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- Tecumseh: A Drama - 20/21 -


BROCK. You know my quarters and the countersign-- Good-night, Lefroy!

LEFROY. Good-night, good-night, good friend!

[_Exit_ BROCK.]

Give me the open sleep, whose bed is earth, With airy ceiling pinned by golden stars, Or vaultage more confined, plastered with clouds! Your log-roofed barrack-sleep, 'twixt drum and drum, Suits men who dream of death, and not of love. Love cannot die, nor its exhausted life, Exhaling like a breath into the air, Blend with the universe again. It lives, Knit to its soul forever. Iena! Dead in the forest wild--earth cannot claim Aught but her own from thee. Sleep on! sleep on!

IENA. (_Reviving_) What place is this?

LEFROY. Who's there? What voice is that!

IENA. Where am I now?

LEFROY. I'll follow up that sound! A desperate hope now ventures in my heart!

IENA. Help me, kind Spirit!

LEFROY. I could pick that voice From out a choir of angels! Iena!

[_Finds her behind the shrubbery._]

Tis she! 'tis she! Speak to me, Iena-- No earthly power can mar your life again, For I am here to shield it with my own.

IENA. Lefroy!

LEFROY. Yes, he!

IENA. My friends! found, found at last!

LEFROY. Found, found my love! I swear it on your lips, And seal love's contract there! Again--again-- Ah me! all earthly pleasure is a toil Compared with one long look upon your face.

IENA. O, take me to my friends! A faintness came Upon me, and no farther could I go.

LEFROY. What spirit led you here?

IENA. My little bark Is yonder by the shore--but take me hence! For I am worn and weak with wandering.

LEFROY. Come with me then.

_Enter the_ PROPHET, _who stalks gloomily across the stage--scowling at_ IENA _and_ LEFROY _as he passes out._

IENA. The Prophet! I am lost!

LEFROY. This monster here! But he is powerless now. Fear him not, Iena! Tecumseh's wrath Burns 'gainst him still--he dare not do thee hurt.

IENA. Must I endure for ever this fiend's hate? He stabbed me with his eye--

[_Swoons away._]

LEFROY. O, horrible! Let us but meet again, and I shall send His curst soul out of this accursed world!

[_Exit_ LEFROY, _carrying_ IENA.]

SCENE EIGHTH.--THE HIGHWAY THROUGH THE FOREST LEADING TO FORT DETROIT--THE FORT IN THE DISTANCE; CANNON AND GUNNERS AT THE GATE.

_Enter_ TECUMSEH, STAYETA, _and other Chiefs and Warriors._

TECUMSEH. There is the Long-Knive's fort, within whose walls We lose our lives, or find our lands to-day. Fight for that little space--'tis wide domain! That small enclosure shuts us from our homes. There are the victors in the Prophet's strife-- Within that fort they lie--those bloody men Who burnt your town, to light their triumph up, And drove your women to the withered woods To shudder through the cold slow-creeping night, And help their infants to out-howl the wolf. Oh, the base Long-Knife grows to head, not heart-- A pitiless and murdering minister To his desires! But let us now be strong, And, if we conquer, merciful as strong! Swoop like the eagles on their prey, but turn In victory your taste to that of doves; For ever it has been reproach to us That we have stained our deeds with cruelty, And dyed our axes in our captives' blood. So, here, retort not on a vanquished foe, But teach him lessons in humanity. Now let the big heart, swelling in each breast, Strain every rib for lodgment! Warriors! Bend to your sacred task, and follow me.

STAYETA. Lead on! We follow you!

KICKAPOO CHIEF. Advance ye braves!

TECUMSEH. Stay! make a circuit in the open woods-- Cross, and recross, and double on the path-- So shall the Long-Knives overcount our strength. Do this, Stayeta, whilst I meet my friend-- My brave white brother, and confer with him.

_Enter_ GENERAL BROCK, PROCTOR, NICHOL, MACDONELL _and other Officers and Forces, on the highway_. TECUMSEH _goes down to meet them._

BROCK. Now by God's providence we face Detroit, Either to sleep within its walls to-night, Or in deep beds dug by exulting foes. Go, Nichol, make a swift reconnaissance-- We'll follow on.

NICHOL. I shall, but, ere I go I do entreat you, General, take the rear; Those guns are shrewdly placed without the gate-- One raking fire might rob us of your life, And, this lost, all is lost.

BROCK. Well meant, my friend! But I am here to lead, not follow, men Whose confidence has come with me thus far! Go, Nichol, to your task!

[_Exit_ NICHOL. TECUMSEH _advances_.]

Tecumseh, hail! Brave chieftain, you have made your promise good.

TECUMSEH. My brother stands to his! and I but wait His orders to advance--my warriors Are ripe for the assault.

BROCK. Deploy them, then, Upon our landward flank, and skirt the woods, Whilst we advance in column to attack.

[TECUMSEH _rejoins his warriors_.]

Signal our batteries on the farther shore To play upon the Fort! Be steady friends-- Be steady! Now upon your country turn Your multiplying thoughts, and strike for her! Strike for your distant and inviolate homes, Perfumed with holy prayer at this hour! Strike! with your fathers' virtue in your veins You must prevail--on, on, to the attack!

[BROCK _and forces advance towards the Port. A heavy cannonading from the British batteries.]

Re-enter_ NICHOL _hastily_.

NICHOL Stay, General! I saw a flag of truce Cross from the Fort to the Canadian shore.

BROCK. Halt! There's another from yon bastion flung; And, see! another waves adown the road-- Borne by an officer--what think you, Nichol?

NICHOL Your threats are conquerors! The Fort is ours!

GLEGG. Yes, look! the gunners have been all withdrawn Who manned the cannon at yon western gate.

PROCTOR. So many men to yield without a blow! Why, this is wonderful! It cannot be!

BROCK. Say, rather, should not be, and yet it is! 'Tis plainly written in this captain's face.

_Officer with flag of truce approaches_.

OFFICER. This letter from our General contains


Tecumseh: A Drama - 20/21

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