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Olban, or, the White Captive

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Olban, or, the White Captive

The moon had gone down o'er the hills of the west,
And her last beam had faded o'er Moosehillock's crest;
'Twas a midnight of horror; the red meteor flash'd
And hoarse down the mountain the cataract dash'd.

At intervals came in the hollow wind's sigh,
The hoot of the owl, and the catamount's cry,
And the howl of the wolf from his lone granite cell,
And the crash of the dead forest tree as it fell.

The watch-fire was lighted, and fann'd by the breeze,
Its red embers shone on the evergreen trees;
And fiercer the looks of the plum'd savage seem'd,
As the light on his features of bronze dimly gleam'd.

At the foot of a hemlock the wild game was flung,
And above from its branches the rude armour hung
From battle and plunder the warrior repos'd,
And the toils of the chase, till the morrow had dos'd.

Ere the blushes of morning again should return,
In torture Amanda was destined to burn,
Amanda, the pride of her village and home,
Who far up the Merrimac's waters had come.

In war led a captive, unfriended, forlorn,
Her feet bath'd in blood, and her garments all torn,
She courted the vengeance and wrath of her foes,
And sigh'd for the day, when her suff'rings should close.

The faggots were kindled--the red torches glar'd,
Her hands they were bound, and her white bosom bar'd;
Around her stood waiting the merciless throng,
Impatient to join the war-dance and song.

Young Olban, the chief of the warriors was near,
With the eye of an eagle--the foot of the deer,
And a soul that would scorn from a foeman to crave
A sigh for his suff'rings, a tear for his grave.

For a moment he hung on the charms of the fair,
Her dark hazel eye, now uplifted in prayer,
And her bright sunny locks, that in ringlets below
Half hid from the gazer her bosom of snow.

"Forbear," cried the chieftain, "your tortures forbear,
The captive shall live--by this Wampum I swear
This night if a victim must burn at the tree,
Young Olban, your leader, that victim shall be."

To the arms of Amanda, as forward he rush'd,
The revelry ceas'd and the tumult was hush'd,
And mute stood the circle of warriors around,
While Olban the chains of the captive unbound.

On Pemigewasset, at dawning of day,
Their birchen canoe was seen gliding away;
And fleet as the wild duck, that swam by their side,
In silence they rode down the dark rolling tide.

At dusk of the evening the white cot was seen,
And its smoke curling blue round the wild willow green;
One moment in parting they past on the shore,
And Olban the warrior was heard of no more.

From Folk Songs of Maine, Barry
DT #761
Laws H15

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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