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44

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

THE STRANGER IN LOUISIANA.

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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 among these foreign travellers.

Picart's Ceremonies and Religious Customs. " J'ai passé moi-même," says Cbateaubriand 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,
Whose step was the fleetest in the chase or dance!
The light of his eye was a joy to see,
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,
But we look for him still he will yet return !
-His brother sat with a drooping brow
In the gloom of the shadowing cypress bough,
We roused him—we bade him no longer pine,
For we heard a step-but the step was thine.

We saw thee, O Stranger, and wept !
We look'd for the maid of the mournful song,
Mournful, though sweet-she hath left us long!
We told her the youth of her love was gone,
And she went forth to see him-she pass'd alone;
We hear not her voice when the woods are still,
From the bower where it sang like a silvery rill.
The joy of her sire with her smile hath fled,
The winter is white on his lonely head,
He hath none by his side when the wilds we track,
He hath none when we restyet she comes not back!
We look'd for her eye on the feast to shine,
For her breezy step-but the step was thine !

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

We saw thee, O stranger, and wept ! We look'd for the chief who hath left the spear And the bow of his battles forgotten here! We look'd for the hunter, whose bride's lament On the wind of the forest at eve is sent: We look'd for the first-born, whose mother's cry Sounds wild and sbrill through the midnight sky! - Where are they!--thou 'rt seeking some distant coast Ob, ask of them, stranger!-send back the lost! Tell them we mourn by the dark blue streams, Tell them our lives but of them are dreams ! Tell how we sat in the gloom to pine, And to watch for a step-but the step was thine!

THE ISLE OF FOUNTS.

AN INDIAN TRADITION.

* The River St. Mary has its source from a vast lake or marsh, which lies between Flint and Oakmulge rivers, and occupies a space of near three hundred miles in circuit. This vast accumulation of waters, in the wet season, appears as a lake, and contains some large islands or kpolls of rich highland; one of which the present generation of the Creek Indians represent to be a most blissful spot of earth; they say it is inhabited by a peculiar race of Indians, whose women are incomparably beautiful. They also tell you that this terrestrial paradise bas been seen by some of their enterprising hunters, when in pursuit of game: but that in their endeavours to approach it, they were involved in perpetual labyrinths, and, like enchanted land, still as they imagined they had just gained it, it seemed to fly before them, alternately appearing and disappearing. They resolved, at length, to leave the delusive pursuit, aad to return, which, after a number of difficulties, they effected. When they reported their adventures to their countrymen, the young warriors were inflamed with an irresistible desire to invade, and make a conquest of, so charming a country; but all their attempts bave hitherto proved abortive, never having been able again to find that enchanting spot.".

Bartram's Travels through North and South Carolina, &c. The additional circumstances in the Isle of Founts are merely imaginary.

Son of the stranger! wouldst thou take

O'er yon blue hills thy lonely way,
To reach the still and shining lake

Along whose banks the west winds play ?

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LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

-Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Oh! seek thou not the Fountain-Isle !
Lull but the mighty serpent king, *

'Midst the gray rocks, his old domain :
Ward but the cougar's deadly spring,

Thy step that lake's green shore may gain ;
And the bright Isle, when all is pass'd
Shall vainly meet thine eye at last !
Yes! there, with all its rainbow streams,

Clear as within thine arrow's flight,
The Isle of Founts, the Isle of dreams,

Floats on the wave in golden light;
And lovely will the shadows be
Of groves whose fruit is not for thee!
And breathings from their sunny flowers,

Which are not of the things that die,
And singing voices from their bowers

Shall greet thee in the purple sky ;
Soft voices, e'en like those that dwell
Far in the green reed's hollow cell.
Or hast thou heard the sounds that rise

From the deep chambers of the earth?
The wild and wondrous melodies

To which the ancient rocks gave birth ?';
Like that sweet song of hidden caves
Shall swell those wood-notes o'er the waves.
The emerald waves !--they take their bue

And image from that sunbright shore;
But wouldst thou launch thy light canoe,

And wouldst thou ply thy rapid oar,
Before thee, badst thou morning's speed,
The dreamy land shouldst still recede !

* The Cherokees believe that the recesses of their mountains, overgrown with lofty pines and cedars, and covered with old mossy rocks, are inhabited by the kings or chiefs of the rattlesaakes, whom they denominate the bright old inhabitants,” They represent them as snakes of an enormous size, and which possess

the

power of drawing to them every living creature that comes within the reach of their eyes. Their heads are said to be crowned with a carbuncle, of dazzling brightness._See Notes to Leyden's “Scenes of Infancy."

The stones on the banks of the Oronoco, called by the South American missionaries Latas de Musica, and alluded to in a former

pote,

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

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Yet on the breeze thou still wouldst hear

The music of its flowering shades,
And ever should the sound be near

Of founts that ripple through its glades:
The sound, and sight, and flashing ray
Of joyous waters in their play!
But wo for him who sees them burst

With their bright spray-showers to the lake ;
Earth has no spring to quench the thirst

That semblance in bis soul shall wake,
For ever pouring through his dreams,
The gush of those untasted streams!
Bright, bright in many a rocky urn,

The waters of our deserts lie,
Yet at their source his lip shall burn,

Parch'd with the fever's agony !
From the blue mountains to the main,
Our thousand floods may roll in vain. ,
E'en thus our hunters came of yore

Back from their long and weary quest;
-Had they not scen th' untrodden shore,

And could they 'midst our wilds find rest ?
The lightning of their glance was fled,
They dwelt among us as the dead !
They lay beside our glittering rills,

With visions in their darken'd eye,
Their joy was not amidst the hills,

Where elk and deer before us fly ;
Their spears upon the cedar hung,
Their javelins to the wind were flung.
They bent no more the forest-bow,

They arm'd not with the warrior-band,
The moons waned o'er them dim and slow

-They left us for the spirit's land !
Beneath our pines yon greensward heap
Shows where the restless found their sleep.
Son of the stranger! if at eve

Silence be 'midst us in thy place,
Yet go not where the mighty leave

The strength of battle and of chase !
Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Oh! seek thou not the Fountain. Isle !

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LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

THE BENDED BOW.

It is supposed that war was anciently proclaimed in Britain by sending messengers in different directions through the land, each bearing a bended bow ; and that peace was in like manner announce ed by a bow unstrung, and therefore straight.

See the Cambrian Antiquities.

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THERE was heard the sound of a coming foe,
There was sent through Britain a bended Bow,
And a voice was pour'd on the free winds far,
As the land rose up at the sound of war.

“ Heard ye not the battle-horn ?
--Reaper ! leave thy golden corn!
Leave it for the birds of heaven,
Swords must flash, and spears be river ?
Leave it for the winds to shed

Arm! ere Britain's turf grow red !"
And the reaper arm’d, like a freeman's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

" Hunter! leave the mountain-chase!
Take the falchion from its place!
Let the wolf go free to-day,
Leave him for a nobler prey !
Let the deer ungall'd sweep by,--

Arm thee! Britain's foes are nigb."
And the hunter arm'd ere the chase was done,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

“Chieftain ! quit the joyous feast !
Stay not till the song hath ceased :
Though the mead he foaming bright,
Though the fires give ruddy light,
Leave the hearth and leave the hallow

Arm thee! Britain's foes must fall."
And the chieftain arm'd, and the horn was blowo,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

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