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We look'd for the hunter whose bride's lament
-Where are they?—thou ’rt seeking some distant coast-
THE ISLE OF FOUNTS.
AN INDIAN TRADITION.
“ The River St: Mary has its source from a vast lake or marsh, which lies between Flint and Oakmulge rivers, and occupies a space of near three hundred miles in circuit. This vast accumulation of waters, in the wet season, appears as a lake, and contains some large islands or knolls of rich high land; one of which the present generation of the Creek Indians represent to be a most blissful spot of earth ; they say it is inhabited by a pe culiar race of Indians, whose women are incomparably beautiful. They also tell you that this terrestrial paradise has been seen by some of their enter. prising hunters, when in pursuit of game; but in their endeavours to approach it, they were involved in perpetual labyrinths, and, like enchanted land, still as they imagined they had just gained it, it seemed to fly before them, alternately appearing and disappearing. They resolved, at length, to leave the delusive pursuit, and to return, which, after a number of difficulties, they effected. When they reported their adventures to their countrymen, the young warriors were inflamed with an irresistible desire to invade, and make a conquest of, so charming a country ; but all their attempts have hitherto proved abortive, never having been able again to find that enchanting spot."
Bartram's Travels Through North and South Carolina, &c. The additional circumstances in the Isle of Founts are merely imaginary.
Son of the stranger! wouldst thou take
O'er yon blue hills thy lonely way,
-Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Lull but the mighty serpent king, *
'Midst the grey rocks, his old domain ; Ward but the cougar's deadly spring,
-Thy step that lake's green shores may gain ; And the bright Isle, when all is passid, Shall vainly meet thine eye at last !
Yes! there, with all its rainbow streams,
Clear as within thine arrow's flight,
Floats on the wave in golden light ;
* The Cherokees believe that the recesses of their mountains, overgrown with lofty pines and cedars, and covered with old mossy rocks, are inhabited by the kings or chiefs of the rattlesnakes, whom they denominate the “bright old inhabitants." They represent them as snakes of an enormous size, and which possess the power of drawing to them every living creature that comes within the reach of their eyes. Their heads are said to be crowned with a carbuncle, of dazzling brightness.--See Notes to Leyden's "Scenes of Infancy."
And breathings from their sunny flowers,
Which are not of the things that die, And singing voices from their bowers
Shall greet thee in the purple sky; Soft voices, e'en like those that dwell Far in the green reed's hollow cell.
Or hast thou heard the sounds that rise
From the deep chambers of the earth ? The wild and wondrous melodies
To which the ancient rocks gave birth ? * -Like that sweet song of hidden caves Shall swell those wood-notes o'er the waves.
The emerald waves !—they take their hue
And image from that sunbright shore; But wouldst thou launch thy light canoe,
And wouldst thou ply thy rapid oar, Before thee, hadst thou morning's speed, The dreamy land should still recede!
* The stones on the banks of the Oronoco, called by the South American missionaries Laras de Musica, and alluded to in a former note,
Yet on the breeze thou still wouldst hear
The music of its flowering shades,
Of founts that ripple through its glades ;
But woe for him who sees them burst
With their bright spray-showers to the lake! Earth has no spring to quench the thirst
That semblance in his soul shall wake,
Bright, bright in many a rocky urn,
The waters of our deserts lie, Yet at their source his lip shall burn,
Parch'd with the fever's agony ! From the blue mountains to the main, Our thousand floods may roll in vain.
E'en thus our hunters came of yore
Back from their long and weary quest ;