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- Tecumseh: A Drama - 5/21 -


Braves._]

PROPHET. She's here! Take hold of her and bear her off!

TECUMSEH. (_Menacingly_) Beware! Lay not a finger on the girl!

[_The Braves fall back_.]

PROPHET. There is no law Tecumseh will not break, When women weep, and pale-face spies deceive.

MAMATEE. Ah, wretch! not all our people's groans could wring A single tear from out your murderous eye.

PROPHET. This is my captive, and his life is mine!

[_Seizing_ LEFROY, _and lifting his hatchet_.]

IENA. (_Rushing to_ LEFROY) Save him! Save him!

TECUMSEH. Your life will go for his-- One blow and you are doomed!

[TECUMSEH _grasps the_ PROPHET'S _uplifted axe_.]

END OF FIRST ACT.

ACT II.

SCENE FIRST:--BEFORE THE PROPHET'S TOWN.

_Enter_ TECUMSEH _and_ LEFROY.

TECUMSEH. No guard or outlook--here! This is most strange. Chance reigns where prudence sleeps!

_Enter a_ BRAVE.

Here comes a brave With frenzy in his face Where is the Prophet?

BRAVE. He fasts alone within the medicine-lodge, And talks to our Great Spirit. All our braves, Huddling in fear, stand motionless without, Thrilled by strange sounds, and voices not of earth.

TECUMSEH. How long has it been thus?

BRAVE. Four nights have passed And none have seen his face; but all have heard His dreadful tongue, in incantations deep, Fetch horrors up--vile beings flashed from hell, Who fought as devils fight, until the lodge Shook to its base with struggling, and the earth Quaked as, with magic strength, he flung them down. These strove with him for mastery of our fate; But, being foiled, Yohewa has appeared, And, in the darkness of our sacred lodge, Communes with him.

TECUMSEH. Our Spirit great and good! He comes not here for nought. What has he promised?

BRAVE. Much! for henceforth we are invulnerable. The bullets of the Long-Knives will rebound, Like petty hailstones, from our naked breasts; And, in the misty morns of our attack, Strange lights will shine on them to guide our aim, Whilst clouds of gloom will screen us from their sight.

TECUMSEH. The Prophet is a wise interpreter, And all his words, by valour backed, will stand; For valour is the weapon of the soul, More dreaded by our vaunting enemies Than the plumed arrow, or the screaming ball. What wizardry and witchcraft has he found Conspiring 'gainst our people's good?

BRAVE. Why, none! Wizard and witch are weeded out, he says; Not one is left to do us hurt.

TECUMSEH. 'Tis well! My brother has the eyeball of the horse, And swerves from danger. (_Aside_.) Bid our warriors come! I wait them here.

[_Exit_ BRAVE.]

The Prophet soon will follow.

LEFROY. Now opportunity attend my heart Which waits for Iena! True love's behest, Outrunning war's, will bring her to my arms Ere cease the braves from gasping wonderment.

TECUMSEH. First look on service ere you look on love; You shall not see her here.

LEFROY. My promises Are sureties of my service--

TECUMSEH. But your deeds, Accomplishments; our people count on deeds. Be patient! Look upon our warriors Roped round with scars and cicatrized wounds, Inflicted in deep trial of their spirit Their skewered sides are proofs of manly souls, Which--had one groan escaped from agony-- Would all have sunk beneath our women's heels, Unfit for earth or heaven. So try your heart, And let endurance swallow all love's sighs. Yoke up your valour with our people's cause, And I, who love your nation, which is just, When deeds deserve it, will adopt you here, By ancient custom of our race, and join Iena's hand to yours.

LEFROY. Your own hand first In pledge of this!

TECUMSEH. It ever goes with truth!

LEFROY. Now come some wind of chance, and show me her But for one heavenly moment! as when leaves Are blown aside in summer, and we see The nested oriole.

[_Enter Chiefs and warriors--The warriors cluster around_ TECUMSEH, _shouting and discharging their pieces_.]

TECUMSEH. My chiefs and braves!

MIAMI CHIEF. Fall back! Fall back! Ye press too close on him.

TECUMSEH. My friends! our joy is like to meeting streams, Which draw into a deep and prouder bed.

[_Shouts from the warriors_.]

DELAWARE CHIEF. Silence, ye braves! let great Tecumseh speak!

[_The warriors fall back_.]

TECUMSEH. Comrades, and faithful warriors of our race! Ye who defeated Hartnar and St Clair, And made their hosts a winter's feast for wolves! I call on you to follow me again, Not now for war, but as forearmed for fight. As ever in the past so is it still: Our sacred treaties are infringed and torn; Laughed out of sanctity, and spurned away; Used by the Long-Knife's slave to light his fire, Or turned to kites by thoughtless boys, whose wrists Anchor their fathers' lies in front of heaven. And now we're asked to Council at Vincennes; To bend to lawless ravage of our lands, To treacherous bargains, contracts false, wherein One side is bound, the other loose as air! Where are those villains of our race and blood Who signed the treaties that unseat us here; That rob us of rich plains and forests wide; And which, consented to, will drive us hence To stage our lodges in the Northern Lakes, In penalties of hunger worse than death? Where are they? that we may confront them now With your wronged sires, your mothers, wives and babes, And, wringing from their false and slavish lips Confession of their baseness, brand with shame The traitor hands which sign us to our graves.

MIAMI CHIEF. Some are age-bent and blind, and others sprawl, And stagger in the Long-Knife's villages; And some are dead, and some have fled away, And some are lurking in the forest here, Sneaking, like dogs, until resentment cools.

KICKAPOO CHIEF. We all disclaim their treaties. Should they come, Forced from their lairs by hunger, to our doors, Swift punishment will light upon their heads.

TECUMSEH. Put yokes upon them! let their mouths be bound! For they are swine who root with champing jaws


Tecumseh: A Drama - 5/21

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