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On the Barrows, or Monumental Mounds, in the prairies of the
Western Rivers.-M. FLINT.
The sun's last rays were fading from the west,
The deepening shade stole slowly o'er the plain, The evening breeze had lulled itself to rest,
And all was silence,-save the mournful strain
With which the widowed turtle wooed, in vain, Her absent lover to her lonely nest.
Now, one by one, emerging to the sight,
The brighter stars assumed their seats on high; The moon's pale crescent glowed serenely bright,
As the last twilight fled along the sky,
And all her train, in cloudless majesty,
And gazed, enraptured, on the lovely scene;
I saw the plain, outspread in living green;
Its fringe of cliffs was, in the distance, seen, And the dark line of forest sweeping round.
I saw the lesser mounds which round me rose;
Each was a giant heap of mouldering clay ;
There, side by side, the rival chieftains lay;
Your names have perished; not a trace remains,
From the green bosom of your native plains. Say, do your spirits wear oblivion's chains ? Did death forever quench your hopes and fears ?
Or did those fairy hopes of future bliss,
Which simple nature to your bosoms gave,
Find other worlds with fairer skies, than this,
Beyond the gloomy portals of the grave,
In whose bright climes the virtuous* and the brave Rest from their toils, and all their cares dismiss ?Where the great hunter still pursues the chase,
nd, o'er the sunny mountains, tracks the deer; Or where he finds each long-extinguished race,
And sees, once more, the mighty mammoth rear
The giant form which lies imbedded here,
The sleeping ashes, once your dearest pride;
Or the dark veil of death be thrown aside, Then might I see your restless shadows glide, With watchful care, around these relics dear.
If so, forgive the rude, unhallowed feet
Which trod so thoughtless o'er your mighty dead. I would not thus profane their lone retreat,
Nor trample where the sleeping warrior's head
Lay pillowed on his everlasting bed,
Farewell ! and may you still, in peace, repose;
Still o'er you may the flowers, untrodden, bloom, And softly wave to every breeže that blows,
Casting their fragrance on each lonely tomb,
In which your tribes sleep in earth's common womb, And mingle with the clay from which they rose.
The American Indian, as he was, and as he is.-C. SPRAGUE.
Not many generations ago, where you now sit, circled with all that exalts and embellishes civilized life, the rank thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his bole unscared. Here lived and loved another race of beings. Beneath the same sun that rolls over your heads, the Indian hunter pursued the panting deer : gazing on the same moon that smiles for you, the Indian lover wooed his dusky mate.
* Pron. ver-tshu-ous.
Here the wigwam blaze beamed on the tender and helpless, the council-fire glared on the wise and daring. Now they dipped their noble limbs in your sedgy lakes, and now they paddled the light canoe* along your rocky shores. Here they warred; the echoing whoop, the bloody grapple, the defying death-song, all were here; and, when the tiger strife was over, here curled the smoke of peace.
Here, too, they worshipped; and from many a dark bosom went up a pure prayer to the Great Spirit. He had not written his laws for them on tables of stone, but he had traced them on the tables of their hearts. The poor child of nature knew not the God of revelation, but the God of the universe he acknowledged in every thing around.
He beheld him in the star that sunk in beauty behind his lonely dwelling; in the sacred orb that flamed on him from his mid-day throne; in the flower that snapped in the morning breeze; in the lofty pine, that defied a thousand whirlwinds; in the timid warbler, that never left its native grove; in the fearless eagle, whose untired pinion was wet in clouds; in the worm that crawled at his foot; and in his own matchless form, glowing with a spark of that light, to whose mysterious Source he bent, in humble, though blind adoration.
And all this has passed away. Across the ocean came a pilgrim bark, bearing the seeds of life and death. The former were sown for you; the latter sprang up in the path of the simple native. Two hundred years have changed the character of a great continent, and blotted, forever, from its face a whole peculiar people. Art has usurped the bowers of nature, and the anointed children of education have been too powerful for the tribes of the ignorant.
Here and there, a stricken few remain ; but how unlike their bold, untamed, untameable progenitors! The Indian, of falcont glance, and lion bearing, the theme of the touching ballad, the hero of the pathetic tale, is gone! and his degraded offspring crawl upon the soil where he walked in majesty, to remind us how miserable is man, when the foot of the conqueror is on his neck.
* Pron, ca-noo'.
1 Pron. faw'-kn.
As a race, they have withered from the land. Their arrows are broken, their springs are dried up, their cabins are in the dust. Their council-fire has long since gone out on the shore, and their war-cry is fast dying to the untrodden west. Slowly and sadly they climb the distant mountains, and read their doom in the setting sun. They are shrinking before the mighty tide which is pressing them away; they must soon hear the roar of the last wave, which will settle over them forever.
Ages hence, the inquisitive white man, as he stands by some growing city, will ponder on the structure of their disturbed remains, and wonder to what manner of person they belonged. They will live only in the songs and chronicles of their exterminators. Let these be faithful to their rude virtues as men, and pay due tribute to their unhappy fate as a people.
The Grave a place of rest.-MACKENZIE:
The grave is a place where the weary are at rest. How soothing is this sentiment, “The weary are at rest!" There is something in the expression which affects the heart with uncommon sensations, and produces a species of delight, where tranquillity is the principal ingredient. The sentiment itself is extensive, and implies many particulars : it implies, not only that we are delivered from the troubling of the wicked, as in the former clause, but from every trouble and every pain, to which life is subjected.
Those, only, who have themselves been tried in affliction, can feel the full force of this expression. Others may be pleased with the sentiment, and affected by sympathy. The distressed are, at once, pleased and comforted." To be delivered from trouble to be relieved from power—to see oppression humbled* -to be freed from care and pain, from sickness and distress--to lie down as in a bed of security, in a long oblivion of our woes—to sleep, in peace, without the fear of interruption-how pleasing is the prospect! how full of consolation !
* Pron, um'-bi'd.
The ocean may roll its .waves, the warring winds may join their forces, the thunders may shake the skies,* and the lightnings pass, swiftly, from cloud to cloud: but not the forces of the elements, combined, not the sounds of thunders, nor of many seas, though they were united into one peal, and directed to one point, can shake the security of the tomb.
The dead hear nothingt of the tumult; they sleep soundly; they rest from their calamities upon beds of peace. Conducted to silent mansions, they cannot be troubled by the rudest assaults, nor awakened by the loudest clamour. The unfortunate, the oppressed, the broken-hearted, with those that have languished on beds of sickness, rest here together: they have forgot their distresses ; every sorrow is hushed, and every pang extinguished.
Hence, in all nations, a set of names have arisen to convey the idea of death, congenial with these sentiments, and all of them expressive of supreme felicity and consolation. How does the human mind, pressed by real or imagined calamities, delight to dwell upon that awful event which leads to deliverance, and to describe and solicit it with the fairest flowers of fancy !
It is called the harbour of rest, in whose deep bosom the disastered mariner, who had long sustained the assaults of adverse storms, moors his wearied vessel, never more to return to the tossings of the wasteful ocean. It is called the land of peace, whither the friendless exile retires, beyond the reach of malice and injustice, and the cruelest arrows of fortune. It is called the hospitable house, where the weather-beaten traveller, faint with traversing pathless deserts, finds a welcome and secure repose.
There no cares molest, no passions distract, no enemies defame; there agonizing pain, and wounding infamy, and ruthless revenge, are no more; but profound peace, and calm passions, and security which is immoveable. “There the wicked cease from troubling; there the weary are at rest! There the prisoners rest together! they hear not the voice of the oppressor! The small and the great are there, and the servant is free from his master!",
* Pron. skeiz.
+ Pron. nuth-ing.