Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VII / Pocahontas; A Legend of Virginia >> Page 119

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Poetry | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 119
THE VICTIM AT THE STAKE.

The wrath on his brow at the sight
Of the prisoner they bring to his doom,
Now kindles his eye with a lordly delight, As the lightning-flash kindles the gloom. He rises, he sways, with a breath, And hush'd grows the clamor of death ;
Falls the weapon that groan'd with the thirst To drink from the fountain accurst; Stills the murmur that spoke for the hate That chafed but to wait upon fate.
X1I.
How trembled then the maid, as rose That captive warrior calm and stern,
Thus girded by the wolfish foes
His fearless spirit still would spurn ; How bright his glance, how fair his face, And with what proud and liberal grace
His footsteps free advance, as still He follows firm the bloody mace That guided to the gloomy place
Where stood the savage set to kill!
How fills her soul with dread dismay, Beholding in his form and air
How noble is the unwonted prey
Thus yielded to the deathsman there!
Still fearless, though in foreign land,
No weapon in his fettered hand,
Girt by a dark and hostile band
That never knew to spare !
His limbs, but not his spirit bound, How looks the god-like stranger round! As heedless of the doom, as when, In sight of thirty thousand men, He stood by Regall's walls, and slew The bravest of her chiefs that came
His best in beauty's sight to do, And seeking honor, finding shame ! As little moved by fate and fear,
As when, in fair Charatza's smile Exulting, he was doom'd to bear
The Tartar's blows and bondage vile ;
And slew him in his resolute mood,
Though Terror's worst beside him stood, And all her sleuthhounds follow'd fast,
Death, hunger, hate, a venomous brood,