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And we know they have quench'd their fever's thirst
And we know that they will not be lured to earth
By the feast, or the dance, or the song of mirth,
Though they sat with us by the night-fire's blaze,
And heard the tales of our fathers' days,
But tell us, thou bird of the solemn strain!
* An expedition was actually undertaken by Juan Ponce de Leon, in the 16th century, with a view of discovering a wonderful fountain, believed by the natives of Puerto Rico to spring in one of the Lucayo Isles, and to possess the virtue of restoring youth to all who bathed in its waters.-See Robertson's History of America.
Doth not the warrior think of his brother there, And the father of his child?
And the chief, of those that were wont to share His wanderings through the wild?
We call them far through the silent night,
And they speak not from cave or hill ; We know, thou bird! that their land is bright, But say, do they love there still?
THE STRANGER IN LOUISIANA.
An early traveller mentions a people on the banks of the Mississippi who burst into tears at the sight of a stranger. The reason of this is, that they fancy their deceased friends and relations to be only gone on a journey, and being in constant expectation of their return, look for them vainly amongst these foreign travellers. Picart's Ceremonies and Religious Customs.
'J'ai passé moi-même," says Chateaubriand in his Souvenirs d'Amérique," chez une peuplade Indienne qui se prenait à pleurer à la vue d'un voyageur, parce qu'il lui rappelait des amis partis pour la Contrée des Ames, et depuis long-tems en voyage:"
WE saw thee, O stranger, and wept!
We look'd for the youth of the sunny glance,
The path of his arrows a storm to flee!
But there came a voice from a distant shore:
He was call'd-he is found 'midst his tribe no more!
He is not in his place when the night-fires burn,
We saw, thee, O stranger, and wept!
He hath none by his side when the wilds we track,
We look'd for her eye on the feast to shine,
For her breezy step-but the step was thine!
We saw thee, O stranger, and wept ! We look'd for the chief who had left the spear And the bow of his battles forgotten here!
We look'd for the hunter whose bride's lament
Tell them we mourn by the dark blue streams,
Tell, how we sat in the gloom to pine,
And to watch for a step-but the step was thine!