« AnteriorContinuar »
THE INDIAN BOY,
BY S. J. SMITH.
From the blood-stain'd track of ruthless war,
An Indian Boy had fled; Remote from his home, in the wild woods far,
A moss bank pillow'd his head.
His glossy hair was damp with dew,
His air was mild and meek-
Had wander'd down his cheek.
For he saw in his dream, the bayonet's gleam,
He saw his kindred fall;
And the crackling flames take all.
In his fev'rish sleep he turn'd and rollid,
'Mid the fern and the wild flowers gay; And his little hand fell on a rattlesnake's fold,
As coil'd in the herbage it lay.
His head the stately reptile rais'd,
Unclos'd his fiery eye;
Then pass’d him harmless by.
'Twas well, young savage, well for thee,
It was only the serpent's lair;
Thy fate perchance would different be,
Had the white man slumbered there.
His short nap o'er, uprose the child,
His lonely way to tread
His pathless journey led.
Where high in air the cypress shakes
His mossy tresses wide, O’er the beaver's stream, and the dark blue lakes,
Where the wild duck squadrons ride.
At the close of the day, in a wildering glen,
A covert met his view;
For chilly the night wind blew.
And soon his weary eyelids close,
Tho' something touch'd his ear; 'Twas only the famish'd she-wolf's nose,
As she smelt for her young ones near.
And forth she hied at the noon of night,
He too pursu'd his way.
'Twas well, young savage, well for thee,
It was only the wild beast's lair; Thy fate perchance would different be,
Had the white man slumber'd there.
But where, alas! poor wanderer! canst thou stray,
Where white intruders shall molest no more? Like ocean's billows, their resistless way,
A whelming deluge, spreads from shore to shore.
Their onward march, insatiate as the grave,
Still shall they hold—to province, province join; Till, bounded by the broad Pacific's wave,
Their giant empire, seas alone confine.
And lo! their missions distant climes explore,
To spread the joyful Gospel tidings farWhile, wrapt in tenfold darkness at their door,
The forest's children find no guiding star.
But, oh! my country—tho' neglect alone
Were crime sufficient-deeper guilt is thine: Thy sins of crimson, added to his own,
Have crush'd the savage with a weight malign.
We seize the comforts bounteous Heav'n has given,
With strange diseases vex him from his birth; We sooth his sorrows with no hopes of Heaven,
Yet drive him headlong from his home on earth.
As shrinks the stubble from the rushing blaze,
Or feathery snow from summer's tepid air; So at our withering touch his race decays,
By whiskey poison'd, all that war may spare.
But can the Power, whose awful mandate roll'd
This globe abroad, and gave all nations birth; Can he, the source of being, pleas'd behold?
A people perish from th' uncumber'd earth?
No-from their slumber let the good and wise
At length awaken, and their task begin; Reform-enlighten-soften-Christianize
The border savage, with the paler skin.
Then lead the wild man of the forest forth,
With kindness lure him, to his eye disclose
A new creation-make him feel the worth
Of all Industry on a land bestows.
The page of knowledge to his view unroll,
The Charms of virtue to his mind display; And open wide to his benighted soul, ,
The full effulgence of the Gospel Day.
SHORTLY after the defeat of the British army at Fort Erie, in the brilliant sortie planned and executed by General Brown, that officer received intelligence that General Izard was on his way to join him with a large force. A few weeks sooner, this intelligence would have been highly gratifying. The American army,
hemmed in by a foe whose numbers more than quadrupled their own, had been placed in an embarrassing situation. The Fort was situated on low flat ground, and the season being very wet, the constant tramping of so many men had converted the whole place into one great mud puddle; the garrison, who were lodged in tents, were exposed to continual rains; there was no spot secure from the elements, and a dry vestment, bed, or blanket, was, at times, not to be found within our line of sentinels; while the frequent alarms, and the necessary “watch and ward” left only intervals for that broken slumber which refreshes not. But little pay, if any, had been received during the campaign-money there was absolutely none-and our diet was necessarily confined to the ration of meat and bread, which was not of the best kind. The
perpetual shower of cannon balls and bursting of bomb-shells was not a matter of complaint, for this was soldier's luck; to be shot at was our vocation; and as we failed not to amuse ourselves at the batteries during a part of every