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John Greenleaf Whittier 1807 (Haverhill) – 1892 (Hampton Falls)
Ah! weary Priest! - with pale hands pressed
On thy throbbing brow of pain,
Baffled in thy life-long quest,
Overworn with toiling vain,
How ill thy troubled musings fit
The holy quiet of a breast
With the Dove of Peace at rest,
Sweetly brooding over it.
Thoughts are thine which have no part
With the meek and pure of heart,
Undisturbed by outward things,
Resting in the heavenly shade,
By the overspreading wings
Of the Blessed Spirit made.
Thoughts of strife and hate and wrong
Sweep thy heated brain along,
Fading hopes for whose success
It were sin to breathe a prayer; -
Schemes which Heaven may never bless, -
Fears which darken to despair.
Hoary priest! thy dream is done
Of a hundred red tribes won
To the pale of Holy Church;
And the heretic o'erthrown,
And his name no longer known,
And thy weary brethren turning,
Joyful from their years of mourning,
'Twixt the altar and the porch.
Hark! what sudden sound is heard
In the wood and in the sky,
Shriller than the scream of bird, -
Than the trumpet's clang more high!
Every wolf-cave of the hills, -
Forest arch and mountain gorge,
Rock and dell, and river verge, -
With an answering echo thrills.
Well does the Jesuit know that cry
Which summons the Norridgewock to die,
And tells that the foe of his flock is nigh.
He listens, and hears the rangers come,
With loud hurrah, and jar of drum,
And hurrying feet (for the chase is hot),
And the short, sharp sound of rifle shot,
And taunt and menace, - answered well
By the Indians' mocking cry and yell, -
The bark of dogs, - the squaw's mad scream, -
The dash of paddles along the stream, -
The whistle of shot as it cuts the leaves
Of the maples around the church's caves, -
And the gride of hatchets fiercely thrown,
On wigwam-log and tree and stone.
Black with the grim of paint and dust,
Spotted and streaked with human gore,
A grim and naked head is thrust
Within the chapel-door.
'Ha - Bomazeen! - In God's name say,
What mean these sounds of bloody fray?'
Silent, the Indian points his hand
To where across the echoing glen
Sweep Harmon's dreaded ranger-hand,
And Moulton with his men.
'Where are thy warriors, Bomazeen?
Where are De Rouville and Castine,
And where the braves of Sawga's queen?'
'Let my father find the winter snow
Which the sun drank up long moons ago!
Under the falls of Tacconock,
The wolves are eating the Norridgewock;
Castine with his wives lies closely hid
Like a fox in the woods of Pemaquid!
On Sawga's banks the man of war
Sits in his wigwam like a squaw, -
Squando has fled, and Mogg Megone,
Struck by the knife of Sagamore John,
Lies stiff and stark and cold as a stone.'
Fearfully over the Jesuit's face,
Of a thousand thoughts, trace after trace,
Like swift cloud-shadows, each other chase.
One instant, his fingers grasp his knife,
For a last vain struffle for cherished life, -
The next, he hurls the blade away,
And kneels at his altar's foot to pray;
Over his beads his fingers stray,
And he kisses the cross, and calls aloud
On the Virgin and her Son;
For terrible thoughts his memory crowd
Of evil seen and done, -
Of scalps brought home by his savage flock
From Casco and Sawga and Sagadahock
In the Church's service won.
No shrift the gloomy savage brooks,
As scowling on the priest he looks:
'Cowesass - cowesass - tawhich wessaseen?
Let my father look upon Bomazeen, -
My father's heart is the heart of a squaw,
But mine is so hard that it does not thaw;
Let my father ask his God to make
A dance and a feast for a great sagamore,
When he paddles across the western lake,
With his dogs and his squaws to the spirit's shore.
'Cowesass - cowesass - tawhich wessaseen?
Let my father die like Bomazeen!'
Through the chapel's narrow doors,
And through each window in the walls,
Bound the priest and warrior pours
The deadly shower of English balls.
Low on his cross the Jesuit falls;
While at his side the Norridgewock,
With failing breath, essays to mock
And menace yet the hated foe, -
Shakes his scalp-trophies to and fro
Exultingly before their eyes, -
Till, cleft and torn by shot and blow,
Defiant still, he dies.
'So fare all eaters of the frog!
Death to the Babylonish dog!
Down with the beast of Rome!'
With shouts like these, around the dead,
Unconscious on his bloody bed,
The rangers crowding come.
Brave men! the dead priest cannot hear
The unfeeling taunt, - the brutal jeer; -
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"Mogg Megone - Part III." Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 11 Aug. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/22977/mogg-megone---part-iii.>.