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Pocahontas. A Poem   By:

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A Poem


Virginia Carter Castleman

To Anita.


Virginia! Mother State thy name beloved By every patriot for its music sweet I lay this lowly tribute at thy feet, One leaf, perchance, upon thy wreath of fame.



(A descriptive narrative poem in eight parts.)

1. The Little Princess. 2. The Wizard. 3. Smith and Newport. 4. Coronation of Powhatan. 5. Guardian Angel. 6. The Parting. 7. Pocahontas and John Rolfe. 8. London Town.



Many dark eyed children played among the rushes By the waters of the inland, plain like marshes, Made them water babies of the tall brown cattails, Cradled in the baskets of the plaited willows. Of them all was none more gleeful, none more artless Than the little Matoax,[FN1] dearest of the daughters Of the mighty Werowance,[FN2] Powhatan the warrior Ruler of the tribes, from whom was named the river And the wigwam village and the dark skinned natives. None in all the land, from mountain unto sea, None more brave, more stern, and none more feared than he. Dear to him the chase, the war, the trembling captives, And the rustling pines whose fragrance filled the air Ah! 'Twas in the Springtime, and the world was fair.

[FN1] Matoax, tribal name of Pocahontas.

[FN2] Werowance, ruler or chief.

Evening came; the tired earth had dropped asleep, Born the Maytide night in silence calm and deep, Bright in azure vault of heaven the twinkling stars Vigils kept, as lover over his beloved. Only one sound the twilight stillness broke upon, Crooning of Indian mother to her babe. Fainter grew the mother song, and died away; Then, as if inspired by oft repeated strain, Suddenly a mocking bird took up refrain New World nightingale whose joyous warbling thrills Hearts responsive to the clear, melodious trills. Did the music fall upon unheeding ears Of the Indian hunters as they slumbering lay? Rather in their dreams those forest natives heard Echoes of the warrior's triumphant song In that hunting ground where sings the deathless bird.



Softly flowed the current of an ancient river Where it circled wide three beauteous emerald isles, Ceaseless lapped the waves upon the pebbled shore, Fringed with willows silvery, drooping evermore. High upon the beach an Indian village stood, Twelve low wigwams built upon the seasoned wood. Dark eyed squaws the noonday meal prepared For the lordly hunters who on bounty fared. Winter's chase was over, each hunter smoked in peace (Joy in heart that Spring at length had brought release). In the open doorway, whence his proud glance strayed From the tentyard where the quiet papoose played To the newly bladed corn, the sassafras, Dearer than his life the love of Matoax. Like the morning sunbeam was her smile, and frequent, Like the rippling water was her happy laughter, In her eyes the sparkle of the evening planet, And her lips were red as brightest coral. Day by day she grew in grace of form and beauty, Till to where the river meets the rolling sea, Spread her fame as loveliest of Indian maidens. Born a princess of the forest, born to rule Rule the hearts of men with chains of love was she.

Springtime into summer passed, with wild rose wreaths Maidens decked the princess' raven locks; But in Autumn played they with the yellow corn; And in Winter oft on snowshoes circled round.

"Maidens, come, we'll to the chase away, away! Sing aloud with glee our blithesome roundelay, Blow our mimic bugles till the echoes ring, Over hill and dale the startled warriors bring, Gathering around the campfire we will make the night Gay with song, dancing within the mystic light."

Thus cried Matoax Pocahontas princess proud. On her dark locks placed a squaw the stag horns curved, Bound them fast with chains of pearly tinted shells, Threw a deerskin mantle o'er the rounded limbs, Hung upon her back the quiver full of arrows. Score of dusky maidens formed the royal guard, With their painted bodies and their flowing hair Untamed creatures of the forest crouched they there, Will o' wisp like, darting, hiding, re appearing, Silently they waited signal for the chase... Continue reading book >>

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