Rape of Florida: Canto II

Albery Allson Whitman

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The trump of fame is but the thunder's tone
Borne off forever, dying on the wind.
The glorious summits of the ages gone,
In dim remoteness scarcely lift the mind:
The mighty deeds that thrilled of yore, mankind,
Are now forgotten or but seldom told;
Th' unresting spirit e'er the new must find --
Old lands, old tongues, old heav'ns and earths -- all old
Things pass away, as time displays the new unrolled.

What is there now of gods and Mikadoos,
And dukes, and lords, or other tilted things,
In this live age? -- this busy world profuse
With evolution? -- when each hour there springs
New truths, and new sensations mount their wings?
Inherent mention's scarcely worth the pains,
The world cares little whose grand sires were kings;
I'd rather be a squatter on the plains,
And know that I possessed industry, pluck and brains.

Greatness, by nature, cannot be entailed;
It is an office ending with the man, --
Sage, hero, Savior, tho' the Sire be hailed,
The son may reach obscurity in the van:
Sublime achievements know no patent plan,
Man's immortality's a book with seals,
And none but God shall open -- none else can, --
But opened, it the mystery reveals, --
Manhood's conquest of man to heav'n's respect appeals.

Is manhood less because man's face is black?
Let thunders of the loosened seals reply!
Who shall the rider's restive steed turn back,
Or who withstand the arrows he lets fly,
Between the mountains of eternity?
Genius ride forth! thou gift and torch of heav'n!
The mastery is kindled in thine eye;
To conquest ride! thy bow of strength is giv'n --
The trampled hordes of caste before thee shall be driv'n!

Who is't would beg? What man permission crave
To give his thoughts their scope and rightful reign?
Let him be cursed! a self-manacled slave!
He's a polution to the mind's domain --
A moral garbage scattered on the plain --
An execration of the world! -- God's arm
Defend not him! Oh! if there is disdain
To freeze the bosom's every impulse warm,
I crave it for all who to Favor's alm's house swarm.

Shall thunders ask of man what time to beat
The march of clouds? Or oceans beg his leave
To rock their under-worlds? In his dread seat,
Doth Blanc consider him? When did he weave
A mantle for the hurricane, or give
The Rockies leave to hold the dying Sun! --
Sooner all these -- sooner an earthquake heave,
And sink earth back where broods oblivion,
Than God-giv'n mind submit for gyves to be put on.

'T is hard to judge if hatred of one's race,
By those who deem themselves superior-born,
Be worse than that quiesence in disgrace,
Which only merits -- and should only -- scorn!
Oh! let me see the negro, night and morn,
Pressing and fighting in, for place and power!
If he a proud escutcheon would adorn,
All earth is place -- all time th' auspicious hour,
While heaven leans forth to see, oh! can he quail or cower?

Ah! I abhor his protest and complaint!
His pious looks and patience I despise!
He can't evade the test, disguised as saint,
The manly voice of freedom bids him rise,
And shake himself before Philistine eyes!
And, like a lion roused, no sooner than
A foe dare come, play all his energies,
And court the fray with fury if he can;
For hell itself respects a fearless manly man!

Negro, or Arab, Zulu if one choose,
Unmoved be thou reproached for all but fear!
By the unhindered waters learn to muse,
With nature's liberal voices in thy ear;
Dwell on her nobler aspects that appear,
And make companions of all one may find:
Go rove the mountain forests far and near,
And hear the laughter of the open wind;
Then ask, what earth affords like freedom of the mind!

Be thine the shoulders that may bleed -- not wince,
Tho' insolence in power lay on the lash.
Look retribution! court the worst nor flinch,
If thou must meet! -- upon the insult gnash!
And let thy kindled courage on him flash;
For whom he can not conquer -- dare not kill --
In suff'ring dumb -- in manly virtues rash --
Must with respect e'en tyrant bosoms fill,
So godlike is the man who is invincible!

I never was a slave -- a robber took
My substance -- what of that? The law my rights --
And that? I still was free and had my book --
All nature. And I learned from during hights
How silence is majestic, and invites
In admiration far beholding eyes!
And heaven taught me, with her starry nights,
How deepest speech unuttered often lies,
And that Jehovah's lessons mostly he implies.

My birth-place where the scrub-wood thicket grows,
My mother bound, and daily toil my dower;
I envy not the halo title throws
Around the birth of any; place and power
May be but empty phantoms of an hour, --
For me, I find a more enduring bliss:
Rejoicing fields, green woods -- the stream -- the flower,
To me have speech, and born of God, are his
Interpreters, proclaiming what true greatness is.

Where'er I roam, in all the earth abroad,
I find this written in the human chart:
A love of Nature is the love of God,
And love of man 's the religion of the heart.
Man's right to think, in his majestic part
In his Creator's works -- to others bless --
This is the point whence god-like actions start,
And open, conscientious manliness
Is the divinest image mortals can possess.

Almighty fairness smiling heaven portends,
In sympathy the elements have tears;
The meekest flow'rs are their Creator's friends,
The hungry raven He in patience hears;
And e'en the sparrow's wishes reach His ears!
But when He treads the tyrant in His wrath,
And to crush wrong the horn of battle rears,
The pestilence goes forth on him who hath
Transgressed, and empires fall imploring in His path.

A god-like man is fair to fellow-men,
And gentleness is native in his soul!
He sees no fault in man till forced, and then
He wonders 't were not greater. He is whole
In valor, mercy, love, and self-control.
Virtue is his religion -- Liberty
His shrine -- honest contentment is his goal
And sum of bliss, and his life aims to be
In nothing excellent, save that which leaves man free.

I envy not the man whose want of brains
Supplies a roost for race-hate's filthy brood!
The little eminence his soul attains
Is more the pity when 'tis understood,
That he, perhaps, has done the best he could!
Tread not upon him just to see him squirm!
Pity, forsooth! to crawl is his best good,
And 'tis his nat'ral way, I do affirm;
So, let him crawl his fill, he is a harmless worm!

A lovely sunset fills the evening sky,
On glorified peaks the cloud-rims slowly fade,
Till comes the darkened east on quietly
Extending o'er the earth a solemn shade!
All things are silent, save the whispers made
By drowsy pines o'er where deep solitude
Rock, cavern, hill and valley doth pervade.
Now sinks a glimmering spirit in the wood,
And the dark brow of heav'n with myst'ry is imbued!

How changed the hour! How sweet to be alone
In meditations! 'Bove thee sweep thy sight
O'er the unconscious world, a baldic zone
Of heavenly sapphires burns! Behind the hight
The tranquil moon appears, and peerless night
Asserts her brilliant reign! Oh! mystery,
Interpreter of yon far mansions bright,
To find what their night-cogitations be,
My soul would mount its eager way and dwell with thee!

The portals of Thine upper House, O God!
Portend a kindred of their worlds to me!
O! how the coming of Thy light abroad,
Doth lift my soul adoring up to Thee!
And is it not benign that I should see?
How could my heart in disobedience sink,
While round me rolls infinite harmony,
And thou dost woo my spirit forth to think,
And wait with Thine eternal sons upon the brink!

Thou awful One! Thy willing creature hear!
Help Thou my soul in patience here to wait;
And how soe'er to me Thou dost appear,
Lead me to look towards Thine upper gate!
Thy tender goodness is to me so great,
And Thou so near me hast Thy wonders brought.
Oh! help me love Thee more in Thine estate,
And love my fellow mortal as I ought!
Then grant that I come to Thine upper home of thought.

When we behold yon citizens of heaven,
Oh! why should man oppress his brother here?
How sweet to think a Father's love hath given
To man the task to beautify this sphere,
And dwell in peace upon it everywhere!
The noblest hights e'er found by angels' ken,
The grandest vistas that to them appear,
Make not celestial joys so sweet as when
They see our earth a heaven -- a brotherhood of men!

Love in the forest, -- this is is now our theme --
Was like a charming spirit in the wild
Where dwelt Atlassa. It to him did seem
That all the earth with tints of promise smiled.
And since he met Palmecho and his child,
The waves of Mickasukie sang more sweet.
The hoarse old pines did even speak more mild,
The wild flow'rs brightened in their mossy seat;
And Ewald's whispers lingered in the wind's retreat.

No wonder he from forests sports should turn,
No wonder that he learned the Spanish tongue --
And to Twasinta went that he might learn:
Nor is it strange that, his rude tribes among,
The useful arts soon into being sprung.
The faithful exile in his fields was seen;
His herds were watched and numbered old and young;
With waving corn the valleys soon were green,
And pleasant houses reared where wigwams erst had been.

The warrior's blade now rusted in his halls,
The incantations of the seer were done;
Free hearts arose at labor's urgent calls,
And strong hands had their cheerful tasks begun:
Soon fields of plenty rose to greet the sun.
Instead of savage revels, now the feast
Of harvests was prolonged: and there was none
So proud as our young chief that wars had ceased, --
So plain is love the proof that man is not a beast.

The faithful exile, always giv'n to boast,
In deep'ning converse with the Seminole,
Would vow, that, "in all Carolina's coast --
All Georgia -- Alabama -- all the whole
Wide world, there was not such a sunny soul
As that young dark-eyed angel of the West!"
Then thus his instances would he unroll:
"Just see her feet, her hands, her timid breast,
Her mouth, her hair -- but oh! her dark eyes never rest!"

The Seminole would nod his gruff assent,
And long and stout they shook each other's hands.
The "queen of blossoms" was the name that went
The rounds of all the Mickasukie bands.
Ewald was princess of the sunny lands;
And as from lip to lip her mention ran,
Atlassa's inward promise to his hands,
Was valiant deeds and glory in the van, --
So sure does love inspire the manliness of man.

Ewald the idol of Twasinta's shades, --
Palmecho's pride and jewel of his care,
Well loved her chieftain of the everglades:
The matchless watcher of the forests fair.
As free as pine-watched Tampa's breezy air,
The head and boast of his intrepid race,
His brow was noble, -- valor's seat was there --
His mien was princely and the eye could trace
The warrior-soul that warmed his wildly handsome face.

Till stars were out, Ewald stood half afraid --
Half conscious of the hour -- nor till the moon
Was in the misty vale, could she persuade
Herself that her young chief must not come soon:
'Twas when the whip-poor-will's loud wizard tune
Had warned her from the brake, that she could leave
Turning to go, -- then pausing to commune
With shadowy thoughts, that fancy's touch did weave
Into a spell-like hope that she might him receive.

And now she heard Twasinta's watchdogs bark
At many a drowsy cotter's distant door,
Baying such sounds as travel after dark,
Leaving the after-stillness stilly more.
Thus are we warned by dogs, some say, before
Eventful times, -- whether this doth reveal,
Or not, some mystery in canine lore, --
The dog's unwonted barking's apt to steal
O'er us at night, and make us strange misgivings feel.

The very air uneasily did creep
Among the maples darkling over-head;
And as she reached her gateway on the steep,
She found Palmecho, prying out, who said:
"There's wrong abroad, my Ewald, something dread
Is sure to happen;" and while yet he spake
A hasty footman from the forests sped --
It was an exile, who his way did make
Straight to Palmecho, some alarming news to break.

As Ewald passed, she heard Atlassa's name.
Wide thro' Twasinta spread the hasty news,
Like stubbles crackling in a wind-swept flame.
Ah! now was trouble's sombre currents loose!
With muttered threats and presages profuse,
The young men's speeches stirred the eager crowd;
Whilst old men thought up their ancestral views,
And triumphs, that well made the warrior proud --
But all for action were unanimous and loud.

At daybreak, ere a flock fresh scatt'ring browsed
The still gray slopes, the loud echoing horn,
With sudden 'larum, all Twasinta roused;
And quietude was in her bosom torn!
How dreadful was confusion on that morn!
Soon forth from early field and drowsy cot,
Palmecho's servants, mutt'ring wrath or scorn,
O'er fence and ditches hurried to the spot
Whence came the signals, to repel a dastard plot!

Hoe, axe and pick were clashing on the air,
Old swords and muskets, made by long disuse
And ancient rust to look grim things, were there!
Club, scythe and rake -- whatever one might choose,
In one commingling torrent now were loose!
It was a ghastly sea, whose surge pressed surge,
All ploughed to frothy anger by abuse,
That now did roar! and on the sudden verge
Of desperation men stood nerved the worst to urge!

Behind them were their homes, wives, children -- all!
Forth in the breach, sons, husbands, fathers stood
To meet what came if e'en the heav'ns must fall!
Thro' unpolluted fields by Waxe's flood,
O'er meadows sweet and in the palmy wood,
The armor of the foe gleamed in the sun:
Proud was the aged maroon's incensed mood,
As forth to meet them in a feeble run,
He waved his servants back, and thus his speech begun:

"What troop is this that comes to mine abode?
What seek ye here? Intruders! will ye dare
To hoof my grounds? Why shun yon open road?
Age quencheth not resentment! and beware,
Whoe'er ye be, or whence soe'er ye are,
Ye come no further!" Rapid gestures told
How he was moved; but without heed or care,
On rode the soldiers till he had seized hold
One's reins, and felt a sabre's blow that laid him cold.

The mutt'ring breaks! -- a yell! -- a rush! -- a rage!
The servants come! blades clatter, missiles fly!
The trained dragoons in battle-form engage
These rude, brave fellows, -- aim with deadly eye --
Fall back in line, reload and deadlier try
Successive aims! -- ah! but the gods inspire
The freeman who sees freemen by him die! --
Each soldier's shot but builds the unconquered fire,
Twasinta's sons come on to rescue or expire!

Around their prostrate chieftain they contend,
The foe's dread volleys can not hinder more!
In strong arms seized, their bleeding father-friend
Is borne away, as from the mansion door
Flies a sweet form, in frantic fondness o'er
Her sire to bend! But hark! what mean the cries
That startle silent Waxe's utmost shore?
With bated breath full soon each dragoon eyes
His rear, faces about, puts spurs, and headlong flies.

Atlassa's feerless plume was now in sight,
His Seminoles towards Twasinta cheered.
Twasinta answered with her valiant might.
And deaf'ning shouts did greet them as they neared!
Till on Palmecho's threshold they appeared,
The tempest of rejoicings held its sway;
Then on the roof the flag of Spain was reared,
And Mickasukie's braves the live-long day,
Were thro' Twasinta led in many a festive way.

Did bivouac fires e'er shed a holier light
O'er the eternal slumbers of the slain,
Tho' kings were conquered, than was seen that night,
From candles burning in Twasinta's plain?
Or where the hearth-fire kindled hope again?
Roll the loud drum! and fill the brazen blast!
Heralds report the laureled victor's train! --
Let royal cups to valor's lips be past,
And still Twasinta's sons their undimmed glory hast.

Of how Atlassa's hours that night went by,
As he with Ewald watched his aged friend,
There's none mote ask, for none mote aim to pry
In sacred things, -- the eye would e'en offend
If it should touch them! -- angels might not bend
In admiration, or they must desire
A mortal hour or two on earth to spend:
So let us leave the mansion, nor aspire
To feast a curious gaze whence angels should retire.

Oh! what a change one fleeting hour may bring!
What grand achievements may escape the hand,
When man had seemed to vanquish everything!
Fate, stern Dictatress, but assumes her wand
And wizard throne! -- the doomed on sea and land
Doth fall by her irrevocable thrust!
The King descends to beg at her command,
The pride of empire humbles in the dust,
And all hat man would be bows down to what he must.

She waves in air, -- unreefs the tempest's shrouds!
She throws a spark, -- red, angry flame forth flies
And climbs the palace dome into the clouds,
To melt in ruins the toil of centuries!
Lo! where yon sea-watched mountains darkly rise!
She thrusts them in their rock-seamed armor brown;
Volcano leaps to the night-glaring skies,
An earthquake drinks the crumbling city down,
And dashed on high the monster wrecks of Ocean frown

Vain mortals we! fond worms! how slow to note!
Man is but man! The subjects at his feet
To-day may aim to-morrow at his throat.
Before whom he, in open battle beat
An hour ago, this hour he may retreat;
Or on his armored hight-invincible
He may fall by the cunning of deceit.
From first to last, in spite of human will,
Fate ever moves unfoiled, Dictatress stern and still.

Fate comes at last, no telling where nor when!
The flag of truce from San Augustine's gate,
And oily speeches of designing men,
Reduced Twasinta's sons in their estate! --
Palmecho, at the council table sate
To prove by word what they in arms had claimed,
The right to live as freemen, small and great --
But, be it said, and ------ dust be blamed;
This land should blush whene'er a flag of truce is named.

Palmecho spoke of wars, and rights, and lands,
The hardened pirates ------ at their head,
Heard with deep ire the brave old chief's demands!
With inborn hate they gave him chains instead,
And forth to seize his daughter hotly sped;
But mounting for the wilds, her valiant steed
Swept where the whist'ling cypress darkly spread,
And bore from sight in his pursuers' lead,
Foaming the scornful boast, that Ewald should be freed.

'Tis night, the gathering storm approaches fast;
Dark roll the low'ring clouds o'er Tampa's flood:
Earth groans as thunders utter forth their blast,
And light'nings gleam athwart the trembling wood!
'Tis as if Terror, calling up her brood,
Did howl to hear their deep responsive howls;
Or Darkness from her nether caverns stood,
To horrify with most unmortal scowls
And glints the habitations of unhappy souls!

Ah! such a night! How pallid nature reels
And shudders in the face of what forebodes!
And flying at Destruction's furious wheels
The wrath and pennons of insatiate gods
Now seem to rush! 'Tis still! And now the floods
Of heav'n break up! The big drops spatt'ring break!
Down! down! the sluices pour! The drenchy roads
Are streams of sheety flame! The pine tops quake
And howl in direful hubbub as the winds awake!

Ah! such a night! And who is this abroad?
Lo! Where 'mid Tampa's pines she darts along!
Unreigned her fiery courser spurns the road,
And leaps away the crashing trees among!
Oh! can Ewald, so innocent and young,
Thus like a spirit of the storm fly on!
Ah! but the heart of gentleness is strong
When woman sallies forth, unhelped, alone,
With but one star of hope, and that one almost gone

To where a hunter's lodge gleams thro' the trees,
She turns her champing steed and hails outright;
A warrior answering in the door she sees, --
"Who's this abroad in such a stormy night?"
She answers not, but straightway doth alight,
And when her quick eyes and Atlassa's meet,
He stands with stark amazement, speechless quite.
"'Tis I, Atlassa," now with accents sweet,
The trembling Ewald speaks, as swift her heart doth beat.

They enter, and the chieftain lowly bows, --
He leads Ewald and quickly draws a seat;
His warriors sit around in silent rows,
And on their camp skins draw away their feet,
While their brave eyes in secret wonder meet;
Till thus to speak began their lovely guest;
They knew her language and her words were sweet --
"Warriors, I come to you with what, expressed,
Will cause a rankling fire to burn a valiant breast."

"At San Augustine now Palmecho pines, --
They chained him at the council there to-day!
The dungeon's gloom his aged sight confines,
I saw the arm'd men dragging him away!
'Seize now his child!' I heard a grim voice say,
And but for my brave steed that bore me here,
I too had been in chains, a prisoner -- nay,
Had been the mock and jests of wild beasts, where,
To bear man's wrongs were death, and tenfold more severe."

Where glared the camp fire, now Atlassa rose, --
His oft-tried warriors waited his command.
A downward glance on these he sternly throws, --
They seize their arms and close around him stand!
Dangers ne'er bristled round a braver band!
Half list'ning, as for foes, the chief begun,
While tenderly he held young Ewald's hand:
"Witness, ye braves, who oft have battles won, --
Speak now! what peril did Atlassa ever shun?"

"Witness, ye pines on Mickasukie's shore!
Witness, ye brakes and glens of Florida!
Did ever I disgrace the soil that bore
My race, by coward's act? From Tampa Bay,
Have I not met the armed foe in the way,
E'en to these bounds? Ye Seminoles once brave --
Brave ever! witness that I now do say:
Let not my country owe me e'en a grave,
If Sire Palmecho pine one fortnight more a slave!"

Ewald now from her neck toss'd tresses wild,
And gazed upon her chieftain's valiant face --
Hope lit the spirit of the woman-child!
While with the native courage of his race,
A warrior pluck'd his chief's knife from its place,
And waving it aloft, stern-looking, cried:
"Who wears this blade and doth the task embrace
To free Palmecho, weal or woe betide,
I'll follow where he goes or perish at his side!"

Loud rang the shouts; the storm heard and the night,
The Seminole, the dread of Tampa's coast,
Was in his bosom stirred! and in such might,
Not Buena Vistas' hero, Mexic's boast,
Nor war-worn Clinch's mercenary host
Could drive him back: "She is our native star!"
They cried and yelled, for who should yell the most;
"Her beauty shines on us from Candahar,
Lead us to bring Palmecho to his home afar!"

Atlassa spoke: "At morn bring up her steed,
And lead her to our village by the lake:
The haughty foe a cougar's cry may heed,
And cow'r ere yet the glinted morn shall wake!
Loud! loud till then, and dark, thou tempest, break!
Rock San Augustine's sentry in his sleep
Till I shall come!" He paused, adieu to take,
And out into the pitchy woods did leap,
While at his heels two braves their stormy way did keep.

How passing strange is love! His airy wing,
Soft as gossamer, may rest on a beam,
Or glow in summer mists! He haunts the spring,
Gay in the ripplings of the sunbright stream!
He revels daylong in a rain show'r's dream,
And is a truant 'mid the lisping leaves.
On languid mosses where the young flow'rs teem,
A garland for his fairy mate he weaves,
And hears such elfin strains as no dull ear receives.

Ah! yet how strange is love! He tunes his shell
To breathing violets, and to the show'r,
He says sweet things in song; his whispers dwell
Upon the wind's lips -- he smiles in each flow'r,
Laughs in the joyous rustle of the bow'r,
And murmurs where the breezeless willows pine;
He chirrups in the morning's dew-fresh hour,
Deep in the lulled shade flees the midday shine,
And like a spell pervades the evening's gray decline.

How passing strange! He climbs the awful steep
To sit upon the bald old eagle's hight, --
Goes down for treasures in the corralled deep --
Disputes the reign of tempest-brooding night,
Quenches the flames of war, -- nor famine's blight,
Nor burning Equinox, nor Arctic cold,
Can stay him in his universal might!
Stranger than life, a gentle prince and bold,
In lovely woman's eyes his palace you behold.

He is capricious, often seizing hearts
That least suspect him, and as often he
Doth sport with trials -- whence his sudden starts,
Hair breadth escapes, and bouts in which to be,
Not always seems most wise to chastity.
In passionate momentary wanderings,
Or long consistent quiets, ever free, --
Sweet welcome spirit, where he rests his wings,
Divinest charms invest the commonest of things!

If now the bright sensation of an hour,
He flits from scene to scene in gorgeous hues,
Soon o'er his bloom-sweet task his wings will low'r,
And he with busy hopes content, will choose
To taste the sweets of toil-inducing dews;
And fail at last, or blossom with success,
His task is sweet, and he cannot refuse.
Thrice blessed himself, his mission is to bless --
And iron-visaged fate will smile in his caress.

I pity him who ne'er has loved a woman,
And that outright, -- with all her faults thrown in;
For the sole reason is, that he is no man,
And wears the downcast of orig'nal sin!
Who cannot look in woman's eyes, and win
That glimpse of heaven that Adam erst derived
From dwelling near enough to see within?
Love's just the Eden of which he's deprived,
Who has not truly loved, has never truly lived.

A hunter's lodge in Tampa's woods at night, --
A raging storm abroad -- Palmecho chained --
And still where gleamed the hearth's uncertain light,
Ewald felt something in her heart which pained,
Both when it left her and when it remained:
Vacant she gazed, forgetting to forget;
Thoughts light as failing shadows were retained, --
She shut them out -- they toyed with her yet, --
Such is the fate of those who toil in young love's net.

'Twas true, Atlassa's fame was greatly known,
His deeds of valor thrilled on many a tongue;
Palmecho proudly did his friendship own;
He knew the father -- then the son was young --
He too was mighty, -- valiant men among --
Yes, he had trained his only, gifted son,
Whose name of late in every council rung;
She thought all this, and now again begun
Thinking of him -- no -- herself -- no, not any one!

A father held in chains! She thought of that,
But he would be soon rescued, oh! the thought!
To San Augustine, he who faltered at
No mortal peril, soon must come or ought.
Her father home again in triumph brought!
To think! song! music! dance and faces bright!
Greetings, and love unhindered and untaught!
All this went in her mind, as at the light
She blindly gazed, forgetting that the night was night.

Now while her friends sit round to watch and guard,
We leave her with them and her thoughts to stay.
Fierce o'er the parapets the lightenings glared
At San Augustine -- dangerous the way,
For, in their drowsy tents an army lay!
Atlassa crept towards a grizly tow'r,
Where is the storied prison, old and gray;
Louder the tempest roared in that grim hour,
And rolled the sea to meet the heav'n that seem'd to low'r!

Dark rose the walls, a church and prison joined,
Their kindred glooms to blend and intermix.
Dungeon'd in one, the unknown victim pined,
And in the other mid quaint candlesticks,
Sombre and weird arose a crucifix:
How fitly these portrayed the men who built
A house of God o'ershadowed by old Nick's --
Vain man, to thus offend thy Maker! wilt
Thou look on images to take away thy guilt!

How slight the transit superstition makes
From common crime to acts of righteousness!
E'en human life in willful hate she takes,
Makes earth a waste and desert of distress,
Where lust and rapine rival in excess;
Then from the smoke of some mysterious rite,
She shadows forth in all as if to bless!
And whose disputes must perish in her sight,
An heretic, an enemy of God and right!

Man will hold some religion, most believe,
Mainly to hush the soul's rebuke of wrong;
They would their very conscious selves deceive,
By hearing God's will in an unknown tongue,
And recitals not understood and long.
Hence, from the conscience, they with ease appeal
To crime's high court, the mysteries among.
What then are human hearts? -- earth's woe or weal
When man wrongs man, inspired divinely not to feel

Thus envy's blist'rous tongue her victim smites,
Malice her bludgeon whirls, Theft stalks abroad,
Lust thrives, and like a deadly serpent bites,
And highway vandalism takes the road
To spoil the earth and preach the word of God!
Oh! infamous insult to heaven and earth!
Well was the ground on Sin's account called Nod!
The sum of crimes that have religious birth
Would blight the hills of God and smite them with a dearth

Thus, San Augustine's church and prison joined,
Fitly portrayed crime's eminent success;
When hounds and murderous troops were loosed to find
The unsuspecting exile, and to press
The wretched Seminole from his recess
In hommock far, or by the dark bayou;
To burn his corn-fields in the wilderness,
And drag the helpless child and mother, thro'
Infested swamps to die in chains as felons do.

Start not! the church and prison are our text.
The Seminole and exile far removed
From busier scenes, led harmless lives, unvexed
And unmolested mid the groves they loved;
Till proud Columbia for all time proved
How much her high religion could perform,
When her slave-holding sons were truly moved! --
How soon her pious bosom could grow warm,
When heathen tribes submitted to her cruel arm.

If e'er the muse of hist'ry sits to write,
And Florida appear upon her page,
This nation's crimes will blush the noonday light,
And ---'s name will lead her criminal age!
Of all the cruel wars she e'er did wage,
The cruelest will be to him assigned!
The hardened soldier's lust, the bloodhound's rage,
And San Augustine's church and prison joined,
Will be fit monuments for his chivalric mind!

Extermination was his highest creed,
Bondage the one provision of his will,
The blood of innocence marred not the deed,
He knew no art of warfare but to kill:
Slaying was sweet, but slaughter sweeter still!
A human monster, traced thro' tears and blood
From Blount's poor fort on Apalachi's hill,
To Tampa's waters and the Mexic flood, --
But, to forget him, is, perhaps a common good!

Heard ye not in the cypress come a troop?
Saw ye not by the gray old battlement,
In fear's deep anguish hurdled exiles stoop;
Wife, mother, child within the stockade pent,
As down the angry Apalachi went
The steamy monitor, to belch out death,
While savage Creeks rushed thro' the bloody rent
Made by the iron havoc of its breath,
To massacre the wounded that did shriek beneath?

A sense of wrong burned in Atlassa's veins,
Flowed with his life, and like a fever eat;
No coward's act upon his hands left stains;
He hated e'en the likeness of deceit, --
In equal contest he knew no defeat --
The one brave object of incessant raids,
E'en Taylor's vet'rans from him must retreat;
So fierce he stood in Mickasukie's shades,
The invincible watcher of the everglades!

But, on he fares beneath the prison walls,
The gates are shut, and stoutly barred the door;
A drowsy sent'nel slumbers in the halls,
And growls a snarlish cur upon the floor.
Quickly Atlassa scans the building o'er,
Locates each striking object, and discerns
How best to lead assault, and leaves before
A soldier of his daring venture learns;
Leaps from the walls and to his waiting braves returns.

O'er San Augustine's gloomy turrets rose
Serenest morn, -- forth from a brilliant rift,
Where barring clouds till now the east did close,
The bright sun shone. Vapors began to drift
Along the valleys, and from forest lift
Their mantling mists. Refreshed the wide earth woke,
And to her joyous hosts renewed the gift
Of song and vigor: field and woodlawn spoke,
And rousing drums anon, the camp's deep slumbers broke.

The busy tents below the chieftain stirred,
The troops were seen towards a centre come;
And now the officers' clear calls he heard, --
The soldiers' hurrying tread -- the rattling drum --
The "halt" the "forward!" slow, the hush! the hum --
The rush! the roar! the "double-quick," and then
The call, the count, the handling wearisome
Of arms, and now the "double-quick!" again --
And wondered if by this they multiplied their men!

Forth rode the troopers in the rising sun,
To march against some unsuspecting town.
Atlassa saw them -- idly chatting on, --
Bright gleamed their armor, as they sauntered down
The sedgy slope with boxwood overgrown.
Far on their way his eager eye pursued;
The pent up fires that with his life had flown,
Now flamed anew, and as he gazing stood;
Deep in his soul he would have met them if he could.

Soon from the gates of San Augustine, he
Spied water carriers making for a brook
Beneath a copse -- their guards were only three.
He knew Palmecho by his high-born look;
This was his time! -- forth from his thick-wood nook,
Covered by under-brush, he crept around,
And near the stream a fair position took, --
Thee rifle shots loud o'er the fort did sound,
And by the sallying squads the three dead guards were found.

No tidings were at Mickasukie heard
Of Ewald or her guards, at late nightfall.
Atlassa with his rescued friend appeared,
But joy was mute -- a deep dread did enthrall,
And painful apprehensions trouble all.
Unuttered anguish settled like a spell
That e'en the oldest warriors did appall.
"Lost!" was the whisper that on some hearts fell,
And "carried off!" to others was a dismal knell!

Next morn Atlassa and his daring band
Are in Twasinta, yet no tidings come.
At noon they wait -- till nightfall is at hand,
Still, still they hope that Ewald may come home.
Suspense yet deepens, -- still they look for some
Unprobable relief! Palmecho's groans
Begin, and anguish is no longer dumb!
Among his friends he breaks in bitter moans,
And like a hopeless child laments in falt'ring tones.

Atlassa looks upon his aged friend,
But can not speak, for words are empty now!
Straight'ning to all his hight, he will not bend,
For valor sits enthroned upon his brow, --
Ready to strike, he knows not where nor how!
So stands a lion when a foe he hears,
Knitting his nerves to deal the fatal blow:
Alarmed not that a dreadful struggle nears,
But furious to meet who stealthily appears.

Not long he stood; thrice strode he in the halls,
So lately made the scenes of loud despair.
Now to his braves in undertones he calls, --
They hear but answer not, -- with utmost care,
He seems to counsel and his aims declare.
They act assent! they seize their arms! they rise!
The signal giv'n, a war-whoop rends the air!
Back to his clans the Seminole now flies,
And far and near the forest answers to his cries!

"My tears are for thee, Ewald! Oh! my tears!
My cheeks do drink them as the parching sod
Drinks up the rain! How joyless now my years!
My head is low! Ah! doth this heavy rod
Chastise me to more perfect trust in God?
Else why, my sweet child, art thou gone from me!
But, if my future must in thorns be trod,
I'll gird my loins about with strength, and be
Faithful till death, and trust my Ewald yet to see!"

"On many hills my herded cattle feed,
My flocks are fair to see; and as for gold,
It falleth never to my lot to need.
My maids sing to me, and my young men hold
Their peace if I pass by! Now, as of old,
My lands do drop with fatness! -- yet, have I
E'er taken ought and not restored four-fold?
Have I not filled the empty? If the cry
Of any widow came to me, drew I not nigh?"

"What have I coveted? What have I craved?
Fame, length of years, or glitt'ring hoarded pounds?
Is God not reconciled, am I not saved
In my Redeemer's all-atoning wounds?
If sin aboundeth, grace much more abounds!
Why, then, my broken spirit, art thou cast
A fruitless branch? a waste on barren grounds?
Ah! when the summertide of life is past,
Why am I left to grieve and linger on at last!"

"My Ewald was a young roe by the brook
Of a well upon the mountains! She stood
In quiet places by the rocks; she took
Alarm at winds in the leaves of the wood,
And shrank backwards, she was so shy! she could
Lie down on beds of violets, and they
Rose after her! -- the lilies of the flood
By Candahar did love her! In the way
From Tampa and the sea 'mong sweet shrubs was her stay."

"My Ewald, oh! my young roe! how the shades
Of thy Twasinta mourn! Disconsolate
Are all her dwellings! Eve returns, and fades
The twilight on the hills! but at the gate
Beneath the elms, no more do congregate
Our maids and young men! our old men call thee,
But them thou answer'st not, until their weight
Of grief, by reason of their years, can be
No longer borne! The matron's eyes are tearful -- she

"In silence waits, thou comest not, and still
Her look is for thy coming! Dumb is mirth!
The valleys sing not -- hushed is the sad hill!
The windows are darkened -- by the dim hearth
Our eyes have run down till there is a dearth
Of tears! Without thee, Ewald, my young roe!
How comfortless is all the bitter earth!
Ah! whither gone my child! canst thou not know!
How thy Twasinta pineth! how her head is low!

"The windows of high thought, were thy two eyes,
So large, dark and compelling! Thy fair breasts
Were even domes that did so gradual rise
O'er shrines of love! The shade at noon, that rests
On Waxe's cliffs, is thy dark brow. The vests
Of some sweet nun, loose-falling down, thy hair!
Thy voice was like the turtle's of the nests,
Thy step was as the flow'ret-pressing air; --
Thou idol of my love, my Ewald young and fair!

Lamenting thus, up rose the old Maroon,
Like Abraham, "with servanis," and went out,
Not knowing whither! Till the pensive moon
Was set, and darkness like a pall, about
Him fell, he pressed his strange and dismal route.
Then tenting in a wilderness unknown,
By those whose eyes were quick and arms were stout,
Securely watched, awearied he lay down,
In prayer and bitter meditations all alone!

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