Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

become had she lived to a greater maturity of life and thought, we can imagine from the high promise of her early performance.1

OSCEOLA.2

[Written upon seeing a picture of the Indian chief Osceola, drawn by Captain Vinton, of the United States Army, representing him as he appeared in the American camp.]

Not on the battle-field,

As when thy thousand warriors joy'd to meet thee,
Sounding the fierce war-cry,
Leading them forth to die,-
Not thus, not thus we greet thee.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Chief! for thy memories now,
While the tall palm against this quiet sky
Her branches waves,

And the soft river laves

The green and flower-crown'd banks it wanders by,

While in this golden sun

The burnish'd rifle gleameth with strange light,
And sword and spear
Rest harmless here,

Yet flash with startling radiance on the sight;

Wake they thy glance of scorn,

Thou of the folded arms and aspect stern,

1 In 1842 appeared her Poetical Remains, 12mo, with a beautifully-written memoir by John Keese; and, in 1848, her Complete Poetical Works, in 8vo.

2 This was the noble Seminole chief who, in the "Second Seminole War," in 1837, being found invincible in open battle, was decoyed, by orders of General Jessup, into a conference, under the white flag of truce held sacred by all nations, and then surrounded by our troops, disarmed, and made a captive, a transaction which should cover that officer's name with lasting infamy. To this, the following verse from Pierpont's bold, nervous, and truthful poem, "The Tocsin," alludes:-

"At Slavery's beck, the very hands

Ye lift to Heaven, to swear ye're free,
Will break a truce, to seize the lands
Of Seminole or Cherokee!
Yes,-tear a flag that Tartar hordes
Respect, and shield it with their swords."*

For a true account of the Florida War, read "The Exiles of Florida, or the Crimes committed by our Government against the Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other Slave States, seeking Protection under Spanish Law," by Joshua R. Giddings,-a painfully-interesting narrative. Too many histories of the United States seem to have been written rather to conceal, than to tell the truth relative to certain transactions and subjects.

* "Bear witness, ghost of the great-hearted, broken-hearted Osceola!"

Thou of the deep low tone,1
For whose rich music gone,

Kindred and friends alike may vainly yearn?

Woe for the trusting hour!

Oh, kingly stag! no hand hath brought thee down; 'Twas with a patriot's heart, Where fear usurp'd no part,

Thou camest, a noble offering, and alone!

For vain yon army's might,

While for thy band the wide plain own'd a tree,
Or the wild vine's tangled shoots
On the gnarl'd oak's mossy roots
Their trysting-place might be!

Woe for thy hapless fate!

Woe for thine evil times and lot, brave chief!
Thy sadly closing story,

Thy short and mournful glory,

Thy high but hopeless struggle, brave and brief!

Woe for the bitter stain

That from our country's banner may not part!
Woe for the captive, woe!

For burning pains, and slow,

Are his who dieth of the fever'd heart.

Oh! in that spirit-land,

Where never yet the oppressor's foot hath past,
Chief, by those sparkling streams,
Whose beauty mocks our dreams,
May that high heart have won its rest at last.

EVENING THOUGHTS.

Thou quiet moon, above the hill-tops shining,
How do I revel in thy glances bright,

How does my heart, cured of its vain repining,

Take note of those who wait and watch thy light,

The student o'er his lonely volume bending,

The pale enthusiast, joying in thy ray, And ever and anon his dim thoughts sending

Up to the regions of eternal day!

Nor these alone, -the pure and radiant eyes

Of Youth and Hope look up to thee with love; Would it were thine,-meek dweller of the skies,

To save from tears! but no! too far above This dim, cold earth thou shinest, richly flinging

Thy soft light down on all who watch thy beam, And to the heart of Sorrow gently bringing

The glories pictured in Life's morning stream,

1 Osceola was remarkable for a soft and flute-like voice.

As a loved presence back; oh! shine to me
As to the voyagers on the faithless sea!

Joy's beacon-light! I know that trembling Care,
Warn'd by thy coming, hies him to repose,
And on his pillow laid, serenely there

Forgets his calling, that at day's dull close
Meek Age and rosy Childhood sink to rest,

And Passion lays her fever-dreams aside,
And the unquiet thought in every breast

Loses its selfish fervor and its pride

With thoughts of thee,-the while their vigil keeping,
The quiet stars hold watch o'er beauty sleeping!

But unto me, thou still and solemn light,

What may'st thou bring? high hope, unwavering trust
In Him, who for the watches of the night

Ordain'd thy coming, and on things of dust
Hath pour'd a gift of power,-on wings to rise

From the low earth and its surrounding gloom
To higher spheres, till as the shaded skies

Are lighted by thy glories, gentle Moon,
So are Life's lonely hours and dark despair
Cheer'd by the star of faith, the torch of prayer.

JOHN GODFREY SAXE.

JOHN GODFREY SAXE, so widely known as "the witty poet," is the son of Hon. Peter Saxe, and was born in Highgate, Franklin County, Vermont, June 2, 1816. He was graduated at Middleburg College in 1839, studied law, was admitted to the bar in September, 1843, and entered upon the practice of his profession at St. Alban's, having in the mean time entered into "the holy bonds of matrimony" with one of the fair daughters of the Mountain State. All his leisure time he devoted to belles-lettres, which finally fairly won him from the law. In 1846, he delivered a poem before the Alumni of Middleburg College, called Progress, a Satire, which was a most successful performance and won for him a high reputation. In 1847 appeared his Rape the Lock, and in 1848 his Proud Miss McBride, both of which excited great laughter for their rollicking humor, happy puns, and pungent philosophy combined.

In 1850, Ticknor & Fields, of Boston, published his first volume of Poems, which soon ran through twelve editions. The same year he removed to Burlington, Vermont, and purchased the Sentinel, which he conducted for five years with marked success. Soon after he was elected State's Attorney, and, upon retiring from that office, was appointed Deputy-Collector of Customs. Of late years he has devoted his attention almost exclusively to literature, and now makes "lecturing" his sole vocation. So greatly does he excel in humorous and satirical poetry that he is constantly invited to address literary societies and "Institutes," and his readings and recitations are always enthusiastically

received. The poems New England, The Press, and The Money King have been delivered on such occasions, and are, of course, not in print. He is now preparing another volume of poems, which will include all his productions not embraced in the first. We hope it may be as successful.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsett »