Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VII / Pocahontas; A Legend of Virginia >> Page 115

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Page 115

Poetry | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 115
WAR COUNCIL OF POWHATAN.

If against my father's heart He hath sped his thunder-dart !
V.
Now gather the warriors of Powhatan nigh, A rock is his throne,
His footstool a stone;
Dark the cloud on his brow, keen the fire in his eye ; To a ridge on his forehead swells the vein ;
His hand grasps the hatchet, which swings to and fro As if ready to sink in the brain,
But seeking in vain for the foe !
Thus the king on the circle looks round, With a speech that bath never a sound; His eye hath a thirst which imparts
What the lip might but feebly essay, And it speaks like an arrow to their hearts,
As if bidding them bound on the prey. The brow of each chief is in air,
With a loftiness born of his own;
And the king, like the lion from his lair, Looks proud on the props of his throne. His eagle and his tiger are there,
His vulture, his cougar, his fox,
And, cold on the edge of his rocks, The war-rattle rings his alarum and cries, "1 strike, and my enemy dies !"
Lifts the soul of the monarch to hear,
Lifts the soul of the monarch to see,
And, quick at his summons, the chieftains draw near, And, shouting they sink on the knee,
Then rise and await his decree.

VI.
The king in conscious majesty Roll'd around his fiery eye,
As some meteor, hung on high, Tells of fearful things to be,
In the record roll of fate,
Which the victim may not flee�It may be to one alone,
Of the thousand forms that wait, At the footstool of the throne ! Parts his lips for speech, but ere
Word can speak to human sense, Lo! the circle opens�there