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15. Alike to them, it seem'd in their despair, Whither they wander'd from the infected spot. Chance might direct their steps: they took no care; Come well or ill to them, it matter'd not ! Left as they were in that unhappy lot, The sole survivors they of all their race, They reck’dnot when their fate, nor where, nor what,
In this resignment to their hopeless case, Indifferent to all choice or circumstance of place.
16. That palsying stupor past away ere long, And as the spring of health resumed its power, They felt that life was dear, and hope was strong. What marvel ? 'Twas with them the morning hour, When bliss appears to be the natural dower Of all the creatures of this joyous earth ; And sorrow fleeting like a vernal shower
Scarce interrupts the current of our mirth; Such is the happy heart we bring with us at birth.
17. Though of his nature and his boundless love Erring, yet tutor’d by instinctive sense, They rightly deem'd the Power who rules above Had saved them from the wasting pestilence. That favouring power would still be their defence: Thus were they by their late deliverance taught To place a child-like trust in Providence,
And in their state forlorn they found this thought Of natural faith with hope and consolation fraught.
18. And now they built themselves a leafy bower, Amid a glade, slow Mondai's stream beside, Screen'd from the southern blastof piercing power: Not like their native dwelling, long and wide, By skilful toil of numbers edified, The common home of all, their human nest, Where threescore hammocks pendant side by side
Were ranged, and on the ground the fires were drest; Alas, that populous hive hath now no living guest!
19. A few firm stakes they planted in the ground, Circling a narrow space, yet large enow; These strongly interknit they closed around With basket-work of many a pliant bough. The roof was like the sides ; the door was low, And rude the hut, and trimm'd with little care, For little heart had they to dress it now;
Yet was the humble structure fresh and fair, And soon its inmates found that love might sojourn
20. Quiara could recall to mind the course Of twenty summers ; perfectly he knew Whate'er his fathers taught of skill or force. Right to the mark his whizzing lance he threw, And from his bow the unerring arrow flew With fatal aim; and when the laden bee Buzz’d by him in its flight, he could pursue
Its path with certain ken, and follow free Until he traced the hive in hidden bank or tree.
21. Of answering years was Monnema, nor less Expert in all her sex's household ways. The Indian weed she skilfully could dress ; And in what depth to drop the yellow maize She knew, and when around its stem to raise The lighten'd soil ; and well could she prepare Its ripen'd seed for food, her proper praise ;
Or in the embers turn with frequent care Its succulent head yet green, sometimes for daintier
22. And how to macerate the bark she knew, And draw apart its beaten fibres fine, And bleaching them in sun, and air, and dew; From dry and glossy filaments entwine With rapid twirl of hand the lengthening line ; Next interknitting well the twisted thread, In many an even mesh its knots combine,
And shape in tapering length the pensile bed, Light hammock there to hang beneath the leafy shed.
Some bitter jest awoke the dormant feud,
24. These occupations were gone by: the skill Was useless now, which once had been her pride. Content were they, when thirst impell’d, to fill The dry and hollow gourd from Mondai's side; The river from its sluggish bed supplied A draught for repetition all unmeet; Howbeit the bodily want was satisfied ;
No feverish pulse ensued, nor ireful heat, Their days were 'undisturb’d, their natural sleep was
25. She too had learnt in youth how best to trim The honour'd Chief for his triumphal day, And covering with soft gums the obedient limb And body, then with feathers overlay, In regular hues disposed, a rich display. Well-pleased the glorious savage stood and eyed The growing work; then vain of his array
Look'd with complacent frown from side to side, Stalk’d with elater step, and swell’d with statelier pride.
Cast with him here in this forlorn estate,
27. The Moon had gather'd oft her monthly store Of light, and oft in darkness left the sky, Since Monnema a growing burthen bore Of life and hope. The appointed weeks go by ; And now her hour is come, and none is nigh To help: but human help she needed none. A few short throes endured with scarce a cry,
Upon the bank she laid her new-born son, Then slid into the stream, and bathed; and all was
Through many a savage tribe, howe'er it grew, And once in the old world known as widely as the new.
29. This could not then be done ; he might not lay The bow and those unerring shafts aside ; Nor through the appointed weeks forego the prey, Still to be sought amid those regions wide, None being there who should the while provide That lonely household with their needful food : So still Quiara through the forest plied
His daily task, and in the thickest wood Stilllaid his snares for birds, and still the chase pursued.