Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / Legend of Missouri: Or, The Captive of the Pawnee >> Page 404

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 404 SOUTHWARD HO

And the group composed itself around, and the bilious racon-
tcur told the following legend :

LEGEND OF MISSOURI:
OR, THE CAPTIVE OF THE PAWNEE.

" A token of the spirit land �
The fleeting gift of fairy hand :
A wither'd leaf, a flower whose stem
Once broke, we liken unto them ;
Thus fleet and fading, ripe ere noon,
And vanishing like midnight moon ;
A rainbow gleam, that now appears,
And melts, even as we gaze, to tears."

INTRODUCTION.
THERE are certain races who are employed evidently as the
pioneers for a superior people who seem to have no mission
of performance, � only one of preparation, and who simply
keep the earth, a sort of rude possession, of which they make no
use, yeilding it, by an inevitable necessity, to the conquering
people, so soon as they appear. Our red men seem to have be-
longed to this category. Their modes of life were inconsistent
with length of tenure ; and, even had the white man never ap-
peared, their duration must have still been short. They would
have preyed upon one another, tribe against tribe, in compliance
with necessity, until all were destroyed ; and there is nothing
to be deplored in this spectacle ! Either they had no further
uses, or they never, of themselves, developed them ; and a people
that destroy only, and never create or build, are not designed,
anywhere, to cumber God's earth long ! This is the substantial
condition upon which all human securities depend. We are to
advance. We are to build, create, endow ; thus showing that
we are made iu the likeness of the Creator. Those who destroy
only, by laws of strict moral justice, must perish, without having
been said to live !
And yet, surveying this spectacle thro' the medium of the
picturesque, one naturally broods with sympathy over the fate
of this people. There is a solitary grandeur in their fortunes,