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Beneath her Father's roof, alone
She seem'd to live ; her thoughts her own ;
Herself her own delight:
Pleased with herself, nor sad nor gay,
She passed her time ; and in this way
Grew up to Woman's height.
There came a Youth from Georgia's shore-
A military Casque he wore
With splendid feathers drest;
He brought them from the Cherokees :
The feathers nodded in the breeze,
And made a gallant crest.
From Indian blood you deem him sprung:
Ah no! he spake the English tongue,
And bore a Soldier's name;
And, when America was free
From battle and from jeopardy,
He 'cross the ocean came.
With hues of genius on his cheek
In finest tones the Youth could speak.
-While he was yet a Boy,
The moon, the glory of the sun,
And streams that murmur as they run,
Had been his dearest joy.
He was a lovely Youth! I
The panther in the wilderness
Was not so fair as he;
And, when he chose to sport and play,
No dolphin ever was so gay
Upon the tropic sea.
Among the Indians he had fought;
And with him many tales he brought
Of pleasure and of fear;
Such tales as, told to any Maid
By such a Youth, in the green shade,
Were perilous to hear.
He told of Girls, a happy rout!
Who quit their fold with dance and shout,
Their pleasant Indian Town,
To gather strawberries all day long ;
Returning with a choral song
When daylight is gone down.
He spake of plants divine and strange
That every hour their blossoms change,
Ten thousand lovely hues !
With budding, fading, faded flowers,
They stand the wonder of the bowers
From morn to evening dews.
He told of the Magnolia, (a) spread
High as a cloud, high over head !
The Cypress and her spire,
-Of flowers (6) that with one scarlet gleam
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem
To set the hills on fire.
(a) Magnolia grandiflora.
(6) The splendid appearance of these scarlet flowers, which are scattered with such profusion over the hills in the southern parts of North America, is frequently mentioned by Bartram in his Travels.
The Youth of green savannahs spake,
And many an endless, endless lake,
With all its fairy crowds
Of islands, that together lie
As quietly as spots of sky
Among the evening clouds.
And then he said, “ How sweet it were
A fisher or a hunter there,
A gardener in the shade,
Still wandering with an easy mind
To build a household fire, and find
A home in every glade !
" What days and what sweet years ! Ah me!
Our life were life indeed, with thee
So passed in quiet bliss,
And all the while,” said he,
That we were in a world of wo,
On such an earth as this !”
And then he sometimes interwove
Dear thoughts about a Father's love ;
“ For there,” said he, are spun
Around the heart such tender ties,
That our own children to our eyes
Are dearer than the sun.
66 Sweet Ruth! and could you go with me
My helpmate in the woods to be,
Our shed at night to rear ;
Or run, my own adopted Bride,
A sylvan Huntress at my side,
And driye the flying deer !
" Beloved Ruth !”-No more he said.
The wakeful Ruth at midnight shed
A solitary tear :
She thought again and did agree
With him to sail across the sea,
And drive the flying deer.
“ And now, as fitting is and right,
We in the Church our faith will plight,
A Husband and a Wife.”
Even so they did ; and I may say
That to sweet Ruth that happy day
Was more than human life.
Through dream and vision did she sink,
Delighted all the while to think
That, on those lonesome floods,
And green savannahs, she should share
His board with lawful joy, and bear
His name in the wild woods.
But, as you have before been told,
This Stripling, sportive, gay, and bold,
And with his dancing crest
So beautiful, through savage
lands Had roamed about, with vagrant bands Of Indians in the West.
The wind, the tempest roaring high,
The tumult of a tropic sky,
Might well be dangerous food
For him, a Youth to whom was given
So much of earth—so much of Heaven,
And such impetuous blood.
Whatever in those Climes he found
Irregular in sight or sound
Did to his mind impart
A kindred impulse, seemed allied
To his own powers, and justified
The workings of his heart.
Nor less, to feed voluptuous thought,
The beauteous forms of nature wrought,
Fair trees and lovely flowers ;
The breezes their own languor lent ;
The stars had feelings, which they sent
Into those gorgeous bowers.
Yet, in his worst pursuits, I ween
That sometimes there did intervene
Pure hopes of high intent :
For passions link'd to forms so fair
And stately needs must have their share
Of noble sentiment.
But ill he lived, much evil saw
With men to whom no better law
Nor better life was known;
Deliberately, and undeceived,
Those wild men's vices he received,
And gave them back his own.
His genius and his moral frame
Were thus impair'd, and he became
The slave of low desires :
A Man who without self-control
Would seek what the degraded soul