Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VII / Pocahontas; A Legend of Virginia >> Page 121

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Page 121

Poetry | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 121
AT THE STAKE

With mockery in his accent spoke �
For still the savage mocks at grief
" No more ! why should th' impatient death Forbear, till with the woman's breath, Her trembling fear, her yearning sigh
For life but vainly kept with shame,
He wrongs his own and people's name ! � I would not have the warrior die, Nor to the last, with battle cry,
Exulting, shout his fame !
Spare him the crime of tears that flow, A sign of suffering none should know But him who flings aside the bow,
And shrinks the brand to bear,
Let not our sons the weakness see, Lest from the foe in shame they flee, And by their souls no longer free,
Grow captive to their fear :
For him !�1 pity while I scorn
The tribe in which the wretch was born ; And, as I gaze around,
I glad me that mine aged eye
Sees none of all who gather nigh,
Who dreads to hear the war-whoop's sound, Not one who fears to die !"
XlV.
They cast the prisoner to the ground,
With gyves from neighboring vines they bound, His brow upon the ancient rock They laid with wild and bitter mock, That joy'd to mark the deep despair
That moment in the prisoner's eye, As sudden, swung aloft in air,
He sees the bloody mace on high! But not for him to plead in fear�No sign of pity comes to cheer,
And, with one short unwhisper'd prayer,
He yields him up to die.
Keen are the eyes that watch the blow, Impatient till the blood shall flow, A thousand hearts that gloating glow,
In eager silence hush'd:
The arm that wields the mace is bending, The instrument of' death descending,--A moment, and the mortal sinks,
G