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Lays of Ancient Virginia, and Other Poems   By: (1830-)

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LAYS OF ANCIENT VIRGINIA, AND OTHER POEMS:

BY

JAMES AVIS BARTLEY, OF ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA.

RICHMOND: J.W. RANDOLPH, PUBLISHER 1855

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,

BY J.A. BARTLEY,

In the Clerk's Office of the Eastern District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Virginia.

G.S. ALLEN & CO., PRINTERS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.

TO MY FATHER, THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED BY HIS SON,

THE AUTHOR.

PREFATORY LETTER TO THE PUBLIC.

DEAR PUBLIC:

These Poems were written with pleasure; if they be read with pleasure, I shall be requited amply. How often the Guardian Angel of the Father of Virginia in surpassing loveliness rose before my imagining eyes! Like the spirit of a dream, she glided through the foliage, verdant and shadowy. Enchanted myself, the desire to enchant others seized me. The "Poet's Enchanted Life" is a gallery of poetic pictures of nature. Most of the minor and miscellaneous pieces, breathe the spirit of virtuous affection. If critics censure me unjustly or intemperately, I will fight them but I hope to find them, as well as you, dear Public, very kind friends of a loving Author.

J.A. BARTLEY.

POCAHONTAS.

Where yonder moss grown ruin[A] lonely stands, Which from the James, the Pilgrim may survey, Stretch alway forth its old, forsaken hands As if to beg some friend its fall to stay, And now the wild vine flaunts in greenness gay; Erst rose a Castle, known to deathless fame, Though now the mournful rampart falls away, Hither Virginia's hero father came, To found a glorious state, and give these regions name.

For, then, both far and near the forest wide, Stretched from the main unto the setting sun, And Bears and Panthers walked in fiercest pride, And slept at ease when their red feast was done, But here of white men there had ne'er walked one, But a fierce race of wild and savage hue, Their simple life from chase and angling won, And oft, when wrath arose, each other slew, In bloody wars which dyed their soil with crimson dew.

I ween it was a novel sight to see The white man landing in the vasty wild, Which each familiar creature seemed to flee, Where not a christian dwelling ever smiled, Nor e'er a well known sound the ear beguiled, But all was wild and hideous and the heart, Mayhap, of stout man, trembled as a child, And oft the exile's tear would, gushing, start, That ever he was lured from Albion's coast to part.

But there was one, the chieftain, of that band, Whose soul no dread, however great, could chill, His was the towering mind, the mighty hand, On which, his feeble followers resting, still Would fear no peril from approaching ill. With him the strangers built their rugged home, And turned the soil, and eat, and drank their fill; Glad that to this fair Eden they had come, And reconciled became to their adopted home.

Thus pass'd away in peaceful happiness, A little space by yonder river's side, But now arose the wail of keen distress, Gaunt Famine, with his murderous eye, they spied, Stalk round the walls of those who wept and sighed, And when their venturous chieftain wandered forth, Ill hap betrayed him to the savage pride, The death club rose, his head upon the earth, To perish there and thus, that man of kingly worth.

Not yet! before that last sad deed be done, An Indian maiden springs beneath the blow, And says her virgin blood shall freely run, For him, extended on the ground below, See! how, her face upturned, her tears do flow, See Love and anguish painted in her eyes, That, like a Seraph's, in their pity, glow, And surely Angels, looking from the skies Claimed this poor savage girl a sister in disguise.

Those eyes, those tears prevent the falling stroke, For Powhatan could not withstand her tears, His favorite child, who, charmed, beneath the oak, His savage spirit from her dawning years, The wondering white man now he kindly rears, And bids his menials haste the Indian's fare For him whom now his daughter's love endears, And lo! within the Lion's horrid lair, The Dove has brought her mate, and sees him unhurt there... Continue reading book >>




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