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188

CAMPBELL'S GERTRUDE — FELICITY;

itary ste of June soon,

“ Then would that home admit them - happier far

Than grandeur's most magnificent saloon -
While, here and there, a solitary star
Flush'd in the dark’ning firmament of June;
And silence brought the soul-felt hour full soon,
Ineffable - which I may not pourtray!
For never did the Hymenean moon
A paradise of hearts more sacred sway,

In all that slept beneath her soft voluptuous ray." — p. 43. The Last Part sets out with a soft but spirited sketch of their short-lived felicity.

“ Three little moons, how short! amidst the grove,

And pastoral savannas they consume!
While she, beside her buskin'd youth to rove,
Delights, in fancifully wild costume,
Her lovely brow to shade with Indian plume;
And forth in hunter-seeming vest they fare ;
But not to chase the deer in forest gloom!
'Tis but the breath of heav'n — the blessed air —
And interchange of hearts, unknown, unseen to share.

“What though the sportive dog oft round them note,
Or fawn, or wild bird bursting on the wing;
Yet who, in love's own presence, would devote
To death those gentle throats that wake the spring?
Or writhing from the brook its victim bring?
No!_nor let fear one little warbler rouse;
But, fed by Gertrude's hand, still let them sing,
Acquaintance of her path, amidst the boughs,
That shade ev'n now her love, and witness'd first her vows !"

p. 48, 49. The transition to the melancholy part of the story is introduced with great tenderness and dignity.

“ But mortal pleasure, what art thou in truth?

The torrent's smoothness ere it dash below!
And must I change my song? and must I show,
Sweet Wyoming ! the day, when thou wert doom'd,
Guiltless, to mourn thy loveliest bow'rs laid low!
When, where of yesterday a garden bloom'd,
Death overspread his pall, and black’ning ashes gloom'd ?-

“ Sad was the year, by proud Oppression driv'n,

When Transatlantic Liberty arose;
Not in the sunshine, and the smile of heav'n,
But wrapt in whirlwinds, and begirt with woes :
Amidst the strife of fratricidal foes,

ECLIPSE OF ITS BRIGHTNESS.

189

Her birth star was the light of burning plains ;
Her baptism is the weight of blood that flows
From kindred hearts — the blood of British veins ! —
And famine tracks her steps, and pestilential pains.”—

p. 50, 51. Gertrude's alarm and dejection at the prospect of hostilities are well described:

“0, meet not thou," she cries, “thy kindred foe!

But peaceful let us seek fair England's strand," &c. — as well as the arguments and generous sentiments by which her husband labours to reconcile her to a necessary evil. The nocturnal irruption of the old Indian is given with great spirit: – Age and misery had so changed his appearance, that he was not at first recognized by any of the party.

“ • And hast thou then forgot' — (he cried forlorn,

And ey'd the group with half indignant air),
• Oh! hast thou, Christian chief, forgot the morn
When I with thee the cup of peace did share ?
Then stately was this head, and dark this hair,
That now is white as Appalachia's snow !
But, if the weight of fifteen years' despair,
And age hath bow'd me, and the tort'ring foe,

Bring me my Boy — and he will his deliverer know!' -
“It was not long, with eyes and heart of flame,

Ere Henry to his lov'd Oneyda flew :
• Bless thee, my guide !'— but, backward as he came, •
The chief his old bewilder'd head withdrew,
And grasp'd his arm, and look'd and look'd him through.
'Twas strange - nor could the group a smile control
The long, the doubtful scrutiny to view :--
At last delight o'er all his features stole,

• It is — my own !' he cried, and clasp'd him to his soul. –
“ Yes! thou recall'st my pride of years; for then

The bowstring of my spirit was not slack,
When, spite of woods, and floods, and ambush'd men,
I bore thee like the quiver on my back,
Fleet as the whirlwind hurries on the rack;
Nor foeman then, nor cougar's crouch I fear'd,
For I was strong as mountain cataract;
And dost thou not remember how we cheer'd
Upon the last hill-top, when white men's huts appear'd ?'” -

p. 54–56. After warning them of the approach of their terrible foe, the conflagration is seen, and the whoops and scat

190

CAMPBELL'S GERTRUDE — THE FLIGHT.

tering shot of the enemy heard at a distance. The motley militia of the neighbourhood flock to the defence of Albert: the effect of their shouts and music on the old Indian is fine and striking.

“ Rous'd by their warlike pomp, and mirth, and cheer,
Old Outalissi woke his battle song,
And, beating with his war-club cadence strong,

Tells how his deep-stung indignation smarts,” &c. - p. 61. Nor is the contrast of this savage enthusiasm with the venerable composure of Albert less beautifully represented.

“ Calm, opposite the Christian Father rose,

Pale on his venerable brow its rays
Of martyr light the conflagration throws ;
One hand upon his lovely child he lays,
And one th' uncovered crowd to silence sways;
While, though the battle flash is faster driv'n —
Unaw'd, with eye unstartled by the blaze,
He for his bleeding country prays to Heav'n --
Prays that the men of blood themselves may be forgiven.” —

p. 62. They then speed their night march to the distant fort, whose wedged ravelins and redoubts

“Wove like a diadem its tracery round

The lofty summit of that mountain green" — and look back from its lofty height on the desolated scenes around them. We will not separate, nor apologize for the length of the fine passage that follows; which alone, we think, might justify all we have said in praise of the poem.

“A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun,
And blended arms, and white pavilions glow;
And for the business of destruction done,
Its requiem the war-born seem'd to blow.
There, sad spectatress of her country's woe!
The lovely Gertrude, safe from present harm,
Had laid her cheek, and clasp'd her hands of snow
On Waldegrave's shoulder, half within his arm

Enclos'd, that felt her heart, and hush'd its wild alarm !
“But short that contemplation! sad and short

The pause to bid each much-lov'd scene adieu !
Beneath the very shadow of the fort,
Where friendly swords were drawn, and banners flew,

THE CATASTROPHE.

191

Ah! who could deem that foot of Indian crew
Was near?— Yet there, with lust of murd'rous deeds,
Gleam'd like a basilisk, from woods in view,
The ambush'd foeman's eye — his volley speeds !

And Albert — Albert — falls! the dear old father bleeds ! “And tranc'd in giddy horror Gertrude swoon'd!

Yet, while she clasps him lifeless to her zone,
Say, burst they, borrow'd from her father's wound,
Those drops ? — O God! the life-blood is her own!
And falt'ring, on her Waldegrave's bosom thrown -
· Weep not, O Love!' - she cries, 'to see me bleed -
Thee, Gertrude's sad survivor, thee alone -
Heaven's peace commiserate! for scarce I heed

These wounds! — Yet thee to leave is death, is death indeed. “ Clasp me a little longer, on the brink

Of fate! while I can feel thy dear caress;
And, when this heart hath ceas'd to beat - oh! think,
And let it mitigate thy woe's excess,
That thou hast been to me all tenderness,
And friend to more than human friendship just.
Oh! by that retrospect of happiness,
And by the hopes of an immortal trust,
God shall assuage thy pangs — when I am laid in dust!
“Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart !

The scene thy bursting tears too deep will move,
Where my dear father took thee to his heart,
And Gertrude thought it ecstasy to rove
With thee, as with an angel, through the grove
Of peace - imagining her lot was cast
In heav'n! for ours was not like earthly love !
And must this parting be our very last ?

No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past. “ Half could I bear, methinks, to leave this earth —

And thee, more lov'd than aught beneath the sun!
Could I have liv'd to smile but on the birth
Of one dear pledge !— But shall there then be none,
In future times — no gentle little one,
To clasp thy neck, and look, resembling me!
Yet seems it, ev'n while life's last pulses run,
A sweetness in the cup of death to be,
Lord of my bosom's love! to die beholding thee!'
“ Hush'd were his Gertrude's lips ! but still their bland

And beautiful expression seem'd to melt
With love that could not die! and still his hand
She presses to the heart no more that felt.
Ah heart! where once each fond affection dwelt,
And features yet that spoke a soul more fair !"- p. 64-68.

192

CAMPBELL'S GERTRUDE — THE DEATH SONG.

The funeral is hurried over with pathetic brevity; and the desolated and all-enduring Indian brought in again with peculiar beauty.

“ Touch'd by the music, and the melting scene,
Was scarce one tearless eye amidst the crowd :-
Stern warriors, resting on their swords, were seen
To veil their eyes, as pass'd each much-lov'd shroud -
While woman's softer soul in woe dissolv'd aloud.

“Then mournfully the parting bugle bid

Its farewell o'er the grave of worth and truth.
Prone to the dust, afflicted Waldegrave hid
His face on earth ! — Him watch'd in gloomy ruth,
His woodland guide; but words had none to sooth
The grief that knew not consolation's name!
Casting his Indian mantle o'er the youth,
He watch'd beneath its folds, each burst that came
Convulsive, ague-like, across his shuddering frame !"-p. 69.

After some time spent in this mute and awful pause, this stern and heart-struck comforter breaks out into the following touching and energetic address, with which the poem closes, with great spirit and abruptness :

is . And I could weep;' — th' Oneyda chief

His descant wildly thus began;
• But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father's son !
Or bow his head in woe;
For by my wrongs, and by my wrath !
To-morrow Areouski's breath
(That fires yon heaven with storms of death)
Shall light us to the foe:
And we shall share, my Christian boy!
The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy! —

" • But thee, my flow'r! whose breath was giv'n

By milder genii o'er the deep,
The spirits of the white man's heav'n
Forbid not thee to weep! -
Nor will the Christian host,
Nor will thy father's spirit grieve
To see thee, on the battle's eve,
Lamenting take a mournful leave
Of her who lov'd thee most :
She was the rainbow to thy sight!
Thy sun — thy heav'n — of lost delight! -

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