WHILE quietly the water laps the shore,
And scarce the breathing of the moonlit night
Rustles the leaves of yonder birchen trees,
Listen awhile. The languor of the scene
Befits the tale of him who, fierce erewhile, -
The stoutest warrior of a warrior tribe,
The bulwark of his race, - at last retired,
And, where yon dark and lowering precipice
Looms on the bluish mountain's shaggy side,
Night after night surveyed with keen-eyed glance
The spreading landscape; nor did thought of arms
Or battle rouse him from intent repose,
Or interrupt his everlasting gaze.
And never did the all-surveying sun,
With heart-inflaming vision, cast his rays
More earnestly on lovely heliotrope
Than did this Indian warrior's steady eye
Measure the liquid outline of the hills.
Once only when the shout of contest loud
Sprang from the vale, rebounded from the hill,
And leaped to die in echoes on the lake, -
Once only, like the bright Dioscuri,
Sons of the sky and brothers of the day,
Did Kineo i' the foremost of the fight
Appear, and, by his single-handed strength,
Thrust back defeat upon the enemy.
Once only - and no sooner had the shout
Of joy proclaimed his kinsmen's victory
Than he was gone, ne'er to be seen again.
Stretched at full length above the towering rock,
Still with unswerving eyes he scanned the lake
And distant hills; nor recked he of the blood
Which gushed in quick pulsations from his side
And stained the unfeeling rock; nor did he see
The deer who gazed with large and wondering eyes
From out their bushy coverts. Seemed he less
Like man than like the reflex and impress
Of what he saw, - the scene personified.
But once, when overhead a comet's tail,
Omen of strange import, illumed the night,
His yearning eyes descried upon the side
Of what has since been called "Maquaso's Mount"
A solitary fire. Then his heart
Gave one great bound, and quivered with intense
And dread excitement, while his flying feet,
Swifter than hers who spurned the lingering seas,
Bore him across the land that lay between.
And as her dear-remembered warrior son,
Once more her own, approached the wigwam low,
Maquaso gave one tender dying cry,
And fell, a happy mother, on his neck.
True souls, who loved with such devoted hearts,
That she from separation did not shrink
For her son's comfort, and he could not live
With others in her absence. Faithful hearts,
To whom the petty joys of village life
Were nothing when they could not firmly clasp
Each other in undying sympathy.
W. P. E.