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- Tecumseh: A Drama - 1/21 -


TECUMSEH

_A DRAMA_

BY CHARLES MAIR.

"When the white men first set foot on our shores, they were hungry; they had no places on which to spread their blankets or to kindle their fires. They were feeble; they could do nothing for themselves. Our fathers commiserated their distress, and shared freely with them whatever the Great Spirit had given to his red children."

_From_ TECUMSEH'S _speech to the Osages_.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

INDIANS:

TECUMSEH _(Chief of the Shawanoes)_.

THE PROPHET _(Brother of Tecumseh)_.

TARHAY _(A Chief in love with Iena)_.

STAYETA _(Chief of the Wyandots)_.

MIAMI, DELAWARE, KICKAPOO and DAHCOTA CHIEFS. _Warriors, Braves, Josakeeds and Runners_.

MAMATEE _(Wife of Tecumseh)_.

IENA _(Niece of Tecumseh)_.

WEETAMORE, WINONA _and other Indian Maidens_.

AMERICANS:

GENERAL HARRISON _(Governor of Indiana Territory)_.

GENERAL HULL.

COLONEL CASS.

BARRON _(An Indian Agent)_.

TWANG, SLAUGH, GERKIN and BLOAT _(Citizens of Vincennes)_.

_Five Councillors of Indiana Territory, Officers, Soldiers, Volunteers, Orderlies and Scouts_.

BRITISH AND CANADIANS:

GENERAL BROCK _(Administrator of the Government of Upper Canada)_.

COLONEL _(afterwards General)_ PROCTOR. GLEGG, MACDONELL, _Aides-de-camp to General Brock_.

NICHOL, BABY, ELIOTT, _Colonels of Canadian Volunteers_.

McKEE, ROBINSON, _Captains of Canadian Volunteers_.

LEFROY _(A poet-artist, enamoured of Indian life, and in love with IENA.)_

_Two Old men of York, U. E. Loyalists, and other Citizens, Alien Settlers, Officers, Soldiers, Volunteers, Orderlies and Messengers_.

TECUMSEH

ACT I.

SCENE FIRST.--THE FOREST NEAR THE PROPHET'S TOWN ON THE TIPPECANOE.

_Enter the_ PROPHET.

PROPHET. Twelve moons have wasted, and no tidings still!

Tecumseh must have perished! Joy has tears As well as grief, and mine will freely flow-- Sembling our women's piteous privilege-- Whilst dry ambition ambles to its ends. My schemes have swelled to greatness, and my name Has flown so far upon the wings of fear That nations tremble at its utterance. Our braves abhor, yet stand in awe of me, Who ferret witchcraft out, commune with Heaven, And ope or shut the gloomy doors of death. All feelings and all seasons suit ambition! Yet my vindictive nature hath a craft, In action slow, which matches mother-earth's: First seed-time--then the harvest of revenge. Who works for power, and not the good of men, Would rather win by fear than lose by love. Not so Tecumseh--rushing to his ends, And followed by men's love--whose very foes Trust him the most. Rash fool! Him do I dread, And his imperious spirit. Twelve infant moons Have swung in silver cradles o'er these woods, And, still no tidings of his enterprise, Which--all too deep and wide--has swallowed him. And left me here unrivalled and alone.

_Enter an_ INDIAN RUNNER.

Ha! There's a message in your eyes--what now?

RUNNER. Your brother, great Tecumseh, has returned, And rests himself a moment ere he comes To counsel with you here.

[_Exit Runner_.]

PROPHET. He has returned! So then the growing current of my power Must fall again into the stately stream Of his great purpose. But a moment past I stood upon ambition's height, and now My brother comes to break my greatness up, And merge it in his own. I know his thoughts-- That I am but a helper to his ends; And, were there not a whirlpool in my soul Of hatred which would fain ingulf our foes, I would engage my cunning and my craft 'Gainst his simplicity, and win the lead. But, hist, he comes! I must assume the role By which I pander to his purposes.

_Enter_ TECUMSEH.

TECUMSEH. Who is this standing in the darkened robes?

PROPHET. The Prophet! Olliwayshilla, who probes The spirit-world, and holds within his ken Life's secrets and the fateful deeds of men. The "One-Eyed!" Brother to the Shooting Star--

TECUMSEH. With heart of wax, and hands not made for war.

PROPHET. Would that my hands were equal to my hate! Then would strange vengeance traffic on the earth; For I should treat our foes to what they crave-- Our fruitful soil--yea, ram it down their throats, And choke them with the very dirt they love. 'Tis you Tecumseh! You, are here at last, And welcome as the strong heat-bearing Spring Which opens up the pathways of revenge. What tidings from afar?

TECUMSEH. Good tidings thence. I have not seen the Wyandots, but all The distant nations will unite with us To spurn the fraudful treaties of Fort Wayne. From Talapoosa to the Harricanaw I have aroused them from their lethargy. From the hot gulf up to those confines rude, Where Summer's sides are pierced with icicles, They stand upon my call. What tidings here?

PROPHET. No brand has struck to bark our enterprise Which grows on every side. The Prophet's robe, That I assumed when old Pengasega died-- With full accord and countenance from you-- Fits a strong shoulder ampler far than his; And all our people follow me in fear.

TECUMSEH. Would that they followed you in love! Proceed! My ears are open to my brother's tongue.

PROPHET. I have myself, and by swift messengers, Proclaimed to all the nations far and near, I am the Open-Door, and have the power To lead them back to life. The sacred fire Must burn forever in the red-man's lodge, Else will that life go out. All earthly goods By the Great Spirit meant for common use Must so be held. Red shall not marry white, To lop our parent stems; and never more Must vile, habitual cups of deadliness Distort their noble natures, and unseat The purpose of their souls. They must return To ancient customs; live on game and maize; Clothe them with skins, and love both wife and child,


Tecumseh: A Drama - 1/21

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