where every wind is faint with odours won

From Summer boughs, the bees forever feast,

  The rodent dreams not of his wonted store—

For there the snow doth never come to yeast

  The dulcet wave and whiten hill-sides o'er,

Nor bitter frost to seal the forest's pride,

And wretched make the vales and meadows wide.


O golden shape! Fair, full-blown flower of heaven!

  Gift of the dawn and far-possessing sea!

  We lift our wistful eyes, our souls to thee,

Transfixed with wonder at the glory given

  To airy pageants which so quickly flee.

Alas, that thou shouldst come to edge our cares,

  Dissembler of the tempest and the storm!

For, like a momentary dream which bares

  Mysterious feet in fields and forests warm,

Thy glorious beauty wastes, and leaves behind

The human heart cast down, the troubled mind.


Frail as thy tenure are our earthly joys

  Which speed unto their end. The shades of harm

  Alone abide with us—the unseen arm

Which smites the very infant at its ploys;

  The consciousness which thrills us with alarm

At sudden thought of our own being—fear

  Of all-bereaving time and aimless woe.

The passion and the pangs which brought us here

  Symbol life's visage, and will ever so

Till death uplifts the bars for all who wait,

And yearn along the soundless gulfs of fate.


Still let us wait beneath the glorious sun,

  And, be his limbs or strengthened or subdued,

  Let light come to our eyes, for it is good

To see the sweet flowers open, one by one,

  And watch the wild wings fleeting through the wood!

They bear life's burden uncomplainingly,

  And blameless live and end their blameless days—

A tender throng more finely wrought than we—

  A tiny world reproachful of our ways:

Our lives so dulled by doubt we cannot feel

The touch which strengthens them, the lips which heal.


What sudden haste! Why art so quickly going,

  Thou masterpiece of Nature? Stay! O stay!

  To witch our aching sense one summer day,

And feed the Spirit-fire within us glowing!

  Alas, it heedeth not, and, far away,

Its pomp ethereal fades to happier fields!

  But are we fixed? O Soul! where is the dawn,

The rising of that brighter sun which yields

  A welcome recompense for pain? Drift on,

Thou mimic world! Thou art not alone—

We, too, are drifting to the dim unknown.


I arise in realms of snow,

  And sally from my northern keep,

From haunts where berg and pack and floe

  Upon a sunless ocean sleep.


And southward from the Arctic main,

  Adown the frozen land and sea,

I shout the pæan once again

  Of Winter's arms and victory.


For I am he who leaves no trace

  Of Summer on his field of death,

Who bows men in the fitful race

  Of blasts which sweep away their breath.


And duller than an old man's blood

  Earth's pulses beat where I repair;

The feathered songsters, with their flood

  Of warblings, vanish in despair.


The torrent's laughter and the hush,

  The mournful music of the woods,

Grow faint; their wistful spirits rush

  To other haunts and solitudes.


The nut-brown cheek and matron grace

  Of autumned earth, the dewy eye

Which gazes on her fading face,

  Alike must shrink, alike must fly.


And over hills and mountains drear

  I sift and heap the whirling wreath,

And sweep away the leaflets sere,

  To hide them in the vales beneath;


And cast my flakes upon each roof,

  And huddle them about the eaves—

The webs which have no warp, no woof,

  The mantles cunning Winter weaves.


And oft, afar from shelter warm,

  In fury of the blizzard fleet,

I gird the wanderers in the storm,

  And wrap them in its winding-sheet.


And often, in the mighty past,

  I have assailed, in sleet and snow,

Great armies, till they fell at last,

  In spite of all their martial glow.


They sank in sleep, those warriors all,

  In sleep which had no dream of pain;

Till Spring came forth with breezy call,

  And straight unburied them again.


Long years ago a ship set out

  From a far city in the West;

With swelling sail and timbers stout

  She heeled along the ocean's breast.


And on she sped; her hardy crew

  Feared not the mounting wave nor wind;

Into the dim expanse they flew—

  The earth-world soon was far behind.


From poop to prow the laughter rung,

  The dance was joined by young and old,

The games were played, the songs were sung,

  The legends and the stories told.


But I had urged them all the while,

  And, yearning on the ocean vast,

Unheeded, mocked the fleeting smile,

  The jest each to the other passed.


And, asp-like, suddenly I reared

  The unseen danger of my mouth,

And swept the spoon-drift as I blared,

  And drove them fiercely to the South.


Till to the desolate ocean's brink

  And dreary waste of wave they came,

Where frosty planets rise and sink

  In quivering fields of wandering flame.


And now my gale, which at the first

  Still seemed to taste of summer lands,

Into a mighty tempest burst,

  Loosed like a monster from my hands.


And colder, colder still I blew—

  Intense and horrible—a cold

Which numbed the fingers of the crew,

  And froze the water in the hold.


They fed the fires, their fuel spent,

  With short'ning spirit, oil and grain,

And chafed, in wild bewilderment,

  Their thrilling limbs, and wept with pain.


They fed the feeble fires till naught

  Was left for fuel or for food;

And still the icy drift I brought,

  And chilled the torrent of their blood.


And through the shrouds I volleyed keen,

  And drove my hapless victim fast

Along the gelid glades, between

  The grinding packs and hummocks vast—


Until the ocean ceased to flow,

  And froze and bound her; far and near

Great pinnacles and peaks of snow

  Lifted their misty summits drear.


Then, like a frightful dream which fills

  The soul with loathing, in a trice

I wrought a horror in the hills

  And clefts and caverns of ice.


And round the ship I shrieked and howled—

  What mortal crew could brave my glee?

Their souls fled upward as I scowled,

  And left the lifeless clay with me.


The attitude each body had

  When life departed, still it kept;

Some clutched the ropes, despairing, mad—

  Some knelt in prayer, some crouched and wept.


One even smiled—a wondrous smile,

  With yearning tinged, with musing fraught—

The death-note of a spirit's toil,

  And conquest over earthly thought.


The look-out man upon the mast

  Still seemed as he was wont to be,

On watch, but he was frozen fast—

  He peered into eternity.


The captain sat before his log,

  Holding his pen as if to trace

Some words, and at his feet a dog

  Lay crouched and looking in his face.


And by his side his sister leant,

  Her upturned cheek upon her hand—

A marble countenance where blent

  Pity and courage and command.


And all were dead and stony cold,

  As cold as ever the dead can be;

And the frost of years, and the rime of old,

  Still cling to their flesh and garmentry.


For, though all dead, they still are there,

  No more by toil and trouble worn;

Silent as shadows, free from care,

  They wait the Resurrection morn.


Where is thy home? On what strange food dost feed,

  Thou fairy haunter of the moonless night?

From what far nectar'd fount or flowery mead

  Glean'st thou by witching spells thy sluicy light?


Thou mock'st at darkness, and thy footsteps are

  Where gloom hangs thickest on the silent earth;

And, like a thought, thou comest from afar—

  A world-wide thought which with the world had birth.


We fly to outer potencies to win

  The solace of our sense, the means to see;

But thou dost store thy magic light within,

  Pale wizard, and art subtler far than we!


And yet thou art of earth, and so must fear,

  And hope, and strive, and suffer in its strife,

Wherein we claim a kinship with thee here,

  Thy sharers in the mystery of life:


Life which is but effect, perchance each track

  The outburst of Infinity behind;

Its manifests, which all at length fall back,

  And blend again with the Eternal Mind.


Surely thou hast a heart which trembles now

  For thy dear young beneath this pulsing dome;

And fond affections which, I know not how,

  Find in thy tiny frame a gentle home.


And so, mayhap, thy little lips could tell

  Of tender meetings and of ample bliss

In green pavilions where thy loved ones dwell—

  Go seek them now, and give them kiss for kiss!


It flits, and disappears; perchance has found

  A grave, and I have marred an innocent life!

Or mingles with its mates, for, all around,

  The air in fitful radiance is rife.


And, musing, I recall them in the past,

  Till chanticleer rewinds his drowsy horn;

And the small pageant vanishes at last

  In the bleached darkness of the drizzly morn.


The sun is stepping upward in his might

  To wake the West from sleep,

And, while his shining hair and brows of light

  Lift like a giant's o'er the western deep,

He fills with shadow every eastern eye

Which saw him sink in bright obscurity—

  In cloudy canopy of gold-like cloud.


The Mufti saw him sink, and cried aloud

  To Allah and his seer,

Then straightway every Arab knee was bowed.

  The Moor in the wide sand-wave struck his spear,

Gazed a mute prayer to Mecca and the shrine

Where sleeps the dust of Mahomet divine,

  And slipt into the darkness of a dream.


The patient Hindoo caught his latest gleam;

  In penance for his caste,

Self-tortured by the ancient, sacred stream,

  The Parsee viewed the glory fading fast,

And wept his banishment from Khonzar's vale.

The Guebres sighed to see their god-head fail,

  And felt the powers of darkness round them strong.


In distant China there was heard a song;

  The mystery and the doom

Of viewless ancestry employed it long

  Where maids at shut of eve burnt sweet perfume.

The dreamer watched him fade into the West,

And sorrowed till his opiate wreathings blest

  Wrought sleep in mystic palaces divine.


The Abyssinian saw the light decline,

  And felt his amulet.

All ebon limbs grew cold beneath the line,

  Though not a Libyan leaf with dew was wet.

The driver on his noiseless camel strove

To gain the desert fountain and the grove,

  Ere howling monsters met him on the plain.


He sank from sight beyond the ancient main

  Of Egypt and the Nile:

The awful tombs of Djizeh gloomed again;

  The Sphinx, unmoved, turned from his setting smile.

Then did the mourning women moot their sighs

In chambers of the East, and aching eyes

  Bewept the dead who never could return.


Far Abyla and Calpe saw him burn

  The ocean in his ire,

And, like a god indignant, from him spurn

  The glorious sea-swell in a mist of fire.

Once more he looked, then plunged into the wave,

And left a mystery brooding on his grave,

  And o'er the land a solemn darkness drew.


So Asia's flowers sloped to the West anew,

  And closed their leaves in sleep;

So Afric's sons forgot their cursed hue,

  So Europe's outposts lay in darkness deep.

Helvellyn saw the flaming light no more,

And sacred Snowdon hid his summits hoar

 In domes of mist and vaults of sullen gloom.


And now he stands above the watery doom,

  And views our songless shores.

No sea-maid doth her glassy eyes illume

  With fatal light, nor any siren pours

Her treacherous melody at ocean's brink.

No elf doth seek the cloud, no fairies shrink

  Into their primrose tents of shady gold.


But, in the ancient woods, the Indian old,

  Unequal to the chase,

Sighs as he thinks of all the paths untold,

  No longer trodden by his fleeting race.

And, westward, on far-stretching prairies damp,

The savage shout and mighty bison-tramp

  Roll thunder with the lifting mists of morn!


Far away in the West there's a beautiful land,

      And it lies by the shore of the sea;

And Spirits have flown to that region unknown

      To welcome and wait you and me.


And all the way there we will travel with care,

      Nor the frost, nor the rain shall you see,

For the angels of sleep will come with us, and keep

      The fair weather for you and me.


And the region of dreams, which with wonderment teems,

      Shall be travelled by you and me,

Ere we see the far light of the waves day and night

      In that beautiful land by the sea.


And when we, unwearied, have reached it at last,

      What shall we do there? Let me see:

We will build us a home of the starlight and foam

      In our beautiful land by the sea.


We will build us a home of the starlight and foam,

      And the waves' voice our music will be,

And the zephyrs will play by our doors night and day

      In our beautiful land by the sea.


And every sweet smell that in summer doth dwell,

      And every fair flower of the lea,

Shall be wasted no more as in seasons of yore

      In our beautiful land by the sea.


For the music which flows from the wide open rose

      With the lily's voice blended will be,

And with us will come to inhabit our home

      In our beautiful land by the sea.


And every fair thing which the ocean can bring

      Shall be wafted for you and me,

By the waves and the winds, till a harbour it finds

      In our beautiful land by the sea.


And up from the shore shall the relics of yore

      Be carried for you and me;

Old songs of the dead whose wild echoes have fled

      From the dim world of memory;


And the vases which keep the pale nectar of sleep,

      And the weird books of destiny,

And the vans which upraise the spirit to gaze

      O'er the blue hills of reverie;


And the gems and the gold of the realms of old,

      And the rich embroidery,

And sumptuous things of embalmèd kings

      From the crypts of the isles of the sea.


And the ocean shall flow, and time come and go,

      And ages on ages shall flee,

And bear to the glooms of their spiritless tombs

      The dust of the slave and the free.


But the footsteps and breath of malevolent death

      Shall be shorn, ere they reach you and me,

Of their ailments unclean and corruptions obscene,

      In our beautiful land by the sea!


When gadding snow makes hillsides white,

  And icicles form more and more;

When niggard Frost stands all the night,

  And taps at snoring Gaffer's door.

When watch-dogs bay the vagrant wind,

  And shivering kine herd close in shed;

When kitchens chill and maids unkind

  Send rustic suitors home to bed—

    Then do I say the winter cold,

    It seems to me, is much too bold.


When winking sparks run up the stalk,

  And faggots blaze within the grate,

And, by the ingle-cheek I talk

  With shadows from the realm of fate;

When bards of eld, yet ever young,

  Look down upon me from the walls,

And songs by spirit-lips are sung,

  And half-forgotten madrigals—

    Then do I say the winter cold

    Brings back to me the joys of old.


When morn is bleak, and hearthsides cool,

  And travellers' beards with rime are gray;

When frost-nipt urchins weep in school,

  And sleighs creak o'er the drifted way;

When smoke goes quick from chimney-top,

  And mist flies through the open hatch;

When snow-flecks to the window hop,

  And children's tongues cling to the latch—

    Then do I sigh for summer wind,

    And wish the winter less unkind.


When merry bells a-jingling go,

  And prancing horses beat the ground;

When nimble spirits are aglow,

  And joyous laughter rings around;

When youngsters praise, and damsels blush

  To hear their charms so loudly told,

Whilst Echo runs from brush to brush

  And clepes among the valleys cold—

    Then do I think the winter meet

    For gallant youths and maidens sweet.


When great pines crack with mighty sound,

  And icefields rift with doleful moan,

When luckless wanderers are found

  Quite stiff in wooded valleys lone;

When ragged mothers have no wrap

  To shield their babes from winter's flaw;

When milk is frozen at the pap,

  And beggars shiver in their straw—

    Then do I hate the winter's cheer,

    And weep for springtime of the year.


When Christmas-hosts their comrades meet,

  And fetch old jorums from the bin;

When viols loud and dancers' feet

  In ruddy halls make merry din;

When women smile, and men are fain,

  And loving-cup, or loving-tale,

Sends pleasure mounting to the brain

  Till night and stars and planets fail—

    Then do I laud the wintry breeze

    Which brings such ripened joys as these.


But when the solstice chills my friend,

  And steals the sunshine from his heart;

When death's conveyancers descend,

  And he must seal, and we must part;

All gainless grows the Christmas cheer,

  And gloomy seems the New Year's light;

For joys but live when friends are near,

  And vanish when they quit the sight—

    Then, Winter, from thy glamours freed,

    I cry thee false in heart and deed!


Hie me now, and give me rest

In great fields by Summer drest;

Where the moist pea-bloom is seen

Smiling on the tender bean;

Where the maize unfolds its silk,

And unhoards earth's balmy milk;

Or where stand the oaten leaves

Dreaming of the Autumn sheaves;

Or where lovingly entwine

The vetchling and the sweet woodbine.

Or let me entrancèd go

Where the heavy hautboys grow,

And receive the first impress

Of fond Summer's fruitfulness.


Thrilled by brook and forest-tune

He has donned his flowery shoon,

And where Spring was wont to be

Sports in all his gaiety!


Now the lazy lagging Hours

Drowse within his fretted bowers,

And his leafy henchmen keep

Linkèd arms in poppied sleep.

Silently in musky dell

All the listless Zephyrs dwell;

Silently in dewy mead

Birds and painted insects feed,

Whilst the overhanging sky

Feeds his scattered flocks, that lie

Basking neath with sunny smiles

Ere they rally to their toils,

And, in music of the rain,

Dance to mother-earth again.


O Day! give me all your gleams,

All your sun-warm, throbbing beams,

Such as pant in meadow-still,

By the brook or upland hill!

O Fields! give me all your flowers

Which beguile the wanton Hours,

All the windrowed meadow's math,

Every note each small bird hath,

Every breeze by woods delayed,

Each cool place those woods have made!

So may I your treasures prove

Richer still at each remove,

Till bright Vesper, shining through

Evening's haze of tender hue,

Brings the gloaming—the repast

On what day had overcast;

Till—too fine for every ear—

Nature's lover true may hear,

Faery-sweet, the subtile note

Of the opening primrose; float

In pure fancy on the path

Moonlight on the water hath;

Or, in quest of bygone themes,

Lapse into the realm of dreams,—


Dreams of old-world chivalry,

Bout and joust and revelry;

Or, more suited to our land,

Dreams of forest chief and band:

Braves in paint and plume arrayed,

Sun-burnt youth and dusky maid

Paddling down, in days gone by,

Spirit lake or haunted snie;

Huddling in their barks in fear

When strange voices hit the ear;

Or encamped where, mountain-throned,

Star-lit, monarch pines intoned

Earth's primeval homage, backt

By wild chute and cataract;

Hearing Nature's Spirits then

Talking to the souls of men!


Or, if Fancy still would trace

Forms ideal, forms of grace,

Still would haunt, in dreamy trance,

Kindred regions of Romance,

Let her now recall the sweet

Image of lorn Marguerite,

In the forest-screened château

Of the ribald, foul Bigot;

Or restore the restless mien

Of hope-fed Evangeline,

Robbed of love's pure ends by fate

At the very altar's gate;

Follow, and recall her quest

In the wide-spread, savage West,

Seeking, through love's living flame,

Him who never came—yet came!


Or let roving Fancy delve

In the fields of "Eighteen-Twelve;"

In her dreams recall the sward

Where the wife of lame Secord,

Knowing Bœrstler's subtle plan

To surprise the British van

In the far camp where it lay,

Roused her cows at break of day,

Hoaxed the sentry thus, then passed,

Smiling, to the forest vast.

Call up now that sultry morn—

Call up her who sped forlorn

Through the swales and trackless woods,

Wolfish wilds and solitudes,

Till at night, with heart aflame,

To the British camp she came

With her priceless tidings then

For FitzGibbon and his men.


Or let Fancy cease to roam,

And build up a dream of home;

Wide old porches overgrown

With rosebuds or roses blown,

Red-warm walls and gables fine

Hung with clematis and vine,

Latticed casements, roofings steep,

Dormers quaint, eaves cool and deep,

Shady copses, lawns and bowers

Neighboured by old-fashioned flowers,

Water wandering through the ground,

And a boscage all around

To shut out the evil eye

Of the envious passer-by.


Such the dream of outer things—

What's within the vision brings;

In the vestibule, upstanding,

Grizzlies twain; upon a landing

Of the wide stairs in the hall

A haunted clock, antique and tall;

Forest spoils and trophies fine,

Relics of a manly line,

All around, and, everywhere,

Flowers, rare books, and pictures rare;

Rooms for stately life designed,

Rooms for body, rooms for mind,

Sunlit passages, or dim,

Eerie lofts and garrets grim,

Wherein moves with stealthy tread

Something which the youngsters dread—

A lurking shade which haunts the place,

The Spirit of an ancient race.


In that mansion then descry

Gentle forms—a mother nigh,

Midst her children young and old,

Inmate dearest of the fold.

Hither, too, in maiden-quest,

Youth has come at love's behest,

Whilst the Pleasures without pain,

Tenants true of Home's domain,

Bring in gifts of song and rhyme

To beguile old fleeting Time.

And sweet Fancy, ever-flowing,

Still dreams of those dear ones glowing

With delight, and lovely all,

Whilst the rippling laughter-fall

And the roseal strains they breathe

Part their lips and snowy teeth;

Till Fate waves his magic wand

And the Summer-vision fond

Of a home, by love bedight,

Melts into the morning light.


Ye who faint with city moil,

Come and stay with me awhile!

We will travel, we will roam

To the heart of beauty's home,

To the dim and silent land

Where the jewelled larches stand

In their mosses many-hued—

Haunts where still the wood-nymphs brood,

Thither, from a world of pelf,

Led by banished Pan himself!

Or, enravished, we will go

Where the rarest orchids grow

In their valleys. Come along

Through the lowlands thrid with song,

Rich in pools, in runnels rife,

Haunted by primeval life!

Or let's seek the uplands all

Where the red-ripe berries fall

From their spines in juicy sweetness,

Marking, too, the wood-dove's fleetness,

Or, betimes, the inky yeast

Of scared black-birds caught a-feast,

Or, that thriller of the soul,

The fire-flash of the oriole!


Then, our pleasures to enhance,

With a last delight, perchance,

Home won, in a dream retrace

All our paths—nay, hit the place

Where, with laughter soft and song,

Dreamland's apparitions throng

Round a form till now unseen,

The Spirit of this dim demesne—

The Poet's Summer steept in rest—

A Vision! undefiled and blest.


Shade of myself! Go seek my fair,

  And tell her all that we have seen

In dream-wrought palaces of air

  Where we have been!


And tell her how we oft repose

  Within the weird mirage's flight,

Or travel where the Zodiac glows

  With mystic light.


Or, lapsing from those realms of trance,

  How we have thrid the world of things,

Where Nature-love hath led, or Chance,

  Our wanderings.


How often, in the warm old woods,

  Drowsed with the forest fumes have lain,

Or studied all their changing moods

  In shine or rain.


Or traced the small streams to their source

  High up amidst the meadow-lands,

And parted branches in our course

  With patient hands.


And lingered by the storied hill,

  The lake, the legendary vale,

Or read, midst leaves and shadows still,

  Some breezy tale.


And drank where the wild Indians drank,

  And walked together where they walked;

Yea, met their shades by many a bank,

  And with them talked.


Or on the mountain summit stood,

  High-gazing o'er the forests wide,

And stayed against the solitude

  With silent pride.


Or caught the muse where myriads kept

  Their hideous strife and needless wars,

Or where the silent city slept

  Beneath the stars.


Or waked, amidst the hum of men,

  From dreams of temples by the sea,

Of stolèd priests and old-world ken

  And harmony.


Yes, waked to find some men unkind,

  And others vain, and others false—

Cold, sordid reptiles who would bind

  One's very pulse.


And women, too, with paltry shapes

  Teazed out of Nature's flowing forms—

The early devotees to tapes

  And coffin-worms.


With here and there a pleasant soul

  To cheer our travel to the grave,

And calm us ere we reach the goal

  Where willows wave.


And art thou, then, my very sprite,

  And not some crafty, cunning elf,

Deceiving me—my own glad light?

  My second self?


Come, then, and toast with me, my love,

  In Hippocrene!—'tis meet, I think,

That thou and I our joy should prove—

  What! Canst not drink?


Ah, voiceless shape! thou knowest not

  The true, the fabled draught divine;

The keen delight of quickened thought

  Alone is mine.


Alack, poor visage, tongueless shade!

  No charm, no spell can I devise

Whereby thou mightest be arrayed

  In living guise!


Whereby thou mightest thrill with life,

  Taste of its temper, of its power,

Replace me, quit me of its strife,

  Its fleeting hour.


Yet this desert there is in store,

  This vantage hast thou over me

That, though it seems not, I am more

  A shade than thee.


For, though thou canst not weep nor groan,

  Nor take life's pleasant things on trust,

Thou shalt, perchance, be looked upon

  When I am dust.


The grass is green within the glade,

  The leaves are dancing on the spray;

And sweet it is, beneath the shade,

  To watch their ceaseless revelry!

      This is the wild convolvulus—

      'Tis blooming all alone for us!

      The trilliums twain, the harebells, too,

      Are here, and violets gemmed with dew.


The foliage hides, and yet reveals,

  The far-off dimples of the sky;

And, as a maiden's veil conceals

  Yet makes more languishing her eye,

      So 'twixt the branches overhead

      A brightness with their shade is shed—

      A trembling, dancing, furtive light,

      Appearing oft in dreams by night.


And here are deep, secluded vales,

  Still by some fond illusion haunted;

The regions dim of fairy tales,

  And strains by mystic voices chanted.

      But silent else, no human tread,

      Save ours, is heard the glades among;

      For us the trembling lights are shed,

      For us the forest songs are sung.


Here, by this streamlet's aldered side,

  A Spirit brooded long agone,

And lingers still, though faith has died,

  And fond affections thereupon.

      The Indian sought it year by year,

      To spend the mellow Autumn hours;

      But he has fled, and we are here,

      And all its rippling now is ours.


The vetches clasp the woodland grass,

  The wild peas meet in fond embrace,

And gnat and bee and hornet pass

  To revel in their 'customed place.

      With clinging lichens gray and brown,

      And moss, the rocks are all o'errun,

      And insects forage up and down

      The wild vines climbing to the sun.


And like the murmur of the brook

  Still seems the murmur of the trees;

But, hark! those sudden voices—look!

  Here comes L'Orage! the Western breeze!

      The lofty forest reels at length—

      In vain the oak, the elm's strength—

        Their waving tops now cleave the air!

      O'er mountain brow, through hidden dell,

      Hark how their mighty voices swell

        Like giants shouting in despair!

      At length the breeze has reached the plain,

      And silent are the woods again;

      And, at our feet, the crazy light,

      Which danced so wildly in our sight,

      Lies in that still, calm dreaminess

      Which man may feel but ne'er express.


Again it comes! the roaring wind—

  And with it drifts a murky cloud

As black and angry as the look

  To Satan by the world assigned.

The pealing thunder rattles loud—

  God! how yon sturdy hemlocks shook!

Down come the rain-drops in a crowd,

  And whiten o'er the little brook.

Hark, how they dance amongst the leaves,

  And patter thence unto the earth,

While fiercer still the tempest heaves

  The forest in its riant mirth!


Like to a soldier after fight,

  At length the cloud has ceased to frown;

The rain comes slower, slower down.

  And, to the west, an opening bright,

By widening eastward, glads the sight.

  The foam has vanished from the rill,

      The flowers are rapt; with dim delight

      The thirsty Earth has drunk her fill—

      But all the trees are raining still!


Awake, ye woods, each wonted strain!

  They wake, indeed; afar and near

The birds are carolling again,

  The buzzing insects reappear.

The forest fantasies, the throng

  Of sentient forms, the whisper low

Of tree and stream, entrance us long,

  And thrill our being as they flow.


True are the friends that Nature gives,

  Their voices ever are the same;

And aught that she has fashioned lives,

  And breathes to loving ears its name.

For her mysterious side, concealed

  From sullen souls who will not see,

Is partly opened and revealed

  To those who guard her sanctity.


The light rains grandly from the distant wood,

  For in that wood the hermit sun is hid;

So night draws back her curtains, ebon-hued,

  To close them round some eastern pyramid.


The listless dew lies shining on the grass,

  And o'er the streams the light darts quick away,

And through the fields the morning sunbeams pass,

  Shot from the opening portals of the day.


Still upward mounts the tireless eremite

  (While all the herald birds make loud acclaim),

Till, o'er the woods, he rounds upon our sight,

  And, lo! the western world is all aflame.


From out the landscape lying neath the sun

  The last sea-smelling, cloud-like mists arise;

The smoky woods grow clear, and one by one

  The meadow blossoms ope their winking eyes.


Now pleasèd Fancy starts with eager mien—

  On tiptoe, looking o'er the silent fields,

Where all the land is fresh, and calm, and green,

  And every flower its balmy incense yields.


And I, who am upon no business bent,

  A simple stroller through these dewy ways,

Feel that all things are with my future blent,

  Yet see them in the light of bygone days.


(A Rhapsody.)

Who hath not seen my love? Her violet eyes

  Like morning blooms awake, and, all aglow,

The heavenly fruitage yet untasted lies

  On the full lip which swells and smiles below.

The movements of her noiseless feet keep time

  To tremulous music of a world-old song

    Which all the Hours do breathe into her ear;

And many, many languish in their prime,

  For hopeless love of her who hath been long

    My chiefest joy through the full-seasoned year.


Be not too boist'rous, nor too free to take

  Those curls into thy lap, O Summer wind!

But ever gently let the faint breeze make

  Cool places for her midst the leaves, or find

Some dome-like cloud to hide her from the sun.

  And Winter solstice, when you draw anear,

    Breathe not too rudely on her tender form—

Ah, make not chill my love! for she hath won

  My very soul from me, and I do fear

    The rash snow-wreathing and the heedless storm!


Who hath not seen my love? Ye twining flowers,

  I know she has been with you! for ye droop

And pine for her fond presence, and the hours

  Seem dull and dark should she no longer stoop

To kiss away the dew-drops from each lip.

  And, O sad streamlet, tell me why you mourn?

    Mayhap it is for lack of those twin feet

Which she all carelessly is wont to dip,

  And lave within your flood at eve's return,

    When love's hours run to moments swift and sweet.


Mayhap you grieve for her divided care—

  (O fondest care whiche'er did grace the earth!)

Yet still you seem not unto her less fair,

  Though love has come to quiet down her mirth.

And, though sweet fancy flees your wanderings,

  And lurks in love's own world within, and fears

    And hopes new-born within her bosom swell,

Yet every lucent, dew-clad morning brings

  Its cool delight, and, list'ning, still she hears

    The vestal, Nature, hymning in her cell.


Here let me linger by my love's own stream,

  And gaze into the water where it frets

In endless monotone, till, in a dream,

  It slips away with me, and quite forgets

Its ancient haunts amid the peaceful woods.

  Then, in another land, my love with me

    Will sit and sing old summer-songs of youth

By its green banks, and take the amber floods

  Of sunset, or the silence of the sea,

    To witness our firm oaths and plighted truth.


Yea, though she loved me not, still would I bring

  A vision of her beauty to the mead,

Midst hummings soft, and music on the wing,

  And daisies huddling with the tangled weed.

Still would I place pale blossoms in her hair,

  And, in her lap, moist lilies, white and wan,

    And meadow-sweet, which rarest scent distils.

And all the wilds would know that she was there,

  For I should call her name till Echo ran

    From vale to vale, far-questioning the hills.


I ask not how this pleasing fondness came

  Into my heart, and, yet, for many a time,

I have been mirthful at love's very name,

  Who now, alas! am vanquished ere my prime.

I ask not. 'Tis enough for me to feel

  The quick pulse throbbing and the hastened breath

    When all the soul-fed brightness of her eyes

Doth gleam upon me; then my senses steal

  Away from me as from some saint who saith

    Deep prayers, or maketh holy sacrifice.


O that the twinkling eve were come again,

  To feed with dew the soft, melodious leaves,

And wake the nodding primrose which hath lain

  For hours and hours unseen, like one who weaves

Forever his day-dreams and sits apart.

  So to my love's own bower might I repair,

    Where she, in slumber and sweet fancies wreathing,

Takes all the beauty from the night—and there

  In muteness, save the beating of my heart,

    Draw near, and listen to her quiet breathing.


Yea, I will listen while the wan stars wheel

  Along the dusk, and watch each filmy lid

Of thine, my love, until thou dost reveal

  Those stars, bound with my fate, beneath them hid.

Then wilt thou place thy paly cheek to mine,

  And feel the sadness of love's ecstasy,

    And I will kiss away thy painless tears.

Ah, closer, closer may our thoughts entwine

  This night, sweet love! this night, whilst you and I

    Make patient promise for the future years.


The forecasts of our lives recall us

  To thoughts and threatenings of decay;

The Present's need and toils inthral us,

  And hold us as their slaves to-day.

O Spirit! bear me on thy pinions bright,

For thunder rends the summer clouds to-night;

And with the morrow comes the sultry light,

    And all the earth's stern traffic vast.


So back my spirit flies, pursuing

  The trail of bygone time again;

Each retrospection still renewing

  The vanished hours—but not their pain!

For savours of the sadness of the years,

Though lingering still, are not the wounds, the tears!

These thou dost heal, and, in thy light, man hears

    Naught but the music of the Past.


O Spirit! gentle, melancholy,

  What benedictions can repay

Thy tenderness to bygone folly,

  Thy hiding of its stains away?

Thou art the Judge, 'tis said, whom God has given

To try our souls from earth, despondent, driven;

And so, perchance, upon the bench of Heaven,

    Thou wilt rule gently at the last.


  Our eyes are full of tears,

  Of sounds of grief our ears,

And anger thrills our veins and clenched hands;

  And vaguely we await,

  As from the lips of fate,

The murmur of the wrath of many lands,

  The travel of a fire which brings

  The horror of an Empire on its wings.


  For he who knew to touch

  Our ears with language such

As charmed the infant earth when time was young,

  Which brought us from the night

  Of darkness to the light

Wherein a nation into being sprung,

  Lies colder than our thoughtful fears

  Born of the madness of these guilty years.


  Cold is the agent brow,

  And cold the lips are now,

Which parted, and strange rapture and delight

  Came to men's hearts and minds

  Like journeyings of the winds,

Or stars which shine, or flowers which blow by night,

  And Fancy, like a dream, drew by

  The curtains of a cloudless destiny.


  Yea, we like children stood,

  When, in his lofty mood,

He spoke of manly deeds which we might claim,

  And made responses fit

  Whilst heavenly genius lit

His melancholy eyes with lambent flame,

  And saw the distant aureoles,

  And felt the future thunder in our souls.


  Of more he dreamed than this—

  What was not nor yet is,

But in the far-off Æon is to be—

  Of tyrant Wrong dismayed,

  And Crime in ruins laid—

Cast under foot, nor found on earth or sea;

  Of every realm, when hate shall cease,

  Made glorious with a heritage of peace.


  For he had caught a gleam

  Beyond the sacred stream

Which steals betwixt the twin Phœdriades,

  Or that far mountain scene

  Where flows the Hippocrene

Which struck the wingèd steed between his knees,

  Beyond the gloom and awful smoke

  Of Pythos' cave or Hella's whispering oak.


  A later glory caught

  From holier founts, and fraught

With simpler love of life, and sacrifice

  Of wayward, wild desire,

  Which eats the flesh like fire,

And binds our souls with iron beneath the skies;

  And thence he rose on flashing wings

  Beyond the seeming fate and changeless things.


  And in his songs was light,

  And in his words was might,

To lift our hopes unto the wished-for end,

  When jealousies of creed

  Shall, like a loathsome weed,

Be cast away, and man with man be friend,

  Nor any think the souls unpriced

  That linger sadly at the feet of Christ.


  And in his visions true

  There came high forms anew—

Dim outlines of a nation yet to stand,

  Knit to the Empire's fate,

  In power and virtue great,

The lords and reapers of a virgin land—

  A mighty realm where Liberty

  Shall roof the northern climes from sea to sea.


  And when 'gainst the emprise

  Arose those enemies

Whose house is hell with chambers full of death,

  Who knit their hands and weep,

  And curse us in their sleep,

And drink the wine of madness with their breath,

  He wrung the secret from their minds,

  And cast their schemes unto the shuddering winds.


  For as a Spirit stood

  Before the Seer good,

Bright-eyed, with amber ribs and limbs of fire,

  And caught him to the skies,

  Whence, with reluctant eyes,

He viewed the wicked's sin and mad desire,

  And saw beneath the waning day

  His haunts and chambers of dark imagery.


  So, not by feeble chance

  Of time or circumstance,

He scanned their features and their turpitude,

  But his unclouded sight

  Burned through the blackest night,

And in our midst unscreened the felon brood,

  And warned them from our blameless doors

  Back to their hateful fields and alien shores.


  For this they slew him! Now

  We lift his icy brow,

And in our anguish vainly cry to Thee

  Who art our God! How long

  Shall hellish crime be strong

And slavish spirits tamper with the free?

  Alas, that all our days are bleak

  With hate which chills and crime which pales the cheek.


  Yea, these our days are cold

  With driftings manifold

Of keener sorrows deep'ning with the past;

  And Time, slow-swift in flight,

  Still brings his ancient blight,

And shadows from increasing clouds are cast;

  And hearts still ache, and heavy hands

  Grow weary with their toil in many lands.


  For far and near seem blent

  With hollow merriment

The groanings of the travail of the earth;

  And gray-haired grace is old,

  And coward hearts grow bold,

And shameless cheeks are creased with soulless mirth;

  And, everywhere, who looks espies

  A world's swift tears, or cold, hard-hearted eyes.


  Yet as blooms melt in fruits,

  Or dead flowers live in roots,

So time may bring the fabled after-age,

  When Knowledge shall be found

  Emboldened and unbound,

And Heaven shall grow more kind as men grow sage,

  And Earth, no longer tempest-tost,

  Shall match again the grace she once hath lost.


There is a wondrous creature in my mind.

  Elusive, and yet seldom from my sight;

A form ideal, yet of womankind,

  Which haunts my waking thoughts by day and night.

But, save in thiswise, never shall we meet,

  Though conscious that some unknown region bears

Each other's form for other lips to greet,

  For other hands to shield from common cares.

If I have thought it lay in Life's design

  To be with her forever: still to hear,

Adown the pathway of each fading year,

  Her gentle voice—if 'twere a dream of mine

Which destiny must utterly destroy—

  Still we are one! whom fate will keep apart.

I yearn for her—my unsubstantial joy!

  She longs for the ideal of her heart.


'Tis here! This wonder from a distant clime

  Has come again, by procreant love opprest!

  From the South's flaming heart, yet barren nest,

Impelled by Nature's sovran law sublime,

It comes to sweeten and fulfil the time

  Amidst the floriage of the far North-West.

  So, near its thin vangs, thrilled with fine unrest,

Crouched like a boy again I drink their rhyme!

Once more from lips mature my blessing take,

Thou Bird of Faeryland that dost awake

Remembrance of lost song and vanished art!

For, midst the fond illusions of the heart,

Less like a bird thou hast appeared to me

Than some fine image in old poësy!


(To a Friend.)

When Plato in his cradle slept, the bees

  Swarmed at his lips, for so the legend goes;

But, fickle creatures, coy and hard to please,

  They sure mistook, and settled on your nose!

Mayhap it is your spouse who loves to tease,

  And aggravate its shining bulk with blows

Or twitches, for her sweet amusement's sake.

Perchance it cometh of the drams you take—

  That subtle, fiery redness—who can tell?

Ay, who can tell, great nasal organ bright!

  What vintages, or distillations, dwell

Pent in those caverns awful in our sight?

Dark with the morn, but, in the darkness, light—

A purple cloud by day, a flame by night!


The silent shadows lay about the land,

  In aching solitude, as if they dreamed;

And a low wind was ever close at hand.

  And, though no rain-drops fell, yet alway seemed

The rustling of the leaves like falling rain.

I could not tell what livelong ease or pain

Found hoarse expression by the river's brink

  Where moving things mysterious vigils kept.

These had their joys, perchance, whilst I did link

  Sad thoughts of bygone pleasure till I wept.

Then, following a path, I knew not where,

Which led—as 'twere the pathway of Despair—

Through ruined woods, owl-hooted, vile and grim,

I came at last upon an opening dim;

A place where surges of some sullen lake,

Near by in darkness, seemed to beat and break.

And in its centre stood a hermitage,

  Enveloped in a brooding tempest's pall,

Lit by the fitful lightning, bent with age,

  Gray, sinister, and shaping to its fall.

And, entering that gloomy house, I heard

The lonely cricket chirp, until I feared

Some ghost might hide me in a wilderness;

And, near me, moaning, in a dream's distress,

A weird form laboured. Then a great storm's gleam

And crash awoke me. Was it all a dream?


When those unfathomable eyes of thine,

O Love, are closed no longer can I see!

There are no looks to take the gloom from mine,

No soarings from the sordid earth for me.

But, when they gaze on mine, methinks I rise,

On spirit wings, to some enchanted land

Where mystic seas take colour from the skies,

And voiceless on a mountain-top I stand.


Smile on, thou tiny mystery, nor ope

    Those tear-fed eyes now curtained down by sleep!

Wake not, nor start, thou mother's tender hope!

    A mother's fond eye doth a vigil keep.

Now bends she o'er thee, and recalls the kiss

    And throes which gave thee being on a time,

And make thee doubly dear. Be hers the bliss

    Of building airy mansions for thy prime!

But I, who know the shadows yet to come

    Of care and sorrow and of solitude,

Well-springs of deeper tears, here lay my heart

    To hers in silence, passionate though dumb—

Foreseeing thee upon Life's weltering flood

    Drifting, who knoweth whither? but apart.


When but a child thou cam'st in friendly guise,

  O Time! and I was happy in thy sight;

For faithful sleep was tender to mine eyes,

  And morning filled them with increasing light.

At length came Knowledge and the slow surprise

  Of man's decay through thy remorseless flight.

So then I took thee, Time, for what thou art—

  Death's Factor! The immeasurable sea

And the green continents it smites apart

  Are borne to their sublime decay by thee!

Stern servant! Creature mightier than the Earth!

  'Twere just that Man, thy victim here, should know

In some unfading realm, some second birth,

  Thy final cause, and mark thine overthrow!




Note 1. Page 11.

The tribe from which Tecumseh sprung was a branch of the widespread Lenni Lenapé, or Delaware race, which had long been settled in the South, and which, for this reason, received the name of the Shawanoes, or "Southerners." Having become involved in disputes with the Creeks, Yamasees, and other powerful tribes in Georgia and the Floridas, the Shawanoes removed to the Valley of the Ohio, in the first half of the last century, or earlier, and spread themselves along the banks of the Scioto River and Great Miami. The immense region west of the Alleghanies was then an unbroken wilderness, with the exception of the villages, or towns as they were called, of the red men; and it was in one of these that Tecumseh was born. The name has given rise to much conjectural interpretation, the most plausible being that of the Indian missionary, Kab-Keway-quonaby (the Reverend Peter Jones), who derives it from Ta-Kuh-mo-sah, "He Who Walks Over the Water." But this is a misnomer, for the chiefs proper name was Tecumtha, not Tecumseh, the "a" being sounded as in the word "far." Two seemingly very divergent interpretations have been given by various writers, viz., "The Shooting Star" and "The Panther Crouching, or Lying in Wait," and owing to the recondite origin of the name both are correct. The research of the distinguished philologist, Professor Gatschet (Report for 1892-3 of the Smithsonian Bureau of Ethnology), has at last made the meaning perfectly clear. He says the two renderings of Tecumseh's name, viz., "The Shooting Star" and "The Panther Crouching, or Lying in Wait," have a common origin. "The name of Tecumtha is derived from nila-ni-tkamthka, 'I cross the path or way of somebody, or of an animal.' This indicates that the one so named belongs to the class of the round-foot or claw-foot animals, as panther, lion, or even racoon. Tecumtha and his brother belonged to the clan of the manetuwi msipessi, or 'miraculous panther'—msi, great, big; pishiwi, abbreviated pessi, cat, both combined meaning the American lion. So the translations, 'panther lying in wait' or 'crouching lion,' give only the sense of the name, and no animal is named in it. But the msi-pessi, when the epithet 'miraculous' (manituwi) is added to it, means a celestial tiger, i.e., a meteor, or shooting star. The manituwi msi-pessi lives in water only, and is visible not as an animal, but as a shooting star, and exceeding in size other shooting stars. This monster gave name to a Shawano clan, and this clan, to which Tecumtha belonged, was classed among the claw-foot animals also. The quick motion of the shooting star was correctly likened to that of a tiger or wild-cat rushing upon his prey. Shooting stars are supposed to be souls of great men all over America. The home of the dead is always in the West, where the celestial bodies set, and since meteors travel westward, they were supposed to return to their western home." Tecumseh is thus a corruption of Tecumtha, but the former has so completely displaced the latter in books, place-names and conversation, that the author, in conformity with long-established usage, retains it.

The portrait in this volume is, with the exception of the British uniform, a reproduction of the one given by Lossing in his "Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812," the head in which was taken from a sketch made by Pierre le Dru, at Vincennes, Indiana, before Tecumseh espoused the British interest. The uniform was borrowed by Lossing from another sketch which he saw in Montreal in 1858, and which, he says, was made at Fort Malden soon after the surrender of Detroit. Tecumseh may have donned a major-general's uniform upon some special occasion—a review or a banquet—but, if so, it was soon discarded for his simple buckskin tunic, leggins, quilled fillet, and eagle plume. The costume as now restored corresponds with contemporary description, and the portrait is in other respects an authentic likeness.

Tecumseh was born about the year 1768, either at Piqwa, on a tributary of the Great Miami River, or at Chilicothé, another old Indian village on the Scioto, in what is now the State of Ohio. His father was killed at the battle of Kanawha, where, on the 10th October, 1774, Lord Dunmore's forces defeated the celebrated Chief Cornstalk. His mother was a Cherokee woman, and is said to have been delivered of Tecumseh, the Prophet, and a third brother at the same time. Tecumseh became celebrated in early manhood for his exploits against white encroachers on the Ohio, and was engaged in almost every struggle of his people against the Americans down to the day of his death. Engrossed in projects for the defence of his race, he did not marry until long after the usual period, and then only as a matter of policy and in deference to the urgent desire of his friends. His genius was first aroused to its fullest activity by certain transfers known as the Treaties of Fort Wayne, whereby an extensive region on the Ohio, running up one of its tributaries, the Wabash, on both sides, for a great distance, was ceded to the whites. These treaties, made by alleged irresponsible Indians or village chiefs, as they were called, meant, of course, displacement to a number of tribes, whose war chiefs alleged that their people, not having been consulted in the making of them, had been swindled. Tecumseh had foreseen that nothing but combination could prevent the encroachments of the whites upon the Ohio, and had long been successfully endeavouring to bring about a union of the tribes who inhabited its valley. The Fort Wayne treaties gave a wider scope to his design, and he now originated his great scheme of a federation of the entire red race. In pursuance of this object his exertions, hitherto very arduous, became almost superhuman. He made repeated journeys, and visited almost every tribe from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, and even north of them, and far to the west of the Mississippi. In order to further his scheme he took advantage of his brother's growing reputation as a prophet, and allowed him to gain a powerful hold upon the superstitious minds of his people by his preaching and predictions. The Prophet professed to have obtained from the Great Spirit a magic bowl, which possessed miraculous qualities; also a mystic torch, presumably from Nanabush, the keeper of the sacred fire. He asserted that a certain belt, said to make those invulnerable who touched it whilst in his hands, was composed of beans which had grown from his flesh: and this belt was circulated far and wide by Indian runners, finding its way even to the Red River of the north. These, coupled with his oratory and mummeries, greatly enhanced an influence which was possibly added to by a saturnine countenance, made more forbidding still by the loss of an eye. Unfortunately for Tecumseh's enterprise, the Prophet was more bent upon personal notoriety than upon the welfare of his people, and, whilst professing the latter, indulged his ambition, in Tecumseh's absence, by a precipitate attack upon Harrison's force on the Tippecanoe. His defeat discredited his assumption of supernatural powers, led to distrust and defection, and wrecked Tecumseh's plan of independent action. But the protection of his people was Tecumseh's sole ambition, and, true statesman that he was, he joined General Brock at Amherstburg (Fort Malden), in Upper Canada, with a large force, and in the summer of 1812 began that series of services to the British interest which has made his name a household word in Canada and endeared him to the Canadian heart. As Colonel Coffin says, in his "Chronicles of the War of 1812," "His death sheds a halo on a much-abused and fast-departing race. May the people of England, and their descendants in Canada, never forget this noble sacrifice, or the sacred obligation it imposes. It should be held as the seal of a great covenant: 'And Jonathan said to David, The Lord be between thee and me, and between my seed and thy seed forever.'" Those who buried Tecumseh never revealed the secret of his burial place, and the Indians resented, for many years, any attempt to explore the region of his last battle for his grave. It is not likely that his bones will ever be recovered; but to Canadians, whose fathers were the friends of his race, there remains the duty of perpetuating his memory. There is not in all history a nobler example of true manhood and patriotism.

Note 2. Page 12.

"The Prophet! Olliwayshilla, who probes

The spirit-world."

The Prophet assumed several names. His first was Laulewasikaw, or Lalowe'thika, sometimes written Olliwayshilla. According to Professor Gatschet, it means "a rattle," or similar instrument, hence its common interpretation by the whites, "The Loud Voice." After the burning of Tetaboxti and others for wizardry he changed his name to Tenskwatawa, "The Open Door"—from Skwat'e, a door, and the'nui, to open. "The Prophet was held to be an incarnation of Manabozho, the great 'first-doer' of the Algonquin system." In the year 1808, in order to facilitate the project of a confederacy, Tecumseh and he established a village at the junction of a stream called by the Indians Tippecanoesipi, or Night-Owl River, with the Wabash (The White River), one of the largest tributaries of the Ohio. The site of the village was well chosen, being far above the white settlement of Vincennes, yet having easy access to it down the river. The village, which was known as the Prophet's Town, soon became the resort of large numbers of Indians, who flocked to it as the headquarters of the revived faith and of Tecumseh's military power. After the battle of Tippecanoe the Prophet fell into disrepute, and is said to have ultimately retired with the remnant of his tribe to the Indian Territory, where he died some sixty years ago.

In the foregoing note the author has followed the hitherto accepted authorities as to the origin of the Prophet's Town. In the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institute, however, a different account is given, as follows: "The new settlement, which was on the western bank of the river, just below the mouth of the Tippecanoe, was known to the Indians as Kehtipaquononk, 'the great clearing,' and was an old and favourite location with them. It had been the site of a large Shawano village which had been destroyed by the Americans in 1791, and some years later the Potowatami had rebuilt upon the same place, to which they now invited the disciples of the new religion. The whites had corrupted the name to Tippecanoe, and it now generally became known as the Prophet's Town."

Note 3. Pages 12, 13.

"For I should treat our foes to what they crave—

Our fruitful soil—yea, ram it down their throats,

And choke them with the very dirt they love."

After the defeat of Harmar and St. Clair's forces by the Indians, many of the American dead were found with their mouths crammed with earth—a grim satire upon the land-hunger of the white man.

Note 4. Page 13.

                    "The Prophet's robe,

That I assumed when old Pengasega died."

The Prophet, or Josakeed, is held in reverence by all pagan Indians. He uses an unknown tongue in important ceremonies and in the mysteries of the Metay-win—the most sacred festival of the Algonquin race. To the back of his robe, or to some other part of his person, is affixed the skin and outspread wings of a raven or other bird—the invariable badge of the Prophet's office. Though some Josakeeds are impostors, yet generally they are firm believers in their own powers. They appear to exercise more beneficent functions than those of the Medicine-man, and to aim at the moral elevation of their people. The Medicine-man, on the other hand, is a juggler and exorcist, whose mysterious doings are a puzzle to the onlooker. He is feared as a man who has dealings with Evil Spirits. Tecumseh's famous brother assumed to succeed Pengasega (the Change-of-Feathers), a Prophet whose death was much lamented amongst the Shawanoes of his region. The more sinister functions of a magician he superadded, in order to increase his influence and further his selfish ambition.

Note 5. Page 14.

              "Old Shataronra's grave

Sends up its ghost, and Tetaboxti's hairs—

White with sad years and counsel."

The somewhat sudden rise of the Prophet provoked at first much jealousy amongst certain of his tribe, who felt that he was undermining them. To counteract it, he instituted a persecution for sorcery, which involved both sexes. Numbers were burnt, including those named, before Tecumseh, who was absent, could interfere.

Note 6. Page 16.

"Of Long-Knife forts, encampments, and their chiefs."

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

          "Then he declared he was a Saganash."

The American is called by the Indians of the Algonquin race Chemo-komaun, or the Long-Knife, from the sabre. The Englishman, or Canadian, they call Saganashay, the Ojibway form of the Cree word Aka-yas-see: Aka-yas-see-wuk—"People who have sailed across." These were general names, understood or made use of by most Indians; and nations other than the Delaware made use of them, or simply translated them into their own tongue, according to their custom. Other names, however, were sometimes given. The Shawanoes, for example, called the Englishman Metticosea. The Algonquin word Chemo-komaun became greatly softened in the southern dialects, and is scarcely recognizable in the musical Shawano word Shemaunthé.

Note 7. Page 17.

"In headship with our Saganash allies."

Tecumseh, who foresaw a war between England and the United States, dreamed of taking part in it as the leader of an independent power, and of coming in at its successful end as one of the signatories to a treaty of peace, securing the rights of his people.

Note 8. Page 17.

"And agent sent by General Harrison."

General William Henry Harrison was born at Berkley, in Virginia, in 1773, and was the son of Benjamin Harrison, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was aide-de-camp to General Wayne in his campaign against the Indians in 1794, and in 1801 was appointed Governor of the newly-formed Indiana territory, a vast region which, extending from the Ohio to the Mississippi, contained at that time but three small settlements of white men, including the old French village of Vincennes. This region was inhabited by numerous tribes of Indians, many of whom cultivated maize, possessed orchards, and had on the principal streams considerable villages, consisting of rude log cabins but little inferior to those of the early white settlers. The destruction of these towns, as they were called, and the treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants of this region, now constituting numerous populous States, is one of the dark chapters in history. Year by year the irresistible tide of whites poured into the territory in ever-increasing volume; and though Harrison, a man of humane and generous nature, meditated nothing but kind and just treatment of the native races, and warmly advocated it both publicly and privately, yet nothing could restrain the rapacious adventurers, who spread themselves everywhere, and looked upon Indian treaties as so much waste paper. To have opposed their grasping spirit too strongly would have brought upon Harrison political extinction, and he was therefore, it may be taken for granted, compelled to wink at aggression and injustice too often veiled under the specious name of progress. Harrison's victory at Tippecanoe won him great repute, and was the precursor of the war of 1812. His subsequent victory, with a greatly superior force, over Tecumseh and Proctor at the Moravian Town, established his fame amongst his countrymen. He shortly afterwards resigned his commission, disgusted with unfair treatment at the hands of the Secretary of War, and retired to his farm at North Bend, on the Ohio, whence in 1839 he was called to the Presidency of the United States. He died deeply regretted by the American people, shortly after his inauguration.

Note 9. Page 17.

"You are an enemy to the Seventeen Fires."

At this time the United States numbered seventeen, and were called by the Indians the Seventeen Fires, in accordance with their own custom of Council Fires, around which all their deliberations took place.

Note 10. Page 23.

"First comes his pioneer, the bee."

It is a curious fact in natural history, that the wild bee has been in America the pioneer of the white man. Its first appearance on the Saskatchewan is within the memory of men still alive.

Note 11. Page 23.

"His flowers, his very weeds, displace our own."

The European flowers and weeds are usurping the place of the indigenous flora of North America. The white clover, for example, which, it is said, forty years ago had only reached the Sauk Valley, in Minnesota, is now found hundreds of miles farther to the north-west.

Note 12. Page 26.

"So that your cabin flows with mouffles sweet,

And hips of wapiti, and bedded robes."

The mouffle is the nose of the moose, or American elk. When boiled for a long time it becomes very tender and jelly-like, and is a delicacy. The wapiti is the American red deer, frequently miscalled the elk.

Note 13. Page 28.

"Who fought, as devils fight, until the lodge

Shook to its base with struggling."

The performances of the Indian Medicine-men in their medicine lodges are very curious. The lodge is a structure of poles and dressed skins, sometimes large enough to accommodate fifty people. The Medicine-man enters it alone, and presently the sounds of altercation are heard in an unknown tongue: flashes of fire issue from the lodge, which begins to rock, and is, at last, so violently shaken as to threaten its overthrow. These feats are performed simultaneously, and sometimes for prolonged periods. Collusion must be very adroitly employed, for intelligent half-breeds, who have frequently witnessed the performance, assert that there is none. The belief is prevalent amongst them that the genuine Medicine-man possesses extraordinary and occult powers; and, certainly, their performances deserve more investigation than they have yet received.

Note 14. Page 29.

"Roped round with scars and cicatrized wounds."

The initiation of warriors is a solemn ordeal amongst most Indian nations. On reaching manhood the candidate prepares himself for his trial by a severe and sleepless fast, lasting several days. This is followed by elaborate religious ceremonies, after which the aspirant, in presence of the chiefs and warriors of his tribe, is subjected to dreadful tortures. Sharp splinters are thrust between the skin and muscles of his breast and back, and from these he is suspended by cords, and turned round slowly, so as to produce excruciating pain, which must be borne without a murmur to be accounted a satisfactory test of the candidate's endurance. Other trials and ceremonies follow, and the candidate, if he acquits himself heroically throughout, assumes the status of a trusty warrior of his nation. The marks of this ordeal remain in hard, cord-like scars, which are ever after the proud evidence of fortitude and unquailing courage. These ordeals are sometimes repeated in after life, and warriors are to be met with on the western plains to-day who exhibit five or six rows of these great cicatrices on their breast, back and arms. The preliminary initiation of boys was, and probably is still, practised by the southern tribes. It was called the Huskenaw, and began with dancing, in which the old and young of both sexes took part. The boys "ran the gauntlet," and were then confined in the woods for several weeks and fed solely upon roots. The object each boy most frequently dreamt of during this period became his guardian spirit for life. Implicit faith is placed by the Indians in dreams, and fasting is often resorted to in order to induce them. If an Indian dreams of things above the earth, as of stars, clouds, etc., the dream is considered favourable; if below, the reverse.

Note 15. Pages 30 and 33.

"And made their hosts a winter's feast for wolves."

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

"And old Kanaukwa, famed when we were young."

General Harmar was defeated in September, 1791, by Michi-Kanaukwa, or Little Turtle, as he was called by the Americans. In the following November General St. Clair was defeated by the same chief, with great loss. Hundreds of the American dead were left unburied on the field, and were devoured by wild animals. After the treaty of Greenville, consequent upon the victory of General Wayne, in 1794, the Little Turtle settled at Eel River, and lived in a house furnished by the American Government. This conduct subjected him to the suspicion of his people; and his equivocal attitude in the negotiation of the Fort Wayne Treaty of 1803 confirmed it.

Note 16. Page 32.

"And with the peace-pipe sits beside their fire."

The calumet—a corruption of the Norman chalumeau—was constantly employed by the Indians in treaty-making. The Ojibway pipe was made of green porphyry, and was called the pwagun. The pipe of the Plain Indians was made of a red sand-stone taken from the ancient pipe-stone quarry in western Minnesota.

Note 17. Page 35.

"White wampum, not the dark, till we can strike

With certain aim."

Wampum (once greatly valued by the Indians) was made from several kinds of shells, particularly the mussel, the clam and the conch. Pieces of the thickness of a small clay pipe-stem, and about half an inch in length, were with great labour cut from the enamel, perforated, and strung on sinews, so as to form belts. These, according to the adjustment and colour, were tribal records or the symbols of peace or war. The colour of the war-belt was purple or red; of the peace-belt, white. European traders substituted porcelain for the shell wampum, and degraded its value; for, like the cowry in India, it was used by the Red Indians as money. It has long been disused.

Note 18. Page 37.

"You've heerd o' them Delaware Moravians, surely?"

The horrible incident recorded in this passage is an historical fact. The descendants of the remnant that escaped are still in possession of their lands at the Moravian Towns, Ontario, and are still presided over by a Moravian missionary.

Note 19. Page 41.

"Gold is the king who overrides the right."

The better class, the thoughtful people of the United States, feel deeply the want of honour in the treatment of the Indians. The late Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson wrote a most powerful appeal in their favour, and entitled it "A Century of Dishonor." Bishop Whipple, of Minnesota, in the preface he contributed to the work, says: "The sad revelation of broken faith, of violated treaties, and of inhuman deeds of violence will bring a flush of shame to the cheeks of those who love their country."

Note 20. Page 41.

"But look at him! Look at Tecumseh there

How simple in attire!"

Tecumseh had hazel eyes, an aquiline nose, and a somewhat oval countenance. "He was," says Colonel Coffin ("Chronicles of the War of 1812"), "about five feet ten inches in height, and of a well-knit, active figure. Contrary to the Indian nature, he had an aversion to external ornament. His invariable costume was the deer-skin coat and fringed pantaloons. Indian moccasins on his feet, and an eagle feather, completed his simple and soldierly accoutrements." The foregoing is the gist of minute accounts left by the late Colonel Glegg, of Thursteston Hall, Cheshire, General Brock's aide, and Colonel Hatch, one of General Hull's officers at the surrender of Detroit.

Note 21. Page 48.

"He'd better put a lump o' bacon in his mouth to keep

his bilin' sap o' passion down."

In making maple sugar the settler suspends a piece of fat bacon on a string over the cauldron to prevent the sap from boiling over. The Indians use a spray of the balsam spruce for the same purpose.

Note 22. Page 57.

"My fear sits like the partridge in the tree,

And cannot fly whilst these dogs bark at me."

Settlers in the backwoods of Canada train their dogs to flush the ruffled grouse, miscalled the "partridge." The birds take refuge in a tree, at whose root the dogs keep up an incessant yelping, which seems to puzzle them, so that they stick to their perches and become an easy prey. In order to secure them all, they must be shot successively from the lowest bird upwards.

Note 23. Page 58.

"Each coulee and ravine."

In western America certain prairie water-courses are called coulees. The melted snow, etc., is carried off by them in spring, but in summer and winter they are generally quite dry.

Note 24. Page 60.

"Hark! 'Tis the war-song."

Ye-awe! hi, ya! whe, ya wha! a-a-a-a-a, whe, ya wha! a-a-a-a-a.

The foregoing chant, which is taken from Peter Dooyentate Clarke's "Origin and Traditional History of the Wyandots," is substantially the same as that now in use by the Indian tribes in the British North-West Territories and elsewhere. The chant, which to the uninstructed on-looker appears to be mere gibberish, is an invocation to the Great Spirit—the changes being rung upon the sacred syllables, yo and wah. Yo-he-wah is the Indian's sacred name for the Deity. The sacred syllables enter into the construction of many words applicable to the Deity, such as power, light, goodness, etc., and those who think the Indians descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes connect the Indian word with the Jewish Jehovah. The warriors begin the chant in a high key, the voice gradually falling until the sounds are almost indistinct, then swelling up to full pitch again. At intervals the chant is interrupted by war-whoops.

Note 25. Page 64.

"Go bring the braves to view the Mystic Torch

And belt of Sacred Beans grown from my flesh."

See Note 1 concerning the above and the Prophet's Magic Bowl.

Note 26. Page 67.

"Go to the corn-dance, change your name to villain!"

The corn-dance is held in the middle of August. Children are named at it, and warriors can then change their names if they choose.

Note 27. Page 69.


This distinguished soldier was born in Guernsey, in 1769—the year which gave Napoleon and Wellington to the world. At the age of fifteen he entered the British Army as an ensign, and at twenty-eight became lieutenant-colonel of the 49th Regiment. He served in Holland, and was wounded at the battle of Egmont-op-Zee, and subsequently took part in Nelson's attack upon Copenhagen as second in command of the land forces. He was sent to Canada in the spring of 1802, and, after nine years of valuable service, was advanced to the rank of Major-General, and stationed in the upper Province, where, Lieutenant-Governor Gore having gone to England on leave of absence, he succeeded him as Administrator of the Government of Upper Canada in October, 1811. He had been for some time negotiating for a transfer to Wellington's command in the Peninsula; but the breaking out of the war with the United States in 1812 changed all his plans, and his fortunate union of offices gave him control of the civil and military affairs of the Province at the most critical period in its history. Boldness, energy and decision characterized his every movement, infused enthusiasm into the loyal, confirmed the wavering, and overawed the disaffected; and so prompt and speedy were his operations, that in eighteen days from his departure with his force from York (now Toronto), he had conquered Michigan Territory, provided for its government, and returned to Fort George. His intention when he left Detroit was to proceed immediately to Sackett's Harbour on Lake Ontario, and destroy the American naval arsenal there. To his mortification he found that an armistice had been proposed by Sir George Prevost, and consented to by the American General, Dearborn, the intelligence of which only reached him on his way down Lake Erie. In all likelihood he would have succeeded at Sackett's Harbour, and so prevented the Americans from equipping the fleet which gave them the command of Lake Ontario, and enabled them twice to capture the capital of Upper Canada. Strange to say, after Brock's death this unfortunate armistice was capped by another, granted by General Sheaffe at the instance of the American General Smythe, by which the Americans were enabled to equip their fleet at Presqu' Isle, and gain the command of Lake Erie. This preponderance upon the lake was dreaded by Brock, whose movements, however, were paralyzed by the continuous policy of inactivity of the Commander-in-Chief. In one of his letters from Fort George, he says: "The enemy is making every exertion to gain a naval superiority on both lakes, which if they accomplish, I do not see how we can retain the country. . . . I shall refrain as long as possible, under your Excellency's positive injunctions, from every hostile act, although sensible that each day's delay gives him an advantage." On the expiry of the first armistice, and when hostilities began again, Brock exhibited his usual vigilance and promptitude until, on the 13th October, 1812, he met his death gloriously on Queenston Heights. He fell early in the day, but inspired by his example his followers won a complete victory, and signally avenged his death. His monument, erected by the Canadian people on Queenston Heights, is one of the finest in the world, and attests the respect in which his memory is regarded by them, who look upon him as the Americans look upon Washington. His remains, and those of his Canadian aide-de-camp, the gallant Macdonell, who fell in the same battle, rest side by side under the monument.

Note 28. Page 69.

"Hull's threatened ravage of our western coast."

William Hull was born in Connecticut, and upon the outbreak of the Revolution took service in defence of the revolted colonies. He was present in numerous battles, and after the peace became a collector of customs. When well advanced in years he was made Governor of Michigan Territory, and resided in Detroit, then a village. He [was] in Washington in the winter of 1812, and, preparations being then afoot preparatory to a declaration of war, he reluctantly accepted the appointment of brigadier-general in command of the Ohio volunteer militia, embodied to march upon Detroit with a view of a descent upon Canada, to which he was opposed. The fourth regiment of regulars, which had helped to defeat the Prophet at Tippecanoe, and three regiments of militia, were joined to his command. "On the march," says Lossing ("Field-Book of the War of 1812," note to page 260,) "General Hull had been subject to much annoyance from the Ohio volunteers. . . . They were frequently quite insubordinate." . . . This fact was brought out on Hull's trial. "One evening," says Lieutenant Barron, "while at Urbana, I saw a multitude, and heard a noise, and was informed that a company of Ohio volunteers were riding one of their officers on a rail." On arrival at Detroit, Colonel Cass, a young eastern lawyer of fire-eating tendencies, in command of the 3rd Regiment of Volunteers, and others of a kindred spirit, urged a descent upon Canada, which the general opposed, until the arrival of instructions from Washington. These having at last reached him, he issued a boastful and threatening proclamation to the people of Canada (the composition of which has been attributed to Cass), and crossed the Detroit on the 12th July, 1812, but retreated on the 8th of August following. General Brock reached Sandwich, nearly opposite Detroit, on the 15th, and, in conjunction with Tecumseh, quickly matured his scheme of attacking Fort Detroit. The next day Hull capitulated to a force greatly inferior in numbers, and consisting mainly of Canadian volunteers and Indians. He was subsequently tried by court-martial at Albany, N. Y., in January, 1814, and sentenced to be shot. "Mr. Madison pardoned him," says Lossing, "and he returned to his farm to live in comparative obscurity, under a cloud of almost universal reproach." Dispassionate criticism has since to a large extent justified Hull in his conduct.

Note 29. Page 69.

"Bid Colonel Proctor come."

It may be thought that the traits of this officer have been too strongly shaded in the drama. There can be no doubt that his retreat from Amherstburg had its justifiable and prudential side, and what a more daring General, Brock for instance, would have done under the circumstances, one can only conjecture. But General Proctor, by basely casting the blame of the disaster at the Moravian Town upon his troops, weaned from himself all sympathy. He is still held in poor remembrance in Canada. The General Order of the Prince Regent confirming the court-martial held at Montreal in December, 1814, and ordered to be read at the head of every regiment in His Majesty's service, concludes thus: "His Royal Highness has directed the general officer commanding in Canada, to convey to Major-General Proctor His Royal Highness's high disapprobation of his conduct; together with the expression of His Royal Highness's regret that any officer of the length of service and the exalted rank he has attained, should be so extremely wanting in that professional knowledge, and deficient in those active, energetic qualities which must be required of every officer, but especially of one in the responsible situation in which the Major-General was placed."

Note 30. Page 74.

"Enter two U. E. Loyalists, separately."

On the revolt of the American colonies, in 1776, a large number of the colonists remained loyal to the Crown, and fought under the British colours for the maintenance of a United Empire. They were known as the United Empire Loyalists. At the close of the war these loyalists, driven from their homes, came to the wilderness of Canada, where, under severe hardships and trials, they carved new homes in the forest, under the same flag they had fought so hard to uphold. When the war of 1812 broke out, the old loyalists and their hardy sons, burning under the recollection of their wrongs, and valuing deeply the privileges they had sacrificed so much to retain, rallied around Brock to defend once more the unity of the Empire. It was this element that gave tone to public feeling in Upper Canada in 1812. The whole population turned out to fight for Canada. Few but the old men, the women, and the children were left at home in the lonely clearings; and many instances are recorded of tenderly-nurtured ladies, whose husbands were at the front, being left with the little children to protect themselves as best they could against the wolves, which at that time often howled around the log cabins of the early settlers.

Note 31. Page 75.

Colonel Nichol.

Very little is known as to the early career in Canada of this remarkably able man. His grandson, the Rev. R. T. Nichol, an Anglican clergyman, wrote to the author in 1891 for information, and, in a subsequent letter, stated that his grandfather's papers had been entrusted by his uncle, Robert Nichol, to a Major Lundie, an English officer who was in this country many years ago, and who had in hand a history of the war of 1812. The Major died in England, and the papers, so far as the author knows, have not yet been recovered. If lost, it is a grave misfortune to Canadian history. Colonel Nichol was General Brock's right hand. His experience was great; his knowledge of the inner side of affairs during the war thorough; his discernment of character seldom at fault. General Brock, who before the war had recognized his singular ability, took him from civil life and gave him perhaps the most important command after his own. He received a pension from the Imperial Government when the war ended, and became a member of the Upper Canada Legislature, where his career was characterized by scrupulous integrity and an almost ultra-independence of character. He lost his life by driving on a dark and tempestuous night over the cliffs near Niagara Falls. A memorial should certainly be erected to this able loyalist's memory, for his services to Canada were vital.

Note 32. Page 77.

"Not mine, but thine, thou dull and fatuous House!"

In 1812 the House of Assembly of Upper Canada refused to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, though urgently desired to do so by General Brock. The Lower House roughly reflected the crude, isolated and unprotected condition of Upper Canada. Loyal at heart, it yet contained numbers of disaffected members, and others timid and hesitating, who allowed themselves to be swayed by the boasting and threats of aliens, domiciled in the Province for that very purpose. The invasion of General Hull engendered additional fears and despondency for a time; and the general procedure of the House was provoking to loyalists of bold and decisive temper.

Note 33. Pages 89, 90.

                        "How those giant pears

Loom with uplifted and high-ancient heads,

Like forest trees! A hundred years ago

They, like their owner, had their roots in France."

The remarkable old French pear trees, once plentiful along the Detroit River, are now rapidly decaying. The annual rings of one blown down two years ago were found to number one hundred and seventy, so that it must have been planted by the French colonists who founded the settlement of Detroit under de la Mothe Cadillac, in 1701. They are of immense size, and are prodigious bearers; but, strange to say, cannot be propagated, and before many years will become extinct.

Note 34. Page 90.

                "That hospitable roof

Of thine, thou good old Loyalist, Baby."

The interesting old Baby mansion, at Sandwich, is still standing. The Baby family (pronounced Baw-bee), which ever since the conquest has been distinguished for its loyalty to the British crown, is one of the most ancient in Canada. The owner of the Sandwich mansion, in 1812, was Colonel the Hon. James Baby, a son of the Baby who rendered such valuable assistance to Major Gladwyn during Pontiac's investment of Detroit in 1763. Colonel Baby was born at Detroit in 1762. He was in the Battle of the Thames, and was taken prisoner there by Harrison, who sent him to Chilicothé, in Ohio, where he was detained for many months. His hospitality and kindness of heart were as proverbial as his loyalty, and after many years of active public service, he died at York (now Toronto), in 1833. In early life Colonel Baby was largely engaged in the fur trade—the engrossing occupation of that day—and in the hall of the mansion is still to be seen the hook from which the balance was suspended upon which the beaver-packs were weighed. The first room to the right of the hall was occupied by General Brock as his headquarters, and there he wrote his demand for the surrender of Detroit. General Harrison subsequently made a similar use of the house, and in it have been successively entertained nearly all the Governors of Canada from an early date down to Confederation.

Note 35. Page 90.

"Oh, have I eaten of the Spirit-plant!"

The wild carrot is called by the Indians Manitou-o-ska-task, or the Spirit-plant. It has intoxicating or deadly qualities.

Note 36. Page 92.

"The dancing grouse, at their insensate sport."

There is not in animate nature a more amusing sight than the dancing of the prairie grouse during the love-making season. The birds have in their various localities a customary meeting-place, where they assemble and enjoy a veritable "ball," bowing and scraping, crossing and re-crossing, pirouetting and setting to each other in the most grotesquely ceremonious fashion. They often become so rapt in their singular exercise that they can be approached quite closely without taking alarm.

Note 37. Page 101.

"Here are my pistols—take them from a friend."

Brock's presentation of his sash to Tecumseh is said by most writers to have taken place in Detroit. The late Honourable François Baby was present when the pistols were presented, and he is the authority for the latter incident, which is less generally known.

Note 38. Page 103.

"We heard the crash of battle yesterday."

The Battle of Lake Erie was fought near Put-in-Bay, on 10th September, 1813, and resulted in a victory for the Americans. The sounds of the engagement were distinctly heard at Amherstburg, sixty miles away.

Note 39. Pages 104, 105.

  "A fool who beats Sheaffe's folly at the game."

                          "Force him,

Who would not face yourself to face five thousand!"

Squire Reynolds, commissary to H. M. forces at Amherstburg during the War of 1812, in his narrative (see Colonel Coffin's "Chronicle of the War"), describes an altercation between Elliott and Proctor which resulted in a challenge. Proctor's responsible position as commander justified him in refusing to go out. The challenge arose out of his half-hearted attack upon Fort Meigs, in April, 1813, and his disposition to retreat, which was strongly resented by Tecumseh. "Our father," said the latter, "has brought us here to take the fort; why don't we take it? If his children can't do it, give us spades, and we will work like beavers; we'll eat a way in for him." Proctor's vacillation and want of tact reacted in all directions. "He was on bad terms," says Col. Coffin, "with his own regiment, the 41st, of which he was Lieut.-Colonel. There was discord amongst the officers, and the men had lost confidence, and suffered besides from malarial fever induced by long-continued outpost duty and exposure." "He treated the Canadian volunteer militia badly," says Reynolds. "When they saw his guns on skids (at Fort Meigs), and knew the siege was over, they sent respectfully to ask leave to go home, only to put in a crop for his men and their own children. He sent them home and disarmed them. He tried to disgrace them, but they would not be disgraced, because they knew they did not deserve it. Brock was another sort of man. He thought, and felt, and spoke for the men, and other men loved him, and fought for him, and died for him."

A reference to the massacre of prisoners by the Indians at the Raisin River and at old Fort Miami, which so greatly incensed the Americans against General Proctor, may be made here. After the surrender of General Winchester to Proctor in the affair at the former place, a rumour arose that Harrison was advancing rapidly with a large force. Proctor, alarmed at this, beat a needlessly precipitate retreat, leaving not only a number of wounded prisoners but his own wounded and dead. Some of the prisoners were murdered by loose and disorderly Indians who had got at liquor and were drunk, and are said not to have been in the action at all. At the Miami, or Fort Meigs affair, a similar scene was enacted after the capture of an escort, in which Proctor has been much blamed by Americans for non-interference, whilst Tecumseh has been as highly praised for putting an end to the massacre by braining one of the participants with his own axe. Cold-blooded deeds were common to both sides, however, at this period, though too many American historians attribute them solely to the Indians.

Note 40. Page 111.

"He comes! Yohewa! The Great Spirit comes!"

Ellen Russell Emerson, in her delightful collection entitled "Indian Myths," extracts from "Archæologia Americana" a description of the Indian ceremonial worship of the sun which suggested this scene. The book referred to is radiant with just thought and the tender sympathies of a true woman.

Note 41. Page 113.

"The night-sun set in cloud, and curling mists

Hid the plumed star from sight."

In the Algonquin dialects the moon is called tipik-ghezis, or "the night-sun." The Evening Star is called the "plumed star." It is also called "the woman's star." (See "Schoolcraft's Legend of Osseo.")

Note 42. Page 114.

"Oh, cherish her! for she is dear to me

As is the Intercessor to your race."

The Indian's Intercessor is Nanabush—the Guardian of the Sacred Fire. Nanabush is supposed to be a dialectic name for the Manabozho of the Ojibways, who is regarded, says Mr. Schoolcraft, "as the messenger of the Great Spirit sent down to them in the character of a wise man, and a prophet. But he comes clothed with all the attributes of humanity, as well as the power of performing miracles."

Note 43. Page 114.

"Yes for his huskenaw—you call it that."


"'Tis from the self-piece cut, and quilled all o'er—

Your gathered edges show not half so well."

Among the numerous nations who contributed support to Tecumseh's force were the Dahcotas or Sioux, of the Wisconsin and Upper Mississippi, numbers of whom were with him at the capture of Detroit and at the Battle of the Thames. The Winona of this scene is a Dahcota girl, and her name is that invariably given by a Dahcota mother to her first-born daughter, viz, "the only one." The Dahcota moccasin is cut out of one piece; whereas the Delaware, or Algonquin race, always make theirs with a piece let into the instep, the edges of the sole being turned up and drawn in around it. Some writers say the word Ojibway, frequently written Chippeway, is derived from the peculiar fashion of the moccasin, meaning "gathered"; but this is a mistake. The name Ojibway—O-cheepo-way—is given to the Indians of Lake Superior and the Red Lake region from their peculiar manner of dropping the voice toward the end of a sentence; cheepo meaning "tapering," and way, "sound, or voice."

Note 44. Page 116.

"All gone! all gone! naught here but smoking ruins!"

General Proctor burnt Fort Malden, the ship-yard, and the public stores before retreating from Amherstburg.

Note 45. Page 123.

"Ah! this is our own tree."

One of the Indian names for the sugar maple is nen-au-tick, "our own tree."

Note 46.

An additional note re General Proctor.

Several years after the publication of the first edition of "Tecumseh," a controversy was raised by "Historicus," a Toronto man of letters, in the columns of the Toronto Daily Mail, over the character of General Proctor as depicted in the Drama. A number of civil and military correspondents took part in the controversy, which had lasted for some time before the author knew of it, he being then in the remote wilds of the Saskatchewan. The point raised by "Historicus" was whether it could be proved that General Proctor was a coward. It is impossible to quote authorities in extenso here. But history, and emphatically the tradition as to General Proctor's conduct, still extant upon the Detroit frontier, are, to the author's mind, very clear. As a recent Edinburgh reviewer says, "To set up the incomplete records of the past against the incontrovertible testimony of authentic tradition is often the shallowest pedantry." Perhaps the author is astray in his notion of what constitutes cowardice; for if a soldier's running away at the beginning of a battle is not it, then truly it is a hard matter to determine. A report of Colonel Nichol, evidently intended for the information of the Prince Regent, and which has never seen the light, but which the author has permission to use, contains the following passage:

"On the 8th September, 1812, I left Amherstburg for the headquarters of the army under General Brock, but, owing to contrary winds, did not reach Niagara until the 15th. Immediately on my arrival I was ordered to make a confidential report on the state of that part of the country to the General (Brock), which I did, and among other things felt it my duty to state several strong reasons which, in my opinion, totally disqualified General Proctor for so important a command. The General, on perusing my report, was pleased to express his satisfaction at what he chose to call the full and comprehensive view I had taken of the subject, and added, respecting General Proctor, that he was fully aware of all I had stated, concluding in these words: 'I think him a brave man, and believe he will fight, but I fear he will disgust everybody with whom he has anything to do; but I have no other officer to send.' His fears were, alas! prophetic; and the ruin of our affairs to the westward was the consequence."

Brock's opinion of Proctor was formed in a time of peace, and therefore he could not foretell, with certainty, what his conduct would be in a great emergency. Down to the Commander's death Proctor's experience on the Detroit frontier had been comprised within a few months, and his unhappy reputation was largely added to by his subsequent transactions there.

In a letter of "Historicus," replying to Mrs. Curzon—one of the author's defenders—and referring to an extract from "Tecumseh," he says:

"She will find even here quite enough to challenge inquiry. Proctor is made to give timid counsels at Detroit (Sandwich); Brock is made to leave him in command only because he is 'straitened for good officers': there is a sneer at his prudence; and Tecumseh is made to express his misgiving at the appointment on the ground that while Brock says 'come,' Proctor says 'go'—in other words, that Proctor is wanting in gallantry as a leader."

As regards the first point in the foregoing passage, it is enough to quote the following extract from General Brock's letter to his brother after the surrender of Detroit:

"I crossed the river contrary to the opinion of Proctor, etc. It is, therefore, no wonder that envy should attribute to good fortune what, in justice to my own discernment, I must say proceeded from a cool calculation of the pours and contres."

That Brock, at the beginning of hostilities, was greatly hampered for want of efficient officers is made plain by the following passage from his letter to his brother Savery, written from Fort George on September 18th, 1812. Proctor was Colonel of the 41st regiment, and this is what Brock says about it:

"I have now officers in whom I can confide. When the war began I was really obliged to seek assistance among the militia. The 41st is an uncommonly fine regiment, but wretchedly officered."

The foregoing, compared with the extract from Colonel Nichol's report, makes it a certainty that Proctor was one of the "wretched officers."

Tecumseh's description of Brock as the soldier who said 'come,' whilst Proctor said 'go,' is authentic. The reader will find it referred to in Tupper's "Life of Brock." It was for many a day a jocular saying on the Detroit frontier, and elsewhere in Upper Canada.

Note 47.

With the exception of Tecumseh's protest to Proctor against his retreat from Amherstburg, but a few fragments of his speeches are extant. The author has thought it advisable to include a versified portion of the former in the 1st scene of Act V. The reader will recognize it in the passage beginning: "Brother, my people are before you now!" The author has made use of a few other equally well-known utterances of his historical characters, and has kept as close to history as dramatic exigencies would permit. Iena and Lefroy, he need scarcely say, are imaginary characters, though not without example in the history of this continent.


"A Ballad for Brave Women."

Page 144.

Mrs. Secord's exploit at a grave crisis in the War of 1812 was of priceless service to the British interest. Like the "Return of the Glove," it is one of those unique incidents which stir the imagination, and become the common property of poets.

The feat has been frequently versified in Canada, and has also been dramatized by the late Mrs. S. A. Curzon, of Toronto, one of the most patriotic of Canadian women, who had herself all the will, if not the physical energy, for such an adventure. Mrs. Curzon's drama is her heroine's best memorial. Canada is no longer neglectful of her past. Monuments have been erected on several battle-fields of the War of 1812, and the memory of the heroine of that momentous struggle has, in like manner, been fittingly perpetuated. Her grave, now a national shrine, is annually decorated in the presence of a large concourse of patriotic Canadians. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, when in Canada in 1860, had an interesting interview with this devoted loyalist, then still in full possession of her faculties, and subsequently sent her a handsome present in testimony of his admiration of her conduct. Her name is on the bead-roll of our bravest and best, and Canadian women fittingly unite to do it honour. The ballad follows Colonel Coffin's record, and was written sixteen years ago.

"The Last Bison."

Page 148.

These verses, first published in 1890, were suggested to the author by a personal experience near the Elbow of the North Saskatchewan, in 1882. No buffalo has been seen since on that river, although several were subsequently killed on the south branch of the Saskatchewan. A few hundred wood-buffaloes still roam the angle of the Peace and Great Slave Rivers, in the Athabasca Territory, but the bison of the plains is extinct. Its extermination is one of the most melancholy facts in natural history. In order the more readily to subdue the hostile plain tribes its destruction was encouraged by the American authorities, and owing to its migratory habit, the building of the second trans-continental railway completed it. So vast was the havoc then instituted by great hunting parties, outfitted at Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, and other Western American towns, that in three years, it is estimated, nearly six millions of these animals were destroyed simply for their tongues and hides. The reader who is interested in the history, habits, etc., of the animal, is referred to an article written by the author, entitled "The American Bison," in the "Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, for 1891." A huge animal called by the half-breed plain hunters the burdash (the hermaphrodite) was occasionally found in a large bison herd. It was called by the Indians ayaquayu, namely, of either sex. Bull calves were sometimes emasculated by plain hunters in rude sport, and these also grew to a great size. The pelt of the burdash when dressed was known as the "beaver robe," from its glossy and rich brown fur, and thirty years ago brought ten times the price of the ordinary robe of commerce.


Page 154.

The Saskatchewan River is called by the Crees Kisiskatchewan, which means "swift current." The Grand Rapids, by which it discharges into Lake Winnipeg, are called Missipòwistic, a word which is pronounced by the Indians with a rolling accent upon the third syllable quite beyond spelling. This vast river, which drains the finest prairies and forests of the North-West, has an interesting history, a few meagre points in which may not be unwelcome to the reader. About two centuries ago the Blackfeet Indians and their allies occupied the country drained by it from the Forks westward, but were dispossessed of a great portion of it by the Crees, who, having obtained "magic weapons," namely, fire-arms, from the English at Hudson Bay, invaded them by way of the Nelson and Churchill rivers. Until the transfer of the Territories to Canada, in 1870, the Saskatchewan country was the scene of almost continual warfare between these rival nations.

A son of Varennes, Sieur de la Verandrye, known as "The Chevalier," is generally credited with the discovery of the Saskatchewan in 1748. This matter requires some clearing up. Sir Alexander Mackenzie expressly states, in a note to his "General History of the Fur Trade," that farming operations were carried on by the French at Fort a la Corne and at Nepawi, on the main river, long before the conquest. The Chevalier was undoubtedly a most adventurous spirit, but the date assigned to his discovery can scarcely, in any reasonable historical retrospect, be called long before the conquest. Mackenzie may have erred, but his statement, written over a hundred years ago, is explicit. He himself ascended the river as far as Fort Cumberland on his way to the still greater river which bears his name.

The experiences of Sir John Franklin, Sir John Richardson, and Captain Back, on their way to and from the Arctic regions, are, perhaps, more interesting still from a scientific point of view. There are three growing towns at present on the north branch of the river, namely Prince Albert, Battleford and Edmonton. The primitive town, however, was built by the Bois-brulé, or half-breed plain hunters, in their palmy days. It was called Keeskatahagan-Otaynow, or Stump Town, from its situation on a wooded bend of the river. Mackenzie in his journal mentions that Spanish horses, with their original owners' brands still upon them, were plentiful, when he wrote, on the Saskatchewan. It is hard to believe that they were raided out of remote Mexico by the Blackfeet, though they were a very daring race. The Spanish horse was the progenitor of the existing Indian ponies.

"Huskies," a corruption of the word Esquimaux, are train-dogs which are summered in large numbers at fishing-posts in the interior. The true "huskie" is believed to be a cross between the wolf and dogs seduced from trading-posts when in season.

"Moniyas." This is the Cree word for Canadian; but it means, as well, any new-comer or "green-horn." Moniya stands for Canada, and, as in the Cree alphabet the letters "l" and "r" are wanting, it is probably the Indian's effort to pronounce the word Montreal as the French voyageurs did. Another derivation refers the word to the sailing of the first English ships into the offing at Nelson River on Hudson Bay; but this is fanciful. The word is in common use on the Saskatchewan, even among whites who have mingled much with the natives of the country.

"The trip to York," namely to York factory on Hudson Bay, used to be made in spring and summer, and by this route the supplies for the North-West, including Red River, were largely brought until the transfer of the Territories to Canada. It was a very laborious trip, owing to the numerous portages, which taxed the voyageur's carrying powers to the utmost.

"Pandion Carolinensis." This bird (the American osprey) frequents the Grand Rapids, though not in great numbers. Pelicans and cormorants are abundant, and, when running the Rapids, are frequently flushed together with startling effect.

"Prisoners' Island" lies at the foot of the Rapids, and, during the strife between the rival fur companies in times past, was used by the successful side for the time being as a place of safe-keeping of prisoners. Hence its name, which it still retains.

"The Iroquois at the Stake."

Page 160.

In these verses an attempt is made to represent the ruling spirit, strong in death, of an Iroquois warrior of the highest rank, when his nation was at the culmination of its power, and keenly alive to the import of white encroachment and aggression. Readers of Canadian history are familiar with the pages of Parkman, and a few with those of Warburton, an antecedent historian of the conquest, strangely neglected nowadays. But though many readers are familiar with the record of the struggle for supremacy between the French and English, and for independence, on the part of the Indians, which raged with more or less intermission on this continent for over a hundred years, a brief note is none the less in place. Standing between the early French settlements in Canada and the English in the Province of New York, were the war-like Iroquois, or "Five Nations," a Confederation which, there are good reasons for believing, had established its remarkable polity before the discovery of America, and which depended for its support even more upon agriculture than upon the chase. They mistrusted both white intruders, but, owing to Champlain's initial policy, their feelings toward the French were indescribably vindictive. Their trading interests, besides, lay directly with the English, and, hence, though they temporized, yet, when occasion arose, they generally cast the weight of their arms on the English side. They had a league with them, and besides, like the great race they were, they adhered faithfully to their treaties, even with savage tribes who proved true to them. In their speeches and conversation their term for the English was "Corlear," the name of a Dutch official with whom they had dealings before the cession by Holland to England of the Province (now the State) of New York. The French they called Ononthio, or Yonondio, which was simply a translation into their own tongue of the name of the second Governor of New France, M. de Montmagny, "Great Mountain."

The League of the Iroquois was a marvel of political wisdom to be devised by a savage people; and by its provisions against inbreeding, which at the same time involved the closest tribal relationships, outrivalled the Heptarchy. Before and after the advent of the whites, every recreant branch of their own race was ruthlessly destroyed. For this reason the Eries and Andastes, both believed to be of kindred stock, were exterminated, and the Wyandots or Yendats, called Hurons by the whites, were nearly so, on account of their alliance with the French.

The Confederacy was called by the Iroquois themselves the Hodenosaunee, or "Long House," its head being a hereditary chief sprung from the intermediate and principal clan, the Onondagas. This ruler, called Atotaroh, wielded great influence, and was treated with profound respect. The Atotaroh headship in the true line of descent, it is said, still exists, though shorn of its ancient greatness. The mythology of the Iroquois and their kindred tribes included a number of divinities, all alike the object of worship, though possessed of diverse attributes. Areskoui and Jouskeha were the most important of these. The former, whose abode was the Sun, was worshipped as the god of war, and animals and captives were sacrificed to him. Jouskeha was the grandson of the malignant female divinity Atahensic, and seemed to preside over agriculture. They conjointly ruled the earth, though the abode of the latter was the Moon. But the Iroquois are said to have discarded these deities at the behest of Hiawatha, their great reformer, and to have adopted his conception of a supreme deity whom they called Taronhiawagon, "The Upholder of the Heavens," or "The Master of Life." In his indifference to torture the Iroquois warrior excelled all others; his endurance, indeed, was almost superhuman. There were occasions when, by an appalling refinement of cruelty, as in the instance Father Hennepin witnessed at Fort Frontenac, the wretched victim gave way. But in general the red man bore torture at the stake with unquailing courage, and died without a groan.

Indian stocks were cross-pieces of wood to which prisoners were lashed by the wrists and ankles. The Indian's cordage was larch roots, the inner rind of the linden, or the tough bark of the shrub called moose-wood. These, with buckskin thongs, sinew and "shaganappi," cut from the raw hide of the buffalo, and withes of birch or willow, supplied all primitive wants. The burning of prisoners generally took place at night, and had the character of a sacrifice, enjoyed no doubt, as well, in the spirit of revenge.

Page 164.

In the Wyandot word, Kanata, the accent falls upon the second syllable; and from this word, there can be no reasonable doubt, our country derives its name.

"Open the Bay."

Page 169.

Though the North-West Territories have been a part of Canada for over thirty years, the shortest route to the British Isles has not yet been re-opened, for it was at one time the sole route by which immigration and supplies came to the old Red River Settlement. Russia has, it is said, established steam communication with the Yenesei, whose outlet is far within the Arctic Circle, while Hudson Bay and Straits, well within the temperate zone, are still secluded from the world through the jealousy of Eastern carrying and commercial interests. There is a weighty consideration, however, which should hasten the development of this route, namely, defence. In the event of war the existing line of communication between Eastern and Western Canada could be easily cut, since it skirts the shore of Lake Superior for a great distance. But by the Hudson Bay route the North-West would be furnished with an impregnable base of supply and defence by a railway from Churchill to the Pacific Coast, running through the heart of the Prairie country, and north of two immense rivers. Certainly no time should be lost in developing this great route, so essential not only to the welfare of the North-West, but to the integrity of the Empire.

"In Memory of William A. Foster."

Page 171.

The untimely death, in 1888, of Mr. Foster, an eminent Toronto barrister, the leader of the "Canada First" movement, and the author of the stirring pamphlet published in Toronto in 1871, which so amply justified it, was greatly lamented. In 1868, Mr. Foster, Lieut.-Col. George T. Denison, of Toronto; Henry J. Morgan, of Ottawa; Robert G. Haliburton, of Halifax, and others, met in the Capital and united in an understanding to work together and encourage the growth of a Canadian national sentiment. At that time provincialism of the narrowest type was rampant, and the very name "Canadian" was a jibe on both coasts. But by the persistent efforts of voice and pen a higher ideal was reached, which was greatly strengthened and extended by the formation of the "Canadian National Association" in Toronto in 1874, and by the address which was issued by that body in the following year. The best minds of all the Provinces lent themselves to the task, and in consequence the "higher ideal" has at length triumphed. The feeling of pride in our vast country, and of devotion to our Constitution, now extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It has struck deep root in all the Provinces and Territories, and has taken permanent shape as the "Canadian National Sentiment"—the concrete expression of the faith of all races, parties and creeds in the future of our country and the stability of the Empire.

Page 238.

"In Memory of Thomas D'Arcy McGee."

This distinguished Irishman, though at one time a rebel in arms against Great Britain, became, in later years, a thorough believer in the importance to human liberty and progress of the British Empire. Within that stupendous yet free organism he became convinced that the best interests of his native land would ultimately be fully served, and therefore the scheme of agitators and separatists met with his strong disapproval. He became warmly attached to Canada and her people, and the affection he received in return, particularly from her young men, almost amounted to idolatry. He had set their feelings on fire with his eloquent forecasts of Canada's future and by his fearless denunciation of Fenianism. But this attitude, which won the love of loyal Canada, aroused the bitter and vindictive hate of his countrymen in the United States. The Fenians, who had gained considerable military experience in the American Civil War, were a widespread order there, and being allowed a too free hand, became aggressive, and repeatedly raided into Canada, only to be worsted and ignominiously driven out by the Canadian militia. Mr. McGee, having gained an insight into their criminal plans, of course took steps to thwart them. For this reason his death was determined upon. In the height of his intellectual power, with a fine future before him as a Canadian statesman and poet, he was murdered by a Fenian when returning from a late sitting of the Canadian House of Commons. His death was greatly deplored, not only on personal but on public grounds. Eminent British leaders placed great confidence in Mr. McGee's sagacity and judgment, and looked to him as the man above all others capable of solving the riddle of Irish agitation. His death utterly discredited the Fenian Order, which, it must be added, had failed to take root in the Provinces. Indeed, there is no stronger testimony to the respect for British law and liberty which experience in the colonies breeds, than the loyalty of the noble and generous Irish race in Canada.

Transcriber's Notes

In three poems (THE LEGEND OF CHILEELI, A BALLAD FOR BRAVE WOMEN, and ADDRESS TO A MAID) it was not clear whether a page break was also a stanza break. A stanza break has been interpolated in each case and marked with [].

The word [was] was interpolated in Note 28 to give sence to a sentence.

[The end of Tecumseh: A Drama and Canadian Poems by Charles Mair]